Monday, April 13, 2009

A Deep Purple Bully

I heard "Hush" by Deep Purple on the radio this morning, and out of nowhere I thought about a bully in my seventh-grade class who wore Led Zeppelin, Slayer, and Metallica shirts to school, all of which were bands the students knew. But on that one day, or sometimes two, out of the week, he would spend a good portion of the day trying to explain just who the hell Deep Purple were. Sure, now I know that they were famous for having lots of keyboards in their hard rock sound, they had Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, and were famous for playing a song that you only need to know a few chords to play: "Smoke on the Water," but at the time I didn't know anything about the band or the boy wearing it, excpet that he scared the shit out of me.

One day he wore a Slayer shirt on a school spirit day where we had to wear our colors, red and white, and he inadvertently had those colors on his shirt. He was bragging to everyone that he was showing his school spirit with a gruesome Slayer shirt, and the teacher said, "Jake," we'll call him Jake, "why don't you get up and parade around the room in your Slayer shirt to show everyone, and he DID it! He marched around the room displaying his shirt, cavorting around the room, flipping his long, dirty blond hair around, and all I could think was, "I'm scared of this kid, and I'm scared of Slayer."

Frightened as I may have been of his apparel, I actually came to his defense when administration banned heavy metal shirts but continued to allow girls to wear their New Kids on the Block shirts. This teacher thought I made a great point, and I think it was then that she told me I had one of the brightest minds in the school if I'd only apply myself. I got that a lot, but never quite like that. But, I didn't set out to tell you what an underachiever I was and still am; I'm here to tell you about the biggest bully I've ever known.

I work in education, and on the whole, I really do believe that kids are meaner and nastier these days. While that may be true, this guy would have given anyone at my current place of employment a run for their money. He may even have taken on the top three or four the baddest baddies at once. He got in a fight just about every week, and he logged hours and hours of solitary confinement time in the in-school suspension room. He was like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape , only younger, wearing more heavy metal shirts, and instead of bouncing a rubber ball, he got his jollies beating up other seventh-graders.

Maybe it's because we both donned blond mullets at the time, but for whatever reason, he liked me. I remember one time I walked into the bathroom to find Jake just hiding out for a while, probably having just finished a Marlboro red, and he said, "Let's slam dance!" I didn't know what the hell that meant because I had never been to a heavy metal concert, or any concert for that matter. I think at the time I was into Vanilla Ice. Before I knew what was going on, he was colliding into me repeatedly, vigorously, with his shoulder, but with a big shit-eating grin on his face. All I could do was slam back into him with a bony shoulder of my own. Despite being short in stature, he was really strong, and I found myself inching closer and closer to the tiled wall . . . At which point he stopped and we went back to class. I was so scared and happy it was over that I forgot to go pee.

Jake reeked of smoke every day. I had a locker next to his, and he stunk of that awful combination of leather and cigarette smoke. He'd be opening his locker singing, "Your mother was a witch. She was burned alive. Satan's little bitch . . ." Now I know that is from "Am I Evil", one of the bonus tracks off a now out of print version of Metallica's first album, Kill 'Em All, originally performed by Diamond Head, but at the time, I just stared straight ahead into my locker, hoping that he wouldn't look at me, hoping that he wasn't talking my mother, his, or anyone's.

One time I was in health class with him (I seemed to have every class with him), and we were getting our drug education. Jake was giving the class an education of his own when he asked questions like, "What do you call those pills that are small and yellow cause my sister gave me some and I was all messed up . . ." I don't think he was talking about Nuprin. He probably could have given us a sex education lecture as well. I remember rumors of him having sex with the the class slut (I was horrified that we had a few in junior high having not even started masturbating yet) behind a dumpster while his friends waited at the end of the alley for him to finish. Really? This guy seemed to have enough life experiences after middle school to just chill out and join the Peace Corps at the ripe-old age of forteen.

He went to a different high school than me, which is good because he probably would have had every class with me again, but during my junior year I remember someone in my study hall, where everyone bullshitted and no one studied much of anything, telling me that he ran into him. He said something innocent to Jake like, "Hey, we went to Junior High together!" Jake started punching him in the face, perhaps for old time's sake?

