Gut Rumbles
 

July 04, 2005

being different

I am suprised that so many people missed the point of what I wrote about interracial marriage. I have a gay daughter. She and her companion are staying with me this week. I have no problem with their relationship and my family welcomed Stacey with open arms.

We "Smifs" ain't exactly a bunch of hating people.

But I KNOW what it's like to grow up "different" from other kids, and if you don't believe that children can be the most cruel people in the world, you exist on a planet other than mine. I LIVED it.

When I came to Savannah, I was a ragamuffin hillbilly who talked with a funny accent. Other kids made fun of me and picked on me. As I grew older, I made some friends, but my folks didn't have a lot of money. I had two pairs of pants and three shirts to wear to school. My clothes were always clean, but I was made fun of again because my daddy didn't dress me like a clothes-horse and shower riches on my precious little head, the way some other people had it at home.

I've blogged before about how I got in fights over that stuff.

I played on a football team that had 88 players on it. I showered with the rest of the guys. They made fun of my dick because I am uncircumsized. Yep... out of 88 players, lil ole Rob and ONE OTHER GUY had unclipped dicks. The rest of 'em were crew-necks. BWHAHAHAAAA! That sure was funny at the time.

My parents had only one car. Dad worked shiftwork and a lot of overtime. He couldn't pick me up every day after practice, and rather than ask for a ride, I WALKED HOME FIVE MILES after football practice most days. Often, I arrived home well after dark.

I made the terrible mistake of asking a girl named "Carmalita" go to to a dance with me. I didn't know that she was considered to be Mexican white trash and she was allegedly beneath the dignity of a football player to date. She sat next to me in one of my classes and I liked her, so I asked her out. I got in a fight over that, too.

I never said a word to my parents about ANY of those problems. That crap was MINE to deal with, so I did my best to handle it. Mom and Dad never knew.

When I read comments from people who say interracial children have no problems whatsoever anymore, are you CERTAIN about that? Are YOU THERE every day? Or is it just that YOUR child doesn't come home crying and bitching? Did the fact that you may NOT KNOW EVERYTHING ever light in your "open" mind?

As an adult, you can do any damn thing you want to that's within the law. But I KNOW what it like to grow up "different," and if you willingly inflict that fate on a young'un, you're a selfish prick. And if you think being different doesn't matter anymore, you have your head up your ass. It still matters.

I wish that it didn't, but it does.

Comments

I knew where you were coming from. Don't sweat the small shit because it just don't make no difference. Either your readers like what you write or they don't and if they don't tell them to go hand feed the alligator.

Posted by: GUYK on July 4, 2005 09:58 PM

I grew up different, too, and due to how I grew up and the state of my family today, I have chosen not to have kids. Not because I feel traumatized or victimized by my childhood, but because I feel I could not give that child a large, loving extended family network that a child needs to root himself or herself in the world. Some people have the nerve to suggest it's "selfish" not to have a child; I think many people who do have children do not think enough about it. I can remember crying myself to sleep, wondering why my dad left me, why my mom called me a worthless cunt, why I couldn't open my eyes and see a different world surrounding me. I grew up, and I got past it. But to potentially do that to another human being by bringing them into my family? Ain't gonna happen! Sorry this went beyond a succinct 30 words, Rob.

Posted by: Renee on July 4, 2005 10:13 PM

Everyone has a cross to bear growing up though Rob....no one fits a perfect mold of what they themselves (or others) think they should be. Thats just life.

My parents sent me to a Catholic school (with nuns, as opposed to lay teachers) and I wasnt Catholic. I am Lutheran. And if you think being biracial is tough or talking with a hillbilly accent makes you some sort of oddball (in the eyes of others)...try being a Lutheran kid in a Catholic school. The kids stared at me as if I was from another planet, I had to get up and go (by myself) to the library during religious instruction, and when we all walked over to the church on Holy Days, I had to sit in the pew while the others got up and went to communion.

And I wont even get into the shitty attitude the nuns had towards me simply because I wasnt Catholic.

Then, when high school started, I went to a public school for one year and then was transferred to an out of town school due to regional district issues...

Once again, I was the oddball among kids who already had their little circle of friends and had no use for anyone new....

I wasnt particularly happy (in either grammar school or high school) because I never felt like I was really "one of the gang".....and like you, I never said shit to my parents, I never complained to them (I think thats a generational thing, though, in your day and mine, kids sucked it up and muddled thru)

My point is, where in life is anything perfect? And dont we all go thru periods in life where the people around us suck and arent particularly kind or accepting? I think (in the long run) our experiences help shape our character....

And look at you Rob...for all your travails (as a kid) you made out just fine as far as your character goes...I mean you turned out just fine, and no doubt your rough patches in life (as a youngster) helped make you stronger as an adult.

I just think we all have problems growing up...(its not easy being a kid, if you think back on it)

One of my boys (in grammar school) got bullied all the time (as big as he was) He just wouldnt fight back...and he spent many recesses alone, desperately trying to avoid the kids who were teasing him day in and day out.

He's now 6ft 2" and 220lbs....and no one picks on him anymore....

We all go thru shit in life.....and most of us survive it just fine...but if its not ethnic hassles, its skin color, if its not skin color, its weight, if its not weight, its religion, or a "funny accent"....its whatever people can find to ostracize you with. Its just the way it is and it happens to us all at one time or another.

I just have one last question....

Did you get the fireworks and did you set them off yet? We just did a box of 'em here and now I am covered with mosquito bites and my dog wont come out of the basement...

Now if you'll excuse me I am off to find some witch hazel to put on these bites....

Posted by: Ruth on July 4, 2005 10:20 PM

I will acknowledge that there is an undercurrent of strain and difficulty for a child who becomes marginalized due to being 'different'. It is true, also, that these children can sometimes privately try to overcome the stigma, and not make it a family issue.

