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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Band of bullies: The Bayside Boys defend their craft

While many UMass Boston students have long considered our campus and surrounding areas safe, this belief has been recently challenged by reports of “old-school bullying” at the Bayside parking lot. Students have come forward with accounts of three middle-aged men who roam the lot committing vile acts in the form of name calling, shoving and vague threats to “steal your lunch money.” According to Wendy Walrus, a student who frequently parks at Bayside, the tactics of these bullies can be difficult to pin down.  

“I was walking back to my car when out of nowhere, I heard this man yelling behind me: ‘Welcome aboard the bad-breath express! Destination, Loserville; population: you!’ He grabbed the books I was carrying right out of my hands and asked me where I was parked. I thought he was gonna rob me, but he just walked me back to my car, gave me back my books and told me to have a nice day.” 

Wendy wasn’t the only one who reported such happenings. As more reports started rolling in, it became clear that this band of delinquents—who call themselves the Bayside Boys—were more than just textbook bullies. After much hassle, I managed to get a hold of the trio for an interview. Up first was their de facto leader, Buford, a gargantuan man wearing a black skull t-shirt.  

“You know, bullying is a bit of a dying art and there aren’t a lot of people out there who understand why we do it. It’s not because we’re cruel, or because of some deep-rooted insecurity. Do you know how some people are born to be artists? Like, they just naturally gravitate toward that kind of work. That’s us with bullying. It’s in our blood.” 

One of the others, a heavy-set man with a neckbeard named Biff, took the chance to explain his history with the “art.”  

“I remember the moment when I realized that I was a bully. I was a little kid, and my parents took me to see “Back to the Future.” I remember sitting in the theater, looking up at Biff on the screen and thinking, ‘wow!’ It wasn’t long after that I gave my first wedgie—it was invigorating! When I told my parents I wanted to be a bully, they didn’t get it. They wanted me to stay in the family business and be a dentist, but there was no way I was doing that, so I changed my name to Biff and never looked back!”  

Despite what they were telling me, I was struggling to understand their justification for wanting to be bullies. Buford then offered to prove the validity of the craft by inviting me into the field with them to see how bullying works up close. Despite it sounding suspiciously like a threat, I took them up on the offer. 

It was a cold, overcast afternoon. I stood with my new mentors near the front entryway of the Bayside lot. Once the campus bus pulled up to unload a batch of students, Buford’s eyes lit up. He pointed to a scrawny-looking kid walking alone: “Him, right there! You see him? With the glasses.” He appeared to be the perfect ill-defended victim that these bullies would prey on.  

Before acting, Buford turned to me and began to explain the process: “Alright, so we’ve picked out a target, now we come up with an opener. Any ideas fellas?” 

I decided to try my luck at the craft and suggested that we make fun of his glasses. Buford rolled his eyes in disappointment as Biff placed his hand on my shoulder.  

“We never want to call anybody something that might be personal. Ideally, it’s gonna be something harmless and juvenile. Something that sounds kind of stupid in an immature kind of way. Anything involving potty talk is great.” 

The third member of the group, a short meatball of a man named Buttercup, made a subtle gesture to Buford who nodded and began to stroll up to the kid. “Yo, snoozerelli! Yeah, I’m talking to you! You got something wrong with your shoe!” 

This is when I noticed that the kid’s shoe was untied. I thought for sure that Buford was gonna step on his laces and trip him or something along those lines but instead, he bent down and began to tie the kid’s shoe! The kid looked astonished as to what had happened. As Buford wished him well, he hurried away nervously. I rubbed my eyes, refusing to accept what I had just seen.  

Biff began to explain: “Look, we’re bullies, pure and simple. We tease, we joke and we hassle but we don’t want to make anybody’s day worse than it already is. That’s not what we’re about.”  

Maybe I was wrong about these guys. Maybe they weren’t the kind of bullies I initially took them to be. Upon returning to the group, Buford started to open up about the true nature of their bullying:  

“Things were different when we were kids. You could walk around school in a black skull t-shirt, stuffing people in lockers and stealing lunch money. Wedgies, wet-willies, swirlies—you name it, we did it. Every school had a bully. As things went digital, people began hiding behind their screens saying the meanest and nastiest things imaginable. That’s not bullying, that’s being a troll. So yeah, we might call you a knucklehead and give you a noogie, but if you find yourself alone at night, forgetting where you parked your car, you can rest easy knowing the Bayside Boys got your back.” 

As I began to leave, Buford reached out with one final sentiment, “Hey butt-breath, take care of yourself.” He reached his arms around me to give me a hug and as he did, I felt a light tug on the back of my underwear. It wasn’t an aggressive tug, it was empathetic and reassuring, almost as if to let me know that everything was going to be alright. It was at this moment that I finally understood the purpose of the Bayside Boys’ mission. Not to spread fear, but to let people know that there’s someone there who cares; maybe not in the way you want them to care, but hey, it’s better than nothing. 

About the Contributor
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor