At a very young age, I discovered girls. They were clean, pretty and smelled good. I spent much of my time with the fairer sex. When most other boys were trying out for sports or playing with toy cars, I was making time with the girls. Young or older, they accepted me and were happy that a boy took interest in some of the things they were into.
I was always average sized growing up. But when I reached twelve to thirteen years old, I began my growth spurt. Over the space of a couple of months, I shot up like a weed, catching most of the girls my age who were previously a head taller than me, and surpassing them by the same margin. By this time, you might guess, none of the guys at school would mess with me due to my size. No one in my age group was taller than me.
The summer that I entered ninth grade, I caught strep throat. I was super ill for about six weeks. Totally incapacitated, I was week as a lamb by the time that I recovered and started school. This was my first year at this new school as we had just moved into a new house, a couple of blocks from our previous one, at the beginning of summer break.
There I met Fred. I immediately disliked him. He carried a smirk on his face that I came to find out that was a sign of disrespect for anyone around him. We were the same height he was a little larger than me, being a year older. But it was his big brother that instilled fear into any of his potential enemies. Being a couple of years older, his body was well into the beginning of manhood. He had a broad chest and rather large arms, and was a lineman on the High School football team. What he lacked in smarts, he made up for it in bulk and brawn. No one messed with Fred's brother, and because of this fact, Fred pushed his weight around and no one challenged him. In fact many of the guys literally sucked up to him thinking that it was better than opposing him on any level.
As most kids do, I got into an argument with one of the other kids at school. It progressed to the point where we were going to settle it outside, after school. We met at the designated spot and got into fisticuffs where I was quickly beaten down, being in my weakened state from my illness. As he was over me, the kids in the crowd encouraged him to beat the shit out of me. I guess that I was so weak that I posed no threat to him in this fight. Consequently, he got off of me and left when I capitulated. I went home dirty and defeated, but with new found respect for this foe. He could have easily beaten me senseless, but he didn't.
Of course, the next day at school was hell for me since I had displayed my infirmity in the fight, no one, except my closest friends, had any respect for me. They began to bully me, knocking me into lockers, dumping my books, name calling, the works. Well, I found out who my friends were and I stayed away from the rest as much as possible. But sometimes, one of them would go out of their way to prove that they were tougher than me and would pick a fight. I would try not to get into it with them so I would back down, even to the point of running away from them. This advanced my reputation as a wimp,
As time went on, I regained my health but I had never learned to fight. I never had to before my beating, I was larger than many of the kids in my classes, and that was enough to intimidate them. Now, with my reputation as a wimp, anyone would challenge me, even those that I thought were my friends. They wanted to beat me, thinking that it would advance them in their social status around school.
I finally learned to defend myself by watching one of the kids that was in a couple of grades lower than I was in, and he was actually a little smaller than his contemporaries. But he did have a reputation for being tough. I thought that it was because he had an older brother, named Fred. But as it turned out, Jimmy knew how to fight.