Tuesday, November 10, 2009


He was short and rather chubby, probably weighed about 50 lbs. more than me. He seemed intelligent and  rather good-natured but somehow we got off on  the wrong foot.  It might have been that he was being affectionate, friendly, in his way.  I don’t remember the exact circumstances, just that at least twice we got into it physically. 
You wouldn’t think that two educated college faculty members would wind up in a scuffle but we did.  I think the first time, he was threatening me and crowding me,  trying to push me backwards and intimidate me.  We were standing in a hallway with a marble floor.  The next time he extended his arm toward me, I arm-dragged him.  I held his arm straight and added my weight to his forward momentum.  That much weight over-balanced him and he fell forward.  As he did, I slipped to the side.  He fell directly onto his knees, his full weight crashing his kneecaps into that marble.  There was a loud bang and a cry of pain.  I thought he might have badly injured himself and I would be responsible. 
I got up and stepped away.  He got up and didn’t try anything further so I figured that was that.  I didn’t want to cause trouble but I didn’t enjoyed being trouble either.
There was a further instance.  We were outside a large classroom with about  40 students and an instructor working inside.  I can’t remember how he wound up on his back on the floor.  I do remember that  I scooped up his ankles and held each on tightly in an armpit.  He thrashed and squirmed.  I had had opponents in that position before and it can be surprisingly difficult to get out of.  He screamed, “I will kill you, you little f*cker!” 
I stepped away to see what would happen next but nothing did.  I knew it would better for both of us if we avoided physical violence.  Besides being dangerous to our bodies, it was unhealthy for our dignity, our reputations and our jobs to be getting into wrestling matches in public hallways.  We never did again.

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