First, I don't like to toot my own horn or brag about things or the past. It serves no purpose to me, but an incident about a month ago really got me thinking about how many negative experiences from the past helped shape myself and others.
In 7th grade (1987), I had a 9th grader that liked to push younger kids around, including myself. I was never one to start a fight, but I could handle myself if needed. I was tall for my age, but skinny as a rail. I couldn't bench press sh!t, but I could lift things most people wouldn't believe I could. Anyway... This Kyle kid kept pushing me around day after day. I always just walked away because it wasn't worth it to me. Finally, one day, he swung his backpack at me and hit me in the back of the head. I'm not sure what was inside, but it was metal. I was dazed for a second, but came back around 180 degrees and spun him 2 times with a nice blow. Unfortunately, I felt something in my right hand give and it wasn't good. I was too pissed to care at that point. I got on him before he could get up and Don't remember much except for a teacher jumping in and pulling me off. Friends filled in the blanks later as to what happened. Apparently, I ended up laying 8-9 punches. I ended up with a broken hand (pointer finger main knuckle) and he didn't open his left eye for 2 weeks and ended up with a broken nose. We were both suspended for a day. Oddly enough 2 weeks after the incident, he approached me very shy-like and apologized. We got along fine after that.
8th and 9th grades both landed me into a fight each year, both of which were not my doing, but I finished them. One of them ended up with the other person getting a broken nose and knocked tooth loose.
For 10th grade (1990), we migrated to the "high school". Lucky for our class, the 9th graders followed us to the high school since they were converting the high school from 10-12th grades to 9th-12th grade. Needless to say, the 9th graders got picked on once again as well as some of the 10th graders. Around early-mid year, a new guy (a senior named John) came to the school. He established right away that he was an a$$hole bully to the younger kids. Many just avoided him. He tried his best to pick fights. Apparently, it was his 3rd school in 2 years due to his parents divorcing or something. He had been held back one year so he was 19. Anyway, mid-May came around and school was almost out. There was some commotion going on about a block away from school in a parkinglot. Here is bully John pushing around a 9th grader with 4 or 5 people cheering him on. One of them was my old "friend" Kyle. The kid he was picking on was in ZERO chance of protecting himself, so I approached and asked John why he was picking on him. He puffed his chest out and asked what I was going to do about it, blah blah blah. Kyle got an odd look on his face and hinted to John to just drop it. John kept mouthing off as I just stood there rolling my eyes (although I was getting pissed). The 9th grader grabbed his stuff and bolted. Kyle once again tried to talk John out of whatever he was thinking, but he ended up charging at me. I politely moved to my left and assisted his head into a fence post and then face first into a cement tire stopper. He got up and charged at me like an idiot again and I ended up with him in a headlock with my back against a building. I just kept sneaking in punch after punch until he let go and as he backed up, I remember jabbing his nose with a downward punch as he backed up and quickly flollowed that with a round-house to the side of the face. He stumbled backwards to the ground. I remember his mouth, nose and left eye were bleeding pretty good. Instead of walking away, he tried attacking again and I don't remember much other than being on the ground a few times and punching him while he was on his back. Oddly enough, his "friends" never stepped in.
When all was said and done, He was spitting blood everywhere and wheezing and coughing a LOT. He ended up with a broken/shattered nose, concussion, 7 stitches above his left eye and 3 under it, 2 missing teeth and 2 broken ribs. I had a bloody nose, sore jaw, headache and a dirty shirt. The next 2 weeks in school were odd for me as I heard the rumors fly by... but the school never approached me about it.
Fast Forward to last month...
I un-retired my camera for a city event at the request of a friend who ran the event. He wanted pics of the festivities and both bands for both nights. I had been taking band pics for 10 years and it got old, so I had retired from it for a while. Anyway... people that remembered that I did pics all flocked to have their drunken pics taken as usual (photo-hogs). I did have some fun doing it again, but as usual, a few idiots ruin it.
In the past, there was a cute (but usually drunk) chick who ALWAYS had to have 10 pics taken with anyone and everyone. She was a sweetheart, but a little too flirty. Of course, she had a jealous-as-all-hell boyfriend who was usually dressed in the usual "Bro" attire or "MMA" type attire. He puffed his chest out and walked with his elbows out and triedhis best to look bad-a$$. Anytime he spotted me with my camera, he'd make some comment about taking it and shoving it up my ___ or something to that effect. His girlfriend would usually push him away and want more pics, etc... He'd end up mouthing off and telling me what he was going to do, etc... I ALWAYS hated being in that situation.
Anyway, she was there that night and wanted pics with her friends, so I obliged. Of course Mr. Jealous couldn't help but come over and puff his chest out and make his idle threats. One of her entourage came up, looked at me for a sec and then looked at him with a half-smirk. He said something like "go ahead, but I guarantee you that you'll probably end up with a f**cked up nose like this (pointing to his nose) and a bunch of scars like these (pointing to his eye) after all is said and done". He followed that by saying something like "remember how many times I've told you that no matter how bad-a$$ you think you are, there's always someone tougher and it'll be the person you least suspect"?
I had to look at the guy for a few seconds before I realized who he was... Big Bad Bully John. The cute drunk chick was a step-sister to his wife and they were up from Texas visiting. (small world). Meanwhile, the douche-nugget boyfriend was putting 2 and 2 together.
I hadn't seen him since that fight 23 years ago. He introduced himself very nicely and shook my hand and asked if I remembered him and I said yes... He then went on talking to me about how our little scuffle changed his life. He told me he had never had his a$$ handed to him like that before and as he was all bandaged up from the fight, his parents didn't want to press charges or notify the school since he was 19 and I was 16 at that time. It would have also been his 3rd fight that year, etc... He told me that those injuries were a hell of an eye opener for him and he spent the next 20 years letting the Army straighten him out. It also took 2 surgeries to get his nose to breathe right again. He wasn't in the slightest bit angry about the situation and he was actually glad it happened before it was too late for him. He has 3 kids now; a 16 year old boy, and 14 year old buy and a 10 year old girl. He's used the same lesson/story on both his boys about fighting... "no matter how bad-a$$ you think you are, there's always someone tougher and it'll be the person you least suspect".
We talked for a few more minutes and they had to leave. He shook my hand again. It was a pretty cool moment to say the least. The drive home, I thought about that fight over and over. It was pretty cool to me how a crap situation like that could change someones life for the better like that. The other funny thing was a week ago at the bar, Mr Jealous Boyfriend walked by me and stopped to say "hey man" with a slight smile and half-a$$ handshake .....
Maybe it changed his attitude as well???