It was September of 2002 and I was a 15 year old boy coming from a tiny catholic school nestled in the small town I had lived my entire life to that point. However, my family had just moved to the city, granted it was the city of Scranton, a far cry from big cities such as New York or Philadelphia, but it was a much larger and scarier atmosphere than I had ever been accustomed to. Not only had I moved away from the only town I had ever known but I was entering the largest co-ed Jesuit Prep school on the east coast, Scranton Prep. The great majority of my freshman class had all come from 1 of 3 schools in the immediate surrounding areas. As a result, all of them were already friends, they all talked the same, dressed the same, hung out with only each other, laughed at the same things, and the most binding attribute they all shared, judged outsiders with the same callous disregard. I happened to be an "outsider." That was my first mistake. The next mistake I made was attempting to include myself in an already assembled and seasoned group. I did this merely by sitting down at the lunch table with a group of about 10 guys my age to eat my lunch. Instantly, I felt all eyes at the table turn to me.
"What's up?" I said, answered with silence and snickers.
Finally, the one closest to me, sarcastically muttered:
"Sure, feel free to join us." followed by eruptions of laughter from the rest of the table.
For the following two weeks or so every member of the group, each with their own clever jab, continually harassed me verbally. Every day I came to school I figured they would have to get bored with themselves and the same routine quirks and jokes they made to me and would eventually forget about me. However, I could not have been more wrong. It only got worse. The jokes and one-liners turned into 30 minute routines and the daily lunchtime entertainment at my expense, all because I dared to entitle myself as a member of the group without ever knowing them. I think what drove them to only increase the abuse was the way I handled it. I had always been brought up to laugh at myself and laugh off my enemies, "kill them with kindness" my mother always said. So every day I would laugh harder at their jokes and every day I would sit in the same seat, at their table. My thinking remained they had to let up eventually. One month passed and the only thing that changed was the verbal abuse turned to pranks and practical jokes, again at my expense. My lunch was taken right out of my locker, my food was constantly misplaced or tampered with whenever I looked away and they began calling girls over for an audience. This was the final blow. Girls are everything to me. When a girl laughs at me, a rage builds within me I cannot contain. Regrettably, I was not a big guy by any stretch, never was. I stood a modest 5 feet 8 inches tall weighing around 140 pounds. I did not stand much of a chance enacting violence....