heroic rescues, black eyes and dick-heads

September 10, 2009

At the festival I am approached by a young woman who says, ‘You don’t know me but I think you might remember my father. He was at school with you and remembers you. His name is Charlie Dominion.’ I burst into near hysterical laughter. Wow. Charlie Dominion. He was a guy with a big smile, a ready laugh and a kind of no nonsense approach to life which I envied and secretly admired. He was also kind of authentic and rough edged and didn’t have the social nicities and ponciness I was afraid of having in myself. He didn’t seem interested in, or actually capable of taking any shit from anyone. And no reason to either. ‘Oh yes, I remember him.’ I assure her, ‘He gave me my first black eye. And I fully deserved it.’ Well kind of. At least I was fully looking for it. He was teasing one of my friends rather harshly and I took up the noble mantle of defender of the weak since I didn’t think my friend Bernie was all that physically robust. So, from behind, I kicked Charlie Dominion in the arse. I think I remember as I was doing it, hearing, above and beyond the trumpets heralding the arrival on horseback of myself the hero, the sound of myself thinking, ‘Uhoh. You are aware that this is not tv?’ Charlie turned around and gave me a short sharp one to my left eye.  The sheer shock of being punched in the face was enough to put me out and down for a while…and silent. Until the actual pain, firstly of humiliation and then of injury around my eye flowered into consciousness. But it was more the shock. I had never been hit in the face with a fist before. And this was in standard four or something. I was flattened and finished with tears and snot and bawls of indignant disbelief. I had never even thought of using my fist on someone’s face. Even though I saw roy rogers do it every week and I punched with the same dramatic vigour, the nearly-big-as-me bolster cushions in the playroom. I stood there and bawled my eyes out in front of everyone on the playground. Or it was more the parking area. Charlie had the dignity to just walk away and leave me to it. 

Something dawned about my real abilities in a fight that day, but that wasn’t going to stop me being the hero. So I began the subtle study of how to appear the combat-weary hero without the unnecessary unpleasantness of actual combat.

Years later having been dropped from the first rugby team, for reasons discussed above, I became the courageous captain of the seconds and even more vocal and performative cheer leader. Fool. Clown. ‘If I can’t be in the first team, then I might as well be the centre of attention and get a few laughs’. “Hell that Andrew is funny. And mad! He’ll do some funny things, that oke. And if you want a good time at a party just give him a few beers and then get him to tell a joke. One of the long ones…he’s hysterical. He knows all the words of the rugby songs. Pretty good cheerleader too. Makes a lot of noise and a real tit of himself, but gets them going. He was one of the ones getting the whole school singing adapted football songs instead of just screaming and shouting. Otherwise, of course, he’s a bit of a dick head.”

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One Response to “heroic rescues, black eyes and dick-heads”

  1. Reggie Says:

    Hehehe, that was very funny. I’ve really been enjoying reading your posts, they make me giggle. 🙂

    Good on ya, for at least trying to defend your friend. Did the first part of the stry (not the bawling your head off part, though that was *completely* understandable) make a good impression on the girls in your class? Girls usually like that kind of knight-in-shining-armour image, even if the armour’s a little dented. 😉


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