Recess was easily my favorite hour of the day. I mean come on, an hour to run around outside after polishing off lunch. Just TRY not to vomit with excitement! And the games we had! Oh, the games we had. We had your recess staples: your various tags; freeze, zombie, prison and regular. We had imaginary guns for military play and imaginary proton-packs for Ghost Buster play. We also had a large assortment of school provided whiffle ball pats for 'bee killing' which was a game as creative as it's name: we smacked bees with whiffle ball bats.
But there was one game that, in retrospect, I'm not sure why we ever played. Actually, it wasn't a game so much as it was just an activity. Maybe a ritual. Whatever it was it usually didn't turn out to be much fun for me.
There was this kid in our school named Justin. I guess he was sorta our friend. Most of the time he was normal, if a little hyper-active. He was the kind of kid that dumped Pixie Sticks onto his peanut butter sandwich. You know. He liked to go into "rages" as we called them. He would get, or act, insanely fly-off-the-handle hyper. This was facilitated by us, of course. We would encircle him at recess and chant "Rage! Rage! Rage!" until he would 'snap' and go off on one of his rages. His rages usually climaxed with him smacking me or tackling me to the ground. Most likely because I was the smallest kid, or because of my big nerd glasses. There was one instance in particular that I remember that ended with me crying to the teacher and her saying, "I saw you guys taunting him..." Now you see why, in retrospect, I don't know why I participated.
Well that was going to change! I wasn't going to partake, no, I wasn't going to allow it anymore! I would stop the circle of rage. It was cruel. And sure Justin may have been obnoxious but we didn't need to ostracize him like we did. I bet if we treated him as one of us he would mellow out and relax.
Well, that theory lasted for about three days before he 'raged' again and knocked my glasses into a slushy puddle of melting snow and mud and who knows what else!
Fuck that kid! Next time it happens I'm just gonna 'rage' back and knock him on his ass!
Cut to four days later and me in a headlock squeezing my face until my ears hurt.
Well, wait a minute. Why doesn't that lazy, alcoholic recess teacher ever do anything about this?! I bet if i told the principal about what was happening on his playground he'd want to know and maybe actually do something to stop it...like lock Justin in leg irons against the wall they use for handball. THAT'S what I'd do!
As it turns out the principal was interested in hearing about what happened on the playground. Very interested. Naturally, I had to embellish a little. You know, "spice things up." I just had to be sure that he would see the seriousness of the situation. So I said Justin was selling drugs for the recess teacher. I said she would slip him the drugs and he would go stand near the fence and sell them to teenagers. I said when I told Justin that I was going to tell on him that he beat me up. I had the bruises to back that up. I also had some marijuana I bought from some high schoolers with four weeks allowance that I split up and put in the teacher's purse while she was talking on the phone and a little inside a pack a gum that I gave to Justin, no questions asked. I also said that Justin had anger problems and about the 'rage' issues and how the druggie teacher never did anything, but he didn't seem as concerned. So I was right to dramatize a little.
Justin got in pretty big trouble. He came back to school after the summer and by then was kind of out of our circle of friends. The teacher I never saw again. But who cares?