May 4, 2021

Winning by accident

Frank was in my brother’s kindergarten class. He was in third grade with me. My brother was two grades ahead of me. Frank was idolized because he legally drove to school in Jr. High, but that is not germane to this story.

Back in third grade I was a runt. Frank was the opposite, a fifth grader in age, he was big even among his eleven year-old peers. Frank came back from Christmas break determined that I was responsible for anything that irked him at any given moment. He was irritated often. Nearly every day he promised I was going to get it after school. Apparently, he failed to grasp the notion that I rode the school bus, while he walked home, and that meant a promised meeting was pretty much impossible. 

Finally, Frank decided the fear of punishment was not enough to deter him from delivering the ass-beating I deserved for whatever I did to make him angry and swore I would get what was coming that day at recess. 

I hustled out to the playground. I knew Frank was a lot taller than me, so I climbed a pile of plowed snow beside the chain link fence around the school perimeter to help equalize the height difference. A crowd gathered as Frank approached. 

Frank wasn’t one of those guys who talked and boasted and threatened before a fight. He was a man of action. He came straight for me. I shifted position to prepare to run out of the way.  I tripped over an untied shoestring. I fell straight at Frank and we both tumbled to the ground, my elbow striking him square in the nose. Blood exploded over his face. As I scrambled to get up, my hand pushed him in the throat. He gagged and curled into a ball. Why not, I kicked him while he was down. A couple of times.

Then I ran. 

Frank’s friends helped him up, shielding him from the teacher monitoring the playground. He later said he fell on the ice to explain the bloody nose. 

I figured I was in for it the next day.

Instead, Frank became my biggest supporter. He thought I purposely fought him. And won. Everyone did. I had a newfound reputation and playground respect. 

Mom was always yelling at me to tie my shoes. 

She was wrong. Loose shoestrings saved my life. 


Practical Parsimony said...

Well, that gave me a long laugh and recurring spasms of giddiness. thanks.

Cheryl said...

You need to write a book with these stories.

Cappy said...

Similar, but less dramatic.

1st grade, Sunday School.

Meckler had me cornered against the wall. He swings. I duck. His fist smashes the wall. Loud noise. Teacher comes over.

I win.

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