EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

One Day At The Schoolyard.

Do you remember being a kid?  Do you ever wish for those days when you could go out and play and when things didn’t go right you could call ‘Do Over’ and just make it all go away?  This was one of those days.

I once wrote up a post about The Hero Factor and to tell you the truth, that whole thing could have been composed from personal experience.  As proof of that I offer a happy little tale of a day when healthy things like rational judgment, and concern for my own safety somehow just managed to elude my grasp. 

Once upon a time my formula for “friend” selection was far less complicated than the lengthy algebraic equation I use these days.  If you go back far enough I’d consider you friend just for being there; and that’s what Mason was – he was just there.  Now, in his defense, in the years following I found Mason to be a decent, upstanding guy, but on this one afternoon he was a straight up coward. 

Me and Mase were two of the tallest kids in class for many years and back when you had to line up, shut up, and await further instructions, you were ordered to arrange yourselves in size order from shortest to tallest.  We were seated side-by-side at the back of the classroom every year and whenever we’d get split into twos it was always me and Mason, those last two guys, working on class projects together.

You’re dragging this out again.  Let’s GO!

OK!  I’m quite possibly the slowest eater on planet Earth and 25 years ago this was still true – so by the time I finished my lunch everybody was out there already!  So this one day I head out to the schoolyard and see a massive crowd standing around what appears to be some sort of brawl.  As a child I’d always been taught to stay away from that scene because there was nothing good that could come of it but sometimes you can’t just hear it, you have to see it for yourself. 

As I close in on the center of the crowd I see five guys having at it.  One white and four black.  When I get a little close I can make out a face – it’s Mason, and though fighting back vigorously, the four black guys are handing him a proper ass-kicking.  I was absolutely enraged.  Without hesitation and without consideration for consequence or safety, I put my head down and charged straight in there. 

I made my way through the crowd as they were stomping him out and barreled into one of Mase’s assailants.  Though extraordinarily slight of frame, I had very good speed and delivered a solid blow that floored him!  “Back off!!”, I ordered. 

You’re full of shit.  You didn’t say that.

No, I really did.  What can I say, I watched alot of TV when I was a kid!  Anyway, the looks on those four guys faces was priceless.  There I stood, between them and Mason, almost as big as the smallest of them and completely fearless.  The crowd went silent.  And then came the fist across my cheek…

Over what felt like the next three or four hours I got beaten like a drum.  I took it like a champ and stayed on my feet and even got in a few decent punches of my own.  If you’ve ever been rocked on the jaw real good you know how it wickedly time can get distorted afterwards.  Your mind races and everything slows down and minutes can feel like hours.  Amidst this one-sided melee I saw something that froze me. 

Uh yeah.  Just for the record: Freezing up is not a good thing when you’re getting jumped by four guys.

I saw Mason!  Eye-to-eye!  He was on his feet, looking relatively uninjured, and watching excitedly from among the crowd!! 

That sonofabitch!  He was fighting off four guys by himself while the rest of his so-called friends watched!?  And when you came to help him he just walked off?  He didn’t even go for help???  He just stood there!?

Yes he did.  Just after that brief moment of bewilderment came yet another unpleasant wakeup call.

Got rocked upside the head again?

Yeah.  But by then I had already switched gears mentally; I’d gone from running on instinct to actually thinking again.  That’s why things slow down when you’re all amped up like that.  Your brain disconnects and you just do what comes naturally.  Thinking will slow up your reflexes.  The good part was that I remembered I had been practicing karate, then delivered a beautiful kick that doubled over one of my attackers; the bad news is with my mind re-engaged, I got pummelled to the ground when I stopped to admire the results of that kick. 

It didn’t take much longer after that for the school aides to arrive and break it up and though I took a few lumps there was no real harm done.  It was literally a painful lesson to learn, but one that we all learn and I’m glad I got it out of the way early in life.  In retrospect I regretted putting myself at risk to try and help Mason, but if that same kind of thing were to happen to one of my friends today I’d still charge right in there.  I’ve just been far more selective since then about who gets to bear the title of “Friend”.

-E

May 20, 2006 Posted by | Personal Revelations | 4 Comments