So last week I told the long story about how I stood up to my P.E. teacher. It’s worth noting, though, that sometimes bullies are not of our species.
When I was about four or five, and my brother was about two or three, we went to a petting zoo. I don’t remember what other animals they had–but I do remember the deer.
We meandered around, like all of the other children there, petting animals and saying nonsensical things to them (almost anything you say to an animal in a petting zoo is nonsensical, really). At some point, I realized that my brother was starting to cry. A buck was standing in front of him, beginning to make subtle feints with his antlers.
Today, my brother and I are close. When we were both single, we traveled together. By choice! When I got married, he was my maid of honor. When he got married, I was his best man. We’re tight.
But when we were children, he was a thorn in my side. The sibling rivalry was intense. Even then, however, there was a vast difference between how I would treat him, and how I was willing to let others treat him. And this extended to wildlife.
So when I realized that this enormous deer was menacing my brother, I did the only thing I could think of. I jumped between them, looked up at the deer (which towered over both of us), shook my finger in it’s face, and yelled, “Keep away from my brother! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
The deer looked startled–and then it ran to the other side of the enclosure and stayed there. As it should.
Mind you, I’m not immune to bullies. In elementary school, I was picked on by a variety of Mean Girls, and forced to abandon one route home because of an older boy who apparently thought he was some sort of bridge troll. In high school, I barely avoided a fight that I’m pretty sure I would have lost. And in one job, I was sexually harassed for years.
But that deer had no business picking on my little brother.
Photo by jonnnnnn, via Flickr.