Sunday, April 29, 2012

Smug closure for a bullying victim

This pic is of me, age 8.

The other day, I read a news story about a young girl who is suing her school bullies for harassing her on Facebook and torturing her at school. And good for her, I hope she wins that suit, because this whole mess with bullying has been out of control since I was a kid.

Now on the side of this news story was a link to a new page that tracks school bullying policies. Now most school policies are a joke, and not even worth the paper they are written on, but I got curious. I wanted to know about the last school I was in before being homeschooled.
Marie V. Duffy Elementary.

I was in Miss Venerosso’s 2nd Grade class of 1994-1995. We didn’t have a regular classroom. Instead, my class was held outside in a trailer, due to the school’s over population problem. We shared the trailer with the kindergarten class, and both teachers would swap work. So while my class was re-learning the alphabet, the kindergarteners next door were doing division. Go figure.

I was beaten daily by a gang of kids, one of which (a boy named Dan) had been left back. (I promise you don’t forget a 2nd grader who shaves.) Name something about me, I was beaten for it. I was:

The only mixed-race child
One of a handful of ethnic children
The only anime fan
The only wrestling fan
The token nerd (sans glasses, braces or pocket protectors)
The only Power Ranger fan (Everyone else loved V.R. Troopers)
The tallest girl
The only curly haired girl
The girl with the darkest eyes
The only girl with hair so dark brown, it’s almost black
The only straight A student with A+’s on her record


Name something else about me. I had my ass kicked for it.

Mama went to the school every single day, complaining to the faculty that I was being injured. Just as you see in the new movie Bully, Mama was told “kids will be kids” and “we’re doing all we can” all lies.

My principal even suggested I was crazy, making it all up in my head. “What is she doing to MAKE the kids do this to her? She should apologize for making Kelly punch her and to Dan for making him want to kick her. Bullying is all the victim’s fault you know, Kori must be a problem child. Have you thought about putting her on Ritalin? She’s a bad girl.”

Mama would bring in my medical bills. Suddenly, I wasn’t “crazy” or a “bad girl” anymore.

Every day, she would speak with the teacher, the principal, the PTA members, the moms and dads of my bullies, any adult with an open ear. Nothing was done.

Now my memories of those days are a haze. My mom told me the other day while cleaning out old records that I’ve had about four concussions, all stemming from my time there. I really only remember the last one.
It was late spring, 1995. I don’t remember how the fight started. I was on the playground, and I just wanted to make a quick sandcastle, since the swings were all taken. I saw my bullies start gunning for me at full speed, so I started running.

I made it as far as the parking lot, before I was tackled to the ground and beaten. While Dan left the biggest marks, the worst damage was done by my female bullies, Kelly and Heather. There was an even mix of boys and girls kicking my ass. Gravel and sand were blown in my face in between punches.

They propped my head on a rock, by body prone in the noon-day sun. They made sure my head was facing the school building, because they wanted to know how long it would take for anybody to realize I was gone.
Everything hurt. I couldn’t move. My one eye was swollen shut and became a black eye. My other eye had gravel in it, but I could see the clock pretty well.

That’s how I knew it took 20 minutes before someone realized I was missing.

Finally, a custodian came out to get me. She had come outside several times before because of this, and for reasons I don’t know, she hated me. Big fat cow of a woman too. With a moustache and a bad acne problem. The school worked her hard, and had her doing jobs she didn’t initially sign up for, but that’s no excuse to take it out on a child.

She was my only shade from the sun. She just folded her arms and said “Get the hell up. Stop being a damn crybaby.” She wasn’t afraid to curse in front of kids.

It took all of my strength to stand up. She wouldn’t help me. I stumbled to the school building, then used the brick wall for leverage. I made it as far as the door, before I threw up, and blacked out.

