Interview with my Bully

Salon has just kicked off a new personal essay series called “Interview With My Bully.” In the first installment, Steve Almond calls up the guy who, in eighth grade, launched a calculated campaign of humiliation against him — and ends up getting a heartbreaking explanation for his former bully’s behavior.

You can also submit and share your own story if you have any bullies you would like to interview.

No one person ever led the bullying I experienced as a child. When I try to remember that time in my life, I think of a mob of faces, and of the mercy I hoped for but never received.

I grew up as a fat girl in an unforgiving new money suburb. One time, I was going to play with a younger friend from my block when a group of girls surrounded us, some shoving me, some yelling “Moose!” (Moose was the nickname that plagued me throughout school, following me until I left for college.) The girl leading the mob, Stacy, had one year and at least four inches on me. Her golden good looks would’ve made her pretty if not for the furious expression she wore whenever she caught sight of me. I broke through the circle of screaming girls and ran till I got home. I never told anyone, though the violence frightened me.

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