Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I was a tall kid growing up, and very outspoken, a combination that amounts to an outstretched hand and yelling ooh, pick me, pick me. Ironically though, I wanted to be invisible, above the rules. I didn’t want to grow up—to think about girls, to be serious about school, or to fight with the other boys for accidentally making eye contact. I may as well have willed the sun not to rise or a dog not to bark.

I have a natural fear of fighting; and that’s probably an insight to my active imagination. In an after hours diner once, I saw two men square off in an exchange of shouts. One got the better of the other and grabbed him by the hair and slammed his face twice into the floor. Both times there came a hollow, bone crushing thud, like you might imagine from a dropped coconut. The fight was gone from the man, who amazingly was able to sit up, bleeding and wondering why he was on the floor, likely trying to remember his name.

I was teasing a boy once on the school bus. We were friends—or so I thought. He warned me a few times that he was going to beat me up if I didn’t let up. Boyd Gardner followed me off the bus, which struck me as odd because his stop was well after mine, but I didn’t get it. Mike, the boy sitting with Boyd on the bus got off at the stop before mine, which was only a block away, and sprinted up the street. Still, I didn’t get it.

“Why did you get off at my stop,” I asked Boyd as we walked along together.

“I’m going to visit a friend.” I still didn't get it.

“Ok. Hey, I’m sorry about all that business on the bus. I was just joking around.”

“That’s ok.”

“I was starting to think you were taking me seriously.”


"Friends still?"

He looked at me and smiled. "Sure."

Up ahead, at the intersection of two streets, Mike came to a halt and stared at us together. He was out of breath.

“I thought you were going to kick his ass!”

I turned to Boyd with a quizzical look. In one fluid motion, he dropped his school books and balled his fist and hit me square in the face. I can't remember what hit first, his books or his ham fist. What an odd sensation it was, not at all what I had imagined. With some amount of relief, I realized that it didn’t hurt. But still, I had no interest in letting it happen again. I tried to reason with him, but he had the battle lust and swung at me again. I ducked him easily and tried to hit him back, but he swatted me away like a pesky insect. It didn’t take long to reach the conclusion that I needed to get away, or I was going to get really hurt.

He was easy to avoid, being big and slow, but he was half again my weight, so he used that to his advantage and wrestled with me and threw me to the ground. He straddled over my chest and raised his fist, and there was nothing I could do for it.

Then suddenly he was gone in a streak of red, brown and white. This is one of the advantages of having a St. Bernard. I called Baron away and let Boyd get up, who decided to try this another time. He followed me off the bus a few days later, but I just kept walking. A day later and we called a truce.

There was another Mike at school that liked to harass me by hitting me from behind, then squaring off and offering to fight. I always refused. Then one day I wasn’t thinking when his familiar jolt surprised me out of my reverie. I chased him around like a broken windmill. Boyd walked up behind him and shoved him against a brick wall.

“You want to fuck with me?” Boyd offered.

“N-n-n no!”

“Then don’t let me catch you messing with him again, or you’ll be sorry.”

And that was that.


Eve said...

I used to see fights at school and that, combined with one of my brothers violent tempers, kept me in line. I avoid confrontations at all costs.

Sadie Lou said...

I'm 6ft. tall and pretty much don't have any natural enemies. My dad always told me that if a girl ever picked a fight with me, be careful cuz she's probably crazy.
I had one bully on the bus back when I was a freshman. I let her bully me to the point where I couldn't tolerate her anymore and I smashed the back of her head into the bus window. She stopped riding the bus.
Sometimes you have to speak a bully's language to get the point across.

mr. schprock said...

That's the way it always is: two kids fight and they wind up being good friends afterwards.

I used to let kids hit me in the back if I ever got challenged. That never seemed to hurt.

Shesawriter said...

I hate fighting. It's just stupid. I too try to avoid confrontation, but sometimes it's unavoidable.


A. Darcy said...

Kids are mean, I went to an all girls school, so there was no knock down drag out fights, The cruelty was much sneaker than that, Somedays I would have preferred a good punch in the nose....

Eve said...

Oh no - the worst fight I ever saw at school was between two girls!