[Part 1 of this childhood story is here.]
The next time Karl started hassling me was in class a few days later.
He sat a row in front of me and turned around to torment me, the quiet girl named Alice, by mocking my name in a sing-song fashion: “Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland.”
I was mad.
Following my father’s advice I turned to Karl and said loudly: “So who are you? The March Hare?”
As fate would have it, our teacher, Miss Thomas, a maiden lady [as they used to say to describe unmarried women over 50], was standing at the end of my row.
She was a known disciplinarian, seemingly devoid of whimsy.
However, my adult putdown of a kid who she knew was going to be trouble for years to come caught her off guard, and she burst out laughing. At which point the rest of my class joined her in laughing at red-faced Karl, former bully turned class buffoon, thanks to a few well said words at the right time.
Thank you, Daddy.
From this experience I learned three valuable lessons that have stayed with me to this day:
- Words have power;
- If you can make people laugh, you can make a point; and
- Bullies are weaklings who you can take down, one way or another, if you just apply yourself to making them look like fools in front of their peers.
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