Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Life goes on and maybe history will repeat itself if I live that long.
My nephew, who is getting married soon asked me if I would be willing to step out of retirement and help him out if he fathers a son.
The sound of his voice made me know he was half-kidding me so I told him I only worked as a team with his mother. He chuckled.
About 30 minutes after the call I got a call from my sister, who also happens to be his mother and she told me David, her son, had just asked her if we would be willing to 'put the band together' if he needs it.
We both laughed gleefully, remembering the bullying incident that all three of us shared.
I guess it was almost 20 years ago and there was this school bully that the administration wasn't taking care of. David became one of his victims and the liberal crap was starting already in the self-defense area. This was in one of the most liberal holes in the nation.
Anyway, my sister rapidly grew tired of it and rounded up about a half dozen of the mothers of this thug's victims and quietly got them to back her up. My sister is smart enough to know that the proper wat to deal with school administrations is to spring a trap.
She arranged a meeting with the school principal, the bully, his parents, her and her son. I was also drafted to act both as a witness and to help out.
Now what was pretty funny about this meeting is that I knew the vice-principal. He had been my biology teacher many years back when he was a new teacher. He was really a bumbling idiot that had gotten the required degrees to work his way into administration, yet didn't have half of a brain in his head. The school system tended to promote from within and how this imbecile got to be a vice principal is beyond me. He was pretty incompetent as a teacher back when I had him.
So the seven of us went into the vice-principal's office and the meeting began. Sis had closed the door after we were all in the room and unbeknownst to either the vice-principal or the bully's contingent the half-dozen mothers quietly entered the school and gathered outside.
While we were in there the vice-principal tried to be the politician he wasn't and things started getting nowhere at twice the speed of light and when he started in with the counseling crap which seems to be the norm even these days, I grew pretty disgusted. I had predicted this and had come prepared.
I saw instantly where the bully got his bad manners. They came from his father because he started in on making quite light his thuggish son's ill manners. He made some sort of reference to his son's being punished over a 'fair fight'.
I looked at the father, "It's not a fair fight," I said, conversationally.
"My nephew weighs about 60 pounds less than that boy. Perhaps I can help level the playing field."
I turned to my nephew and took him aside and explained to him that I was going to teach him how to deal with bullies. The vice-principal looked over with the official school administrator and asked me what I had in mind.
WIth that I put my right hand up my left sleeve and produced a British commando knife and handed it to my nephew. The Brits refer to this nasty dagger as 'Black Death' and during WW2 the tool did an admirable job of keeping the German Graves registration people pretty busy. The tool was designed for one single thing and that was fighting against other human beings.
"Time for school," I said to my nephew and with that I started carefully pointing out the finer points of using such a dagger for defensive purposes, pointing out that he was not to stick it into his assailant's ribs unless it was absolutely necessary as it could get stuck there and hard to remove. I showed him how to make an upward thrust into the solar plexus and drive it up. I was also careful to point out the stud on the butt of the handle was useful for busting a head and suggested he target the center of the forehead if necessary. If such a blow did not kill an assailant, then it would certainly stun him enough so that he could finish him off at his leisure.
I also pointed out that a knife was good ecologically as it could be reused many times and still be an effective self-defense tool.
Of course, everyone in the room was agape except my sister.
The vice principal recovered first and looked at my sister. "What do you have to say about this?" he demanded to know. "You're the boy's mother!"
"He forgot to tell my son to throw sand into his eyes so he doesn't see it coming," answered my sister, smugly.
The vice-principal turned to me. "Where did you get that knife?
Where did you learn to fight like that?" he demanded.
"Bought it from Louie Reed back when I was a junior," I replied.
"Seven bucks and he schlepped it to me in your class. I learned to fight with it in your biology class, too when we covered human anatomy. If you recall, I paid attention in that class and did quite well in the test. The knife saved my skin in a brawl at New Joe's bar back in '73."
"I taught no such thing!" He snapped. He looked aghast.
"Yeah, you did," I replied. "You also taught me scientific thinking. The first thing you do when you encounter a problem is eliminate it. He's the problem and he needs elimination." I pointed at the bully.
"You want him to hurt my son?" cried the shocked mother.
"Certainly not," I replied. "I am not teaching my nephew to inflict pain. There will only be a small prick as the blade enters his sternum and then nothing. It will end painlessly, assuming my nephew learns his lessons."
My sister had quietly opened the door a bit so the mothers outside could hear the whole thing.
One of the mothers outside coughed or something because the vice-principal went to the door and opened it and stood here in shock.
"What are you people here for?" he asked.
