My Two Fights

I have had two fights in my whole life. One in gym class in high school and one in a chow line in the army overseas.

Gym coach, Mr. Steele, sat the whole class in a large circle in the center of the basketball-court gymnasium. In my day, the word for lean, skinny kids was “fraily”. I knew I was string-beany, but I saw myself as wirey, not fraily. Coach Steele called me out to the center of the ring. I have never known what his motivation was and never cared to speculate on the “honor”, my self-concept just developing. Well, I should have expected something like his wanting the kids to see a knockout because he called out my opponent-to-be, a rather large, hulking (nicely fat and heavy) farmer type, too big for me, I thought. After we put on the boxing gloves, he blew the whistle and kept time for the rounds.

We sparred, touching gloves for a bit. He took some swings at me I was able to dodge. I brought all the way around a large circle what was called a “haymaker” that dazed him. I would not, for reasons unknown, hit him again. The whole class yelled in bloodlust for me to “finish him!” That’s all I heard. I would not. I couldn’t do it. He was defenseless, dazed, but standing. Unforgettable. I knew I had won.

There were some other bouts. At the end of class, as we headed to the shower room, at the door to it, some short but stocky and tough looking guy asked me to put ’em up. I would not. He hauled off and knocked me to the floor and went into the showers. He had drawn a bit of blood to my lip. That was the end of it. I avoided the big farmer ever after. I generally before and after thought of him as a nice guy.

My second fight came in an army chow line on the second floor in our billets in Linz, Austria. As I slowly moved in a long line toward the chow kettles, I heard something going on behind me. I turned around to see a GI weaving drunkenly and waving a very long spinach fork at my back, menacingly, his watery eyes fixed on me. “You goddamned dirty Jew!” I’ll never forget that. He slurred it. He obviously had stereotyped me, on some basis in my appearance, I guess. If it was stereotyping, it was also declaring himself as a racist. If I were to be taken for a Jewish person, it may have been based on the G.I. issue, steel-rimmed glasses, making me look, perhaps, as an intellectual; there are many world famous, Jewish intellectuals, and that stereotyping of me is more of a compliment than anything else. I am not a Jew. It’s all speculation. If I looked like an intellectual, the army didn’t think so; I was singled out prebviously and asked in the CO’s office if I wanted to go the OCS. I said no.

I do not think G _ _ _ _ s knew me. I’d seen him around. He slept down the corridor several doors. I do not know. I could have stereotyped him on the basis of his name and home state. His name was G _ _ _ _ s. From one of those Eastern, coastal states, I think.

I turned my back on him and kept moving through the line. That could have been a silly thing to do. Then, suddenly, he jumped on my back, throwing his arms around my neck. I instantly flipped him over my shoulder, jujitsu style; it came to me spontaneously and part of that wirey thing. I pounced on him, straddling him, sitting on his stomach. His head was rolling drunkenly side-to-side. “You know I could pound your face in, dontcha!” I yelled close in his face. No response. I got up and continued in the chow line. Never looked back.

He was drunk because he was to be rotated to the States the next day. As it happened, we two shared the same Jeep going to the railroad station the next morning, he to ship out, me to guard duty on a train shipping supplies to the U.S. troops in Vienna, which was surrounded by the Russian zone. We exchanged not one word. I looked at him; he did not look at me. I have always wondered if he remembered me from the day before and our “fight”.

The irony is soldiers serving causes in their service which they individually would not subscribe to. The G _ _ _ _ s case in point.

My two fights. I attribute my paucity of fights to something I seem to have and have written about previously, prudence (q.v.).

(I do not count the time I got in the face of my brother, that burned him up enough to paste me in the lip. He has white hair from youth, and I could see his face reddening under the white. I should have expected it. I love my brother. I was just learning prudence at that time.)

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Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Lee El Análisis Completo

    My Two Fights | A Deliberative Mind: Proactive Reflective Prescient Egalitarian

  2. Sweet web site , super style and design , real clean and utilize friendly .

  3. To my son, Ray. I get your point. From now on, if I have anything to say to you, I’ll put it in writing if that’s what it takes to get my point across. When I try to say some things, you seem to get impatient, probably because it sounds like I am shaking my old didactic finger too much. I rather like this mode. Much Love.
    The old man.
    (I really enjoy being your father. Hell, I wish I could have been my father. My dad was a character and we loved him. In spite of )

  4. I am John’s son, and we have great communication and are very close. At the same time, I never knew the details of my dad’s “2” fights. Interesting how a writer can express details of events in words that a reader understands or pays attention to more than potentially hearing the story in person. Nice blog dad!


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