Saturday, July 15, 2006


Clearly the underdog has the right to vicious reprisal.

A tough old welder friend of mine, that I often held a ladder steady for, and once told him it was on fire from the slag that had built up around one leg and he simply said in a muffled voice under this hood “In a minute”, once told me about a guy back in school who used to pick on him unmercifully and consistently threaten to beat him up. Now this old hardcore welder wasn’t very big even as a grown man, so he must have really been a runt in school – even high school, so I was really interested in how he handled bullies.

One day ol’ Truman watched this “tush hog” go into the bathroom at school. He waited a minute or two for him to get comfortable in the last stall and then followed him in. Truman walked slowly up to the stall door, raised his foot up about waist high and kicked the wooden door as hard as he could. The door latch broke immediately and the edge of the door caught the seated punk, whose pants were around his ankles, square in the nose!

The shocked boy probably saw long enough to see Truman enter the stall and commence laying his fist alternately on his head and into his already bleeding nose and mouth. The big bad bully kind of tilted to the left and then caught himself with the side of his head and slid all the way to the floor.

Truman said he never did have any more bully trouble from him or anyone else after that. Clearly, the underdog has a right to vicious reprisal.

I tell you all this in order to plead my own case of retaliation.

Remember a few years ago when MickeyD ran a commercial with a line of little school girls, dressed in yellow rain coats and boots, doing the “wack, wack, waddle, waddle” into McDonald’s during a downpour? Well, try and picture old Mushy in one of those little yellow rain coats and matching boots! Ain’t pretty is it?

My mother thought I was adorable and that I would be even more so in one of those rainy day get ups, and couldn’t wait for me to wear the one she proudly bought for me. I prayed every night that the sun would be shining the next morning and it worked until God couldn’t stand it anymore and decided he needed a good laugh – he made it rain.

I can still feel the heat rising from inside the coat and hat, not just from the non-porous yellow rubber material, but partly from the embarrassment I was feeling. Off to the bus stop I went and stood there waiting and dreading the inevitable.

As soon as I entered the bus there was Richard (last name withheld to protect both of us) – my second grade bully – he was 2 years older and about 20 pounds heavier. He grinned and started to tease me about the yellow rain hat and then the shoving began, which was always the prelude to the butt kicking!

So, being the underdog - remember, I plotted my revenge.

There was this long hill in the neighborhood (same neighborhood where the girls liked to play doctor) and most kids, if they had any sense of adventure at all, rode their bicycles down the hill 2 or 3 times a day. I took note of the time of day Richard chose to take his turn and mulled it over a day or so. One day, about mid-summer, my Red Rider BB gun and I lay in wait in the bushes next to the hill and watched and waited to bag my limit in bully.

Remember how big your front teeth looked when you were 7 or 8 years old? Well, Richard’s were a prime example of that feature – all shinny with little new saw tooth nubs on the edges and all.

Just as he hit full speed coming down the hill I popped him and broke his concentration. He grabbed his chest and looked around with a surprised and puzzled look on his face. At first I thought he was going to make it, but as the bike traveled about 10 or 15 more feet Richard could not regain his gripe on the right handle bar and the bike wobbled and weaved until completely out of control.

Richard hit the asphalt flat on his face then rolled up over his head and skidded to a stop on his backside. It was a few seconds before he could inhale enough air to scream out a long loud squall. I stepped out of the brush and walked to where Richard now sat crying and wiping blood from his mouth. I let Richard get a good look at me and then cocked the BB gun, grinned and walked on off toward home.

I was never laughed at, teased, shoved, or punched again after that day. Of course, I did always feel bad about the chipped front tooth, kind of broke in a 45 degree angle right in the middle of his smile, but I also knew he would always remember me and why it was that way every time he looked in a mirror for the rest of his life.

Clearly, the underdog has a right to vicious reprisal.


Ron Southern said...

Surely he went to a dentist by the time he was ready to start screwing girls instead of screwing up little boys!

Ron Southern said...

Surely he went to a dentist by the time he was ready to start screwing girls instead of screwing up little boys!

Mushy said...

You would hope so, but this guy could have also been Henry in my book. He was mean.

Fathairybastard said...

I never had that moment. Too scared to do it. Was always bigger than everyone but always seemed outnumbered and scared to death. Never felt free to defend myself. Never knew how, so I just took it, and shorter guys took it out on me all the time. They were always a lot meaner than I was capable of being. Didn't really end till college. Started working out in college and got stronger, more confident, and now wish my dad or some other older guy had shown me a few things a lot sooner. Can't abide a bully to this day. Sometimes daydream about things I wish I'd done back then. What can you do? Whenever I hear about a school shooting where some kid has taken out the kids who were teasing or bullying him, I think "yep, know what that's all about". Too bad.