The Schoolyard

Once upon a time, in a now long-abandoned schoolyard, I got the better of a boy who was irritating me in some long-forgotten way. I wasn't good at fisticuffs, but (and this must have been the 4th or 5th grade) I found I could do pretty well if I grabbed my opponent by one arm and started swinging him around. I could get going pretty fast, too, and then I would let go. Ta Da! Irritant disposed of.

Later that same day, I suffered a return attack. Standing at the top of a set of concrete steps, my previously vanquished foe snuck up behind me and gave me a push down the steps that resulted in a seriously skinned knee that became infected, and a lifetime scar. You have to look closely, but I still have it.

We have books upon books suggesting better ways in which to interact with our fellow people. Most of them encourage listening, encouraging, even forgiving. I can't think of any that suggest belligerence.

Sometimes, looking around the globe, I think I see flashes of my old schoolyard. A bunch of 4th and 5th graders pushing and shoving and calling each other names.

Chances are, even if you manage to knock one down for a while, you gotta know they're gonna sneak up on you one of these days. Scars may fade, but they never really disappear.