If Granpa Hicks found out any of us kids were pushing people around, he would come over and spank the daylights out of us. After his ass spankings, you would have preferred to have been in a fight with anyone else. It would hurt less and not for so long. Pushing the weak around was cowardly to Granpa; simple-minded weakness and no Hicks was that. Neither coward nor thug could you be. I am not certain what Granpa would have done if one of us kids had turned out to be a professional criminal. Likely, he would have killed them. Granpa hated crime more than bullying. They were kind of the same, criminals were simple-minded bullies. So maybe this was why Granpa never let us tolerate a bully or the bullying of others.

Granpa’s anti-bully mandate was simple, “Put a stop to it!” Intervention? Absolutely! I have many a scar from protecting the weak. It wasn’t even about the kid who was being picked on. It wasn’t about them. It was the bully that was the issue. He was to be stopped. So there was not, “Let’s all calm down.” Circumstances. It was a “Knock the bully down.” Situation. Get him down anyway you can and fast too. Strangely, our normal fair fighting rules were suspended at these moments. For a bully, it was overwhelming and painful force, a quick, humiliating beat-down usually did it.

My brother and I, at 10 and 11, knocked down many a 14 or 15 year old bully. My brother went high and I went low. We would hurt the bully anyway available. We would continue until he developed enough brain to get up and run away. The running away in fear from two pre-pubescent boys was an important part of the bully busting education program Granpa made us in charge of. The bully showing fear was essential, then the bully was laughed at afterwards. The pains just kept coming. That was part of the punishment.

The very thing the bully was being a bully about, not appearing too weak to the weak, was seen to be true. A weak bully is no bully at all, he lost his threat thus he lost his leverage. He still maybe bigger than all the kids, but now it doesn’t matter. It is a marketing issue, being a bully. It is just P.R. Negative P.R. but P.R. all the same. Destroy the image, show the guy for the coward he is and his bullyness disappears. Who would be afraid of a coward? No one likes a coward, even if you take their side on the conflict.

So we weren’t really protecting the weak, well, that wasn’t our goal, Granpa’s goal, it was ridding the world of cowardliness, that was the goal. It wasn’t about fear. “Only the stupid or crazy are not afraid. It was being sensible when you are afraid that’s the point.” Fear shouldn’t impale you or immobilize you. Fear was fear; deal with it and move on. And certainly don’t push your fear off onto others. Keep your fear to your self, just your religion. It is no one else’s business but your own.

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