But, adversity can build character. Where do you think yours came from? I think walking those 5 miles home says a lot.

Posted by: Bonita on July 4, 2005 10:22 PM

Amen Brother...speaking from the position of the grandson of a south Alabama farmer and a West Virginia Coal miner, I know what you are talking about.

I love sitting around, minding my own business, letting the "pop culture fools" and "stupid blanking snobs" make their assumptions about me and my long hair, then I tear their heads off with things like facts and figures and details and most of all...LOGIC!

Idiots and liberals hate logic...and I have an ass-load ready to deliver.

Posted by: Virgil on July 4, 2005 10:39 PM

God help me, but I agree with Ruth. Everybody has childhood horror stories of being picked on and ostracized. Mine is that I was always tall and thin and grew up with the whole 'OMG don't you ever EAT??" questions from my peers. Then in middle and high school, I had ADULTS after me about anorexia and bulimia. Thankfully, along with having a fast metabolism and good genes, I also had natural self-esteem and a great sense of humor. I didn't have, nor have I ever had, an eating disorder but there are plenty of people out there who seemed determined to give me one LOL.

My point is that, it doesn't matter if you're bi-racial, ugly, pretty, skinny, fat, short, tall or have a funny accent. Children will always find something to nitpick each other about.

Posted by: Chablis on July 4, 2005 11:29 PM

We "Smifs" ain't exactly a bunch of hating people.

If that's true, then why did you do this? http://gutrumbles.com/archives2/003093.php#003093

I had a miserable childhood because I was different as well, but it taught me not to inflict that sort of pain on others.

If you know how it feels, then why are you still doing it to others?

Posted by: Misty on July 5, 2005 03:31 AM

I know what you mean. I grew up Jewish. And damn if i didnt hear every damn jewish joke in the book. And its not the little thing you wear on your head.

Posted by: Darth Medicus on July 5, 2005 03:34 AM

Yes in deed, I had a good childhood. The only thing different I had, I was two feet taller than most kids, I was a big little boy and when I was 10, I wore a size 20, no one gave me any shit, I would kick there asses.

Posted by: catfish on July 5, 2005 07:01 AM

Misty Misty Misty....

I didnt know your fellow subject with the lame blog (in which he called rightwing bloggers "tiny minded bigots who are mostly American and who dont know theres a world outside the USA") was a child who is struggling to get a long in this life with insecurities. (Which is what this thread was about)

What happened to that old "stiff upper lip" that you Brits supposedly pride yourself on?

And I almost spit my coffee out when I read your comments about how what Rob did (asking us to bitch slap your UK pal there) was (and I will quote you) "A seriously low and hateful thing to do"

Which leads me to ask, MISTY old gal....(and since you love perusing Robs archives so much, you can go check this out) The comments in which you called Rob a flaming arsehole, small-minded prat, and total moron...was that a "seriously low and hateful thing to do"?

Oh and as far as flying monkies go....if I were you, I'd keep looking UP, as you never know when someone might drop a HOUSE on you.....

Nothing worse than a person (like you) who TRIES to DISH it out, but then cries foul when they get (if you'll pardon the use of words) bitch slapped....

Misty you need to go back to school and take "British Stiff Upper Lip 101"

Posted by: Ruth on July 5, 2005 07:07 AM

Ruth -My comments were addressed to Rob -not yourself. Can't you get it into your thick head that even your compatriates are now refering to you as 'one of the small minority that give the rest of the USA a bad name'.

As to going over old ground - you still don't know the full facts.

Posted by: Misty on July 5, 2005 07:25 AM

I didnt know I was influential enough to give the "rest of the USA a bad name" wow.....who woulda thunk it? I wonder if Mom knows???

But Misty...you and your fellow subjects like to throw out these thinly veiled (or not so thinly veiled) insults about MY country and MY fellow Americans and if calling a spade a spade bothers you (or some of my "compatriots" as you put it) well guess what...??? I dont care! (I would think that would be obvious by now)

Posted by: Ruth on July 5, 2005 07:40 AM

First we took away the stigma of single women having kids.

Then we told ourselves it was OK if kids had mixed parentage.

And I don't know anybody who doesn't think that kids today are more messed up than ever before.

What a fucking mystery.

Posted by: GORDON on July 5, 2005 08:45 AM

I see your point. I was different as a kid and my kids are different too. No they don't come home bitching about it. But they do come home and talk to me about how to handle such things. They certainly have the ability to pick the asshole out of the crowd and avoid him or her. etc. etc. As Ruth said, it's just tough to be a kid. So, as parents, it's our job to provide a safe haven at home from that kind of ridicule. If they are raised loved, and accepted, they can deal with the bs the world throws at them because they'll have learned the truth right there at home. If you had been able to forsee the problems that your daughter is going to have, would you have still chosen to have her or would you have chosen to not have her in order to spare her the pain?

Posted by: Kelly on July 5, 2005 10:23 AM

My bi-racial nephew is thirteen. He's 6'1", about 160 pounds and wears size 15 shoe. Nobody messes with him. (He has three siblings.)

Side note: he is an athlete and has the best of both worlds there. He plays on both the basketball and the hockey teams. :-)

Posted by: Juliette on July 5, 2005 02:36 PM

Boy, this blog deals with real stuff. Visit a leftwing one and all you get is abstractions.

Posted by: Banjo on July 5, 2005 10:17 PM


Ruth,

Why don't you finally leave Misty alone you horny, old, nasty, lesbian gash? You are about the most obnoxious pile of toxic waste the good ole USA unfortunately ever produced.

PJ

Posted by: PJ on July 6, 2005 04:00 AM
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