Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Block Walls and Bullies
There is a tale still told amongst my siblings and myself. It started as a small incident in the late 1970’s, but over the years has grown into tale of larger than life proportions. It involves my middle brother, AJ, and how he saved us from neighborhood bullies.
To better understand this story, let me give you some background into my family. I am the oldest of 5 kids. The next kid is Terresa, then AJ, then Nikki, and lastly Truman. We grew up in the suburbs of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My parents bought a large, new home and yard when I was 7. They installed a pool and tennis court/basketball court in the back, ensuring that their children and children’s friends would stick around the house to play. (We did. It was the house everyone migrated to at one time or another.)
The house, situated on a cul-de-sac, was chosen by my parents because of the relative safety of kids being able to play in a cul-de-sac and not get hit by cars. That was back when kids could actually play in the streets in Las Vegas without constant parental supervision. (Our previous house had been on a straight street with 3 entrance/exits to it and lots of traffic.)
There were some ugly older boys who were twins living in a cul-de-sac across from ours. They were in junior high or early high school at the time and they were mean and scary. They cursed and spit and I always sensed a mafia connection with their family, if you know what I mean.
One day they were riding a new scooter they bought/stole around and happened to come into our little circle street. We were bored (as usual) that day and were sitting on a tall block fence next to the house. Looking back it was dangerous and I would probably not let my kids sit on a 6-foot high block wall, but it was the 70’s, and those were different times (no car seats) so we were okay.
Watching them drive by we smiled at each other and thought we could get away with something we’d never dared to before. Along with our next-door neighbor friend, Noelle, we began yelling at them as they rode by.
Keep in mind we were good kids. We never used profanities unless we wanted to get in huge trouble with our parents. But potty words and words like “stupid” and “idiot” were safe. Each time they drove by we’d yell something and hide behind the fence. The twin riding the scooter would whip his head around trying to find us and yell profanities back. We’d laugh and laugh, watching them through the cut out blocks in the concrete brick fence.
After a while it wasn’t enough to yell things at them. We wanted to throw things at them. Rocks weren’t safe; we didn’t want broken windows in anyone’s house or car. Sticks weren’t that available (we’re talking the desert folks, plus it was still a fairly new house and the landscaping wasn’t what it is today). No, my brother AJ had a better idea. Throw dog poop at them.
Yes, AJ was always willing and able to pick up the most disgusting things possible and fling them. He would throw stuff at us or neighbor kids or strangers driving by or even bullies riding their scooter around our cul-de-sac. Over the years AJ has thrown roaches, moths, dog poop, spiders, and anything and everything gross and disgusting at me. Being the middle child and the first boy in our family we were appalled at this new and gross behavior. We didn't know any better. (FYI: He continues to throw things at me to get a rise out of me and it usually works. I love him regardless. Now that I have 2 boys I better understand the male psyche and the need to throw gross things, I love him even more.)
Our dog at the time, Tally, a prolific pooper, had left several tasty treats for AJ to use as ammo. Use them he did. The only one of us not afraid to touch dog poop, he flung that poop like no one had flung poop before. The twins were so angry, but couldn’t get to us (the fence, remember), and we had the pleasure of laughing until we cried. They stopped driving their dumb scooter into our cul-de-sac and actually I don’t remember them ever coming back.
We reminisce about this story when we’re all together and it still makes us laugh. The day AJ helped us humiliate and drive away 2 bullies will go down in our family history as one of the best days ever. My parents still live in the cul-de-sac house and the block wall is still there. Bullies beware!