Last week, my husband and I were returning from a memorial service; it was a gut-wrenching afternoon and I was sobbing. We crossed a bridge and noticed a cluster of sweaty, prepubescent boys sparring. It wasn’t harmless scuffling, either. It appeared violently serious.
You know I hate bullies.
“Stop the car! Stop! Now!”
“No. Boys fight. Let them work it out.”
“If you don’t stop this %$#@! car right now, I swear to God, I’ll open the door and fling myself out!”
He seriously weighed this option for more than a few seconds. I saw his wheels turning. He was thinking “win-win.”
As the scuffle moved its way toward heavy traffic, my husband actually swerved into a parking lot, flung open his door and soared down the street like one of the flying monkeys from Oz. In more than 35 years with this man I don’t think I’ve ever seen him run.
The Mr. Softee truck dash doesn’t count, does it?
He darted toward the throng, stopped the fight, and separated the little delinquents. The pummeled child was from the far-off land of Duryea. This other child and his miscreants were needling, agitating and then, physically assaulting him. The level of violence to which this fight escalated made my stomach churn. Prior to my husband intervening, what began as a stupid street fight could have ended very differently.
Stupid, stupid kids.
The teenager who was the linchpin in this brawl was a loud-mouthed turd. (And you know what I really mean to say). He spit, was defiant, racist, disrespectful and truly bilious. He was throwing epitaphs across the dense, humid air like hand grenades. I wanted to punch him in the throat, but that may have aggravated the situation. Plus, I would’ve needed a step stool.
Eventually, the police arrived and we were relieved of our Starsky and Hutch duties. (I was Starsky, the cute one. Nancy was Hutch, the mediocre-looking, but capable one).
Having just come from a service where I said goodbye to someone I loved very much, someone who had a whole lot of life in front of him and, landing upon this crap sandwich, made me livid. These ridiculous children, who have the limited gray matter to think just one day ahead of what’s happening right in front of their faces, act like wanna-be Crips.
I realize testosterone takes over. “West Side Story” taught me boys retaliate anger with violence, but come on.
The vitriol spewing from these kids made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
This was our future, and it was really ugly. Here’s what this kid learned early and often: pure, unfiltered hate.
Sadness and rage roiled inside of me and I said the first thing that came to my mind as I walked away: “You could probably use a few months in jail, kid.”
Here’s what I meant: he was all big talk and histrionics in front of his homies but, in real life, in confinement or war, this child would see how it would really play out. He needs to go back to his bicycle, his Xbox and his mommy and step out of this hateful cycle that will ultimately end very badly for him.
If we can’t have peace within our valley, how in the hell will we ever see peace in the Middle East?
It’s all so depressing, I am going to find a Mr. Softee truck for Nancy to trail.
Starsky needs a chocolate twist.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.