Shirley Lindholm broke the ice. 'We're here because we're tired of that kid pushing ours around." She looked in at me. "Where can I get my son a knife like that?" she asked. My sister had told me that Shirley was likely to be sharp enough to ask something like that. Shirley could be a firebrand when she wanted to.
"Now wait a minute," protested the vice principal. "The school has a no weapons policy!"
"They also have a no bullying policy and it isn't being enforced!" she shot back.
About this time, the father of the bully said something stupid. "All this over a couple of fair fights? What a bunch of wimps."
That's when I lost my temper and turned on the balls of my feet and swung. Hard. The instant I connected I knew that the punch was going to leave him with a shiner out of a Norman Rockwell painting that would last for at least a couple of months.
He went flying out of the office and landed on his ass outside, stunned.
"Looked like a fair fight to me," shouted Shirley. "Self-defense!"
"I'm calling the police!" snapped the vice-principal.
"You do and every single one of us will file charges against the boy," shouted Louise Murphy, who was another mother. "Then we'll take this up with the school committee. They will roast you alive!"
I wandered out and picked up the father. "I just told you once. If I have to tell you twice it'll be the other eye. Curb your dog. If someone asks you what happened at work tomorrow, tell them you got whipped in a fair fight."
The vice-principal stood there stunned and slowly figured out what to do. He was in a daze.
Finally the vice-principal decided to do something. He told the bully's mother that if her son even looked at another kid cross-eyed, on or off school property that he would be expelled and that was final. The bully and his mother scraped up the father who was standing there holding his sore, aching and rapidly swelling eye and they fled amid a torrent of threats and insults.
My sister and nephew had simply stood there folded arms watching the other mothers rat-pack the vice-principal like a school of hammerhead sharks on a feeding frenzy. The man looked like he was fighting a swarm of bees.
My sister calmly looked at the vice-principal and told him that if he was not good to his word than they would take the issue up with the school committee and there would ba a lot more than six or seven mothers in attendence. He nodded with a beaten, humbled look.
The three of us left the office and as we did, Lisa Raymond, who was divorced, asked me over for dinner that evening. My sister answered before I could open my mouth.
"He can't, Lisa. Maybe next time. We have to get him out of town in case he presses charges," she replied.
I got to my truck and looked at my nephew and snapped my fingers and held my hand out. He handed me back my knife and I made my farewells. About an hour later I was over the state line headed for home.
My neice heard about everything the following day and didn't know whether to be mortified or laugh like hell. She never had a single problem at school from that day until graduation. Of course, neither did my nephew.
The following day the kids at school did what they should have done in the first place. They rat-packed the bully and beat him senseless after school. This happened a couple of more times and I heard he settled down and seemed to do reasonably well after that.
After he graduated he left town and later someone claimed to have seen him in a Navy uniform but wasn't 100% sure.
The vice-principal retired a couple of years later. Rumor is that he left the state.
To the surprise of almost everyone, the father of the bully never pressed charges. The following Christmas, a friend of the family, an attorney, pulled a few strings and checked for us.There were no outstanding warrants for me anywhere.
My sister later warned me that Lisa Raymond was a pain in the ass that had constant problems with men. For the next several years Lisa would, between numerous boyfriends, call my sister and ask for me. She eventually moved to New Hampshire and a couple of years ago, Georgia.
Shirley Lindholm has stayed in touch with my sister and, by extension, my nephew.
Louise Murphy died a few years later of breast cancer. She apparently had ignored the warning signs until it was too late. In spite of all the doctors could do, she succumbed to the disease.
The knife remains in my safe. It is one of my oldest posessions.I recently found a place on line that specializes in these knives and found out to my surprise that it was genuine. Since I bought it in the 60s I had always thought it was a reproduction. It was actually made in the Ishapore arsenal and at the end of the war a number of these were sent to the United States as partial reparations for loans made to the Brits during WW2. In about 1947 a number of these were sold in the NRA monthly magazine through mail order for $1.98. It's probably worth a couple of hundred bucks today to a collector.
Upon the birth of my nephew's firstborn (hopefully a son) I will mail it to Shirley Lindholm who will simply hand it to him in a plain unaddressed wrapper and walk off mysteriously. He'll know where it came from.
For what it's worth, my nephew told me who is presently vice principal at that same school. I know her. I had her in my homeroom for six years. It would be interesting tangling with her.
Unless she has gone through some very radical changes she would be chewed up with less than a burp. She graduated from high school with me and went straight to a teacher's college a couple towns over and got a job as another 'Welcome Back, Kotter' teacher and never really went anywhere or did anything and likely has little to offer.
my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/