Posted by: joshjasper | March 29, 2010

Another Day in Paradise

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise?” 

 “She calls out to the man on the street, sir can you help me?  It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep.  Is there somewhere you can tell me.  He walks on, doesn’t look back.  He pretends he can’t hear her.  Starts to whistle as he crosses the street.  Seems embarrassed to be there.”

I can hear a song and it can transport me back to a time in my life instantly.  This song reminds me of a time in my life that I wish to forget all together….

I knew I was in trouble before anything was ever said or done.   It had gotten to a point in which I had become an expert of studying my surroundings, being mindful of people’s behavior, and listening for cues that may provide a hint for danger.  I was beginning to think that I was psychic.  During lunch no one made eye contact with me.  I made it through all of the afternoon classes without incident.  It was definitely the calm before the storm. 

They weren’t going to get me this time though; I had a plan.  During the afternoon recess I unlocked my bike and repositioned it so that it was first in the bike rack.  If I was going to make it home intact, I needed to be on my bike and heading home before anyone was the wiser.  I made it to my bike and was heading toward home when I realized that they too had been plotting.  Three of them left school early and were ahead of me on three different streets to cut me off and push me towards a group waiting to pounce.

I’d like to say that my plan worked, that I made it home without being attacked, but I wasn’t so fortunate.  Those were difficult days.  If I wasn’t being made fun of for my big ears, the focus soon became my acne.  The years of harassment and bullying made growing up very difficult, and destroyed my self-esteem.  I just wanted to fit in.  It seemed like life was so much easier for everyone else.  None of it made sense.  To this day I carry around the scars from those experiences. 

In today’s news, nine teenagers have been charged in connection with the suicide death of South Hadley High School student Phoebe Prince, 15, who took her life after she was bullied by other students at her school.  According to the story, this young girl was bullied for 3 months both in school and online by other students.  It was reported that the school was aware of the ongoing harassment but did little to nothing to intervene. 

Phoebe hanged herself in her own home after school.

School violence is real.  Young children leave home everyday hoping and praying that the bullying will end, while questioning what it is they have done to deserve such treatment.  Their lives are filled with a range of emotions from fear, depression, and anger.  They feel alone and unheard.  They can’t undertand why no one does anything to help.

“Oh, think twice, cause it’s another day for you and me in paradise.”  (



  1. Man — that raised the hair on my arms, reading that. I remember those feelings all too well. It’s a wonder kids can get anything accomplished at school with that sense of fear lurking in their minds.

    As a father, I hope my boys never have to deal with these things. And since I have a feeling they’ll both be bigger than their classmates, I want to ensure they’re never the bullies.

    Thanks for sharing. Hard to believe anyone would’ve messed with you in grade school, as big as you are now! 😉

  2. Mike-
    I’ll admit, it was tough writing about that experience, largely because it got me thinking about those days again. You and I both hope that our children never have to go through anything like that.

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