Wednesday, June 06, 2007


If you have been following my remembrances, after this post you think me a hopeless “tush hog” who picks meaningless fistfights. You will not find this definition of “tush hog” anywhere on the web, but that is what we called “bullies,” or boys, who looked for fights during my high school days.

The simple fact was that I ran with Barry, who often seemed, as I have stated, to have a chip on his shoulder. If Barry got into a scrap, then I had his back and visa versa.

Barry was not a large fellow either, as a matter of fact, I out weighed him by a good twenty pounds and was at least a head taller then. However, Barry was like a Fox Terrier, he would take on anyone of any size regardless of the perceived consequences. Naturally, I was just as foolish, trying to save face.

Barry was not the physical guy I described in Cross+Hairs as Henry, but his prowess with his fists and his temper were. I used an actual fight in the book to show how mean my main character was. You have to substitute Barry where Henry appears and Mushy where Bill appears to get the real story!

Barry and I often hung out in the summer at the Gulf Station near our homes. Another friend and his much older brother worked there with their dad who operated the full service station.

Actually, we often helped out when things got hectic, pumping gas and cleaning windshields. But more often than not, we were just there to buy cigarettes, a coke, a pack of peanuts, and pester Morgan and his brother GT.

One day, their father had gone home for lunch and Barry and I began a campaign of irritating the guys to the breaking point. I think we would have broken off the pecking on the cash register and oil cans once we got tired, but GT got tired first and jumped up and threatened to whip Barry’s ass!

Next thing I knew we were squared off in the wash rack, next to a car to be washed. I was standing in front of Morgan, and Barry was at the rear of the car exchanging insults with GT. I do not think Morgan and I were even mad at each other, but we each had a back to protect, so it did not matter – we would fight if the first blow fell.

GT grabbed Barry and held him up off the floor in the corner near the roll-up doors, and Morgan took that as his queue to swing. I ducked and he smashed his fist hard against the driver’s side window and folded in pain!

Barry yelled for assistance so I flew upon GT’s back, and together we pounded him to the wet wash rack floor.

We walked, puffing from exertion and pride, away from the station and did not come back for a couple of weeks.

However, when we did, GT started in about us having had an unfair advantage in the fight and that he wanted a re-match on firm dry ground.

Okay, so be it! Feeling cocky from our previous win, we marched up a small bank into the backyard of a church on the adjacent property. The other difference was that I had squared off with the older GT and Barry was on Morgan.

Barry began insulting Morgan and GT and I stood nose-to-nose waiting and listening. I think I really did not want to fight GT, but it was left to me to try or lose face, turn tail and run. I stood my ground hoping things would blow over.

Suddenly Barry popped Morgan in the cheek and there was an audible “Uoof!” from Morgan. I looked toward the two, now locked in a wrestling match to see who could through the other to the ground, and then back a GT, who had already begun bringing both arms up and quickly smashed both my ears! If you have ever been hit hard on an ear, you know that first you cannot hear, and second it hurts like a sombitch! Plus, with two hands hitting you at once, you feel as though your head will split open! I fell to my knees and listened to the bells ringing in some distant place in my head.

GT sprinted to Morgan’s aid and they now had Barry on the ground and he was yelling for my help!

I stood up and dizzily staggered in their direction and launched my body into the air. Any other time, this may have dislodged GT or Morgan from Barry and we would have been back on equal ground. However, I misjudged, in my state, and flew over the pile up and right into a huge rose bush!

Once the other three realized what I had done, they broke apart and rolled on the ground laughing, leaving me to scream for them to pull the thorns off me so I could stand up.

We had been friends before the fights and we remained friend afterwards. We recounted the story for years, the last time at GT’s funeral.


Fathairybastard said...

That the funeral you recetly went to? Hate those things, but they do seem to bring floods of memories. I was gonna ask you if you modeled Henry after that guy, but you covered it. Amazing how boys can beat the hell out of one another and then laugh and walk away friends. Never had that happen to me. Sounds wonderful. I wonder if girls can walk away friends from a full on, nails out, cat fight?

Suldog said...

I printed this out to read on my coffee break. I pretty much spit out a mouthful. Thanks!

Les Becker said...

'Round these parts "tush" means something, um... different. So, if you're a “tush hog”, Mushy.... um... never mind.

BRUNO said...

Kinda what I thought about "tush-hog", too! But, hey---if it feels good.......!

Nah, weren't no fight---was just the "young male testosterone" ventin'-off!!!

Kevin said...

Too funny! My dad's name is Barry, and he was a lot like your buddy in his youth. Total hot-head, got in tons of fights, got expelled from school and straightened up in the navy. It's cool that you guys could be friends after that - it was like that for me too - nowadays, I'm not so sure. Sorry about your buddy GT.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Mushy,

I had/ have a friend called Barry as well, who was just as much fun to with with as your buddy. In his sporting heyday, my mate Barry was lean as a whippet at 65kg - but he’s a father of three now and probably tips the scales at 95kg. He’s still mad as a cut snake, though!

Would you mind if I placed you on my blogroll? Got a busy month coming up and might not be able to visit as often as I’d choose to, but I do enjoy your style.

Re: your pizza post. Will be posting something for you on my site when I come back from doing the school pick-up run in about 90 minutes. Check it out when you have the time!


Scott from Oregon said...

I never could much figure out what fightin' for fun was all about.

Hitting someone a good one usually meant a swollen knuckle for a week.

You almost always got your nose around someone's stinky pats. And if you were like me and just plain stronger than everybody, you got cursed at for breaking things on people.

And yeah, tush hog around San Francisco has a different meaning altogether...

I still got a rose bush scratch scar that runs about eight inches down my right thigh...