Tag Archives: advice for slaying demons

Things I Learned At School

When I was a child I was bullied.

Brace yourselves. I am about to do that irritating thing where I tell you a story from my life that you probably aren’t interested in, and then apply it on a wide scale, even though it’s kind of like comparing apples with orange monsters that want to maul your face off.

apples-and-oranges

The bullying started with a few kids, and it spread. There was a song the whole class would sing when the teacher wasn’t in the room. It wasn’t a particularly offensive song, just a childish one. And it wasn’t the words that hurt so much as the laughter and the crushing weight of numbers. With the wider class, the song was as bad as it got, but the original bullies didn’t back off that whole year.

I’m not writing this to blame them. They were kids. I don’t know what was going on with them. I was also a kid. Initially I tried fighting back (with words). It was unsuccessful, or seemed so, but perhaps a blow or two landed and perhaps they don’t have fond memories of me either. I don’t know. But I do hope they are doing well with their lives, and if they remember it at all, I hope they learned something positive.

They’re just apples. Apples aren’t monsters that try to maul your face off. This isn’t about them.

This is about the day I tried to get help.

It took me all year to work up the guts to say something. I was afraid of being labelled a dobber, but I was more afraid that nothing would happen. That I would be told that the bullies weren’t doing anything wrong. That I deserved it.

So I waited until the end of the last day of school for that year, figuring it was the safest time. I dawdled while the other kids left. Then I went up to the teacher.

(She was one of the better teachers. She was friendly and fun and she taught well. She was a favourite of a lot of kids. I liked her.)

I learned a lot of things at school. I learned times-tables, spelling, and how to write a sentence.

And I learned that I was on my own.

theres-nothing-i-can-do

Nobody would help me. I learned that the bullies weren’t doing anything wrong. I learned that I had deserved it.

I had seven years of schooling left, and I never spoke up about being bullied again.

(Silence killed the dinosaurs.)

But I did speak up for other people.

Like I said, I learned a lot of things at school. I learned about hypotenuses, writing essays and the Cold War. I learned that it is a powerful thing to tell someone that they are on their own. And, by extension, I learned it was an even more powerful thing to tell someone that they are not alone.

As a child, you think growing up fixes everything. I thought that when I grew up and left school and left home and left my hometown, I would be free.

But then I did all that, and I found that the world is still a frightening place full of monsters that shouldn’t be compared to apples. And the orange monsters in the adult-world have the power to cause destruction on a large scale.

monsters

Trump’s expressed opinions of minority groups are concerning. His promised and actual legislation against some of these groups is alarming. But it is the manner he does it—through dehumanisation, blatant lies and the deconstruction of science and truth—that is truly terrifying. Not just for America, but for every democratic country.

It is easy to feel helpless.

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But there’s always something. And it is heartening to see so many people finding it.

cartoons

Perhaps, as I had left it to the last day of the year, the teacher did not have any authority to enforce consequences for the bullies. Even if she did, perhaps it would not have stopped them.

But there is always something. There always is. And I know there was then, because if I could rewrite that scene I know exactly how it would go.

better

Because it was wrong. I didn’t deserve it. And I shouldn’t have had to be alone.

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One of the comics from this story, Apples and Oranges, is available in my store! Why not have a browse?

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Always Remember the Silver Lining

When you suddenly notice bad vibes coming from your bathroom drain
exorcism1

and you realise it has been possessed by a demonexorcism2

so you hire an old priest and a young priest

exorcism3

to perform an exorcism

exorcism4

and it works, but both priests are killed in the attempt

exorcism5

and you have to make a satisfactory explanation of the bodies to cops who are already suspicious about a drain-related death in the area

exorcism6

and then you realise that the whole day is gone, you didn’t get around to any of the things you meant to and being an adult kind of sucks.

But then you remember you are allowed to buy and drink wine and you feel a bit better.

How to tell if someone is actually a soulless demon-spawn waiting for an opportunity to feed on your flesh

If you’re anything like me, you frequently wonder if the person you are talking to is just trying to lull you into a false sense of security so they can eat your flesh. I spend so much time and energy worrying about this that I have devised a clever trap for such people. Here, I will show you how to perform this test for yourself.

Equipment:

  • A test subject
  • A car with a music player
  • An mp3, CD or cassette with Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”

Step 1.

Find an excuse to give your test subject a lift in your car. Next, break the figurative ice of awkwardness. The results of this test will not be accurate if the test subject feels uncomfortable. Only proceed to step 2 when you are both engaged in animated, friendly conversation.

Step 2.

Play Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”

Step 3.

Sing along with all your soul.

Step 4.

Observe reaction in test subject.

Example of a pass:

singing

The test indicates that the subject has a soul if any of the following conditions are met:

  • They sing
  • They car-seat-dance
  • They head-bop
  • They smile
  • They take any kind of obvious pleasure in the fact that you are enjoying yourself

Note: smiling and other mild signs of approval may indicate the subject has a shy soul. This is a perfectly acceptable type of soul and should be nurtured. Maybe one day they will feel comfortable enough to sing with you. Maybe that’s just not their thing. Either way, they’re happy that you’re happy, and they have a soul.

Example of a fail:

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The subject tests negative for a soul if they look at you in a judgemental way.

If the test subject fails the test, do not panic.

… Or, rather, do. Because you’re alone in a car with them and you have just established that they are soulless demon-spawn waiting for just such an opportunity to eat your flesh. Perhaps I didn’t think this through very well.

But, seriously, don’t panic. Because they don’t know that you’re onto them and there are probably other people on the road who will notice if they try to eat you at the next red light.

soul3

UPDATE TO TEST: Make this trip in peak traffic, do not let them know that you are onto them, and make sure you always have innocent bystander witnesses around. Maybe get a pre-tested friend to ride a bicycle next to your car for the entire trip.

Are we clear on the new rules? Excellent.

Now you may be wondering what to do once you’ve found out that your friendly new acquaintance wants to feed on your flesh. Never fear! I have a solution for that too.

You can protect your home with boundaries of salt. Everyone knows that demon-spawn cannot cross lines of salt, as they are closely related to the common snail or slug.

soul4

By following this precaution you should be able to maintain safe spaces. This procedure has several added benefits. It will cause no harm to the person if the test result was a false negative and they actually do have a soul. Also, it will protect your home and garden from bands of marauding snails.

Stay safe. Protect yourself from soulless demon-spawn.

P. S.:

On a totally unrelated note, don’t be snarky and judgey to people who are just being happy and aren’t causing anyone else any harm. I mean, would it kill you to sing along to “Tiny Dancer?” Or just to smile and be happy for someone else’s happiness? People will stop inviting you in their cars if you keep judging them.