Narrowback’s Corner - Dealing with childhood bullies
I would be dragged, against my will, to the “husky” section of the store. In this section hung a putrid, measly selection of checkered Toughskin pants that made me wonder if Sears was joining in the chorus of fat kids’ mockery by designing unflattering patterns that accentuated my corpulent rump. The Toughskin material was only slightly smoother than burlap because, well, it had to be.
“Sure, your father and I are not made of money, you know,” my mom replied when I asked her why I had to wear the Toughskins. “These pants have to last until Easter, and then we’ll be back. God knows what size ye’ll be by then.”
I grew up to be pleasantly plump and I love to eat. I drove by my old central Jersey neighborhood this week, stopped at my favorite sub shop and was greeted at the counter by Danny, the bully who pushed my brother down all those years ago.
He had a mangy beard, ripped jeans and a leather biker’s vest over a Harley t-shirt that told me all I needed to know about how he was unable to break the tangle of our town’s blue collar roots.
There wasn’t an ounce of Catholic compassion in me as I told him in painstaking detail how thin I wanted the Swiss cheese cut for my sandwich. I threw a dollar into the tip jar in the counter, but the encounter was priceless.
Am I immature?
Do old bully wounds still fester, 33 years later?
Does the daughter have a lot more grace than the dad in these circumstances?
Well, I suppose I can’t slice that reality thin enough to make it easier to swallow.