Returning to school after summer vacation. Depending on where you are, some schools are already back in class; in our area the big day is right after labour day, this year September 6th.
I remember getting new clothes for school, and not wanting to wear them. That seems strange to say, now that I’m remembering back, but there was this thing, that when any of the guys in my class went to school wearing new clothes, and I mean new clothes of any kind, you’d get teased. Teasing that would go on and on all day, making remarks, poking at the person. Really, it was closer to bullying that teasing. I mean, it seems silly & childish now that I think of it, after all, we were in 7th or 8th grade as I remember.
One day I was wearing something new and a lean, wiry kid, I’ll just call him Lenny, he started picking on me and centering me out. I remember feeling this sudden surge of anger, just instantly welling in the back of my neck. Before I knew what happened, I punched him, one quick, powerful, solid punch right to the side of his face. What seemed to be a split second later, he fired back, a solid, well planted hit to a target just below my left eye.
We were sitting in the office before I knew what happened and we both had incredible shiners that were swelling up by the moment. The school Principal was a fairly tall, rounded guy with a powerful, booming voice. I remember how he walked; he carried himself like his was king of the universe. He used BryleCream in his hair and parted it with a vertical part straight down the back of his head.
He made us sweat for about 20 minutes. He left us sitting there in his office where he could watch us through his famous 2-way mirror. When he came in, I’m sure we were both sweating bullets.
He wanted to know everything that happened, why I slugged the guy, why he punched me back. And when we finished our stories, he stood up, turned around and took something off a hook on the wall on the other side of the room. It had been hanging there the whole time, with a collection of several others; his strap collection.
“Which strap do you think I should use”, he asked us, as though he was really going to give us the choice.
He said, “I’ve never had to show either one of you guys the strap before, but this is the kind of behavior that earns kids the strap around here.”
We both tried to remain stoic and I honestly think the two of us bonded just a bit as a result of this experience. The threat of the strap turned out to be just a warning, we paid for the incident by having to nurse our shiners for a couple of weeks before healing up.
Now if I had understood what it meant to be mindful back then, I’m pretty sure I never would have punched the kid in the face. I mean, I would have realized that he was just looking for a reaction.
Wouldn’t life be great if you could be that confident, that you were always in control of your emotions.
As far as I can remember, nobody in my class ever teased anybody about new clothes after that. No one could believe that Bruce Langford punched another kid and gave him a black eye.
Well, I’m not proud of it. I wouldn’t want my son to know, oh wait, since he’s my editor, he’s apt to come across this recording. Well, I’m being vulnerable and just telling an incident that probably taught me something. I mean in a way I wish I could somehow erase this from the history books, but in another way, well, that was a different time, and what happened, happened. I think that is mindfulness too.
Today marks the end of my Weekends With Bruce series. Did you enjoy these weekend episodes, with the different style, a contrast to my regular interviews?
Mindful Tribe, I’m always grateful for your feedback, your emails, your comments on what you like and what you don’t like. It would be great if you took a minute and send me an email with your feedback on the Weekend Shows.
Depending on your comments, maybe I’ll do some special bonus episodes or … who knows what. Here’s a shoutout to you Inga, I know you’re a faithful listener and I appreciate your feedback.
So, till next time, Mindful Tribe, take what we ‘ve learned today and use it to reach new heights of calm, focus and happiness. Stay In The Mode!