Boyd Gumm


Boyd Gumm and I had three fights. My record against Boyd gumm stands at 1 and 2. I won the last fight by decision in the winter of my seventh grade year at Crestview School. Winning our last fight meant more to me than any scholastic or athletic accomplishments that I may have had under my belt by that time.

Boyd Gumm had a moustache and rode a motorcycle to school…in the SEVENTH GRADE! Boyd was a seventeen year old hillbilly who terrorized all of the students at Crestview School. He was the guy voted “least desirable to make eye contact with.” Your lunch money was his lunch money. And when we played basketball, no matter who was fouled, he took the free throws. Boyd was a bully and needed to be put in his place…but none of the teachers had the balls to stand up to him, and he ran rampant. I was crazy enough to think that I was the chosen one who would lead us out of the clutches of this miscreant. I was wrong twice but the third time proved that he was not invincible.

My first meeting with Boyd occurred during the summer before sixth grade. I had gone to the corner store and bought one of those magnetic tablets that has a face under a plastic cavity full of metal shavings which you could form into hair and beard with a magnetic stylus. On the way home, I had stopped to play with this thing under a shade tree. A guy I later learned was Boyd road by and quite roughly slapped the thing out of my hands and into the ditch.

About a month later, I was walking my dog in the woods close by the neighborhood. I felt something hit me in the back and turned to see Boyd with a dirt clod held in his hand ready to fire. Without a word, we fell on each other, wrestled to the ground and began to swing wildly. At least I swung wildly. Boyd knew how to fight and was not wild with his swings. He got me a few good punches and dragged me by my feet into the creek. Before I could get up, he ran away laughing and calling me “sissy” over his shoulder. That was twice that he had attacked me without provocation…and kicked my ass!

Now, boys will be boys, and sometimes they just fight for no reason, but this was getting on my nerves. Later that fall, after school had started, I was in the vacant lot behind our house hitting baseballs. The neighborhood guys had all pulled together and turned this lot into a baseball field complete with dugouts. The only drawback to the field was that the infield was gravel. Well, here came Boyd on his motorbike and I thought it would be a great idea to redistribute some gravel in his direction. Boyd ran me down with the bike, jumped off and proceeded to kick my ass again. As he sat on my chest, the gravel poking through my sweatshirt, my older brother ran out of the house and cracked Boyd across the head with his catcher’s mitt, knocking him off. Then I got to watch as Boyd got his ass good and kicked. Sadly, it was a pyrrhic victory. My brother went to a different school and Boyd terrorized me and everyone in that school mercilessly for the next year.

Ah, but by the winter of seventh grade I had grown. I was always tall for my age, but now I had grown a bit bulkier and was at least two inches taller than the now seventeen and moustached bully. In front of the school there was a round driveway where the school bus picked up the students. In winter when it snowed, the snow plow would clean the driveway and plow the snow into the center of the circle forming a mountain of snow on which we would play. One morning we were playing “King of the Mountain” and Boyd decided that he would be king. He made his way to the top of the hill tossing the smaller kids aside. Soon, it was Boyd and me, alone at the top of the snow mound and facing off like a pair of rams. We sized each other up, circled, and fell on each other viciously. This time it was different. After I knocked him down, I sat on his chest and held him as all the little kids stuffed dirty snow in his face. The teachers finally pulled me off of Boyd but I can’t help but think that they stood by a bit longer than they would have had the fight involved someone other than Boyd.

As we sat in the office awaiting punishment, Boyd was the image of defeat. The chastisement of the little kids had humiliated him beyond all repair. The reign of terror had come to an end. Oh sure, Boyd still threw an occasional punch and tried to bogart free throws at recess. But the fear had left us and his bullying was no longer effective.

And so I look back on my 1 and 2 record knowing that a valuable lesson had been learned by both of us. I learned that bullies are really pussies…and Boyd? Well, I don’t know if Boyd learned any real lesson. But he did learn that if you fuck with enough people, eventually they will get together and kick your ass.

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