Archive for bully

Bully Best Friend

Posted in Lucerne Village, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by javedbabar

“You are! You are! You are!” screamed the boy in pain.

There was no dispute that Samuel was now leader of the gang. He was fair-skinned and blonde, ten kilos heavier, and six inches taller than most other boys, and all of them were afraid of him. He beat up boys and forced girls to kiss him. It made no difference if they were gang members or not, but gang members got off more lightly, with fewer bruises and bites.

Many parents complained to Samuel’s parents, but they shrugged their shoulders and said he was out of control; they didn’t know where he got it from. Besides, The Authority banned all forms of domestic discipline, so there was nothing they could do. The official guidance Samuel received at school was written only, nothing verbal, or, God forbid, physical discipline to counter his physical conduct. It barely dented his bad behaviour.

His Grandpa was a tough character, and was asked to have a word with him. Rather than acting as a good influence though, his Grandpa’s pep talks made him proud and pompous.

Things were set to get worse when Dale arrived at school. His parents had lived off-grid in an “undisclosed location” since his birth, and had home-schooled him till thirteen. The Authority had then threatened to lock them up, and take Dale away, unless they returned to “civilization”.

Dale was the same size as Samuel, but dark and hairy. Either they would fight each other in rival gangs, or together become twin terrors. It could go either way.

On his first day at school, Dale stood in front of Samuel in the playground. Samuel was a wary of this strange new boy, and rather than pushing him out of the away, he instead said brusquely, “Excuse me.”

“Excuse me, what?”

“Excuse me,” Samuel launched himself at Dale, screaming, “Pleeeease!”

They fought for ten minutes, resulting in a complicated stalemate, with both boys and then four teachers, tangled on the floor, before they broke apart, laughing. After this, Samuel and Dale become inseparable best friends.

They continued fighting each other for fun, much to the relief of others, who now became spectators rather than participants, cheering for one or the other combatant, often laying down bets. The Samuel-Danny fight became a popular ritual. Teachers bet on it too, and Miss Jewel and Mr Wong won $100 each.

“That shopkeeper charges too much money,” Dale said to Samuel. “He wants two dollars for chips when they’re one dollar everywhere else, and a potato costs ten cents to grow. He thinks we’re stupid. We should raid his shop.”

“We should smash it!”

“We should burn it!”

They decided to do all three things, and raided, smashed and burned it that night. The tied-up shopkeeper begged them to stop, each by name, and when they realized he recognized them, they smashed and burned him too.

The police came to school the next day to quiz teachers. Because of regulations, they were not allowed to quiz children. Samuel and Dale smirked at the back of the class.

A week later, the shopkeeper’s daughter saw Samuel and Dale and set her Rottweiler upon them. After a long fight, they killed the dog. Samuel only suffered cuts and grazes but Dale was bitten badly, and a few days later, died.

Samuel was withdrawn from school and stayed at home for two weeks. He went to visit his grandfather who lived beyond the swamp at the base of Mt Negra. He told him all about the gang, the fight, the shopkeeper and the dog. And most of all about how much he missed his best friend Dale.

His grandfather clipped his ear and said, “Don’t be such a wimp. You get that from your father, not from me, for sure. I had killed four guys by your age. Now go back to school and kick some ass.”

People Skills

Posted in Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Every job requires a range of skills, thought Shama. Even in this age of specialization, you can’t just be a one trick pony. The world is always changing. Jobs of the Future was the program he had created to develop vital skills in the local community. His task was to support lifelong learning.

Shama had not done much learning himself, or at least not in the traditional sense. He’d had only casual jobs in the city, construction, telesales and retail, and had recently come to Lucerne, where due to a shortage of professional people, he’d been given two jobs despite being qualified for neither. He was now Building Control Officer and Training Director.

Some hasty research indicated a shift in the way that people worked these days. Even twenty years ago, it was all about the Big Boss, the guy at the top who made all the decisions and passed them down, however half-baked. The job of an underling was to obey his whims without back-chat, even if the idea was totally the wrong thing to do.

Advances in Human Relations taught people to understand themselves better; to talk effectively and empathize accurately; to build relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions. The result could be powerful teamwork. However it could also become decision-making by committee, causing regression to the lowest common denominator.

The tide had turned back towards the Authoritarian camp. Tech companies especially were run by monsters who whipped their staff to keep inventing new needs and new products. They didn’t have the vision to create products that lasted, and to build lasting relationships, so every year they must make new things. Maybe that was just the nature of capitalism, a system driven by eternal dissatisfaction.

Jobs of the Future would require people skills for sure. But should they be used to create products, or build relationships, or maybe both?

Shama utilized his people skills to buzz Sue. The Village Hall receptionist was always his first port of call. He asked her, “How can we improve people skills?”

She said, “The trick is listening. It’s always that. My grandma used to say ‘Be the first to listen and the last to speak’. That way you speak appropriately.”

“But someone has to speak first. Otherwise it becomes a comedy of manners.” He put on an English accent. “You first. No, no, you first. I insist, Sir, you first. You are no gentleman, you insult me, you first. What do you take me for, a barbarian? You first, or I shall be forced to engage in violence towards your person!” Shama became self-conscious and stopped. His grandpa used to repeat that routine; he had memorized it without realizing.

“Yes, someone needs to speak,” said Sue. “But someone also needs to listen.”

People skills had a dark side. Those lacking them were unable to manage their stress levels, or to create supportive social connections. This led to their isolation and frustration, maybe violent and self-destructive behavior, and even death.

“I have a plan,” said Shama, and discussed it with her.

They set up a network of listening posts around the village. They were wirelessly connected, and held enough charge to run for a month. Each was connected to a third-world response centre.

Pushing a button alerted an Indian, Kenyan, Filipino or Peruvian worker, who would then try hard to sell you something. Your job was to hear them out, and then using all the information you had gathered, to sell them something instead.

“How’s it going?” Sue asked at the end of the second week.

“It could be better,” said Shama, “but we have sold four vacations, three horses, two tractors, and many tons of potatoes so far. We have some very good listeners in this village.”