Bitcoin, Bullies and Playground War Gaming — Part 1

The Rise of the Bully

In recent history, the fortunes of Government have been that of a successful bully. He got big the way all bullies get big — his ability to find and secure sources of food have ALWAYS taken less effort than the cost of finding and securing it (deliberate use of past tense).

More food, stronger bully. Stronger bully, more food.

Smaller bullies running smaller rackets have been eliminated, their tactics adopted, or if they are big enough — employed on a franchise basis. Kids coming onto the playground in recent times haven’t known playtime without Him there. The older kids that played in the yard when the Bully was a lot younger and smaller, have all long since graduated to high school (he’s been kept back, and also infrequently passes his powers to a well prepared younger family member).

At a point that no-one can exactly remember, He started putting some kids on His payroll. They’d give Him the drop when they see someone hiding some of their lunch from Him, they report what the other kids say about Him. Far from intelligent, nor is He without a form of low cunning — it’s not all about punching people, sometimes He doles rewards with an item or two from the stash that He can’t eat himself. This makes His presence a little more bearable the kids around Him, seeing Him both as someone to be feared but also someone who can be benefitted from.

Generally the kids are a little more hungry each year and playground life is a little more limited, but things are predictable and as long as you give up bit of your lunch, and do what He says — you’re left alone. The kids under His employment are a little better off, than in a world without a bully. These minor jobs take some skill, and are sometimes fun. The Payroll Kids derive a form of pride from that fact. As though it was a real job.

The Bully has learned over time that threats and delegation are a lot easier than beating people up. Very occasionally a punch is still necessary, but mostly it’s about threats of punching (after all, He only has two hands and a whole playground to control). Maintaining His reputation takes smaller efforts and less risk than it took to gain the reputation. He finds sometimes that kids will report each other. Rewards and punishments are subsequently handed down, often via his Payroll Kids to save time and effort.

“Fairness” is His stated aim, when he cares to state anything at all. Playground events break and fade. Some get attention, some pass without discussion. In the aftermath of a big event, the actions of the Bully are discussed (since his influence is a bigger and bigger aspect of playground life, mention of him in playground matters takes an ever decreasing amount of time). The kids always agree that while some fairness was achieved, none of them would have dealt with it the way the Bully did.

Rejecting an important fight they will lose in favour of a pointless argument they might win, the kids turn on each other and squabble in circles of their own ability with no real consequences, despite knowing their conclusions are moot in absence of real control over their playtime.

Discussion is permitted and to a degree, encouraged by the Bully, knowing from experience that kids squabbling with each other sends otherwise dangerous playground sentiment in a harmless direction. Some kids avoid discussion entirely, they’d rather look for food.

Somehow, a playground consensus emerges: Other kids not being subject to the bully’s influence is more outrageous than the Bully Himself. Kids stealing or fighting from each other is absolutely not tolerated on the playground. The Bully intervenes in these scenarios and is lauded for doing so. No-one can remember what happened in such circumstances before the Bully was around.

Day to day, the kids are too hungry to argue with Him, let alone fight with Him. His opinions, and approach to new situations increasingly reflect this fact. He likes kids hungry enough to play, but not weak enough to freak out and cry en masse. Most dangerous are kids with too much lunch from an independent source. They are easily stolen from, much to the satisfaction of the hungrier kids.

With a growing excess of food, the Bully finds new aspects of playground life within his sphere of influence. An impossible task using his old methods, He expands the payroll with lunch subsidies, and starts to influence more aspects of playground life. This isn’t entirely unpopular with the rest of the kids at times when his actions are agreed with.

Years pass, and the toys on the playground change, as kids bring in new things from home, new games/ideas to make playtime more fun. The Bully allows some of these toys, especially the ones that make bullying easier. Some games, the ones the Bully doesn’t understand, He will ruin if he sees them being played.

Some kids have to play games that are old and don’t make much sense, but the Bully likes to see a busy playground, so these games continue to be played. There are always some kids doing things the Bully doesn’t like. He knows they do it, but they are smarter than He is. It annoys Him, but He lets it happen because it’s too hard to stop completely.

He occasionally fights with other school bullies, to defend the honour of the kids at his school. The fights always seem to be on other school playgrounds, which adds to their popularity. The kids strangely associate the strength of their bully to their own strength. Cowardly kids in the crowd scream encouragement. They love to watch, but only when their Bully is winning. Nothing is required from the kids for this activity, but fighting other schools via the Bully is an accepted part of playground life. Tiny amounts more food are required when the Bully asks — He needs to be as strong as possible to fight with other Bullies, he promises to never do this to kids in his own school (unless they hold back their lunch).

Occasionally a kid from school who wasn’t fighting is found with his head kicked in. This only shows how much the kids need a Bully close by. Somehow the case for making him stronger is more appealing than the immediate consequences of making him weaker.

When there’s not much fighting going on, sensing a dip in popularity, the Bully takes a slice of ham from his stash, and 2 slices of bread from a kid in 4th grade, and loudly gives the hungriest kid on the playground (who used to be a little chubby) a sandwich. The kids generally accept that the Bully produces excellent sandwiches that are nearly as good as the ones they used to have in their lunch boxes. The Bully cleverly keeps track of the sandwiches he gives out and credits himself with their existence. The kids mostly agree.

The Bully’s presence is ubiquitous. He’s actually popular with many kids who have never taken a beatdown, in awe of abilities they’ll never possess. Right and wrong seems less important on the playground now that merit is moot. He’s here, he isn’t going anywhere, may as well get used to him. May as well join in.

Nowadays, thought is always subconsciously paid to Him before any action is taken. He’s necessary. He’s engrained into the psyche. Possibilities of alternatives are discussed but normally relate to people’s preferred form of bullying. A no bully system is unthinkable. After all, who’d protect us?