The Vice Principal, Rocco Galucchi, (I’m pretty sure I misspelled that) came outside. He was the only GOOD person at the school, a guardian angel in the disguise of a 1940’s gangster style body. He woke me up, helped me to my feet, and walked me to the nurse’s office, where I again threw up and blacked out.
The next few hours are a blur to me. Mama had to pick me up. The nurse was upset with my condition, but they had no clue how bad off I was. Mama took me home, but when she saw I was throwing up my afternoon snack, couldn’t even keep air down and that I was yelling about how bad my head hurt, she freaked and took me to the pediatrician. He freaked and sent me to the hospital.

After a number of X-rays and tests, the doctor came to my mother. At first, he asked if anybody got the license of the car that hit me. When she explained that my injuries were the result of bullying, the doctor put up my X-ray.

On one side of my back, there was a large footprint from Dan. The doctor looked at the bruising and blistering of the wound, and said “Ok, little Koriander is lucky to be alive right now. See where she was kicked? If he had kicked her one centimeter this way, she would have lost all use of this kidney. One to two centimeters this way, and she’d be paralyzed from the waist down.”

I had a grade two concussion and deep spinal bruising.

I was placed on a medically induced vacation from school. I was just about a vegetable. Everything hurt, and Mama had to help me do everything. Walking, sitting up, even going to the bathroom was a chore. I couldn’t play or run around, I felt useless.

Watching ECW Wrestling was my saving grace. Raven and Dreamer were working a storyline that really shone a light on my life at the time.

Raven portrayed the anger I had inside. Dressed like a grunge-era rebel, he voiced all of the hurt I had in me. How society was a failure, how he couldn’t find a place in the world, so he had to carve one out. How the mainstream world as we knew it had no love for misfits and outcasts. He dealt with all the same hatred I had, and he acted it all out.

But across the ring was Tommy Dreamer. Even though Dreamer dealt with the exact same crap as Raven, he viewed the struggle as a challenge to overcome, not a reason to bemoan his fate. Every rejection from mainstream society was just one more hurdle to jump, one more reason to keep going. Dreamer’s message through his matches was that you could be a screw up, you could be an outcast, but you could still be somebody. If you were willing to fight for yourself, and anything you stand for, then you can become a champion.

It was perfect, yin and yang booking. Raven was the Yin, the darkness, the hatred that I felt towards my peers, but Dreamer was the Yang, the light, the hope, the voice I needed. Seeing those two made me better. Made me stronger. Made me want to get up off the couch, and go face my demons.

I was only back in school for a few short weeks before the summer. By the time I had started getting brave and fighting back, the proceedings were underway for me to be homeschooled. By the fall of 1995, I was already doing 3rd and 4th grade work at home.

For years, I often wondered why I went through all of this. They always say “God’s plan” right? Well what kind of plan involves the daily torture of a little girl?

WELL I found my answer. God did have a plan after all. And I’m actually pretty pleased with it. No, I'm excited. I'm actually pretty smug about this.

So getting back to the article, I clicked on the link for the site tracking school anti-bullying policies, and found absolutely nothing. The site is still under construction, so it only had 8 schools up.

So I Googled the last school I went to. And WOW.

The Marie V. Duffy school has been under new management since 2008. The school was bought out some time ago, so NONE of the people that were there when I was in school are there anymore. Their website still looks like a monkey coded it.

Also, a search for former school faculty turned up empty. No ex-teacher bios, nothing. It’s all gone.
A classmate search also turned up empty. In fact, I didn’t even find myself! That’s fine though. Most of my bullies were all about wanting to grow up fast so they could either join the military or a gang, so I’m content to believe that they probably all either died in the war in Iraq, or became victims of gang violence and prison time. I don’t have to know anything about them, so go on and let me just believe that.

The school had been quietly expunging some of their files every 1-2 years since before I was there. This was done to save cabinet space. So IF anything of mine exists there, it’s just the bare minimum. Even records from as recent as 2007 turned up missing and or erased.

The once Caucasian dominated school is now 57% Hispanic. Whites dominate a small minority. This is amazing to me, since in my class there was ONE and only ONE Hispanic kid, and only two other Hispanic students in the entire school.

