When I was four, Billy, a neighborhood bully, did something bad to my best friend. I saw this as a serious affront, as did others. All the kids, and even the adults, were aghast. There was a veritable outcry, for he had stepped over a line over which no one should step. I do not recall what Billy did to my best friend. It must have been pretty bad, but I simply don’t remember.
But I do remember quite clearly what I did in retribution. I remember the plan I made, the steps I carried out, and I remember the look on Billy’s face when I carried out the plan. And I remember the aftermath, in which my action … my transgression … turned out to be much worse than whatever Billy had done.
While I don’t remember what Billy did, I do remember that he had not drawn blood. I drew blood, and I paid dearly for it.
My plan was elaborate. In the back yard was a fireplace, still used to burn trash but mostly fallen down. So bricks were easy to come by. Powdery ash was abundant, and could be piled onto a brick and in turn, covered with mud to hold it in place. A few stones on top of this layer cake of doom added a primitive fear factor.
I mounted the brick on my shoulder and carried it out of the yard and to the front of the house, in search of Billy. I was in luck. He was lounging on the front steps of his house, just two doors down from me. I walked boldly but carefully up the street, balancing the brick on my upturned hand, which in turn rested on my right shoulder.
He spotted me coming as I drew in front of his house, but there was no way he could know what was to happen next. I was the littlest kid on the street and he was ten years older than me, a full-blown teenager, and a rather large and scary one at that. My best friend was in fact his younger cousin, and lived in the same two-family house Billy was lounging in front of. My friend was still at school because he went to a school that was several blocks farther away than the one Billy went to. I was not in school because I was not old enough yet. So Billy was used to seeing me around in the early afternoons. He probably thought the brick was just some dumb thing I was carrying around. He may have even said something about it.
I don’t remember.
So I made a left turn up the sidewalk to Billy’s front stoop, where he sat now looking at me with his usual blank stare. Bullies always have blank stares at moments like this. As I walked up the path, I started to speed up a bit and leaned forward into my quickening step. Halfway to my mark, I shouted “This is for Kirk! This is for Kirk! AIEEEEEEEE!” and launched the brick, shot put style, in the general direction of Billy the Bully.
I assume I was aiming for his big fat head. I don’t remember. But I hit his big fat pinky. Which got a little tiny scratch on it that later bled for a minute.
The cool part was the ash atomizing into a smoky contrail as the brick sailed the three or four feet from my shoulder to the general vicinity of Billy the Bully, and the loud crack the brick made as it bounced off the concrete steps and shattered into three or four pieces.
Billy screamed, and cried so suddenly and completely that drops of tear fell into the ash as it spread across the steps. I remember seeing this (in slow motion) and seeing Billy’s Keds-shod feet gaining purchase as he turned and fled, fumbling through the screen door and into the house screaming for his grandmother who was a very old lady that lived with Billy’s family.
As I say, I don’t remember what Billy’s original transgression against his cousin, my best friend, was. But I do remember the hype, or at least, the sense of the hype. I remember the words of accusation, the adduction of evidence of Billy’s essential bully-ness, the condemnation, the talk of comeuppance. Billy was shit in everybody’s mind, and this was all because of something he did to my friend. So it was obvious that my role was to step forward and set this right.
That was before the brick.
After the brick, I was shit. It was explained to me that throwing rocks or bricks, or in this case, a brick with rocks on it (and ashes!) was NOT OK. I was put on probation. My childhood was suspended. All rights were taken away from me. I went from harmless cute kid down the street to pariah. What I did was so much worse than what Billy had done, that I could never be forgiven. I remember someone telling me, “It’s lucky you don’t get an allowance. Because you wouldn’t any more.”
You see, all I was doing, as a dumb four year old kid, was taking what I sensed around me, but did not understand, to the next step. But the next step was too far. I took an issue that was probably small, or at least, already settled, misunderstood it, dressed it up in my mind, extended it’s life and expanded its import, and then went and made a brick bomb and threw it at someone.
Just like Michele Bachmann!
I’ve shown you here on this site and you’ve seen elsewhere films of these morons at McCain and Palin rallies, barely able to string a few words together to express a coherent thought, saying things like “Obama .. Osama … Same thing … Terrorist … Obama….Osamabama” as though this made some kind of sense. These poorly educated angry racist trash puppets are simply taking the rhetoric of the leaders and philosophers of the Right Wing (McCain, Palin, Linbaugh, Coulter, Buchanan, and so on) to the next logical step. And that is how it is supposed to be. When Pat Buchanan reifies some aggressive comment made by Palin, or Coulter sends out the Human Events Newsletter expanding on some offensive crap Rush Linbaugh has bleated, the next step is unspoken but clear, logical but obnoxious, and waiting to be taken up by a yahoo shouting at an Obama supporter at a rally, or perhaps a man with a gun and an aim.
But not a US Congresswoman.
Michele Bachmann with a Brick on the Front Porch. (But without a Clue.)
When Bachmann told Chris Matthews that she would like to see a widespread investigation (by the press) of everyone who disagreed with her and her right wing yahoo fundamentalist web-mates, she cast her lot with McCarthy. She advocated for a return to the witch hunting 1950s, which themselves were a return to the inquisitions of the late middle ages. Michele Bachmann, with these comments, took it a step too far.
This is why since those comments the Republican party has withdrawn financial support for her campaign. This is why her opponent, Elwin Tinklenberg, has raised over two million dollars (including a cool mil from the DNCCC) since her remarks. This is why the Bachmann campaign has raised a mere $30,000 since those words were spoken. In these days of very big ticket elections, that is about the amount of money you would “raise” by people making small accounting errors.
The only difference between Michele Bachmann and Four-Year-Old Me is that I took it too far when I was four and, while I’m sure I was a very smart four year old, I was still somewhat inexperienced, while she took it too far as an adult who has (allegedly) raised over 40 children and who has been elected to public office at least a couple of times.
So when I look at her now, asking for people to continue to support her even after the statements she made, even after taking it too far, I understand where she is coming from and I feel a little bad for her.
And if you believe that last sentence, you don’t know me from a brick.