In an effort to put childish bullies like Bill Cunningham in their place, we MOMocrats hosted a “Call Yourself Hussein Day” yesterday. For your enjoyment, I share with you mine — “Joanne Hussein PunditMom.”
Trust me, I’ve been called worse than “Hussein.”
Just take a look at that get-up. And the braces. And the hair. And glasses (sorry, I refused to wear them for the photo, but trust me — they were classic).
Of course, there was also my last name. While I’m not going to divulge it here, suffice it to say that it was different enough that kids could find all sorts of ways to make fun of it — and they did. The abbreviated permutation in eighth grade was “Crud.”
Yeah, real nice. Especially when my name translated from its language of origin conveys some historical importance. That couldn’t matter less in middle school, though. I survived, and I’m a tougher person for it.
The thing that only took me a few decades and some quality therapy to figure out is that being different scares people. It doesn’t matter what that difference is. Mean girls have to go there in high school because, otherwise, they’d be the ones getting mocked. Bullies will never learn to use their nice words because then they’d have to acknowledge their own shortcomings.
I take solace in the fact that those who decided I was the one worthy of being mocked in my early teens are now probably mock-worthy themselves as balding and paunchy 40-somethings. I, however, have the class not to laugh about it for my own amusement.
So please feel free to call me Joanne Hussein PunditMom. Water off a duck’s back, baby.