Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Somebody's gonna end up crying

First, if you haven't seen The Charlie Bit Me video, please watch it now.

For the cable modem-impaired (Mom): It's a short clip featuring two cute little brothers sitting all snug and cozy in a La-Z-Boy. Charlie, the baby, chomps on his older brother's finger. Tears and laughter ensue.

I've watched this thing about 20 times and it still cracks me up completely.

But it's also rather confounding.

Having had a smiling, toad-like baby brother myself, I'm trying to figure out how cute little Charlie didn't get smacked up side the head after pulling a stunt like that.


Baby Eric bites my finger? At the very least he's getting a bigger bite back.

But no.

The injured kid just yells a little and looks at baby Charlie with Much Consternation before mildly bitching him out.

Of course anytime anyone anywhere gets bitched out by someone with a British accent, it's gonna be mild. And rather cute. Anyhoo.

Clearly, these children are growing up in a family without Fight Nights.

I don't remember when they started exactly.

I'm guessing 1972. Eric was 2 or 3. I was 5 or 6.

Here's how it went: Da would stuff our tiny arms into his ginormous puffy snowmobile gloves.

Mom would coach Eric in one corner of the living room, Da was with me in the other.

"Keep your fists up and your elbows in. Protect your gut. Wait for him to lower his guard."

I'm sure we heard the requisite admonishments regarding hits below the belt and whatnot, but I don't remember them. I'm also quite certain that Eric and me were the only kids at Atwood Elementary School who could discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of perpetrating the classic rope-a-dope.

With the coaching over, Da would walk over to the light hanging above the dining room table, flick it with his thick forefinger, and DING! Round one began.

"Somebody's gonna end up crying."

That was Mom. And she was always right. Plus Eric was prone to nose bleeds so the fights never lasted more than a few precious rounds.

But we learned to be tough. To not cry even when we really really felt like it. And of course, how to give (and take) a good punch.
Please don't get the idea that we used violence to solve our many childhood disputes. No.

Fight Nights existed purely for the amusement of our parents.

On the rare (ahem) occasion that Eric and I would actually argue, Mom made us sit next to each other on the couch and hold hands. When we got older and holding hands with your little brother was just Gross, we were made to stand in separate corners of the living room. Ironic, since I think we both would've preferred putting on the gloves to resolve our disputes rather than staring at a wall for what seemed like forever.

I don't actually remember any spankings, only the threat of them. Which resulted in me, standing in the corner with my butt cheeks all squinched up on the off chance that a spanking might be administered at this, the most vulnerable of moments.
One magical boxing-themed Christmas, Santa brought us 'real' boxing gloves. And Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

I remember thinking why the hell did they bother with that silly game when we could duke it out for real? Plus toys don't bleed. What fun is that?
I am listening to: Heartache Tonight - The Eagles
I am reading: Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn
And I am: Sniffly


the dilf said...

Hedy..you never cease to amaze me. I laughed so hard when I read this. It's so....so.....Clemish.
When I was a kid, I had a brother that was 10 yrs older than me. Let's say, he had/has some issues. Everytime I scored a hat trick (3 goals in a game), he let me punch him in the face, as hard as I could. And I loved to do it. The final straw, was when I was about 11 or 12 and I hit him so hard, that he had to go get stitches. After that, he would get me a banana split, instead.
Now I know all of this sounds weird, but it really did toughen me up. I've never backed down, but I've also pushed things too far, which have gotten me into trouble.
I have no idea what my point is, but, did anyone else grow up like this? Or is it just a Mt.Clemens/Detroit thing?


you make me think of how I parent with my boys..when they get pissy with one another, and argue over who gets to look at the LEFT side of the cereal box,(that's one example), I make them sit cross legged (because naturally that's cruel to do to a male) and stare at each other for 3minutes-without smiling. Sure as the RIGHT side of the cereal box, within one minute, someone has cracked a smile, they lean in and give each other a grunting compassionate(?) male hug and move on to fighting about who has the better favorite color.
Thanks for the chuckle, I really needed it!


you know who said...

True story - we too had fight nights, but unlike yours, ours were not intended for family fun. It was how my father settled arguments between my brother and I once the incident had progressed beyond yelling and name calling. Dad would escort us to the garage explaining how "we're going to settle this like men". He'd lace each of us up in a pair of fat boxing gloves and tell us to "have at it". Not a bad plan, had it not been for one teensie-weensie little flaw. I'm 4 years younger than my brother, and the average 12 year old can kick even the toughest 8 year old's ass....every time. I mentioned that a few times, but Dad called it "character building".
Years later the laws of physics finally smiled upon me and in one particularly bloody, albeit unsanctioned fight night, I triumphantly put and end to the practice altogether. I'm now 47 years old and my brother is still 4 years older (that's just how the math works). I've got him by 2 inches and 40 lbs. I now introduce him as my little brother (little - not younger). He hates it, but he's yet to call me out to the garage. He hates it, but I tell him it's "character building".

Hedy said...

YKW: My life changed forever the day little Eric realized he was two inches taller than me. My passion for Fight Night dwindled considerably after that point.

molly gras said...

Hedy, Dilf -
I don't care how many hat tricks my middle kid may get in hockey, he'll never get to experience the "thrill" of this particular brand of character building.

I wouldn't have the stomach for it. Besides, it's enough to see my little guy check some kid twice his size against the boards -- the sound is frightening!

Anonymous said...

Oh what memories this blog brings back to me. I remember my two little kids running out to the middle of the living room when Da hit the light fixture in the dinning room. Once while I was couching Eric, he ran out and landed a blow right to Hedy's nose. And yes someone did end up crying. Love, Mom