Sometimes I think a child should never be thrown into the survival-of-the-fittest horror that is the average school; but on the other hand, while I wouldn't want to repeat a second of it again, I'm sure it did me some good. Children and teenagers can be horrible to each other, almost as horrible as adults, and it probably won't surprise the reader to learn that I've been on the receiving end of the odd verbal beating myself. While my infant reaction was upset and confusion, in time I learned to give as good as I got, and often, if I may say so, better. Soon, I began to enjoy the cut and thrust of sarcasm, to cultivate a taste for it, to admire the creative insult over the pedestrian one. The connoisseurs of sarcasm began to seek one another out; among us, sarcasm turned into friendly banter. It became an honour to be worthy of sarcasm, instead of just abuse, or worse, nothing at all. There came a time that I would have been insulted if I went into school and no one insulted me.
I can only conclude from my online observations that my experience was atypical, and that most people grew up in a sarcasm-free environment. There are some on the Net who treat their own selves with such sanctity that they take a differing opinion as a personal insult, and so delicate that they take a personal insult like a blow to the liver. How can these people get through a day without severe mental trauma? What kind of padded-cell environment do they live in? No wonder so many people are in therapy.