Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Very first fight

It’s hard to imagine a person like me engaging in fisticuffs during my youth. I was a book worm. I was shy and quiet.

Then again, everybody has heard variations of the following saying, “Beware the quiet people - they are the most dangerous.”

Believe me; I didn’t plan for the fight. I didn’t want to fight. But sometimes people force you into it, and you have to give them hell for thinking such a stupid thing.

Before I get into this story, I want to give mad props to Chris Mauger over at “Maurgeritaville.” He gave me the story idea from a recent post. Make sure you take the time to go visit him.

Okay, let me get this party started! The fight happened during . . . you know what I’m going to say. I’ve done enough posts lately for you to know the current time line. Yes, elementary school. Or, rather, the incident in question happened on the bus ride.

The bus ride in itself was horrible/terrible/a-chariot-ride-into-the-fiery-pits-of-oblivion. No, really, it was bad. Since this was a small school, the district contracted for fewer buses. Then they shoved the students in “three-kids deep” into the seats and shipped us home. The normal time it would take to go from the school to my parents’ house was about ten minutes. It took an hour and a half because the bus drove out to the farthest point of its route and then headed back. So I was the eighth kid to the last to disembark.

Worse, for some reason there was always one kid who didn’t empty his bladder before getting on the bus. So the bus driver would stop at the closest house of a different student, escort the child-in-need up to the door, and ask the parent’s permission to use their bathroom. Then the driver and relieved student would climb back on the bus so we could continue on our way.

I had thoughts of hijacking that bus and taking it to the nearest pizza parlor.

Ahem. Anyway, the fight in question was between me and this other girl. It dealt with these:

My pigtails. My hair was a wild, thick, bunchy mess. So my mother braided it often despite my protests. I had no problem with wearing braids, but the kids on the bus would tug on them constantly. Or rather, two kids in particular would do this. One was a girl named “Gina” (some of you may remember her from this post) who sat behind me on the bus with another kid named Todd.

We had assigned seating on the bus (don’t ask me why - maybe the bus drivers were married to the lunch ladies). With two other kids sharing the seat, I had the fortune of an aisle view. Behind me, Gina had the aisle seat with Todd in the middle. Every day, Gina would tug on the right braid and Todd would bend over the seat back to tug on the left one. It didn’t matter if I stuck my hood up over my head. They would reach around and slip fingers into the fabric.

Tug - tug - tug - tug . . . can you imagine dealing with this for half the school year? 120 days of someone tugging on your hair and no matter whom you told (the bus driver, your parents, the principal), they would all tell you the same thing:

Ignore the instigators and they will stop.

It didn’t happen. For some reason the adults never got it into their heads that if you don’t discipline the instigators then it makes the kids bolder in continuing this bad behavior. The tuggers had their fun, and I went home with a sore scalp, headaches, and in tears.

Then I snapped.

The breaking point was coming. It was building day by day with me yelling at them to stop while they just snickered about it.



I jumped from the seat just as Gina was leaning back. I gave her a shove. The sixth-graders saw what was happening with the younger kids and they rushed forward. They brought me and Gina to the last seats at the back of the bus. The older kids played mediators.

Sixth-grader: “What’s going on?”

Me: “Gina keeps tugging my hair!”

Gina: “It wasn’t me. It was Todd!”

Gina shoved at me to get even with my earlier push. I got even angrier.

Me: “It wasn’t Todd. You sit at the end of the seat. You put your arm around and tugged at my braid.”

Todd would have had to sit in her lap and maneuver his arm into the bus aisle to yank my right braid. He hadn’t moved in his seat when I twirled around. Gina had. My arms shoved her again.

Sixth-grader: “Just stop it. If the bus driver sees you fighting, you’ll get in trouble.”

Gina shoved me. I shoved Gina. She shoved back. Our hands grabbed each other’s clothes. Both of us went down.

Slam! We rolled on the seat, Gina on the bottom and me on top. We didn’t throw any punches. Instead, we had ourselves a good ol’ fashion wrastlin’ match. We shoved and tugged and tried to put sleeper holds on the other person.

Gina had the advantage. I was a stick of a person with weak arms. She had more meat to her bones and bigger muscles. I knew I was losing when she knocked my eyeglasses off. I had to do something to gain the advantage. So my head bent down and I turned vampire.


Yes. I bit Gina - in the chest area.

Of course we were both young, so it was not as if either of us were “endowed." But my teeth caught enough skin under clothes for her to yelp in pain. The sixth-graders pulled me off. The bus driver finally took notice.

“Hey! What’s going on back there?”

“Nothing!” The sixth-graders yelled. They shoved me and Gina close to the floor so he wouldn’t catch sight of us out of our seats.

“If you kids are fighting, I’ll throw you off the bus,” he threatened. When no one answered, or turned snitch, he returned to driving the bus.

