Another Straka Post

Sorry… but with work the way it is, I thought this was great reading:

My Mean Boss … Grrr!
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
By Mike Straka

As if being an overweight child isn’t bad enough, a new study in this month’s Pediatrics magazine shows that overweight children are subject to more bullying on the playground than normal-weight kids are.

Hello? We needed an expensive study to figure that out? I could have told you that. Next time make the check out to Mike Straka, S-T-R-A-K-A.

All fat kids should be required to take martial-arts lessons. Not only will it get them in better shape, but when some bully decides to pick on them, they can kick his butt all over the playground too.

I’m talking boys and girls. There’s no rule anywhere that says catty girls shouldn’t get their butts kicked by the girl they’re picking on.

And NO, I don’t condone kids fighting anywhere that there isn’t a mat and a referee, but there comes a time when kids should be toughened up rather than coddled.

Wake up parents. Stop being complacent with your children. It’s OK to demonstrate a little disappointment and offer encouragement, but don’t be competitive with your children. You had your chance.

Nothing Grrrs me more than when I see some dad or mom espousing on how much better he or she did it at the children’s ages. Stop living in the past and let your children live in their present.

If your kid is getting bullied because he’s fat, short, skinny or tall, help him find something constructive in it.

It kind of reminds me of my first mean boss. He was a news director at CBS News Radio on West 57th Street, where I worked the overnight shift (1 a.m.-9 a.m.) as a desk assistant.

Whenever he walked into the newsroom, a chilly breeze would follow him into his office. Nobody was exempt from his wrath. From desk assistants to famous anchors, all persons were equally susceptible to a humiliating tongue-lashing.

But you know what? If I’m good in a newsroom, I have that man to thank.

If you didn’t like being belittled, then you needed to know your job. You needed to know what was going on. You needed to react to breaking news like it was second nature. You needed to keep everybody abreast on developments with clarity. In short, he toughened me up.

I remember one instance chasing a breaking news story. I was making calls to a hospital where a story was developing, and since several media outlets were also calling the hospital, the person answering the phone told me they were not taking any more calls from media outlets and asked that we stop calling.

In a note I put out to the newsroom I wrote, “The hospital told me to take a hike.”

My boss came bursting out of his office.

“Mike, Mike,” he always repeated my name whenever he was about to yell. “What did they say?” he asked. I told him the hospital spokesperson said they weren’t talking to the media anymore.

“Then that’s what you write. I don’t want any of your stylistic bull—-,” he screamed. I said that I understood, but I really thought he was just being a big jerk.

When I finally got it, some time after that incident, I completely understood. He wasn’t yelling for the sake of yelling.

I sent that note out to the entire newsroom. Some anchor could have taken my note for what it said, and it could very well have made it on the air that “so and so hospital told us to take a hike,” and it would have been wrong.

The point is, sometimes a little bullying goes a long way to help one’s maturity, and there’s always a lesson in it, even if it hurts. Stop whining and start learning.


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