One day I was walking out of a classroom. Standing outside the door was a boy waiting for his girlfriend. I remember this boy's name, and most importantly, I remember what he did: he let out a loud "Woof!" in my direction.
This wasn't an isolated incident, at least not for me. As a wall flower first-class, I got accustomed to hearing teenage boys making their feelings known about my looks and figure.
There was a boy in seventh grade who, whenever he saw me in the hallway, used to yell out, "Hey, Flats, how are they grown'?"
When we had gym outside, there were always knots of guys waiting to "rate" the girls as they walked past in their gym clothes. When it was my turn, there would be gales of laughter and then I'd hear "two!", "two and a half!" or "three!"
One time I cut my hair shorter than usual. When I met my friends for lunch in the cafeteria, a loud whoop greeted my presence. "What a hair cut!" a male's voice screamed. Seconds later, I was hit on the side of the head by a flying milk carton.
I could go on. I really could. If there was one thing I accumulated in junior and senior high school, it was painful vignettes where teenage boys rated me a "dog", a "woofer", a "ghost" (because of my fair skin) or a"spaz" (because I wasn't good at sports), enough to fill a book.
These teenage snapshots have flooded back to me because of the candidacy of Donald J. Trump.
The GOP standards bearer has a long and well documented history of passing judgement on any and all women who have come his way.
Super model Heidi Klum? She's "no longer a ten". Oscar winner Hallie Berry? Her face "only gets an eight." Rosie O'Donnell is "ugly", "fat" and "a loser." A nursing mother is "disgusting". A former Miss Universe was "Miss Piggy" when she gained weight. During his divorce from first wife Ivana, he complained that her implants had deflated. Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, was called "retarded" by Trump. He doesn't even object when the one female who apparently passes muster with him--his eldest daughter Ivanka--is called "a piece of ass" by Howard Stern.
In my own situation, you could argue that the boys saying those things were just that: boys. Dumb, immature teenage boys.
But as Donald Trump proves, some boys never grow up. They may physically resemble adult men, head Fortune 500 companies, run for higher office, but they remain immature, loutish boys.
Even more troubling: Donald Trump believes it's perfectly fine to treat women this way. He doesn't believe it's wrong. When challenged, Trump reacts as if its his targets who have the problem, not him.
No, he was just being "funny" or people don't get his "sense of humor" or his put-downs were merely "locker room talk". Trump's other excuse is that he has no time for "political correctness". If that fails, Trump insists his accusers are lying because they are too unattractive to be sexually harassed.
It appears this attitude is shared by Trump's sons. Donald Trump, Jr. went on the "Opie and Anthony" radio program and basically said if women can't handle sexual harassment, they shouldn't work in the corporate world. Rather, they should become "Kindergarten teachers instead."
I have taught Kindergarten. It's not for the faint of heart. And if Mr. Trump, Jr. believes teachers cannot be victims of sexual harassment--or that any profession is free of this taint--he's nuts, like his old man.
Of course, Trump hasn't just singled out women for scorn. He's attacked blacks, Jews, Mexicans, the disabled, Muslims, Gold Star families, journalists. He accused Ted Cruz's father of being in cahoots with Lee Harvey Oswald, called John McCain "a loser" because he spent five years as a POW and he took his sweet time repudiating comments made on his behalf by the former Grand Wizard of the KKK.
All are inexcusable. All show why "The Donald" has no business running for village idiot, let alone President.
Trump repeatedly says he wants to "make America great again." Great for who? There is barely a segment of our society he hasn't offended, insulted, dismissed, threatened or ridiculed multiple times.
The man has contempt for everybody. His core constituency is himself and no one else.
I recently saw a female Trump supporter on the news who insisted that God "can still use" Donald Trump in a positive way and that's why she's voting for him, despite everything he has said and done and everything he continues to say and do.
I wanted to tell her, "Don't you understand? Donald Trump doesn't want people to pray for him; Donald Trump wants people to pray to him."
I have never met Donald Trump, but I don't need to. He was in every dumb, loutish boy I encountered in school, telling me how ugly I was, how flat my chest was. He lived in every bully, male or female--and, yes, girls can be huge bullies, too-- I ever had the non-pleasure of meeting in my early, formative years.
I don't want to brag, but one result of surviving the bullying I experienced growing up is that I can now spot a bully anywhere--my track record is 100%. I see Trump for what he is: a big, loud, vulgar, racist, hateful bully.
And I pity the people who can't or won't.