Home Opinion and Features A rather pleasing aroma

A rather pleasing aroma


As soon as people seem to be enjoying themselves, bullies pick up the scent of fun, or tranquillity and they swoop in to do what bullies do best, of course

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Go on, admit it, though we fume and rage at the thought of bullies doing what bullies do best, we have to admire their sense of smell.

I have seen it happen far too many times for it to be just a coincidence, that, as soon as people seem to be enjoying themselves, bullies pick up the scent of fun, or tranquillity and they swoop in to do what bullies do best, of course.

At primary school – and to my shame I must admit that I used to enjoy watching it – when the girls were playing one of their ball games the bullies would descend out of nowhere, secure the ball and spend the rest of the break time masterfully dribbling the ball while the “clumsy” girls, sometimes six or more, tried in vain to even get a hand on their own property.

Sometimes it seemed as if the best way to deactivate a bully would be to simply walk away and hope they lost interest, because no amount of pleading or tears would interfere with their plans of having fun at the next person’s expense.

And those they picked on were by far not skilled enough to challenge them, and everyone knew it.

I used to marvel at the bullies’ footballing abilities, wondering when they’d be spotted by a talent scout for a major European football club. With hindsight, I suppose bullies are not a sought-after import in Europe, so they missed their shot at the big time.

And one would guess that after school their bullying days were over, but guess again. For those who enjoy watching bullies operate I have splendid news. You don’t have to go back to primary school to watch them do what bullies do best.

Bullies are alive and well, and grown up, and I am happy to report that their sense of smell has not lost any of its effectiveness.

Just recently a friend told me that she had to visit a clinic while on vacation. At this clinic the rule was that the patients’ folders were arranged in a specific order – the earlier you came, the closer to the top your folder would be. The system seemed to be working and everyone was tranquil and peaceful and then the bully smelled them.

A burly, or should I rather say “rotund” bully walked in and sauntered over to the counter, where he promptly placed his folder right on top of the pile. The rest of the patients politely reminded him that if you came late your folder would have to go at the bottom.

He disdainfully ignored them and went to sit down.

“But you can’t do that,” someone protested.

“I can,” he replied. “And I just did!” And that was that.

It’s quite scary that we have so quickly become a nation that believes that power, strength and aggression gives you the right to walk roughshod over others. What scares me even more is the nagging question in the back of my head asking what is going to become of us as a nation if the strong and abusive keep getting away with it?

I guess there’s a luxury that goes along with picking on the weak and vulnerable and that is that you know for certain you’ll always get your way. How often do we see it these days – people throwing their weight around just because they’re strong, or rich, or powerful or for the very least know have some powerful connections?

It can be so discouraging. Where will it lead us? Where will it all end?

Many would strongly advise that you take the bullies on and show them who’s boss. But then that makes me wonder if you take on their bad behaviour have you not at the same time just embraced their character, and proven to them and yourself that you actually, deep down, find their bullying behaviour admirable and worth emulation?

Personally, I don’t see the value in changing your attitude and what you have believed all your life, just to embrace aggression and conflict so that others – specifically bullies – will respect you because after all, when they finally respect you for your strength, do you think you would still like the way you smell?