The education hasn’t really changed. On one school review site, I saw two 5-star reviews from parents ~ who also work there ~ and plenty of 0-2-star reviews from parents who want their kids to have a REAL education. Just like my mom, I saw plenty of pissed off parents loudly complaining that they had gifted kids… doing remedial work. As a punishment for being smart I guess.

Most of my searching turned up empty, except for one, small notice.

As sanctioned by the new superintendent and the new principal, there is a new anti-bullying policy.

Due to a record left behind by an un-named little girl in the class of 94-95, in the case of bullying, strict action is to take place. And should a person or persons elevate said bullying anywhere near the level of the case involving “Ms. 1995” police action WILL be enforced and the children involved WILL have charges against them.

In short, the policy means that NO other child will be allowed to go through what I did, without severe, legal repercussions befalling the bully or bullies involved.

Knowing that future generations of kids will be spared what I went through has brought me closure. I am very happy to see this.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Titanic.

Today I would like to talk to you about something very important. In fact it’s something very dear to my heart as a woman. The following is a letter that I encourage you to not only read, but share with everyone you know, who has ever been exposed to the commercials, posters and Facebook photos from…. Titanic.

Dear Future Male Counterpart,
I don’t know how far into the future this letter will actually go before reaching you, but take note of the fact that I wanted to get this important thing out of the way before taking another step towards a long life with you. This is not only my will speaking to you, but my intentions as a woman.

No doubt you were of thinking age when the movie Titanic first hit nationwide theaters on November 1, 1997, and if you are able to read this, it means that your brain is strong enough to have withstood hearing Céline Dion belt out the theme song all 999 trillion times that VH1 played it, without spontaneous combustion.

As a man, you likely have been told since the movie’s debut that this is a romantic film that females typically expect to be taken to see upon re-release, or download from an online rental website. You may have also been told that some females have even used their boyfriend or spouse’s computer to illegally download the epic, putting his legal integrity and World of Warcraft files at risk.

When it comes to this film, please understand this.

… I will never …

EVER

Subject you to it.

Never.

This is not a trick. This is a promise.

Why you ask?

Well for one, the movie is three hours too long.

When it came out on VHS, it was a two-tape set. TWO TAPES??? The only other two VHS set I ever saw was Doctor Zhivago ~ which by the way is an overrated film. If you don’t know what that is, good. Good. Keep moving. Don’t even Google it, it’s not worth your time. Zhivago doesn’t even come up on Spell Check, which shows you it’s worth to society. Anyway.

A second reason why Titanic is not allowed in my house is because it’s a barely historically literate movie … about people DYING. Three hours of people preparing for death, and being socially ignorant about it. Really, if I wanted to see a sinking ship of mostly old, rich people getting ready to die, I’d just watch C-SPAN the day after Congress outlaws the AARP. (Considering recent political climate, I expect this to take place any time now. They already have a twisted vendetta against Medicare and Planned Parenthood.)

Third? False advertising. This is NOT a romantic movie. Here, let me divulge why. This is Rose’s timeline (she’s the main character):

1. 17 year old Rose (yes, she’s a MINOR, played by an adult, but still a minor, please keep that in mind) boards the ship with her fiancée, who is an abusive and ignorant asswipe. And 30.
2. Rose randomly finds this young buck named Jack Dawson. (Age 20) He’s a broke ass artist, she’s a debutant. Romeo. Juliet. Nuff said.
3. Rose ditches the fiancée and her supremely stupid and controlling family members, and pops her cherry to Jack.
4. Cal (the abusive 30 year old fiancée) gets Jack locked up after finding out about Jack and Rose’s freak fest. Rose frees Jack. This is a good hour out of my life right here.
5. Titanic sinks.
6. Jack dies.
7. Rose hides from Cal and takes on Jack’s last name.
8. Cal commits suicide several years later during the stock market crash. Sadly this is not seen on camera, probably because the movie was light-years over budget.
9. Years later, ancient-aged Rose finishes telling the events of this story to her grandchildren, descendants from a relationship she has with someone the script writer of the film deemed not important enough to name on camera. After she’s done telling her life story, she walks to the end of a balcony and drops a cursed diamond into the sea. She dies.
10. The ghost of young Rose spends eternity inside the Titanic. While the living see it as a disgusting, bacteria and sponge laden corpse catcher, Rose and the other ghosts see it as a beautiful cruise ship, and Rose and Jack dance.

