Bullying is one of those things that any prospective parent gets concerned about--namely, not wanting your own kid to be a victim or a bully themselves. I'm a believer in nature and nurture, in that a kid is going to come out a certain way in part due to their environment and influences, and in part just by luck. So you can be the most awesome great Chuck Norris style father, and your kid can grow up to become Woody Allen. And not in that "successful filmmaker who somehow has sex with famous starlets" sort of way, either. Because for every Woody Allen that became Woody Allen, there are millions of hopeless neurotic nerds who get a swirly on the way to gym class.
I'm not really worried about any kid of mine becoming a bully, since my wife and I are both shorter than average and while being short is awesome if you're mining coal for a living, it sucks if you want to shake down some dude for his lunch money. Yes, Joe Pesci helped advance the idea that short dudes can be tough, and Mike Tyson wasn't exactly a giant, but the odds are the odds. Which means, if I have a kid, I have to train them to not be bullied. Here's my plan:
1) Cool nickname. Sure, "Ettore" and "Galiazo" are great nicknames if the kid wants to become a great chef or hairdresser, but it doesn't play on the schoolyard. "Spike" used to be a great tough guy name until Spike Lee ruined it, so I'm going to have to go with "Thor". No one pushes around a Thor.
2) No glasses. Glasses are these days considered cooler than when I was an unfortunate bespectacled lad, but they still don't scream "toughness". If my kid is nearsighted, it's goggles for him!
3) Mohawk. This is in part because it's just much easier to cut, and frankly I don't want him wasteing time in the bathroom when I need to go in there.
4) All meat served raw. You know who didn't get picked on much? Genghis Khan.
5) Genghis Khan would also be a great first and middle name. Now that I think about it, the Mongols were pretty good at getting their way. "Disobeying the Mongols" wasn't one of those things that really took off back in those days.
6) Uh oh, lil' Genghis Khan Brando is taking over and pillaging the entire back yard! And right before my boss comes over for a BBQ to celebrate me landing that big account! Eek!
7) Yep, now my insurance broker is forcing me to take out an option for looting. Lovely.
Well, you get the idea--at the end of the day you just have to play the odds. Maybe I'd be better off with a daughter, girls don't seem to ever get bullied.
Or so I'll assume.