Tuesday, January 10, 2006

High School Hell II

Nobody bothered me again that night. The next morning I started on what was to become my routine for a while. I would wake up early, go off to where my suitcase was, get everything I needed for the day and then move on to class. I wouldn't come back to the dormitory until the junior prep had ended, which was 1 hour before the seniors. I would pray that by the time the older guys came from prep they wouldn't feel like bugging me.

Of course this routine was not very effective. For one, almost every after prep the older guys would descend on us as a means of stress relief. Sometimes it was just lighthearted foolery-like when they would play a song and ask each of us to slowdance our pillows as if they were our girlfriends. Other times it could get quite nasty.

There was what was called "going to New York"and believe you me that was one trip to the Big Apple you didn't want to take. It involved a hapless S1 getting under a low bed with springs so loose that even without anybody on the bed, anybody under it would still be making contact with the springs. Then 2 or 3 boys would start jumping all over the bed. This meant the bed springs and wires would dig into the guy under the bed assisted by 80-100 kgs pressure exerted from above.

It was not rare to earn yourself a slap simply for looking straight (read menacingly) into the eyes of an older student. I was once sent by one of the guys in my room to collect a kettle from another dormitory. After being shown the bed of the person I was to get the kettle from I approached slowly and, in my gentlest voice, stated my business. The reply I got from the chap was a shove and an inquiry as to how I could venture into his space and demand for things he knew nothing about. I tried to explain that I was just carrying a message from someone. I was shoved into a locker kicked in the sides and told to get the f**k out of the room if I valued my life. Since I obviously valued my life, I made for the door with haste. But I wasn't hasty enough because a Reebok sneaker hit me in the back as I was making the last turn.

I later learnt that the fellow had messed the kettle up and he was still thinking of how he was going to get it fixed. At this time in comes Jay, perfect candidate for displaced aggression.

Once I was told to drink 3 litres of water at once for refusing to do something I had been told to do. My stomach has never bulged so much. I thought I would never drink water again after that. I threw it all up as soon as I had finished. It was actually more like someone tipping a jerry can that is full to the brim, because there were none of the typical heaves that characterise throwing up.

It was always better to have "punishment" dispensed immediately after "offending" because, if it was wasn't, it was likely something quite terrible was being cooked up for you. It was likely that the culprit didnt want to be identified lest he is reported to the authorities. This meant he was more likely to pay a midnight visit. These visits usually included around 5 guys, each with a role to play. One had to ensure that the lights were off and act as a look out. 2 guys would cover you with the blanket and make sure you were held down. The other 2 would go at you like military police on a Besigye supporter. The operations were meant to be short but intense, after which the culprits would scatter in different directions while the dazed victim figured out what had just happaned.

I could go on endlessly about the nightmare most of my S1 was, but there is simply to much to say. Thankfully I hear the school has changed and there is none of what we went through nowadays. On the flip side though, I have interacted with some of my younger Old Boys and I can't help feeling that they are not quite made of the same mettle as those that went through the school 10+ years ago.

The one thing I learnt was that bullies are usually weaklings hiding behind their mean acts, usually knowing that they have backup in case of anything. Seldom does a bully operate solo. The backup might be his friends or a position of authority he has. I despise them all.

I also got to speak my mother tongue fluently. Its ironic that I only learnt it as a means of preventing future asswhoopings.


eric goldstein said...

Thank you writing about this experience. It's so sad that people are often subject to this kind of treatment. You are so right about bullies. They are cowards!

Lovely Amphibian said...

Ah, do you realise that even with all the pain that was brought on by the bullying, these experiences are part of the whole montage. taking them away from your memories would alter the whole thing. some people dont have any memories to hold on to, dude. thanx all the same for the great posts.

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Degstar said...

wa, you deserved the ass whopping! dats wat you get growing up in a country without compulsory military service with its opportunities for men to be made of boys. see how well you turned out? good. now get over it.