20 October 2007

Was I a teenage rebel?

The answer to David McMahon's weekend question, "was I a teenage rebel", depends on how one defines the word rebel.

When compared with most common or garden teenagers of my time I was probably quite tame, especially on the home front.

Growing up wild and free shaped me
into a non-conformist teenager

At school I was too much of a nonconformist to be part of the "in crowd". I was motivated and driven by different interests and values to most of my peers. I scorned designer labels and still do; I could not care less about disco's, or any of the other fads of the time that qualified one for acceptance by this crowd. My idea of fun was getting out and doing my own thing, like going fishing or exploring the countryside around our home. That was part of the legacy of growing up in the bush. As a result I was always on the outside looking in - the price of nonconformity, in an image conscious world. So if not aspiring to the shallow norms of my peer group set me apart, then I guess in that respect I was a teenage rebel.

My desire to be left alone was of course never honoured by that select group of individuals, who qualified for the ignominious title of "school bully". These thugs would prowl around the school yard or the classrooms deliberately picking fights.

It would usually start something like this. You are standing around at break talking to friends, minding your own business, when the dreaded words ring out, "What are you looking at?"

You look around to see who he is talking to, because it can't possibly be you. You did not even see him arrive.

"Hey you!". You turn around and make eye contact with this mean looking individual, whose sole mission in life now is to beat you to a pulp. But of course, to salve his conscience he must first create the justification. Your blood runs cold.

"Who me," comes the lame reply.

"Yes you, what are you looking at?", is said with menace.

Here comes the part where you have to carefully select your answer, which does not really matter, because whatever you say is going to be wrong. Oh, and don't bother to look around for a teacher, because he has already made certain there are none around to witnes his nefarious deed.

"I ....wwwwasn't llllooking at y..ou", you stammer. By now your heart is pounding like a jack hammer.

"Are you tuning me grief!" That terminology spells big trouble. Now you know you are on a downward spiral.

You look around for moral support but your friends have deserted you....it is like they were vaporized.......... it's all downhill from here...........

The other scenario, just after the, "Yes you, what are you looking at?", part is to start grovelling. Even if you did nothing wrong it is best to apologize - preferably in the most snivelling way possible. In this way you might just get away with your arm being wrenched from it socket and a warning. "Phew", you think, "what a lucky break".

From here on you make sure you look out for this fellow and pay him the homage that is his "due". In this way they would gain quite a following around them, not through the choice of the individuals, but through fear.

Then there is the Max response. It comes immediatedly after the, "What are you looking at?" part.

I do not kow tow to bullies, so without giving a though to the consequenses or persaonal safety, my immediate retort would be, "Your ugly face".

That usually sparked a reaction. If they were really big I would run, I was quite nimble on my feet, just enough to kep out of their reach. Alternativey I would stand my ground. Usually they would back off and afterwards my friends would rematerialize and congratulate me on taking a stand.

Sorry mate, but I was cast in a different mould. I never have and I never will give in to threats of violence and intimidation from bullies. So in that respect I was a teenage rebel.


david mcmahon said...

Bless your stout heart, Max. I learned very early in life that bullies have one thing in common - they are cowards.

I always held nothing but scorn for bullies. Fortunately, I was always tall for my age, though I never had to land a punch to defend myself.

As an adult, there were a couple of times when I encountered a workplace bully. Suffice to say there were only two and I sorted them both out.

Your post shows great spirit - you're that sort of guy.

Good on you for not backing down

Suzi-k said...

Mind you, I do recall you having shoulder length hair and purple bellbottoms when we met, so you were not totally unfashionable!!

Max-e said...

Hi David thanks for the comments. I am generally an even tempered person, but a bully will always bring out the worst in me. After a recent run in with an unscrupulous businessman, my comment was, "Who was that fellow - I am sure it was not me".

Max-e said...

OK Suzi-k you got me there, but I was in my early twenties and I worked for and organization that wanted to put me in a pigeon hole. I could not have that now could I.

karoline said...

wonderful post max! and good for you...that is the sort of rebelliousness we need more of..


Max-e said...

Glad you enjoyed it Karoline. I was brought up on very strong beliefs of right and wrong, by some very tough old school men, so I guess my sort of "rebelliousness" runs deep in my veins.