Monday, September 10, 2012

Dead or In Prison

 By Rob Watson
The other day I had cause to recall a number of the bullies I encountered as a child and teenager. If you are sensitive about the use of mildly foul language, the punch line of this story includes one such phrase.

The first bully I encountered was the brother of a friend. At the tender age of six years I had gone to the friends house to play. It was decided to play a game of baseball and we enlisted First Bully, a neighbor friend, and his sister. More than 60 years later, all I recall is that I developed a life long loathing for Big Bully, that he took every occasion to refresh. He seemed to prefer an audience and took great pleasure in embarrassing me if the two of us were part of a group.

The one vivid memory occurred when I was a freshman in high school. I was a tall skinny kid from puberty until about the age of 20 and may have weighed 120 pounds at this time. I was "water boy" for the football team. Big Bully was two years older than me and quite large. The incident took place in the locker room as the team dressed for a game. Big Bully stopped me as I walked past and placed his hands around my thigh. He pointed out to all present that his arm was larger than my leg. The team got a big laugh from that. Me, not so much.

Medium Bully and Last Bully were players in a later incident. Three friends and I, myself being small and the others smaller, dug a "fishing camp" into the side of a creek. It was no more than a dirt dugout for sitting and fishing. The fish were much too small to eat but catching one created significant excitement for a handful of little kids.

One day, as we were fishing, Medium Bully and Last Bully came walking down the creek. They saw our "fishing camp" and decided they liked it. They declared they liked it and told us to go away as it was now their "fishing camp". They, being older and larger, we complied. A couple of days after this, we smaller boys returned, in the absence of the two bullies, with shovels and picks and destroyed the place.

In later years I read of the demise of Medium bully and then First Bully. To quote Mark Twain... "I never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."

It happens that one of my faults is that when taken by surprise, my mouth, and the heir of my mother's sharp tongue, may show themselves at their quickest and sharpest.

The other day, Wife and I were driving into HomeTown. Beside the road Two men were selling watermelons. We had been looking for such and stopped. After engaging the two in conversation I introduced myself. In surprise one of the men said "Do you remember me? I am Last Bully." (using his real name of course)

Taken by deep and complete surprise, my fault surfaced. From deep within my soul, my honest opinion of the boy-become-man sprang... " Son... of... a... Bitch" I exclaimed. "I thought you would be dead or in prison by now." (by 'dead' I ment murdered. Here again I reference Mark Twain: "The difference between a good word and the right word is the difference between a lightning bug and lightning.")

Fortunately, though visibly taken aback, he took it as a joke and returned... "I have to say the same about you."

I bought two watermelons and went along my way.

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