Go ahead. Explain to me how this is a romantic film. I fail to see it as such.

A fourth reason? Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m sorry, but in 1997 when he dropped his shirt, he was built like a melted embryo. I didn’t want to see him half naked in 1997 in 2-D, so imagine how less I care about seeing his albino ribs in 3-D.

Currently, the film is running in 3-D, so you can see the water fly out from the screen. In some countries I hear they’re testing out 4-D, which is a nice way of saying “Let’s turn this 3 hour debacle into a Universal Studios ride!!” and the “ride” is complete with rumble seats, surround sound and 3-D glasses. I can’t imagine how Rose and Jack’s love scene goes over when compared to the sinking ship spot of the movie.

Why on Earth would I want to spend the next 3 hours watching people die in 3-D? 2-D was annoying enough, and I can’t imagine that the 3-D effects would add anything more to it. At this stage, the only thing that could make this movie mildly intriguing is if George Lucas’s team of special effects designers came along and added something. Maybe if Max Rebo was playing as the ship sank, and someone chucked a light saber through Cal’s head while C-3PO tries to row R2-D2 to America on a raft, I might actually pay attention.

In conclusion, I feel that movie time with a significant other should be enjoyable. I prefer comedy, action and anime movies, so I’d rather save the 4-D to the next re-hash of Star Wars. So take notice of the fact that I will not subject your eyeballs to the horror of Titanic. It is my promise to you as a lady.

Sincerely,
Koriander

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Return of the Big Men

Before I begin, let me just state that Mike Tyson was on Conan tonight, talking candidly about doing cocaine. Mind you, this is just 48 hours after he was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. Yeah, way to go WWE, Tyson’s a real kid friendly Superstar they can look up to.

For the rest of the week, I don’t want to hear another peep about Evan Bourne smoking the LEGAL K2. Ok? Good, let’s move on now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was November, 2011, just about Thanksgiving time and right before Survivor Series, when the WWE posted the now infamous “Turkey” article. In it, they defamed many of their ex-wrestlers and several WCW alumni as “has-beens” “wannabes” and of course “stupid”. This was the second of two articles, the first coming that prior October, where they labeled several WCW and WWF light heavyweights as “moronic has-beens”.

Well some of those “has-beens” are Facebook friends of mine, and while some took it in stride (haters are gonna hate, Kori) others were offended, especially since the article went live as some of these gentlemen were sitting down to a family dinner. Within days, the article went viral, promoters questioned bringing in these names, money was lost and names were defamed. “Happy Thanksgiving!” Chided the WWE, not caring about the wrestlers ~ most of whom had NOT been a part of WWE for many years ~ or their fans.

Eventually the article did come down, but the WWE employees treated it as “I guess SOME people just can’t take a joke” putting the blame on those of us who don’t act like playground bullies.

This was it, the final straw for me. I had taken all that I could and I wasn’t going to take any more. I quit watching WWE. I was done.

Now since that day, I’ve endured much harassment. “You’re STOOPID! Don’t you realize that WWE is THE thing to watch?? NO other wrestling exists IT’S JUST A SHOW!!” The idea that I’m stupid because I am a female wrestling fan was drilled home.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love wrestling. It’s a part of me. I watch TNA every week. I watch the Indy promotions whenever I have the chance. My DVD and VHS library has more wrestling in it than I can count. It’s nourishing to me.

With that said, the WWE has not produced an actual wrestling show in many years. When I have to sit through an hour and forty-five minutes, to fine ONE wrestling match, something has gone terribly wrong with the booking, and I for one have better things to do with my time, than to sit still and swallow another 20 minute promo about children’s breakfast cereal.

