Sorry for the delay in writing. I’m sure you know how summer gets with vacations and the such. While I know I would love to write all of the time, time is not on my side. I volunteer many hours to groups that want more and more of my time. I love it, but yet, want to get out from under much of it. Time is just not on my side.
I bring it up, because one of the things I volunteer doing is being a Den Leader for my son’s Cub Scout group. I love working with the kids and helping them develop their own leadership skills. But, as with many things, there always creeps up thoughts of my own childhood and being involved in scouts was a small part of it.
I stayed in Cub Scouts for only two years as a Wolf and a Bear. Of course, during those two years my father chose to be the Scoutmaster. While others might relish this, I knew that it would just lead to me being ridiculed at school, which it did. Some of my bullies were also in the Cub Scout group, including Mitchell, who plays the biggest part in this story about the Big Nose and the Black Eye.
For several years I was being picked on and beat up now, without fighting back. It was 5th grade and I think I just finally had enough. I decided the next time the bullying started, I would have to fight back instead of just letting someone beat the piss out of me.
In Massachusetts, the winters can be quite cruel. The schools had to let us play outside in the Winter or we’d be cooped up in the school for six months. So, they always had a snowman building contest every year. This was a big deal and my friends and I had our idea all set. We came up with just making a giant snowman head with a very large nose.
As we were building, we got to the end. We spent most of our time trying to make the nose as big as possible. Right before the end of the contest, Mitchell comes over and just knocks off the nose on the snowman. That was it. That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me. I jumped on him and just started punching his face. A few quick punches and then I lept up and ran all the way home, never looking back.
My sister, who went to the middle school next to my school was walking home a few minutes later. One of the teachers stopped her to tell her what happened. She ran home after me. When she got home I was hiding. I was petrified that Mitchell was going to be coming after me. I don’t think I’d ever hit anyone before, and remember little of doing it. I equate my story to what happens to the boy in the movie, “A Christmas Story”. When he finally fights back at the bully, he just loses it. I knew that feeling and I remember watching that movie made me think “a-ha” I’m not alone in this.
So, my sister calmed me down. But, I had a bigger problem ahead of me. That same night was the Cub Scout Blue & Gold dinner. Mitchell would be there and I would have to see him. Of course, I would have my father with me, but he would be doing the Scoutmaster thing, not the least of which was wearing a full indian headdress for the event. Oy!
So, off we went to the Blue & Gold, with me scared out of my wits having to face the boy I just hit and ran. When we got there, I scanned the room and there was Mitchell with a black eye! Now I figured I was in real trouble. I wasn’t proud of giving him a shiner and I wasn’t happy that I threw a punch. I felt sick seeing him. But, he came up to me and as he approached, I wanted to run so fast.
Mitchell said something like, “hey Alan” or something simple and similar like that. That was it. “Hey Alan”! Like we were old friends. Like he didn’t knock the nose off of our snowman and I didn’t just lose myself and punch him. I’m sure I said something like, “hey” back, but who knows with my heart pounding so fast and fear gripping me.
And that was it. . .
Mitchell never bullied me again and I didn’t worry about him anymore. He was in the past. Now I had to deal with the question of did my fighting back punching him stop him from bullying me? If so, how many more fights was I going to have to have? Unfortunately a lot more was the answer. It’s not fair that fighting back seems to be the answer for boys. I never wanted to throw the punch and I didn’t want it to lead to now me having to fight.
But, that’s what happened and that’s where the defending myself with fists started. Over the next few years, I found that fists worked better then words to stop the bullies. Not my best years.