by Greg Hague
Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.
Age 13 – A tough time in my life. Overweight. Oodles of freckles. Pimples galore.
The kids were incessant, brutal, day after day. The worst?
Billy Rogers. Big bully. He never let up.
Billy smacked the back of my head whenever he walked by my desk. One day he jabbed a pencil so deep into my arm I had to go to the school nurse to have the lead dug out.
Billy’s favorite taunt? I heard it thousands of times and recall the words to this day – “Fatty, fatty two by four, can’t get through the bathroom door.” Often, he’d recruit others to chime in.
Today’s schools wouldn’t let Billy get away with this stuff. Things were different back then.
Of course Dad knew, and how awful he must have felt. As a caring father myself, my boys’ pain is like a lance in my heart.
One Saturday he finally asked,
“Greg, the kids are giving you a hard time at school, aren’t they?”
(I remember how embarrassed I was. This was not something I wanted to discuss with my father.)
“Yeah Dad, they tease me sometimes, but it’s no big deal,” I replied.
(Of course the “no big deal” part was a ridiculous lie.)
What Chubby said next changed the course of my life.
“Greg,” he said sternly, “you need to send a message to every kid in that school…and Billy Rogers – you need to beat him up BAD.”
Beat him up bad??? Like physically bad? Words from my dad?
“You want me to beat up Billy Rogers?” I said in utter surprise.
“Yes,” answered Chubby. “And I want you to do it Monday morning. I’ll drive you to school before the school bus arrives. When the bus pulls up, you’ll hurry over to the door as it opens. When Billy steps off, hit him as hard as you can right in the face.
Knock him down. Jump on top. Keep swinging.
Don’t stop until someone pulls you off.”
“But Dad!” I exclaimed (with a trembling voice). “I’ll get punished…I’ll be thrown out of school!”
“Don’t you worry about that,” Chubby assured. “I’ll take over from there.”
“We’ll go to the principal’s office together. I’ll give her a piece of my mind. There’s no excuse for letting that brat pick on you.”
“Can’t we just go to the principal first?” I pleaded.
“Absolutely not!” Chubby angrily replied. “On Monday, Billy the Bully will bully no more…”
Tomorrow, as Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.”