The older kids allowed us off the floor. Gina had a nice bruise forming on her chest. I had my eyeglasses broken. There was no way either of us could hide these things from our parents when we got home. Gina’s bus stop was right before mine (we were neighbors - oh, the irony). So the phone was already ringing when I stepped into the house. My mother glowered at me as I showed her my broken eyeglasses. Then Gina and her mother appeared at the door.

In front of them all, I apologized for the fight. Gina accepted my apology. She and her mother walked home, without any apology for instigating the whole mess. For the next several months, I dealt with my parents’ scowls because they had to buy me a new pair of glasses. Yet I held my head up high in pride.

The braid tugging stopped.


  1. Good for you!!! I had similar problems in school (no tugging of my braids), but name calling (twigsy, cabbage head). For some reason I was disliked... maybe because I was a runt, maybe because my mother didn't let me play with kids (if I had a cold she told the teachers not to let me go out at recess). All this and most likely my shyness made me the object of ridicule. Good thing we survived childhood, eh?

  2. Lizzy: Yes, a very good thing we survived. Shyness is always like that, makes the kid look weak and vulnerable.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. How sad that nobody came to your rescue earlier on that school bus!

  4. My hand's itching to slap Gina and Todd!

  5. Dagumit all! Little snit got away with it -- now I want to kick her arse myself! *laughing*

  6. Well, at least the hair pulling ceased, but there was no justice. Except for maybe the bruise.

    Speaking on behalf of principals everywhere, I apologize for the gutless wonder running your elementary school who said "just ignore it".


    As you said, ignoring it makes it worse.

    And thanks so much for the props and the link. You are too kind.

  7. Too bad your parents didn't see that it was a two-way street.

  8. Good for you! You should have punched her in the face. Glad the pig-tail pulling stopped.

  9. One way to handle a bully, and you figured it out quick. Being bigger than the average bear, this never happened to me. I will however, back up for the teased, every time.
    Coach O

  10. Jinksy: Well, it happens. I'm sure there are worse stories than mine concerning the bus rides.

    Angie: Whoa! Calm now. Take deep breaths...

    Kathryn: Well, I did what I could and got her to stop.

    Chris: Your welcome for the props. You sparked the memory. In all honesty, I really can't (too much) blame the principal. It was my word against Gina and Todd, and no one else on that bus was backing me up.

    Snowbrush: Yeah, parents can sometimes be funny like that, especially mine.

    Funny Girl: So glad the tugs stopped too!

    Coach O: Thanks. I tried everything and ran out of options except to fight back.

  11. Well, hell, I want to dopeslap Gina NOW. The bitch.

    Hey, good luck to you and Buck tonight. I don't know who to root for, since I like you both :-)

  12. Glad the hair pulling stopped! and I agree with Chris, the adults involved really weren't up to the job! telling a kid to ignore hair pulling on a 1 1/2 hour bus ride? that only a bruise and broken glasses resulted is an amazing show of restraint!

  13. Suldog: Hmm, didn't you say something similar to the other story too? Wow, she's getting a bruising from you.

    Actually the game is tomorrow night. Friday at um... I don't even know, and that's bad.

    Chris S: I sure do have a lot of people named Chris visiting my blog!

    I think it was because we were rolling on a seat on a moving bus that resulted in more wrestling than punches. I've never thrown a serious punch in my life -knock on wood.

  14. Hehe, Gina has made a lot of enemies now, even if she doesn't know it. I want to kick her too!

    On one of my first days in a new school I accidentally (really, truly) hit the boy sitting next to me and gave him a bloody nose. After that no one wanted to pick a fight with me I guess. Never had any trouble. Never had any real friends too, which was fine by me. I turned out OK, no worries. Have lots of friends now and never hit anyone anymore. Not even by accident. Only myself, when blowdrying my hear. I often hit myself with the blowdryer. Accidentally. Stupid!

  15. Great story!

    I'm like that even now. I take and take it and take it and then I snap one day.

  16. Yup... that's the only way to handle a bully... retribution in kind, except for more of it.

    Good on ya, Michelle.

  17. PS: 8:00 EDT, for the game. It's ALL on the line.

  18. Carolina: Yeah, Gina was a bit of a bruiser. What an unexpected reputation you got in school!

    Chrissy: I'm the same. I'm really patient up to a point where someone has to push me a good one to make me snap. I've only been in the one fight my entire life, but people don't even argue with me.

    Buck: Thanks. I truly don't condone violence of any kind, but everybody has a breaking point.

    Oh, thanks for the time for the game too. I'll be listening.

  19. Good for you Michelle! You said you don't condone violence but Gina sure had it coming. Loved the part where you turned vampire. Hey, whatever works. :o) I would have done the same . . . CHOMP ! LOL

  20. Ruth: I had to do it. I couldn't imagine what would have happened if I lost. More kids might have started to pick on me.

  21. I can just see you in your little broken glasses, and I want to slap the shit out of Todd, Gina, her mother, and all of those who didn't come to your rescue!

  22. Brenda: Yeah, my lenses popped out and the middle frame was broken. Oh well... such is life.



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