Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Neighborhood Bullies

I still vividly remember chasing one Tyrone Funk down the street, back in the day, after he threatened to beat up some of my guy friends (calling them pussies). Wearing a garish, flouncy purple dress (for I had just come from the 8th Grade Graduation Dance) I stalked off into the darkness after him, shouting, "You wanna fight? Fight me! I'll show you who's a PUSSY!" as he ran away, calling over his shoulder that I was lucky he was raised so well, he didn't hit girls.... Not long after this incident, I caught him bullying a kid on crutches, trying to yank his crutches away. I threw him up against some lockers, and told him he'd better not ever let me catch him bullying anyone, anywhere, ever again and he made sure I never did.

I discovered in my recent visit with childhood pal Greg (who was witness to this fiasco) that I was not the only one who remembered my interactions with Ty Funk with some fondness. Ah, the memories.

Yesterday afternoon Kate came home from school and asked me if I would walk to the bus stop with her in the morning. Earlier in the year I'd given a young man a talking to, telling him that since he was bigger and stronger than my little girl, I expected him to restrain himself from hitting her in the head with his book bag. At that time, I'd told him that if I heard that he couldn't restrain himself, I was going to have to come to the bus stop every afternoon and walk him home. It took a minute for that to sink in, but I stressed that if he couldn't be trusted to roam the neighborhood without an escort, I would be happy to walk him home after school every day to make sure everyone got home safely. That being just about the last thing in the world he wanted, he fell in line.

This kept the peace for several months, but Toumsa and his friend Massad are getting restless again and this time throwing rocks at little girls. Kate made sure to tell me that they did not throw rocks at her, but they were picking on one of her forlorn-looking little friends, and could I please go and teach them a lesson?

This morning, I happily sauntered up to Toumsa and told him that I'd heard he'd been throwing rocks, and that as one of the biggest kids at the bus stop, I was *sure* he could excercise some self-restraint and not pick on little girls. He indignantly protested that he had not thrown rocks at *my* little girl, and why did I care. I replied that I cared because this was my neighborhood, and I wanted it to be a safe place for everyone, so if I heard that he was causing trouble for any of the girls I wasn't going to let it go. He started to turn away, seemed to be ignoring me, so I turned it up a notch, "Toumsa, what would your family think I told them you were throwing rocks at little girls?"

His jaw dropped. "How did you know my name?!" I assured him that everyone in the neighborhood knew his name because he was always causing trouble. "Well, what's *his* name?" Toumsa said, pointing at his friend. I told Toumsa that I didn't care what his friend's name was, and that if his friend went around causing as much trouble as he did, I'm sure that I would know his name too.

The little coward gave up his friend's name immediately! "His name is Massad!" Fine, then, now I know both of your names. And I expect both of you big boys to have the good sense to leave the little girls alone from now on. This kid was clearly praying for the bus to arrive and save him.

There will come a day in the not too distant future when these kids will be too old and cocky for me to intimidate into good behavior this way, but for now I'll just keep handling the neighborhood bullies like I've always done. Maybe they'll grow up and start acting less like little creeps if they think the Crazy Neighbor Lady is keeping tabs on them, and they're not anonymous and safe from retribution!

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