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You know how jokes are often funny because they are based in an ugly truth?

I had a new realization of that phenomena while watching Bill Maher's new stand-up comedy special "The Decider" on HBO the other night.

Bill was talking about various recent sexual abuse scandals and was comparing the complaints made against Michael Jackson to complaints made against various Catholic priests with the aim of suggesting that what Michael allegedly did to his victims was gentle compared to the treatment received by victims of the priests.

Seemingly out of nowhere, he started talking about a time when he was a child and was rather viciously beaten up during an incident of playground bullying.

As part of his punchline, he commented that he would have gladly subjected himself to the worst abuse Michael has been accused of perpetrating rather than having to endure that single beating.

The comment resonated with me, probably because like Bill, I too was bullied as a kid, and also found the experience to be pretty ugly.

I don't think I'd ever choose to subject myself to Michael's ministrations in order to have escaped my own bullying experiences (you gotta have standards in life), but I know I would have given a lot to have been able to stop them from happening.

A group of older neighborhood boys would be after me for reasons that were never entirely clear.

I was younger, more sensitive, certainly more vulnerable and not talented at fist fighting.

Most days I'd make it home safely , but some days I'd end up belly up on the grass trying to fend off blows and kicks while a ring of kids jeered and cheered that day's aggressor.

A blow to the head and you'd see stars like in the cartoons.

I'm 40 years old now; it's been something like 30 years since that sort of thing last happened.

Still, the experience has not left me, it sucked so much.

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