Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

20 Years

Last night I attended my 20 year high school reunion in Rising Sun, Mayland. It was a great evening, filled with food, laughter, and friends, and it lasted well into the early hours of the morning. I was very proud of our web site and was happy to see it was well received. I was given many, many compliments and enjoyed hearing how, without the site, some may not have attended at all. In fact, I received a few suggestions for the slideshows I posted, so I still have some work to do when I get home.

My high school career was different than most of my classmates. I attended Rising Sun High School from 1984 till 1988, but before that I attended a different school system, just up the road. Cecil County, Maryland is one large school system, broken down into 5 high schools, each with a middle school and a series of elementary schools that feed each high school. I lived in an area that fed both North East and Rising Sun, so, essentially, I had my choice of schools to attend.

My middle school career, while for the most part enjoyable, was not ideal, and I made a choice in 1984 to move from North East to Rising Sun. Bullying and picking on kids is a bigger deal nowadays than it was 24 years ago, and I was, unfortunately, one of those kids that was picked on and bullied more than others. When it came time to go to high school, I felt I would better serve myself, and my future, to start fresh at Rising Sun, and it turned out to be a very good decision.

I still kept in contact with those friends I did have at North East. In my senior year, I attended AP Calculus classes at North East High School, so I saw many of those classesmates throughout the year.

Last night, Jill, one of my Rising Sun classmates (and cohorts in crime building our web site), visited the North East High School 20 year reunion. It was amazing that the two classes held their respective reunions on the same night, and it was more amazing when I showed up to North East's after party at a local bar. Since I did not see those faces as often as my Rising Sun classmates, I recognized some faces, others not, but overall was as amazed, shocked, and excited as I was in Rising Sun.

While reintroducing myself to many people, one stood out. I won't use her real name because it's not necessary, so I'll call her B. When I saw her, I recognized her but like many North East classmates, I had to ask the woman's name, and my friend Dee told me. I reintroduced myself to B, and she hugged me and asked the normal gambit of questions about kids, marriage, residence, and job.

Then, she stopped suddenly and, with tears nearly in her eyes, said "We were mean to you."

I stopped for a moment and started to recall memories I think I either repressed or simply forgot about. B mentioned one incident in particular that was probably the most mortifying experience in middle school -- I was spit on while under the bleachers for whatever reason it was I was under there, and was laughed at while it happened.

B apologized several times over for what happened, and I told her not to worry about it. Kids are mean sometimes -- they do not always accept diversity, and are not very apologetic -- but in time, kids become teens and then adults, and most times they learn from their mistakes. B optimized this belief. After I told her a few times that the incident was forgotten, she explained why she felt as bad as she did at that moment. B now has kids of her own. She told me she realized she behaved in a way that she would not want her kids to behave, nor would she want her kids to experience from other kids. This solidifies the other belief I have -- having kids changes you, too, and in this case, made a person who was genuinely mean to me a better person.

So I want B to know that I value her apology very much. It means a lot to me that someone can look me in the eye and apologize for past transgressions even after 24 years, no matter how small, and even after I have forgotten about it. It means a lot to me because it gives me hope -- there ARE good people in this world, and sometimes it takes a couple of decades for that good to come out. It means I may have made a difference in someone else life, and now someone else has made a difference in mine. That will help ME raise MY children better, and that's one goal I will never shy away from.

Friday, July 4, 2008

What the hell were these kids thinking?

Once again, I am amazed by the stupidity of people. You would figure I'd learn by now, but being an optimist I always look for the good in people. In this case, the good left a long time ago, or never took up residence.

Take a look at this video. WARNING: If you have kids, this video will piss you off.

What the HELL was this kid thinking? Did he think it was funny? Did he think he would get a good laugh from his buddies? It's disgusting to think someone thought this would be funny to do this to such a small, helpless child.

I can't find the original video on YouTube, and honestly, I'm glad, because I'd be email slamming the site as fast as I could.

I cannot describe the angst, the anger, this video creates in me every time I look at it. I stopped looking at it entirely, it makes me that angry. I mean, I did stupid things as a kid. My father did stupid things when he was a kid. My kids will all do stupid things as they grow up. But what possessed this kid to take a toddler and launch him across a room?

And where the hell were the parents in all this?

I have a child with cerebral palsy. I know what trauma can do to a child. This kid is 16 years old, not exactly a kid that can't think for himself. THIS is what he thinks of for fun? And the kid holding the camera STOOD THERE and LET HIM DO THIS!

It AMAZES me how LOW people will go to get a laugh. It's one thing to make fun of an adult, to poke fun at your friends, even to do something physical to someone for a joke. But, for God sake, not to a TODDLER that cannot defend himself!

If that had been my child launched across the room, the police better do something because they don't want me to do something. If that had been my child launching another person's child like that, my kid would understand the meaning of the word "discipline".

On that note, how many times does the media have to show the kid being launched from the cushion? Wasn't one time enough? I understand they want to show the event and invoke emotions in their viewers, but I think one time should have been enough.