What the hell was wrong with this boy? As an adult and an educator, all I can think about is what was being done at the time to help get this young man get on the right path and keep him from hurting anyone on a daily basis. Also, I wonder what his parents were like? Actually, as I typed that, I remember his mother, and she had a feathered mullet, looked as if she were more of a buddy than a mom to him, and she probably got her son stoned and made him the only Deep Purple fan in the district. I thought of most of this in the span of five minutes during my car ride, constructing a long-winded blog about shit that happened twenty years ago, just having heard a self-indulgent keyboard solo. I need a blog bully to shove my head in a toilet the next time I get on a tangent like this.

How about you, Seven Readers? Tell us about a bully when you were a kid. What did he/she do? Why do you think they did it? Most importantly, what rock bands were they into and do you think of them when a song pops on during your morning commute, or is that just me?


radioactive girl said...

I always think of things from the past when I hear certain songs. I loved this post...I love reading about things that are so similar to things I would think about.

I don't really remember being bullied at all but I DO remember the kid with a locker next to mine that was bullied like crazy. He was sort of odd and no one liked him. I tried really hard to be nice to him even though he was so easy to pick on and I remember him always looking just so sad. I can still see his face in my head and it just hurts to think about how sad he must have been.

My daughters' have both been bullied recently. My kids are pretty innocent and young for their age (know what I mean? they are still kids and play with toys and stuff while I know a lot of kids are way old for their ages) and the first time the one girl did something to my daughter I could just see the innocence leaving her. She couldn't understand WHY someone would purposely be mean or hurt someone else. I don't often hate people but I really really hate the bully girl.

radioactive girl said...

Oh and P.S. my ringtone for my husband was Hush by Deep Purple. Until he heard it and was like "what the hell? Why would you put that for me? Are you trying to say something?" It had been completely innocent, I just liked the song but after he pointed it out I could see how that was sort of offensive.

tnobes said...

great blog. I remember in 6th grade to CCD I wore hidden under my jacket an Alice Cooper - Constrictor shirt and I had to turn it inside out. The nuns werent allowed to beat the kids anymore but they instead called my p's, which was much much worse.

Heff said...

In the past, I was actually the dude WEARING the Slayer shirt, although I certainly WASN'T a bully. It would've been hard to kick someone's ass considering that back in High School I had the build of Randy Rhoads, lol.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Radio: A lot of times the bullies are going through something, too, and they come to school taking it out on weaker kids. Not nice, but they're kids, after all. Still, if it were my kid getting F'd with, I'd hate the little fucker, too.

Yeah, don't tell your hubby to hush! : )

Nobes: I'm going to look up that pic on google to see what a young T Nobes was wearing . . .

Heff: That's not a good build. Remember Ozzy hoisting him up on the Tribute record?

JerseySjov said...

on picture day in 4th grade i made fun of a boy's tie so much he started crying.
and the summer between 6th and 7th grade i made another boy cry -he was a cellist at my summer music camp- but i forget how. whenever i hear 'entrance of the queen of sheba' i think about it.

your blog's making me feel young and out of the loop again. its not your fault.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I was the girl in the seventh grade who was bullied by this kid who gave me the WORST, nastiest nick name in the world. I f-ing HATED him, and that dreadful nick name caught on and soon every body was calling me by that name.
It was HELL. But, when the ugly duckling finally became the swan by high school, that scum and lots of others soon forgot the bad name and wanted to get to know the REAL me. Too late, f-er-step off, jack ass!

I found out many years later at the high school reuinion, that he gave me that name because he initially liked me and when he went over to talk to me, he said I gave him some smart ass comment he didn't like so he decided to call me a name-that stuck like glue. Bastard. I can only hope he is living in hell in a trailier park somewhere in the world with his 250lb wife and six-dirty, scrappy little kids....

Revenge is sweet and swift.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Hey dude, you inspired me to tell the story of "the name" today. Thanks for the inspiriation. I linked you to my blog.

Furtheron said...

I "grassed" on two guys who brought knives into school. They figured out it was me and therefore sometime later "jumped" me, this lead to a broken rib and severe brusing around my head from the kicking. My mother went ape... So then I was "off limits" so they made sure no one spoke to me, normally but headbutting anyone who did.

