My sister and I were bullied as kids. We didn’t belong. We still don’t but we’re old enough and ugly enough to deal with that now. Besides, we don’t want to belong – not if belonging means being like those who excluded us in the first place. Instead, we’re members of the Loser’s Club.
In Derry, Maine, a clown called Pennywise ripped children’s arms off. He tortured and murdered and eventually destroyed the place but he was defeated. By a group of kids. Bullied, friendless and unwanted, these kids found each other and formed the Loser’s Club. I’m a Stephen King fan and so is my sister. Not that she’s read any of his books. This is partly because she’s dyslexic and mostly because she’s a wuss. Instead she makes me retell her the story when I’ve finished reading it – with all the gory bits edited out. When I finished reading the novel IT, 20+ years ago and repeated it to her, we both identified with the lost children of Derry who dared to take on evil. We became members of their gang. We didn’t set out to find homicidal clowns but, looking back, I realise that we’ve always stood up against bad guys. Bullies mainly. And not necessarily for ourselves. Having experienced bullying we can’t stand by and watch someone else suffer. If you’re a bully, you’re a Pennywise and we will work to defeat you.
So why am I writing this? Am I just trying to convince you that we’re heroes? No. I’m giving you a bit of background so that you’ll understand why I want to write the next bit.
I’ve watched Big Brother. I like watching Big Brother and find the reactions of the house-mates to each other and to the pressure put on them by endless mind games of their captors fascinating (a kind of ‘sanctioned’ bullying I suppose but that’s another blog …). The thing that moves me to comment on it now is that for most of the show’s run, the house has been split into two groups. The Insiders and the Outsiders. The Insiders have bitched at and bullied the Outsiders relentlessly. The Outsiders have done some bitching too. And they’ve fought back when the Insiders have gone too far but what I have really admired about them is that they found each other and they stuck together. They have been loyal and dignified and now three of the show’s five finalists are Outsiders. One by one the Insiders were rejected and ejected by public vote which just goes to show – the majority doesn’t like bullies. The majority recognises a Pennywise when we see him or her. Well done us. And well done Outsiders. Last night, when they realised that they had made it through to the final and that they were now safe from their persecutors, they didn’t gloat, they simply smiled at each other and said, ‘we can enjoy ourselves now.’ How bloody nice are they?
Adam, Deana and Luke A, I hope one of you wins and … just like we gate-crashed Stephen King’s Loser’s Club all those years ago, my sister and I are now members of the Outsiders. I hope that’s OK.