"A little violence never hurt anybody..."
Or so one of my part-Cherokee Ozark uncles used to say.
Now, I'm not one to advocate going around punching people in the nose, but I've seen enough to see my Uncle's point.
So has this fellow Mikel Jollett, who wrote a touching if unconventional tribute to his dad: "Me vs. The Bully" (h/t Gar).
When I was 15, I was terrorized by a 12th-grade headbanger. A big, mean S.O.B. who ran with the skinheads, snorted coke before school, and walked the halls with a menacing scowl on his face and a 4-inch switchblade tucked in his vest .... Everyone at the school was afraid of him. I was afraid of him. I had no idea what to do about it.Well ... you might think that this particular advice wouldn't take much brow-furrowing thought, that this ex-con advising his son to kick that bully's ass is just some loser giving primitive advice, but if you read the story, you'll see that this dad understood his son's situation, knew what had to be done, didn't give the advice lightly, and prepared his son both mentally and physically for following through.
So, I told my dad. Now, Dad and I were nothing alike .... He'd been an outlaw in his youth, running drugs to Mexico, writing fraudulent checks, and spending 3 years in prison....
Everyone in prison thought my dad was crazy. Whenever someone came too close, he'd go berserk, yelling with that incredibly powerful voice of his, intimidating whoever approached him, convincing them that he was a cannon ready to go off .... They left him alone....
Which is why he seemed like the right guy to talk to about the headbanger. I sat him down one morning and told him about the threats, the intimidations, the months spent with my stomach in knots. He listened intently and thought for a moment, furrowing his weathered brow as I did during geometry class. Then he looked up and said, simply, "Well, you're going to have to kick his ass."
The advice was basic, not primitive -- an important distinction.
Now, I've never punched anybody -- even grew up assuming that the moral position was to "turn the other cheek" -- but I can think of a few times when a sharp punch in some jerk's nose might have assisted that guy's moral development.
Read the story and draw your own conclusions.