However a couple of social outcasts did speak to me, the bullies already made their lives hell as it was. After that show of strength two long term friends joined in and told the bullies to get off.

Music of the time, Sabbath Technical Ecstasy - we were all into metal then (this is the 70s pre Metallica etc.) there isn't a song that really reminds me I suppose.

One of the ring leaders moved away and suddenly a truce was called and I was welcomed back into the "in crowd".... later I heard that the guy who moved away had been killed in a stabbing... not surprised really.

Sadly I lost touch with virtually all of them, apart the two good friends, one I write to at Christmas etc. the other I normally bump into at gigs like Rush, Dream Theatre, Queen etc. He's a lucky guy having recoved from a brain tumour

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Jovie: You were a bully!! Glad you're not a Blog Bully. : )

Daily: Glad I inspired the new blog, I'll be sure to give it a look, and thanks for the link!

Furtheron: Well, you did the right thing turning that guy in, especially considering he died in a knife fight years later. Someone could have died that day.

I have some Sabbath on the player on my blog - Sabra Cadabra. I always thought Ozzy's vocals on the Bloody Sabbath record were far and away his best, probably because they layered like 3 Ozzy's on top of one another.

Great story. It's really cool to hear about stuff like that in my comments. However, very sad about your friend's brain cancer, and even if that kid with the knife was a punk - still sad that he died.

Thanks for coming by!

The Charming Hedonist said...

The bully at my school was a girl. And what did I do? Waited until college and then had the nerve to (almost!) marry the guy she was hitting on at a party. I fell into that revenge.

Casey said...

I played violin in school, so I had some built in bullying to deal with, but it helped that me and pretty much the whole second violins section, the cellists, and one bass player were all on the champion wrestling team. We were all cruiser to heavy weights, too. So yeah, we'd get called orc-dorks or band fags, then we would regulate some motherfuckers.

We also smoked behind the dumpsters and listened to Slayer. Interesting crowd, really. I think half our orchestra ended up doing some sort of time. We used to beat up the band guys pretty often.

Anyway, there was one school bully. He used to pick on everyone in middle school, when I was not a cruiser weight, but more of a welter. I was, however, still a good wrassler. To this day, I don't know why he broke my nose, but by the end of it, he lost teeth and was choking out as someone knocked me off him. We both ended up in the hole for two weeks after class. It sucked.

BeckEye said...

I don't ever remember there being a real honest-to-God bully at my school. I do remember this one girl in 5th grade who was kinda tough, and we were semi-friendly (mainly because our school was so small). She started "going with" this 6th grade boy I always had a crush on, and I guess one of my so-called friends told her that I liked him. So, she got all up in my face on the playground (I just laughed my ass off typing that ridiculous sentence) and started telling me that I'd better stay away from him, and I told her that I didn't like him. This didn't satisfy her, however. Immediately, she got even more pissed off and was like, "What do you mean you don't like him? What - isn't he good enough for you??" I was just dumbfounded.

Nothing ever happened though. No punches were thrown or anything. In middle school, I actually hung out with some of the burn-outs, while that girl tried her hardest to become a nice young lady. I was just counting the days until I could go to college.

By the way, thanks for pointing out that I had Etta James in my musical interests twice. I would say something lame like, "she's so nice, I listed her twice," but why bother. It was a mistake. But it makes me feel better to see that you wrote the word "wore" twice in your first sentence of this post. It's catching.

BeckEye said...

Oh...and I see you write for Starpulse. Me too. How do you get so many damn comments? I hardly get any, or if I do, they're all from 13 year olds with no grasp of the English language.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Charming: Well, she may have had the last word if you went through with the marriage and he was a butthole or something. So, nice work!

Casey: Badass orchestra kids? What was the chess club like in those parts?

Beckeye: That girl sounded like she had issues. Probably still does. Thanks for pointing out MY double word score. I fixed it. How do I get so many comments over at Starpulse? I have controversial topics like saying Caddyshack is a shit film. Link me to your articles!

BeckEye said...

So, after much griping about my lack of Starpulse comments, I finally wrote something that people gave a shit about. Adam Lambert, of course. 66 comments and counting. And people have actually been emailing me. I'm ASTOUNDED.