School Of Hard Knocks.

busA book hit me in the back of the head. Hard. It was a textbook. Introduction To Trigonometry, maybe, or European Classics For Dummies. Whatever it was it was thick and it had been thrown from several seats back.
It was the first day of my sophomore year of high school and the first bus ride home. Things were not starting well.
Kevin, a freshman I didn’t know, was in the seat behind me. He was laughing like a hyena. I punched him.
“Dude,” he yelled. “I didn’t throw the book at you.”
I’m still not sure who threw the book at me, and even then I didn’t care. I should have thrown it out the window but I’m pretty sure the thrower wasn’t the owner; I’m pretty sure it was stolen from someone. I had a sense of ethics. I didn’t want to get them in trouble.
I didn’t want to get me in trouble either, and I was sure I’d be held responsible for throwing a school textbook out a bus window regardless of how it came to me.
So I threw it back. My aim was off and hit my friend Angie in the head.
“That’s it!” yelled the bus driver. He slammed the brakes on and stormed back to my seat.
“You’re going to the principal’s office first thing,” he said, poking a finger in my face.
“Sure,” I said. And I stomped to the front of the bus, pulled the door lever, and got out. I went straight to the woods, cut through backyards up to the condos then down the hill to my house and let myself in through the back door.
The phone was ringing. I answered it.
“Chris?”
It was Angie. I felt horrible. I launched into an apology but she cut me off.
“Shut up.” She knew I hadn’t meant to hit her in the head with a book. She didn’t know who’d thrown the book, whose book it was. What she did know was the bus driver and several kids were freaked out by my sudden disappearance. Two of my friends were being driven around by their parents looking for me.
Good, I thought.
The next day I was in my first class of the day, gym, and got called to the principal’s office. I’d later learn that I’d be reported as absent, blowing my perfect attendance record because the gym teacher was a jackass who didn’t pay attention, but that’s another story.
In the principal’s office I told my story. As soon as I mentioned Kevin the principal rolled his eyes and I was told to watch it in the future.
Nobody ever threw a book at me again.
What lessons did we learn here?

  • It’s not necessary to fight back against bullies to make them stop. Sometimes bold action is all it takes.
  • It’s helpful to know your neighborhood.
  • Kevin was a prick. He’s now a moderately successful insurance salesman.

10 Comments

  1. halfa1000miles

    Are you a badass, cause you sound kind of like a badass here.

    Reply
    1. Michelle

      Badass is right! It would never have occurred to me to do that, but I can see why it was effective; thrower sees what you might do if you ever find out it was them, thrower shits self and doesn’t do it again.
      Reminds me of something that happened on our school bus. Our neighbour Mikayla was only 6 or 7 but a bit of a firecracker, and was sitting in the third-to-last seat from the back with the big kids, chatting and laughing with her mate. Then a fat bitch from the public highschool (aka ‘The Zoo’), who would’ve been about 14, viciously yanked her ponytail and yelled at her to F*CK UP. At someone half her size. Whereupon Mikayla earned my undying admiration by whirling furiously on her and bellowing “YOU!!” with completely unintimidated, righteous indignation. I have no doubt she didn’t even know what f*ck up meant but she sure knew how to judo flip it back on someone. One word, and Fat Bitch came off second best.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

        Wow. It’s great to know that Mikayla is already a bona fide badass and teaching lessons to the big kids.
        I guess we were lucky that we didn’t have to ride the bus with the big kids. The school days were staggered so the younger kids rode later in the day and the older kids rode earlier. It was a system that worked pretty well most of the time except for that time when it started snowing early in the day and, being in the younger group, I spent a long time on the bus and didn’t get home until late that night.

        Reply
    2. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Deep down I’m a major badass. Normally I’m a tolerant, patient person, but when pushed past my limit I have no idea what I’ll do but I will go completely Tasmanian Devil.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    I’m just glad nobody threw the book at you ever again.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think it might also be necessary to update Dorothy Parker: “This is not a book that should be put aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. But not at anyone.”

      Reply
  3. Jay

    Are school buses just the worst??

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, school buses are petri dishes that concentrate all the worst aspects of puberty into one enclosed space. I’m lucky the longest bus rides I ever had were about half an hour, except one time when it was snowing and we spent three or four hours on the bus, but that’s another story. I hear about kids who have two hour bus rides every morning and I can’t imagine what that’s like.

      Reply
  4. Gina W.

    Ugh, kids on buses are such little shits. My son comes home with stories all the time. I don’t know what to tell him. It’s like, yeah, it sucks. Sorry kid. Mom can’t take you to and from school every day. I have to get to work. Oh well. It probably builds character. Or something…

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I just hope that the school buses your son rides have finally had seat belts installed. The ones I rode as a kid were pretty much rolling death traps: no seat belts and sometimes not enough seats. Although I guess it could be worse.

      Reply

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