Retrospect: Bullies and Beat Downs

My mother dropped me off on the west side of Chicago in the summer of 1986. She abandoned me on the corner of Huron and Cicero. I walked into my father’s house and he had no idea that my mother wanted us to live with him. Well, that was a devastating moment in my life. But the subsequent months on the west side proved daunting.

I’ve always been kind of a nerd, but I could dance, rap and play football so it saved me from ridicule. Besides, I was going to high school with the same people I had known since kindergarten.

Austin High was something different. I knew no one and the guys from my street didn’t go to school – I was alone. So it was only fitting that the girlfriend of a popular football player had a thing for me. It was also fitting that this guy had a mean streak and hung around with a group of guys that didn’t give a damn about beating the crap out of someone.

My perilous predicament started with a note from “the girlfriend” asking my name and phone number. I knew she was dating “that dude” but she was cute and I was new. So I gave her my name and number and it started. She called and we talked. After several nights of talking and afternoons of walking her to her locker, the word got around.

One night I got a call from “that dude” with him basically threatening to beat me to a pulp. Two days later he and his boys surrounded me at the lunch table, again, threatening to beat me to a pulp. I got it and left her alone. But she didn’t leave me alone. One day while walk to my art class, she strolls along side of me. We talk and wouldn’t you know it, “that dude” and his cronies happen to be standing by my classroom.

They left no doubt that at three thirty I would get the beating of my life. I was four months into my west side life and had already had three brawls. One, in which my guy left me – you can read that story here: Punks

I got on the phone and called my boy Maurice. He lived across the street from the school and was about as crazy as they come. He told me to walk across the street and he’d handle the rest.

At three thirty, I left the school with “that dude” following close behind. I figured I could get a couple of good punches in before they smashed me. As the beat down was about to commence, Maurice runs out of the house with guns blazing. If he wasn’t so demonic looking he could have been an angel. “That dude” backed off and we were able to reconcile our differences with the spillage of my blood.

I always felt good about not running home scared. I was willing to take that beat down. Sometimes you have to get knocked down in standing up for yourself. I did get beat down a couple of times after that day and I administered a few along the way. One of those tales is soon to follow this one.

1) How do you deal with bullies?
2) Have you ever gotten into a fight with a jealous boyfriend/girlfriend
3) Who was your arch nemesis as a kid? What happened?


18 Responses to Retrospect: Bullies and Beat Downs

  1. Bullfrog Says:
    Did I, man I was a white kid living in a neighborhood where whites were the minority. I got threatened, chased, beat up from the jump.

    Like you, I ALWAYS chose to confront when challenged or threatened. Fortunately for me, 99% of the time the person issuing the threat either never showed up or backed down (whew!).

    My skill in Jr. and High School was having the ability to cap on people, no matter who. This one day at lunch, this girl Marshawn made a crack, and a pretty personal one, so I let loose with the cut-downs (we called them "bases") until she cried. Immediately, this dude Troy confronted me, "What's your problem man?!" I just looked him dead in the eye (scared out of my wits) and said, "I don't have a problem." He walked away. The next morning at first period, everybody was telling me that after first period, Troy AND this guy Randy were gonna meet me at the gym (I had PE 2nd period). Sure enough, on the way to gym class I spotted them coming my way. I went right for them, walking casually and when they got close enough I made eye contact with Troy. When they got close he says, "Hey, whats up", gives me a nod and they parted so I could walk right between them. All talk.

    I could tell you several similar stories where guys just wanted to test me, and when it came down to it, nada.

    My brother and I did catch a pretty good beat down from a group of 5 kids while walking home from school one day. It was just random, as far as I could tell their only beef was that we were white (they were all either black or mexican).
  2. James Manning Says:

    In Argo, I was just a regular kid. On the west side, I was the kid that talked white. Whew... It's a good thing I knew how to handle myself.

    But I got my share of bloody noses.
  3. Jaimie Says:
    I try to avoid bullies, I guess.

