The True Story of the One Time I Was Slapped In The Face In Front Of My Entire School and Loved It (Kind Of)
I truly believe that every man worth his salt has one good “slapped in the face” story. I just see it as a coming-of-age type of thing. It doesn’t mean that slap was justified, and it may have made the person on the receiving end feel like an ass, but regardless, you once you get that moment, you can do with it what you please. For example, this situation I am about to talk about. When this happened to me, I pretty much wanted to crawl into a hole and die (the 500 or so witnesses didn’t help that feeling), but now that I am separated from the instance and have some healthy distance to re-evaluate what all went down that day, and I am truly grateful it happened. Why? Because it gave me this amazing story I am about to tell you right now, so in that sense, it was more than worth it. Fucked up, but more than worth it. Trust me, this is another mind blower. I would grab a drink before taking this ride, kids.
When I went to Weymouth, South in the seventh grade, it was a very strange experience. They had seventh grade through twelfth grade, all in one building, and that can be really daunting for the seventh graders. We are these tiny kids, who know nothing about nothing, going to school in the same halls with seventeen year olds who were banging and doing drugs. And any chance those older kids got, they would reminded us youngins that we were just that, the very bottom of the food chain. So for that reason, the younger grades were more like cults, with us kids of the same age sticking together in massive groups of out fear they would be bullied into submission. Thing is, as odd as I may seem, I have always been really nice, and for that reason, was pretty lucky that I didn’t catch too much shit (post 4th and 5th grade, which were HELL for me, more to come on that down the road). But one day, one fateful day, in front of the entirety of the school population, I did catch shit. Caught it right in the face, too.
Quick disclaimer: if this slap was justified on any level, I would admit that. You folks know I feel no shame. But in this case, I cannot summarize just how UNDESERVED I was of this. Either way, put on your “mind seat belt” or else it will be flying through the windshield in about three minutes or so.
The way “before school” worked at Weymouth South was, all the buses would pull into the front of the school before the first bell, and all the kids would gather outside in one spot, waiting for the bell to ring so we could go in. It was always an odd time for the youngest kids because it was the one time we had no choice but to mesh with the older kids, waddling among them like perpetual victims. And one day, one fateful fucking day, while standing there talking to my friend Matt, I heard my name being called by a girl. Normally, to a seventh grade boy, this is an exciting moment. But there was a tone as I heard her asking around the crowd for me, and it is pure venom. Thing is, I did not know this girl, and did not know her voice, nor had any clue why she sounded like she wanted to stab me. Here comes curveball time, kids.
So the crowd parts in front of me like a Red Sea made of bodies, and out walks this terrifying white ghetto chick, rocking an old school Adidas blazer (that was not old-school back then) with greasy locks of black hair hanging in her face. A face ripe, red, and swollen with blackheads. She was, for all intents and purposes, the freakiest looking human I had ever seen, and she was walking straight towards me with daggers in her eyes. Nah, machetes. She had fucking eye machetes. The following is our EXACT exchange, word for word.
The Evil Worm Queen (her unofficial name now cuz this is bringing up a lot of feelings): Is your name Remy?
Handsome, scared boy: Yes.
The Evil Barren Worm Queen (Yes, I added barren): I heard you called Junior a nigger.
*Slaps me in the face as hard as she can in the dead center of whole crowd.
Poor, handsome., scared boy: *silence and genuine shock
Listen guys, I can safely tell you that I find that word to be rather disgusting, and have NEVER once used it casually in that sense, or as a bad word. So not only was her accusation insane, but it came SO from left field, that I could not even justify a yes or no to her. I never said I didn’t say it. Not because I didn’t say it, but because everything that I just told you happened SO FAST, and so out of the scope of what my mind could process at the time, that I was in utter shock. But honestly, me being accused of being racist is like accusing Louis C.K of not being funny. It just doesn’t work. There is literally no validity to it, as most of you already know.
So there I am, in the dead center of the entirety of the Weymouth South school population, and you could hear a fucking pin drop. Not a single person was saying a word, and no matter what you think or how tough you THINK you are, if you are old school like me, then your Dad would smack you in the face when you did fucked up shit, and your first fear response as a child is to cry, so when you get slapped, INCREDIBLY hard out of left field for something you didn’t do as an adult, your VERY FIRST URGE is to cry, just for a second, and luckily, the rational part of your brain counteracts that with adrenaline, and you end up looking like a fucking robot who did not react to two very bad things, happening back to back.