Yet in still, many of WWE’s fans have invaded my inboxes, and have even gone so far as to track me down at different Indy shows, to bark in my face about the WWE.

The hateful ignorance did not let up……………….. until Sunday.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now I am not completely removed from the world. I have a computer. I have internet. I have a Facebook. And on my Facebook are some people who post about the WWE. So I fully understood that Sunday was WrestleMania. Considering how abysmal last year’s card was (and this is another story I can tell, but now now) I really could not have cared less. This year’s card didn’t even offer me much hope, but I still was able to make my predictions. Some of which came true. But this isn’t about Mania, oh no, I’m saving this story for another blog.

See, during WrestleMania, there were a ton of wrestling related rumors. But I discounted all of them. Why? Because it was April Fools Day, so I just naturally guessed that everything I read was speculation at best, but mostly jokes. For example, I heard that Hulk Hogan was going back to WWE. I heard that Stone Cold was going to do a run in during Cena’s match. I heard that C.M. Punk had been asked to do a voice over for a TNA DVD. See? None of this sounds very accurate, so I dismissed every single absurd thing I heard.

… In hindsight… that wasn’t such a bright idea.

So WrestleMania left a bitter taste in the mouths of my detractors, and I wound up enjoying a troll-free Sunday. Monday was Raw, and still I have no desire to watch, so I just figured they would let The Rock gloat, there would be fallout from the title matches, and that Brodus Clay would be forced to do something embarrassing.

Ok, I was at least half-right.

During the broadcast, I started seeing those rumors I dismissed creeping back up on my Timeline. Only, they were no longer rumors. They were real.

1. Lord Tensai was revealed to be the wrestler formerly known as Albert, Prince Albert, A-Train and Giant Bernard. A 6’7, rotund, Jewish White man, posing as a Japanese wrestler… which doesn’t sound 100% racist at all, right? Right??

*Cricket-Cricket*

Yeah. And it gets worse.

His “sidekick” is a wrestler named Sakamoto, a student of Taka Michinoku who was an FCW standout… who is now relegated to being Tensai’s “little buddy”. Oh and Tensai is Japanese for “natural disaster” and he debuted a year and a day after the earthquakes and tsunamis that hit Japan. Which is totally not racist or in poor taste, right??

*Cricket-Cricket*

Yeah. Well hey, if you’re offended by this storyline, the NAACP (which has in the past also handled Asian defamation pretty well) would love to hear from you. Here’s their contact information: http://action.naacp.org/page/s/contact

2. Brock Lesnar (6’3) returned to re-kindle a feud that ended abruptly with John Cena. To prove his point, Cena was given the F-5.

3. The WWE decided that after losing in a few seconds (literally) to Sheamus (6’4), Daniel Bryan is no longer worthy of a rematch for the SmackDown-Heavyweight-WCW-Rip-Off-Belt, so Alberto Del Rio (6’5) is taking his place.

4. The WWE has off and on been interested in bringing back Batista (6’6).

5. The Rock (6’2) has teased that he is here to stay, and may even try for the title soon.

Adding to this, there is talk yet again that WWE COO HHH wants to bring back the Cruiserweight division.

Are you seeing it now? You should. You’re not being shown new wrestlers being pushed or even veterans being given respect. What you’re seeing is something a little less magical, maybe even sad to a degree.

This ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the little guy regime, and the re-launch of the era of the Big Men. Gone are the days of the plucky mid-carder suddenly getting a t-shirt line and a title reign. We are now returning to the days of the Attitude Era, where only the Stone Colds, HHHs and Rocky Maiavias of the world can gain access to the main event, while "Shorty" is relegated to "Little Buddy" status.

And it’s something I’ve been eluding to in blogs past.

