Fun fact number 5.
If you have read some of my earlier posts like Exercise Results, you would have known by now that I am a thin lad. What I didn’t share is, fun fact number 5 – I was even scrawnier when I was younger (like the above comic strip) before I start lifting weights. Exactly how scrawnier was I? Female readers, you have been forewarned to skip the rest of this paragraph especially if you are sensitive to the weighing scale numbers because what I will be sharing with you may trigger adverse effects (e.g. screaming in disbelief, swearing not to eat the next few meals) based on my female friends’ responses. Ready? For most of my teenage years and even till the earlier 20s, I was at most 45 kg (99 lbs) although my height is at 1.7 m (5.5 ft). It was only after I started out on weights training, coupled with an ever slowing metabolism due to ageing that I managed to transit from scrawny to thin status. The last time I measured, my weight was 53 kg (116 lbs) which is still far from the target weight of 60 kg (132 lbs) that I set for myself.
Being scrawny with metal braces, thick glasses and with no knowledge of proper skin care then, it was hard not to stand out in a wrong way. And yet for school years, I find it best to fit in and not stand out. Just look at those people in Glee who stand out and get slushed by slushies. Well, these didn’t happen in the Singapore schools (at least not in my time) but there are other things that happen with standing out. For instance, being mocked and ridiculed on one’s appearance or shortcomings. That is bound to happen in a school environment when you have a group of teenagers who speak freely what’s on their mind. It is only in an adult work where one learns to sugar coat their words or in other words, be politically correct.
So, I do have my fair share of teases, like “hey Rusty, you look like a train pole” or “you are so thin like a bamboo pole for hanging clothes” and even recently “you look like a pole for pole dancing”. Fortunately, they are all harmless and made in the spirit of fun by friends and school mates. Kids that are bullied mentally in school hear way more hurtful and nasty comments and my heart goes out to kids that are bullied in school.
I have no winning solution for kids to stand up against bullies, I am after all a cartoonist. But precisely cause I am a cartoonist, in an imaginary world, anything can happen right!?!
Therefore kids, I offer you the Riddikulus charm to defend against bullies. If you have read the Harry Potter series, the Riddikulus charm is a charm that is used in defence against a Boggart, a creature with an ability to terrorise its victims by transforming itself into things or beings that the victims fear the most. By casting the charm and thinking about something humorous, the charm can force the Boggart to assume the form that is humorous to the caster and thereby counteracting the Boggart’s ability to terrorise. Furthermore, laughter weakens the Boggart.
Now I am not suggesting that you picture the bully in an embarrassing situation like the bully in smiley face underpants and then laugh it in his face. That is surely to get more bad things to come in your way! Well, you can picture the bully in smiley face underpants, just don’t laugh it in his face.
Rather, in my tweaked version of the charm, I am suggesting that you find the “Riddikulus”, that is the ridiculous things, the humor that is happening in your situation, for example like what I have done in my above comic strip. If you can find the funny, the light-heartedness in the situation, it will be a trusty and powerful shield against the negativity!
But like the kids in the Harry Potter series, it will take some time to perfect the “Riddikulus charm” and Lupin, their professor for the dark arts is there to help them along till they do. If you are unable to handle the bullies, do seek help from someone!