    I've never been in a fight before, and definitely WOULD NEVER over a boy or man.
  4. bold as love Says:
    Iam the oldest of five boys. I was pure offense, I couldn't afford to let shit slide or my brothers would live under the threats of bullies all of their childhood.
    Bullies were easy to deal with. Most of them were not used to being stood up to. There exists a small window of opportunity that I realized you had to exploit before the bully would pound you to pulp- yeah, bullies tended to be bigger and stronger.
    lost one fight growing up but the other person looked worse than I did. The important thing was to stand my ground- not the outcome of the fight.
  5. Raiden Says:
    When I was a kid my arch nemesis was this cat named Frankie. He was the ring leader of the 10 or so boys on my block. He was cool at first. We hung out; he kicked it with the family. My Dad even took him to the park with us a few times. Then for no reason he decide he hated me and tried to make my life miserable.

    He had a rep and an attitude. I was a good nice kid. I was a little intimidated. He turned everyone against me.

    I however was not a punk. We ended up fighting on several occasions. At first he would get the better of me. He was the superior boxer. After a few go rounds I got stronger and he couldn't hang. He told my dad be wouldn't fight me anymore because I was heavy handed. Translation - I was just stronger than his ass with big hands.

    What was funny with this cat was that he was a thug in our neighborhood but at school, we got shipped out to the valley, he was a total surfer white boy. He was even more popular at school than in our neighborhood. It was like a nightmare. I was yet again in his playground, literally.

    After he realized I was not scared of him he started bothering my little sisters. Raiden don't play that. I beat the shit out of him on the school bus in front of his friends. I had dude hanging out the bus window. The driver begged me not to drop him.

    We became friends after that. I hear he actually turned out to be a pretty good cat.
  6. Raiden Says:
    I answered question #3 but not #1 and #2.

    1. You don't back down. Bullies are punks. Standing your ground will usually keep them at bay.

    2. Nope.
  7. mark Says:
    Like others have already said the best way to deal with bullies is to stand your ground. No I never have been in a fight over a woman and I never will. Unless something over the top happens.
  8. Bullfrog Says:
    As far as fighting over a woman, never happened. I have encountered a couple ex-boyfriends of women I was seeing but, like a bully, when confronted they are all smiles and polite conversation.
  9. Mr. Grey Ghost Says:

    Interesting story, but would this kid have messed with you if his girl didnt try to keep getting at you? And shouldnt you hold yourself just a bit responsible for not telling her to leave you alone? Sorry, but to me bullies pick on you because they can, because they're bigger and badder than you are and because they know you fear them and wont fight back, not because you're trying to talk to their girlfriend (or vice versa). Then too, I'm sick and tired of women who instigate fights between dudes. Cant count how many times I've heard or read stories about dudes fighting or killing each other because of some chick. Not to blame the females alone because its a macho/ego thing too that nowadays usually gets a guy killed.
  10. mark Says:
    Good point GG
  11. Little Miss Chatterbox Says:
    I'm so sorry about your mom abandoning you. Do you have a relationship with her now?

    I was once groped by a guy and I called the cops and pressed charges against him. I had a whole gang of girls threatening to beat me up because of it. The police hung around school for a couple of days because of it and I had protection. After that it died down and amazingly I never did get beaten up.
  12. James Manning Says:

    Those cats were bad news and I think part of it was because I was the new kid on the block. No one knew me so I was an easy target anyway.

    But I really wasn't doing anything with the chick. She was just one of those types.

    I've never gotten into a fight over a girl - I don't count my sister.
  13. Bushwack Says:
    James, first off How are you man?

