The first thing I’d say to my high school bully would be, “hey! I’m 32 and you’re in high school. Respect your elders.” The second thing I’d say is, “please stop hitting me.”
The next day, I’d come back and say, “hey, you’re not so tough now that I have this ball peen hammer are you?” Then, “hey, that’s my hammer. Give it back.” Then probably something like “Help!”
A week later, I’d see him and say something to the effect of, “I gave it some thought and I realize you’re simply lashing out because you have dozens of insecurities about yourself. You’re struggling to define yourself because you’re young and you have a narrow world view. Often, this manifests in attacking others to cement a feeling of superiority and give the abuser a feeling of control.” Then I’d probably add, “What do you mean? I don’t have ‘lunch money,’ I’m an adult!” Then I’d say “fine, here, this is all I have in my wallet, please stop hitting me.”
The next day, when the bully punched me I wouldn’t say anything. I’d just do as Christ suggested and turn the other cheek. That way the swelling would be even.
When I got the casts off, I’d go back and tell him, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Then I’d say, “I was wrong, those words are hurting me very badly.” Then probably something like, “you’re only proving my point. Those sticks and stones are in fact, breaking my bones. Please stop hitting me.”
After everything had been reattached and I’d gotten my stitches out, I’d head back and say, “I am not afraid of you.” I read online that if you do not fear a bully, then they do not have power over you. Then I’d realize that, while many bullies may work off of a fear based motive, the boxer does hit the punching bag to make the bag fear him. Sometimes one merely punches something for sport; to stay in shape and improve his punching. “Please stop hitting me,” I’d say, even though it was clear the practice I was providing was paying off and his punching was really improving.
Once the swelling went back down and I regained motor function I’d go back real casually and say something like, “hey, guess who used their recovery time to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?” And I’d fire off an explosive palm thrust, right at his head. And then I’d say, “okay, it looks like you also used the time to learn martial arts, and you are a quicker study than I,” as he ducked and used my own momentum to fling me over his head and onto the pavement. “You proved your point. Please stop hitting me.”
Then I’d lay low for a few years, preparing. I’d wait long enough for the interest on my medical bills to mount to insurmountable levels, but not long enough that the statute of limitations on his crimes had run out. Then I’d go to the police station and I’d say, “I’d like to report a constant, ongoing assault.” I’d hand the officer all of my files I’d accumulated over the years. Manila folders full of receipts for hundreds of surgeries, years of therapy, self-defense classes, lawyers fees from when I tried to get my money back from the self-defense classes because they didn’t work at all. Bills that would put any layperson in unescapable debt. And I’d get the ultimate satisfaction of turning my years of abuse into a financial burden that my high school bully would carry his entire adult life.
And then, I’d stand on the stairs of the police station and watch as he climbed out of the cop car, flanked by police officers, and the last thing I’d say to my high school bully would be, “wait, you work here?”
Then, once more, “please stop hitting me.”