“Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to.” – Arnold H. Glasow
In my first life story for this site, I wrote about my loneliness at Luther Memorial School without my good friend Jason Ross. I also said in that story that I’d give Jason a better introduction in a later story, and this is that one. I met Jason Ross – a frail-looking, blonde kid who was much stronger than he put on – during my first day at this new journey in my scholastic life. There are times when I look back at small actions that turned out big situations/circumstances that I realize wasn’t some simple coincidence – Jason and I were meant to be friends. I was the new kid – an automatic outcast – and he was the kid who a lot of people just didn’t get. Not to mention that we challenged each other intellectually like no one else in our grade.
As the year progressed into the next, I noticed Jason’s confidence level rise with his ability to befriend the same people who didn’t have time for him before I got to LMS. But even with that, Jason still had problems with certain classmates picking on him. One kid named Chris seemingly took pleasure in trying to build himself up while tearing Jason down. Like my father told me, I explained to Jason several times in March of 1998 that he needs to let Chris’ insults roll off of his back, “…but don’t back down if he puts your physical safety in danger.”
On April 1st, Jason took my words to heart and let them enter his fists. In the spirit of the day, I used some invisible ink to “stain” Chris’ shirt during gym. After telling on me to the gym teacher, only to look like a liar because nothing was on his shirt by the time he said anything, Chris figured he had a score to settle. Rather than step up to me for laughing at him, Chris took it upon himself to throw a basketball at Jason in the changing room/supply room. Dodging the attack, Jason warned Chris not to do that again. Chris didn’t heed Jason’s warning, grabbing another ball.
Before Chris could toss the second item, Jason rammed him against the nearby wall, wearing out Chris’ body with left and right hooks. A couple of punches connected with Chris’ face when he tried to break free from the onslaught, but ended up getting his bottom lip bloodied. I did my best to hold back some of my fellow classmates who wanted to break up the fight. I knew this was a long time coming and Chris deserved what he got at the hands of “poor, little” Jason.
About a minute passed when our gym teacher entered the room, stopping Jason from continuing the one-sided beating. When things settled, Jason plopped beside the wall he used to pin Chris against, crying. Jason, like myself, had never gotten in trouble at LMS and hated the fact that his anger got the better of him. I reassured my friend that I would tell the entire story, and more than likely Jason wouldn’t get in trouble too badly. Knowing the history between Chris and Jason, the principle believed Jason and my side of the story, only giving the two brawlers a day of detention.
To this day, the thought of Jason finally standing up for himself in a big way brings a smile to my face. It’s not that condone violence, and these days are much different than the somewhat innocent days of 1998, but there are times when you have to man up and make people know that you’re not one to be picked on.