Today’s post was actually inspired by the television programme “South Park.” Ironically, when the programme was first aired, I dismissed it as a badly drawn cartoon that got its laughs from being downright rude. Then I saw the episode where Walmart comes to town and basically destroys the community and I thought, “This is true, Walmart does do some towns more harm than good when they come in.” It made me see the show in a whole new light and I think that the shows creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are just plain brilliant.
There is no particular episode that is behind the inspiration for what I am writing about today. It’s about how the four principle characters treat a fifth character. For those unfamiliar, the main characters, pictured above, Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman sometimes include a fifth friend named Butters. Butters is a victim. He has oppressive parents who ground him at the first instance and is victimized, set up and picked on by the main four. But because Butters is do desperate to be liked, the others used the threat of withdrawing their friendship to manipulate him. As a result, it is often Butters who gets hurt or into trouble and consequently, grounded by his father, which is always his biggest fear. Watching the show for a number of years and thinking back to parts of my own childhood, I realise that I was Butters!
Because of my suspected Aspergers Syndrome, I had difficulty in making lasting friendships. Therefore, in order to get people to like me, I would allow them to manipulate me into doing their bidding even to the point of making a fool of myself for their own amusement. Thinking that doing these things would make people like me, I did them. It also didn’t help that I believed that being a bit of a clown would also win me friends, it didn’t. Other kids would simply get me to perform and when they had their amusement from me, discard me and go back to treating me like trash. So, I can see that Butters and I had a lot in common.
Shameless link to my book: Since Mark’s experiences in the story are drawn from my own, he experiences the same thing. Like me in sixth grade, when his classmates learn that Mark can do a few impressions, they egg him on to do them, often at an inappropriate time. They would then find it funny when he got in trouble, either with a teacher or nearly beaten up by some boy who didn’t find him amusing.
Unfortunately, this experience carried over into my early adult life. Not wanting to be without friends, I would let people take advantage of me in thinking they would be my friend if I let them. It was too late before I discovered they were using me. Another factor in this was covered in my post “You’re an Asshole for Standing Up For Yourself.” These two factors together made a dangerous combination.
With an older perspective, I can see the plight of poor Butters in South Park and have loads of sympathy for him. I have this sympathy because I experienced the same things and hope that others will see it and prevent it.
Next post: A Series on Literary Bullies
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428434007&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird