The Beating of Toady Tim
The old neighborhood had its own hierarchy, its own ebb and flow. It usually happened right under the noses of the adults, but the kids knew how it all worked. There were separate factions and we usually stuck to our own little groups. As with any neighborhood, ours had a bully and the bully had his toadies.
Our bully was named Scott and his toadies were twin brothers named Phillip and Tim. The twin toadies were, of course, younger than Scott. They looked up to him and he relied on them for numbers when he couldn’t enforce his will on some poor kid in the neighborhood whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There was an unspoken rule: if you took on the toadies, you could pretty much bet, even if it didn’t happen immediately, that you were going to have to deal with Scott.
Any body that knew me in those days would tell you I was always, always looking for a fight. Even if I knew I couldn’t win, I craved conflict, and the one surefire way to piss me off was to mess with or hurt one of my family members. I didn’t care; once you hurt one of my family members, you were going to get it one way or another.
The toadies enjoyed their little immunity in the neighborhood and thought that they could do whatever they wanted with no consequences. They could say and do whatever they wanted and get a free pass because of Scott.
One day Toady Tim pushed his luck a little too far. I’m sure of one thing and that is that he learned a lesson in pain and humiliation that day that I believe he will never forget.
A group of us, including my brother, Adam, were sitting on the very edge of the front yard where it met the street. Adam was leaning back on his hands, slightly on the edge of the pavement. The Toady Twins were riding down the street on their bikes. Seeing my brother’s hand in the road, Toady Tim decided he would run over it.
That was his first mistake. His second was to push down with all his weight when he did it, his third mistake was not apologizing to my brother, and his fourth and, quite possibly, most costly mistake was allowing me to witness his blatant act of cruelty. My brother began to cry and ran into the house to tell my dad what had happened.
In an attempt to contain the situation, Dad decided we should play in the backyard. As he and a family friend conversed in the backyard, I yelled to Toady Tim to approach the fence. “Hey Kid!” I yelled, “Come Here!” Toady Tim obliged me, thinking that he had nothing to fear. I told him, as my father and his friend looked on, that he was going to apologize to my brother and warned him if he did not I would climb over the fence and beat it out of him.
After my dad went in the house, I climbed the fence, walked out to the street, seized Toady Tim’s bike by the handle bars and forced him into the ditch.
I snatched his shirt collar in my right hand and I pummeled his face with my left. I beat Toady Tim like he owed me money. I jacked his face until my arm got tired then simply switched hands and pummeled him with the right.
Toady Phillip wasn’t having any of what I was passing out so he ran to get Scott, who wasn’t home. Scott’s dad was home and ran to Toady Tim’s rescue, but he was too late. As he reached the scene he saw me drop Toady Tim back in the ditch, his face a mass of bruises and blood. I turned to meet my new opponent – a fully grown man.
My dad, hearing the yelling match happening on the street from the house, came out to rescue this grown man from his berserker son, who was determined to kick the ass of whoever got in the way of justice being done. After a brief, heated discussion of the facts, it was determined by the adults that Toady Tim got what he deserved and Scott’s dad threatened to beat both his and Toady Phillip’s butts for creating the situation.
I never had to deal with Scott for what I called “the beating of Toady Tim.” I don’t know if Scott even heard about the incident. There was nothing else said or done about it. Toady Tim avoided me like the plague after that, and I can’t say I minded much.
I drew a powerful lesson from those events. It is embodied in a quote from English philosopher Edmond Burke. “The Triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing.” I will fight to keep evil from triumphing no matter how big my opponent may be.