Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have a very clear memory of the very first time blood left the veins of my body and ran outwardly upon it because of the violent actions inflicted on me by another human being. I was all of seven years old. My assailant was the same age as I and lived two doors down from the house my parents were renting in the mining town we were living in at the time. I recall that the other boy and I were having some kind of disagreement outside his house. His father suddenly appeared at the door and ordered, “Punch him! Hit him! Punch him!” The other boy who was standing about 6 feet away from me, took a few steps towards me, and obediently let fly a roundhouse with a tightly clenched fist. It caught me square on the nose. In a second, blood began to trickle from my left nostril.
I was totally shocked, stunned, bewildered – all those not so good things, you know what I mean. It hurt, but I didn’t cry and I didn’t raise my hands to my nose to protect it from greater damage. I stood statue still, glaring back and forth at the boy and at his dad. My instinct was to strike back. Couldn’t do that though, the dad was sure to get involved if I did.
The boy just stood there, his clenched fist by his side. His dad gave him no further instructions. After a few minutes, I walked away and headed for the veranda in the back of my home to mentally process what had just occurred.
There was lots to think about. No one other than my parents had ever hit me before that day. Certainly my blood had never been spilled because of violence. It was a first. I didn’t know what to do about it other than promising myself that never again would I allow the hand of a male outside my family to ever be raised against me without me responding quickly and decisively. I promised myself then that forevermore, I would use whatever force was at my disposal to stop any male assailant from striking me a second time.
The boy who hit me stayed close to home after the day of the assault. He never ventured to the old fairgrounds where other boys his age went to play tag and hide-and-go-seek in the old sturdy barns found there. He never showed up at the river to swim and dive for bottles. No, he stayed home where he felt safe in the presence of his cowardly father. Before September and school rolled along, the boy’s family moved away, somewhere in Ontario, I think. Gone, never to be seen in the “Pontiac” again.
Reflecting on the memory, I believe the other boy was just as shocked and bewildered as I was after he clobbered me. He must have wondered why I wasn’t crying or why I didn’t make a move to wipe the blood from my face. He was probably scared. I doubt he had ever drawn blood before through the power of his tiny fists. The fact that I stood there glaring at him must have been unsettling for him too. Even his dad must have been a bit spooked at how I reacted.
I haven’t cocked a fist at a man in a turtle’s age (as in clan). There was a time when I didn’t mind kicking up the dust with a troublemaker who was looking to knock me into the middle of the next week. Not any more. “Give peace a chance,” that’s what I stand for today. Didn’t one or two of the Beatles feel the same way?
To my faithful readers who enjoy reading my blogs, I want you to know that I would never have struck another child like the boy of my memory did to me. My dad would never have commanded me to do such a thing. I deplore violence. If hate must exist in the world we live in, then let us stand as one with a big unceasing hatred towards violence. Let us hate ‘ violence’ passionately. If most people condemned violence and shunned those who perpetrate it but stood with them in their rehabilitation, it wouldn’t be too long before violence would disappear from our neighbourhoods and cities. Am I wrong?