Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Proud Moment In History, And The School Playground.

Not being the type of bloke who blows his own trumpet, it might surprise you to learn that in the year of our Lord 1954 I was appointed to the position of milk monitor at my school. I say appointed, what I should say is elected. Yes it's true. I was actually voted into this esteemed position by my peers.

There were three candidates, but one of them was swiftly ruled out because she was a girl. This was nothing to do with sexism however. Believe it or not sexism didn't even exist in those days. No she was ruled out when it was discovered that she did not have the strength to lift the milk crates onto the trolley to transport said crates from the main school gate to the door beside the gymnasium.

It wasn't a gymnasium really. I don't know why I said that. It was the main assembly hall. Although we did do PE lessons in there. In fact we never used the word gymnasium. It was a word I never heard until I went up to the big school some years later. Where we had three gymnasiums. Amazing. Actually everybody called them gyms. I thought for a long time that the word was Jims. Life can be very confusing for a youngster. I remember using the term brown new, instead of brand new. Did it for years til one day someone pointed out to me that I was wrong. This was a bit of a relief to be honest. I had up until then been terribly confused that my black school shoes could be brown new. Kids eh!

Where was I? Oh yes the girl candidate wasn't strong enough. So it was just me and Guts Braithwaite left in the running. Guts was the school bully. As far as I can recall we only had one bully for the whole school. You have to realise that this was just after the second world war, and school bullies were in short supply.
His chosen method of getting kids to vote for him was to threaten to punch their heads in if they didn't vote for him. This method was very effective when it came to the boys, but unfortunately for Guts, and as you can imagine, I was already a bit of a heart throb amongst the girls, due to my smouldering good looks, and after bestowing a lot of kisses I was well ahead in the polls.

Guts Braithwaite knew that he didn't stand a chance against an opponent as handsome and charismatic as me, and so he did the only thing he could do. He threatened to punch my head in if I didn't let him win.
As bullies often do, Guts had developed a legitimate way of bullying just prior to his threat towards me. He thought it was very clever, but because as well as being very attractive to look at I was also extremely intelligent, I soon saw a way to deal with him.

What Guts had started doing, was to challenge the smaller kids to punch him. Now little kids are not good punchers and they always did the same thing. They would always throw a left or right hook, and Guts would just duck his head to avoid it. Whereupon he was perfectly within his rights to punch the hapless kid back.
When he stood in front of me threatening to punch my head in, he made the mistake of offering me the opportunity to punch him. The chance was too good to miss. I swung a left hook, and as he ducked to avoid it I caught him a fantastic uppercut right on his nose. It made him sit down a bit sharpish and he was still holding his bloody nose and crying when Miss Miles the teacher came over to see what all the cheering was about.

I had to write out five hundred times, 'I must not fight in the playground'. Mr King tried to get me to join the boxing club that he ran in town. I declined his offer though, because I remembered the pain in my hand when I hit Guts's nose. Excruciating!

I won the election by a landslide victory. Guts Braithwaite got a few votes, but only from his hangers on.


  1. Another ice cream for you. Better late than never. I do not believe in violence but unfortunately that is what is sometimes needed. I am glad you stood up for yourself and the other children.

  2. I want to know if Guts Braithwaite toned down the bullying after that or did he just get more clever about who he picked on? My husband had a terrible bullying at school and I can only hope they tremble when he crosses their path now because he grew into a very big powerful man, lucky for them he is not violent and vengeful...but he does remember.

  3. How clever of you to outsmart Guts. I'm assuming that he didn't bother you after that.

  4. There ya go again, hub, making me smile at your story.

  5. We should have more like you in the playgrounds today.

  6. I would have voted for you too!

  7. I love it when people drive their own karma bus!

  8. Way to go, John. You did the right thing in standing your ground and helping those other kids and they showed you how much they appreciated your stand.

  9. I suspect parents are just asking for misbehavior when they name a child "Guts". My kids, especially my daughter, are glad we didn't.