Thursday, April 12, 2007


Most people that know me relatively well- even those that know me very well- probably wouldn’t know that I have a serious problem with revenge. Not the dime store kind. The kind that takes offense easily, hold grudges, looks to get back at everybody all the time. I don’t do that at all. In fact, my wife thinks I look too often for the possibility that those that wrong us or others didn’t really mean it or understand the impact of their actions or words.

What I do have a problem with is taking revenge on those who wrong others (especially kids) and leave no doubt they know exactly what they are doing. When people are downright mean and nasty. I know the bible is clear about revenge- it's not mine to take. It robs God of his place. It basically is telling God that I know better than him and will right the universe and make sure good triumphs over evil.

I can't help myself sometimes. Two examples…

A couple years ago we were on vacation in California. Michelle, K, L, A and I (our youngest R was too little and stayed home with my parents). We were in line at some attraction or other in downtown LA and Michelle and I witnessed a boy of about 8 years old absolutely torturing his younger brother (probably 4 or so). He was hitting, kicking, punching and pinching him and there was nothing funny or lighthearted about it. He was being cruel and mean. The 4 year old was defenseless and every time he cried out or whimpered his parents would turn around and either scold or smack him while the 8 year old put on an act of innocence. After 20 minutes in line I couldn’t take it anymore. As they passed by us in the weaving velvet roped line I ‘accidentally’ planted an elbow into the forehead of the 8 year old. He winced with pain and looked at me. I gave him my absolute meanest ‘I’m gonna kill you boy’ look and wiggled my finger at him while quietly whispering ‘stop bothering your brother.’ That ended it.

One gorgeous evening in Disney World I was quickly walking from one side of the park to the other. My family was in line at Splash Mountain and I had been on the other side of the park meeting for a few minutes with some people from work (we were there for Night of Joy and several of our artists were performing in the park). As I made my way to the edge of Frontierland, I noticed a pack of teenagers walking in front of me goofing off and laughing hard. It was dark and hard to see what they were doing, but after a minute or two I noticed one in the group was shielding himself behind a couple of his friends and winging pennies at people walking towards them. When I say winging, I mean FULL-ON high speed throwing. You know how you hold a coin by its edges and whip it through the air? That’s what he was doing- hitting people in the chest as hard as he could. When he would hit someone, he would duck down behind his friends as they all kept walking. The victim would be in pain, confused, look around and not see anything suspicious. Sometimes they would stand there for a few seconds looking around trying to figure out what and who hit them. The teenagers would burst out laughing and get ready for the next victim. I observed them do this 3 times when an idea came to me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a quarter (a good 2-3x the size and mass of their puny pennies) and got closer to the group. As they continued to walk and the perp sized up his next victim, he cocked his arm back for the shot. I let loose with a 50MPH speed ball right at the back of his head. WHOMP. It struck true. King David himself would have been impressed. The teenage boy let out a whelp and dropped to his knees. His friends turned around and asked what happened. The boy said “I don’t know! Something hit me in the head! Who did it?” As I walked past him, I looked down at the nearly crying boy (he looked to be 16 or 17) and said “I did,” smiled at him and kept walking.

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Anonymous said...

I am obviously not evolved enough plus I think both the 8 year old and the teenage boy could beat me up BUT I've thought about doing something similar to what you did when I've viewed pure unmitigated nasty-on-purpose meanness!

The little boy's meanness was one thing - children can be quite cruel to each other, especially their siblings. But that teenage boy, I confess, I was uncomfortably gleeful at your accuracy.

the esquire said...

The teenage story was probably one of the best I've heard. Would have loved to have seen it.