Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Tale of Two Beatings

Growing up, I had two distinct personality traits that would seem to be in direct conflict with each other: a sarcastic sense of humor, and extremely poor fighting skills. Given this potentially deadly combination, it's pretty amazing that I survived my teenage years. In fact, I can only remember being in two fights in my entire life.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, they both involved meat-headed football players.

"Fights" might be a generous term, actually. Despite what you'd think to see me now, what, with my ripped physique and six-pack abs and all, I was a scrawny teenager. So, in both of these "fights-but-not-really" it kinda looked like the referee tossed a coin and I'd elected to receive.

The first incident occurred when I was in tenth grade. One of our classmates, a girl named Wendy Byrne, had been killed in an automobile accident over the weekend. Come Monday morning everyone was pretty shaken up, and seeing her empty seat in our third period geometry class was emotional for all of us. Well, all of us except Frank Watkins, linebacker.

Watkins entered the classroom, noticed the sad faces and the empty chair, and offered these words of condolence:

"Hey, looks like Wendy Byrne GOT burned!"

I happened to be the closest one to Watkins when he said it. I stood up and looked him square in the chest and shouted, "That's a pretty fucked up thing to say, you asshole! She's dead, and you think that's funny?"

The next thing I remember I was lying on the floor, looking up at Watkins' teammates who, having set aside for a moment their team camaraderie, were beating the living shit out of him. Seems that I wasn't the only one offended by Watkins' insensitivity.

The Wendy Byrne incident did involve me getting whacked for opening my big mouth, but it wasn't sarcasm that time. Frank Watkins was a four-star douchebag, and someone needed to speak up. It just happened to be me.

The same can not be said of the other "fight".

Kevin Mills was a six-foot four, two hundred and eighty pound offensive lineman with the intellectual capacity of a brain-damaged slug. We'd never spoken, and I'm sure he had no idea who the hell I was, since it was my first year attending high school in California. I only knew him as "the big dumbass over at the football players' table".

Anyway, one Friday afternoon, the usual thundering herd of students was stampeding out of the cafeteria after lunch. In a hurry to get to my algebra class, I swung the door open, and continued on my way. All of a sudden, someone grabbed me by the back of my jacket and spun me around.

It was Mills. Apparently, when I swung the door open, it hit him in the arm, spilling his soda all over the front of his CHS football jersey.

He was not happy.

"What the fuck, you asshole! Lookit what ya did to my jersey!"

I'll admit it. I was terrified. "Oh, man, I'm sorry about that. I didn't even see you there."

All I was saying was, give peace a chance.

Unfortunately, all Mills was saying was, "I'm gonna beat the living shit out of you."

"Now wait a minute, dude. It was an accident. I'd be happy to buy you another soda, and let me know how much the cleaning . . . "

Mills wasn't in the mood to negotiate. He shoved me hard against the lockers.

A crowd had gathered. There was no doubt in my mind that I was about to get pummeled. That being the case, why not go for the laugh? Maybe a witty remark that they could emblazon on my tombstone.

"Hey, Kevin, that's the first time I've ever seen that."

This caught him off guard. "What're you talkin' about? First time you seen what?"

"Well, a guy with his IQ stitched on his shirt."

A somewhat funny line, which became hilarious when Mills actually looked down at the front of his shirt at the big, white "52". Apparently, he hadn't yet memorized his own number.

The crowd went wild.

When I regained consciousness in the nurse's office, my back hurt and the left side of my face was throbbing. There was a large knot on the back of my head from, according to eye-witnesses, my head hitting the concrete when I fell.

Mrs. Greene, the nurse, asked me what happened. I told her what I could remember.

"Jesus, that's funny," she said. "But was it worth getting beaten up over?"

I considered the question

"You know what, it kinda was," I said. And I meant it. If you're going to get a beating, you may as well take it in style.


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Candice said...

Nice comeback. The best one I managed to muster up was "Yo Mama!"

Tamika Jones really didn't like that one for some reason.

Eva Gallant said...

That WAS hilarious!

Jason, as himself said...

Well, at least it was worth it!

Now. How about posting some pics of your ripped physique and six pack abs?

otin said...

I had a different kind of situation. I was never confronted because I was bigger than most of the other kids, but I was definitely a sarcastic smart ass. To this day I have never been in a physical altercation. I have a way of reasoning with people.

Fred Miller said...

Love your opening sentence. And you're right. It doesn't hurt that much to get beat up. Most guys who go around beating up people don't really know what they're doing. Know what hurts? When you keep getting in fights with the same guy. You both start getting better and better at fighting and reading each other. Then you can really hurt each other.

Linda Medrano said...

I've never been in a fight, unless you count with my sisters. One sister and I fought all the time, and I always won. she was 3 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, but I beat the hell out of her every time. I think she was afraid of hurting me. I was trying to kill her. See, there's a difference.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I'd have beaten up the guy who mocked that girl's death too. An uncle was killed in an accident and he died after being taken off life support. At the funeral, a neighbor girl (who I didn't like) said, "It's for the best." I wanted to beat her to a pulp...and I would have if I could have.

And I faced a bully once in high school but I beat him down with my wits.

I was waiting for a class to start and some guy came up to me, asking, "What would you do if I grabbed that crutch out from under you?" Without hesitation, I replied, "I'd smack you with the other one."

I would've fallen on my face but HE didn't know that. His buddies burst out laughing and he slunked away. Later, friends told me there was a rumor going around not to mess with me. No one else ever did. lol!

Becky said...

I have never been in a physical fight, mainly because I'm not sure I could throw a punch. And I'm sure fate knew that when I was blessed with a sarcastic mouth and the intelligence to talk my way out of anything. I can argue circles around just about anyone and get them so lost and confused they just give up.

I consider that a win.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Like you, I'm a smartass and proud of it. Also like you, I was a scrawny kid with no fighting skills. Unlike you, I never openly taunted football players. Like you again, however, I also had two fights with football players, ending up in roughly the same condition as you. Unlike you, I still don't see the humor in it.

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