This morning HE commenter Dean Treadway wrote something curious in the thread for “Annoying Beefalo on Baltic Beach.” He wrote “you must have been a terrible bully in school.”

Au contraire — it was often the other way around. During my horrible gulag youth I was occasionally victimized by bullies, both in fraternal and official realms. I was a provocateur, true, but the social punishment measures were brutal, even fiendish.

“Hardly a bully,” I replied. “I frequently felt alone and isolated and picked on. Mainly starting in my teens. Not always but often among rancid, herd-instinct groups in junior high and senior high (i.e., mainly in toxic New Jersey, hardly at all in Fairfield County).

“I consequently withdrew to some extent. I felt much more attached to movies and TV shows than to real life, which struck me as characterized by tiresome duty and drudgery and regulated boredom with very little in the way of discovery and adventure or, as Jim Morrison put it, “true sailing”.

And yet I had a perverse streak from an early age, rarely adhering to the straight and narrow. An instinctive oddball contrarian thing. Perhaps on some level an anarchist instinct, but more simply a healthy anti- authoritarian urge.

The first long word I learned to spell was antidisestablishmentarianism.

Example: My Cub Scout group was hand painting fake-leather folders for personal diaries — we were simply supposed to try our hand at stylized caligraphy with the word “DIARY”’ front and center plus our names and birthdates at the bottom. I wrote the word “DAIRY” because I found it amusing.

I’m still pushing back against the bullies, except now they’re mainly from the ranks of Millennials and Zoomers.