    As a kid growing up I had this guy who Kicked my ass from 5th grade till the first year of High School. He was 2 years older than me. and about 40 lbs and 6" taller.
    Every fight, He'd get the better of me. I'd heal up and go right after him again. I moved to N.C. and came back 6 years later, Visited my old area found out he still lived with his parents. Worked at a bowling alley in Brea. Met him after work and got my revenge. So I guess I was 1 and 14 career against this asshole but Walking away after the ass kicking I put on him was the best feeling in the world.
    Yes us rednecks hold a grudge and we are far to dumb to forgive and forget. Tormented for 3 years by this idiot and 5 minutes wiped that out of my memory bank.

    I can laugh about it now. :-|
  14. Diane S. Says:
    I have no answers to your questions, but I feel moved to say that the girlfriend of "The Dude" was a self-centered little so and so for putting you in that sort of jeopardy. If she wanted to see someone else, she should have dumped "the dude" first.

    Secondly, things like this make me glad I'm a woman. We have our trials growing up, but they're petty compared to what young men go through.

    My hat's off to you for standing your ground.
  15. Diane S. Says:
    I have no answers to your questions, but I feel moved to say that the girlfriend of "The Dude" was a self-centered little so and so for putting you in that sort of jeopardy. If she wanted to see someone else, she should have dumped "the dude" first.

    Secondly, things like this make me glad I'm a woman. We have our trials growing up, but they're petty compared to what young men go through.

    My hat's off to you for standing your ground.
  16. Diane S. Says:
    Sorry! Don't know how that posted twice!
  17. BluJewel Says:
    I've been the "new kid in the school" and I hated it more than words can describe. I too had a girl hate me because someone she liked liked me. (How the hell was I supposed to know?) Anyway, she would call me names, bump into me in the hall, and all those other petty things to piss you off. One day after class I had enough and she stepped to me. I promptly issued her an industrial sized can of whoop ass in front of said boy whom to this day I've never dated. We both got suspended for 3 days in spite of my protests that she iniated it. They said I should have walked away. Sheot! That bitch had it coming and I wasn't going to let her hit on me and me not fight back. No one realized I had a mean streak in me.
  18. MIB Says:
    There were two bullies in my hood. One named Jeff -- a slob of a ne'er-do-well who seemed to be 6' tall in the 3rd grade. Jeff wouldn't beat you up per se as much as intimidate you with his sheer bulk. He'd buffalo kids.

    Darryl was the other bully. In my book he was more insidious for his type of bullying was of the chicken sh*t brand, y'know? Instigating fights between two other people. But he'd suck up as Eddie Haskell to every kid's parents, who'd believe his smarminess.

    I broke down Jeff in three events. I smashed a school project of his with a slingshot after suffering a round of his taunting during the 4th grade. When we were in sixth grade, I literally tried to break my leg off in his colon after another round of his taunting in a Home Economics class. (My foot got caught up in his ass, so Jeff kept punching me in the face, LOL.) My revenge was complete and final later that year when I had my dog chase him down after he tried to steal a wagon I used for delivering papers. SCHWEET!

    Dealing with Darryl was a far more problematic scenario. Things became complicated as 1) he'd never throw a punch as much as humiliate you in front of peers, 2) my mother was especially fond of him. So, whenever the kids from the block would gather to play basketball or football, he'd give me the bizness long enough to make me surrender. That kept up until 6th- or 7th grade when I began to develop as an athlete. (Being a good student didn't really pull weight with 11- and 12-year olds.)

    Sports kind of gave me refuge from Darryl's taunting. It's like I started not hearing him. He'd still make his smart-assed remarks and try to create confrontations between me and even bigger, older guys. But I think the older dudes -- besides being more mature to leave that kind of nonsense alone -- gave me props for playing ball.

    By 10th grade I'd stopped talking to Darryl altogether, even though he lived two doors up the block and our mothers were friendly. Actually, I stopped talking to him. He'd talk about me while we'd be together in a group as if I weren't there. But instead of guys, now it was in front of girls whom Darryl would humiliate me. My deliverance came in the form of another neighbor, Camila, who very conspicuously walked home with me after I'd played in a football game.