I am nothing if not consistent with my love of 80’s movies.
Speaking of the 80s, I was picked on pretty much non-stop through my middle school to high school years. Some of it I brought on myself, I’m sure, but a lot of it was just one of those things that kids wind up having to deal with.
In fifth grade at my Catholic school, I had one guy that just would not let up on me. I have no idea why. He never would have been on my radar at all if not for him coming up and giving me guff all the time. I guess it wasn’t just me, because one day I stepped into him doing the same thing to my best friend. I’m not a tough guy, never have been, but something in me snapped about him being abusive to one of the few people that actually seemed to like me, so I tried kicking this guy, from behind, in the goods.
It didn’t work. He turned, saw it was me, and it was pretty much a given that I was going to be pummeled.
Somehow though, while avoiding a swing to the face, I fished around in my jacket (it was winter in Michigan, so it was a heavy coat) to find something to defend myself. I was hoping for a pencil, or maybe a Highlander sword (where did they actually keep those things??). But there only seemed to be one thing in there.
A clip-on tie.
Ties were a part of the school uniform, and if you forgot yours one day, there was a teacher that loved to make the boys where one from his collection of bizarre, loud, embarrassing ties (it was fifth grade I’ll remind you. This kind of thing was devastating to kids of our age). So when I’d forgotten mine the day before, a friend had loaned me their’s so I wouldn’t have to be the laughing stock (more than I normally would be at least).
In the hands of Jason Statham a tie might qualify as a worthy weapon. But I was no Transporter. I was a scared little nerd-child who had gotten himself to a very bad situation. But I had nothing else going for me, so I went for broke and swung it mightily at my attacker.
I missed. Mostly. But the clip at the end of it caught my bully, right above his eyeline. And I saw him stop in his tracks, and a light trail of blood formed on his forehead.
Now, I’d love to pretend that this ended in some anime-esque scene where his head slowly slipped off his body and a giant explosion erupted behind me as I slow-walked away. Because that would be epic. But of course that didn’t happen. What I got was a brief reprieve for one shining moment. I’d stood my ground… heck, even better, I’d defended an ally. My group surrounded me as our bully slunk away, briefly, and cheered me for my bravery.
And then the guy came back and pushed me over from behind.
But it was done. I can’t recall another time that he ever came after me directly, or in the rest of my time at that school after any of my friends. And this was decades ago now, so I may be misremembering this in whole sorts of ways that oversell how important this moment was. But, for me, that was a big moment. I would still deal with bullies going forward in my life, but I was far less afraid of any of them.
So enjoy your victory, Glen. Any win is a win worth having.