Wait, it gets better.
Have I told you who Junior was yet? Well, Junior was that kid who was thirty and went to Weymouth South for about fifteen years. The school was pretty much his, and shit like that happening was never met with any kind of opposition from anyone. So basically, the kid climbed the social ladder in the worst way possible, and had earned a sort of “tenure” at the school, where could do as he pleases. Listen, hand anyone power, no matter how smart or stupid they are, they will take advantage of that. We would have all done the same thing in the high school hierarchy had we been handed the power Junior had. I can also confidently tell you that NO KID AT THAT SCHOOL WOULD HAVE EVER BEEN STUPID ENOUGH TO USE THAT WORD, SPECIALLY ON JUNIOR. That is like telling me some guy took his dick out and pissed on the white house. No, NO ONE would have the balls (and stupidity) to do that, and the very same can be said about what I was being accused of. But still, wait, it gets better, right here.
The crowd parts again and Junior is walking over to me. THIS is why everyone was quiet. Because they knew, in the natural progression of things, I was going to be beaten to death in front of them next. Ofcourse, I was so numb from the slap and how that all went down, I didn’t realize until he was right in my face. Thing is, I was still blank. I fucking blanked out. So there I am, in a circle of about five hundred kids, with a dude next to me who, no joke, is about a foot taller, half foot wider, and atleast six years older than me, and he is looking down at me, growling, thinking I just called him the N word. Thing is, I am not denying it. I am screaming at my brain to deny it, but my brain just keeps looping the slap in my head, over and over. Holy fuck, I am looking Junior in the eyes, and I saying nothing. Again, part of my brain is starting to scream cuz it seems like we are squaring off, but I am too much in shock to do anything. What happens next is a miracle from the Heavens, and I will ALWAYS see it as such.
Junior looks at me and says, loud enough that it was more for the crowd than for me. Nah, dude aint even worth it. And he walks away.
Never have I been so grateful to not be worth something. I will never be able to sum up in words how it felt when he walked away. I was still standing there, stoic, but I had just been accused or racism in front of my entire school. I had been slapped in the face as hard as a man can be, in front of my whole school. And on top of that, I was almost beaten to death in front of them, too, but by the grace of God I wasn’t. And the bell rang. And people began to file in, and I still kinda stood there, really, truly, in shock. Like, what the fuck? The slap didn’t bother me nearly as much as the accusation, which I feared would follow me, and follow me unjustifiably. And for those who want to say “where are the teachers in all this?!”, if you think there was any kind of bullying monitoring BEFORE Columbine, you are a fucking idiot. Hell, teachers used to pick on the victim kids, too, and if you think otherwise, you have much to learn, but I am getting ahead of myself,. More on that subject down the road.
Anyway, what happened next in the timeline of that same day further proves that my life IS a movie, and what happened after that only FURTHER reiterates it.
The prettiest girl in the entire school (whose name was Buffy, because offuckingcourse it was) walks up to me and, I kid you not, puts her hand on my face where I got slapped and keeps it there for about two seconds, saying: You poor thing, that looked like it hurt. Do you even understand how that superseded anything that happened before it? People who knew me or knew my brother and sister knew we were not like that, not evil racists, so no one swallowed that part of the confrontation, thank God. And my act if standing there had shown some sort of swagger and courage to these people, so instead of the slap ruining me, it did the opposite. The fucking prettiest girl in school who I was totally comfortable in knowing she would never know I exist is suddenly stroking my face in front of the same classmates who just saw me get bitch slapped. Guess which one held more weight?
Suddenly, I was the cool guy who stood his ground. Suddenly, I was the kid who took the slap like a champ and didn’t even wince (though I swear, inside I made a cry-face). Suddenly, I was alpha, and all the females I was friends with were sending me love notes and shit. Life spurned something good from something awful, and for the first time since second grade, I didn’t hate school. I didn’t hate my life. Things were looking up for this guy!
Then I got home from school, a few weeks later, and my Mom told me we were moving to Plymouth. Like, are you fucking kidding me?
That, my friends, pretty sums up my life.