From the overusage of the term hate speech, political correctness, and the frequent infringements on the First Amendment by the leftists in government today, supported by the liberal media, many people seem to be fixated by this and sum it all up into this: I have a right not to be offended. Which is total nonsense. Toughen up, it's life.

I have no sympathy for people who cry for pity. Life is not always full of syrupy goodness, it is often bitter and harsh. And if people don't learn to deal, they're in for a world in pain. And I speak as a person who has endured years and years of verbal and physical abuse.

Your humble narrator has never been the popular one, never the jock, never the pretty boy. I was ridiculed in grade school for my participation in the gifted kids' class (which was surprising, considering that Hong Kong is about as academic as cities go). Middle school? NERD! That's right, the geeky Chinese kid with glasses is here to wreck the grade curve and inevitably become the most hated person in school. High school? My disdain and lack of "respect" for the "in" crowd got me into a world of trouble.

Make no mistake, I've been the target for endless schoolyard taunts and ridicule. It would have been much uglier if I didn't convince those losers not to step over the line. I have the scars to prove it too, not just emotional ones, but physical ones as well. When I was a wee lad of 6 years, I ran home to mommy and cried. She told me to repeat to myself, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

My self-esteem was not cowed by all the stupid mocking I was subjected to. I didn't grow weaker, I grew stronger. If I continued to cry and whine about hate speech all my life, who would give me sympathy? No one, not even the bed-wetting liberals. It's your self-esteem. No one can change it but yourself.

Words are just words. They mean nothing unless you allow them to.

You're right, Sand Jack. I have an amazing lack of emotion. I still have feelings, but they are much less intense than most peoples'. Most of my feelings have been diluted down to rage, anger and sometimes love. This is one of my many emotional scars, one that I barely notice any more, but most people I know do.

But how much control do we really have over our emotion? Consider the way that society is put together in this day and age: we are assaulted by psychobabble, by the media, by our fellow man with this concept of emotion. We have been too repressed for too long, guilt is bad, and it's OK to cry -- all the old notions of carriage were wrong, were psychologically damaging. Kids can't be shown any discipline at all anymore, because some parents that weren't adult enought to make their children unhappy managed to perpetuate the image that letting a child roam free is the only way to teach them.

A person is a product of their environment -- our actions, our reactions are a matter of our upbringing (or our genes depending)-- so you grew up in a way that allowed you to ignore the taunts of others. Most would say you're emotionally scarred by that, that you can no longer have true feelings because you've walled yourself off.

It's all a matter of one's point of view.

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