The WWE has never liked or respected the champions that don’t fit the mold. To be successful, have more title shots than you know what to do with, you have to fit:

The Mold:
Must be 6’1-6’5 in height.
Have a look that is marketable, yet not too over the top. (No Mohawks.)
Smart enough to work the crowd, but not so smart as to badmouth the WWE outside of a scripted promo.
Choice of dress is relegated to either standard black shorts with matching pads and boots, or jean shorts, gym shoes and socks. (Stone Cold has worn both.)
Able to work on a Sports Entertainment level, but not technical enough to keep up with William Regal.
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 10

The Loudmouth:
Must be 5’9-6’0 in height. (With boots)
Must have a scrawny build. Skinny like a carrot, but still tone enough to look like you’ve seen the gym this week.
Must be able to TALK LIIIIIIIIKE THIIIIIIIS EVERY… SINGLE… TIME… YOU CUT… A PROOOOOMOOOOOOO and use the word “Me” a lot. (Think Miz)
Must be able to spin-doctor every problem as being someone else’s fault, even as a Face.
Must wear skin tight clothing and be willing to let slip a non-PG phrase every three weeks. (Think HBK)
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 2-4

The Giant:
Must be 6’8 or taller.
Must be willing to dress either like a Halloween character or in clothes picked out by a clown. Tarzan-style singlet is optional.
Must be willing to eat a regular sized meal. Carrot sticks need not apply.
Must have at least one off the top rope move, but not as many as a Luchador. (One elbow drop or plancha is permitted every six months.)
No technical moves. (Exception, Undertaker.)
Number of monthly Pay Per Views guaranteed to main event or hold a title during per year: 2

Those who do not fit these molds typically have title reigns that last under 6 months, if ever. And most of these reigns end under questionable circumstances.

Examples you can look up on YouTube:
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna and then Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan, Wrestlemania 9.
Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL July 15, 2004.
Rey Mysterio Jr, Great American Bash 2006.
Christian vs. Randy Orton May 6, 2011

Most of the time, once the “outsiders” are no longer champion, they have to fight to make their way back to the top of the card, and all will spend more than a reasonable amount of time in dark matches, usually designed for new or rookie wrestlers. They are treated as though their title reigns never existed.

It’s well known that the WWE has never been as ready to push their non-molded champions as others, but more so they have always help a grudge against the 5’9 and under crowd. These are the wrestlers that have had to deal with the worst storylines and the harshest of fights before ever climbing up to main event status, and even once they obtain the title, none are guaranteed a main even positions at the major PPVS. This year and last, the SmackDown belt was relegated to opening card status at WrestleMania. Not too curious to figure out, once you see that Edge was the champion last year, while Bryan was this year. Neither wrestler fits the mold.
(Edge later retired after spearing Brodus, just a short time after WM27. Think about it.)

With the return of these larger wrestlers and the talk of the Cruiserweight, one thing is certain. If you are a fan of the 5’9 and below crowd, be prepared to only catch their Cruiserweight defenses on the internet only Superstars. Just as it was once on the last time the division had a belt. These shorter men will be guaranteed to never be able again to reach for the main titles, should this continue.

The Era of the Big Men has returned.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

18 Seconds WWE

Dear Wrestling Fans,
Every single one of you who bitched at me, hacked me, called me names and specifically said I was "stupid" because I'm a girl, what do I know about "business"? WWE will SO TOTALLY treat Bryan Danielson right, and assured me that he would have at least 20 minutes to himself at Wrestlemania 28.....

Every single one of you who booed me on air when I was on Wrestling Roundtable, and dribbled on about how GREAT WWE has been to this man...

Every single one of you...

Line up

Put your lip gloss on...

pucker up...

And kiss my ass.

Because...

I TOLD YOU SO!!!

18 seconds? REALLY??? Sheamus squashed Bryan in the same time it took Kane to drop Chavo for the NOT ECW title at Wrestlemania.

So for every moron who told me that because I am a woman, that I have NO idea what I'm talking about when it comes to wrestling, please, kiss my ass.

Sincerely,
A woman grateful to be free of WWE.


PS. At 18 seconds of this video, this is me: