There is an elderly man who spends his days bullying others. He considers it his duty to make sure you hear all about how everyone in the world is doing everything wrong. He’ll remember your conversation differently than how it actually took place and turn to his bully pulpit to tell the rest of the world about it. He takes to the internet to scorn you, mock you, and defame you. He’s the first to scorn, the last to respect and unforgiving of perceived trespasses. He’ll threaten, mock and malign and then cry foul when you object because he knows the U.S. Constitution better than you do and would like to remind you that he has a right to free speech.
He spends his days ranting about things he is indignant about. He’s a member of a political party he hates. He’s a resident of a community he doesn’t want to be part of. As a senior, he thinks he’s entitled to special dispensation that others aren’t. He hates so much - the people, the weather and the culture….nothing is like where he came from or how he thinks it should be. He is miserable and lonely and has decided that the reason no one spends time with him is because they are all too stupid to recognize him for the class act he is or they just don’t have any respect for seniors.
He tells you how he’s lost all respect for his community, his party, and his people; that his values and theirs are not the same, that the people within don’t fight the good fight like they ought to. He likes to complain about the people and tell you how everyone around him is morally bankrupt, that no one cares about him or his issues.
He’s so nasty and hateful, he’s probably right. No one wants to be around him.
He carries proof of their ineptitude and depleted moral character in his mind, relishing the telling of every detail to listeners not yet conscious of the fact that he’s just temporarily relieving himself. It is the element of attack that excites him. Every detail falls like the most exquisite of silks, giving him yet another chance to feel important, to be one of the beautiful, smart, knowing people; to feel alive. He relishes the telling of these tales like a newlywed couple reaching for one another on their wedding night. He is hungry. He is insatiable. He is relentless.
Saddled with many concerns, he is quick to tell you what they are and to criticize those in the trenches for their failure to address them properly. It seems irrelevant to him that he himself does nothing to address those concerns. He is oblivious to the fact that the people he faults with not solving the problems are not the ones actually empowered to do so. He screams about how incompetent everyone around him is – yet his only contribution to solving the most important issues of the day is to criticize those who are actually trying to do something about it.
When not complaining about them he’s complaining about what they supposedly did to him. There is no one not out to get him. When they object to his characterizations of them, they’re all conspiring together to silence him. When he threatens them with violence, they are unable to take a joke. When he can’t get what he wants from them they make up lies about him to cover their own inadequacy. But when they threaten him with retaliation, he whimpers and begs for compassion. He is a bully with a big mouth and a mouse of a real man.
Ironically enough, despite being fed up with ___________ (insert noun du jour here), he won’t leave it nor tolerate anyone else criticizing it. To do so would give up his reason for living. Assuming personal responsibility for his behavior would mean having to face the fact that he alone is responsible for his unhappiness in the world.
The man is old and frail. How sad to be near the end of one’s life without anything of substance or meaning in it. How tragic to spend one’s last days on earth recycling yesterday’s pain. How pitiful to have no one wanting to share a life with you. How perverse to take pleasure in wounding others.
What a waste of a life.
Long ago we gave him latitude because we thought he was mentally ill. He corrected us several times, even proving he was capable of altering his behavior. What he proved is that he’s not sick, he’s just a jerk.
Some say he’s a harmless old man, just ignore him. Others say he doesn’t mean half of what he says. Maybe. But bullying is never harmless. If it were, there wouldn’t be the tremendous effort we’ve seen over the last decade to make the public aware of bullying’s damaging effects, things like low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide. The effort to educate the public about bullying has causes numerous state and federal laws to be enacted against such behavior.
In the waning days of his life he gets nastier and nastier. His accusations become wilder and he claims more and more “proof” of other’s distaste for him.
But he’s wrong. The real proof will be in the lack of mourners at his funeral.
Then he'll prove to us just how right he was.