Budding creep, plays too many video games, likes to fence and hit people to “win”

by Yule Heibel on December 15, 2004

This is one of those entries where I feel I should ask permission to post, …but I didn’t. If I end up pulling it, it’ll be because of fall-out from those concerned, i.e., family. It gives an indication, though, of some of the more mundane concerns around here … which in turn factor into my other cares. So: Shelley had this fascinating entry the other day, which among other things was about taking the person of the mountain spot in the game of life. I think the main point of her post was that it is desire which still propels (regardless of context, age, and media) the person who (temporarily!) inhabits the mountain top. The entry, which used modern childhood as its point of departure, sparked a number of responses, mainly by parents of variously-aged children, which is kind of interesting since Shelley doesn’t have kids herself, but I guess is a Big Perennial Kid Who Understands These Things Herself. From my point of view, the entry was fitting in the sense that it got me thinking about something that happened a week or so ago, when my daughter called an hour early from fencing class to say that she needed a ride home. Another player had whacked her twice so hard on the upper arm that it hurt to move it, and she didn’t want to continue with that evening’s class. (I guess he had managed to strike the muscle just right, and forcefully.) She’s 10, btw, and the class is for youth and adults, whereby “youth” is defined as those who the instructor deems mature enough and/or to be age 12 and older. Her tormentor was a pretty boy 15-year-old named Mc. who is known for his brutish ways. He gives the impression of being a spoiled brat, and it seems he lives in a world of video games. He fences avidly — to the point of being tournament material. He probably listens to a lot of rap music, too, since he is known for calling the other “girls” in the class “bitches,” and for using various epithets (eg., “fucking bastard”) that supposedly illustrate his manliness when addressing his male friends in the class (who range in age from about 14 or 15 to 20+). Mc is undoubtedly a virgin, but he likes to pretend he knows about things. Like many children these days, he has read about matters, and he has engaged in them at length virtually, and so he thinks he knows, even though he really knows nothing at all. The class is held at the downtown “Y,” and is intended for “youth” and “adult.” The two “girls” he has called “bitches” are ethnically non-northern European, and they “excuse” his banter, which has stopped my daughter and my son from telling them not to take this punk’s shit. These “girls” are also tournament fencers (whereas my kids are relative newbies), and they make excuses for Mc: “Oh, once you get used to Mc., he’s ok,” which makes my kids wonder what the point would be to try to reign this unfortunate misogynist in. And incidentally, neither my son or my daughter has heard Mc call the northern European females in the class “bitch.” I suppose I could make trouble for all concerned by complaining that Mc’s behaviour creates a climate of hostility and adversity unconducive to learning, and that his brand of swearing has no place in an officially designated “youth” class. It is, after all, a class happening at the Young Men’s/ Young Women’s Christian Association. Instead, I gave my daughter a bad time about not kicking Mc hard enough in the nuts. Mc likes to work himself into a state, based, it seems, on fantasy perception. Before fencing my daughter, Mc told her, “I don’t like you. I really don’t like you. I don’t hate you. But I really hate your brother, though.” My daughter’s brother (who, coincidentally, is my son) is 13 and at least a head taller than the two-year-older Mc. Yes, Mc has a “shortness issue”: from what I hear, he is a cherubic-looking, downright petite 15-year-old milquetoast who probably can’t stand being mistaken for an 11-year-old sop. (I’m not entirely sure I know what Mc looks like, but I think I spotted him recently — he looks like a doll, which probably makes him the evil git he is.) This still doesn’t excuse him from being a jerk for calling those non-northern European girl-fencers “bitches.” Nor does it excuse him for deliberately whacking my daughter on the arm (which doesn’t get him points) in an attempt to hurt her purposely. The only reason he stopped after two whacks was because my daughter used the opening his stupid attack gave to “parry-riposte” and gain two points for herself (despite the pain in her arm). That made him smarten up and return to “the rules.” Do I make official trouble at the “Y,” or do I stay the course and tell my daughter to kick his ass to kingdom-come, even if it takes 10 years of practice? He’s 15, she’s 10, he’s been fencing for a couple of years, she only started a few months ago. For the time being, I think she should either avoid him outright, or try to beat the crap out of him. The various responses to what Shelley wrote in her Mistress post are resonating in my head as I write this. I suppose my daughter will learn how to confront, avoid, or take on these sorts of creeps, and we’ll both learn that it’s not always my job or hers to “enlighten” the hordes of benighted boys out there, some of whom are her enemies, some of whom are her friends. They’re the ones who will suffer their own foolish attacks and their foolish defenses, their inability to play. “The play’s the thing,” didn’t somebody say that? At the end of the day, you’ll go home happier — and smarter — if you played well, with all the openness to feeling that entails. The greatest happiness sometimes comes from just saying, “I don’t know,” vs always making believe that you know everything. There are too many sad kids out there who have locked themselves down by pretending to know everything and anything. (“Oh yes, I know that.” [I’m so mature — a man, you might say!] Fuck you, you silly twit, I think to myself as I shake my head and wonder, What’s wrong with you, bud?)

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