A Little Ass Kicking, Perhaps?
If we're not watching violence on TV, or reading about it in the news, then we're probably perpetuating it via a video game. Seriously, it's everywhere. As for me, I'm not a fighter. I'm a lover.
Well, that's not exactly true: I do think violent thoughts. Most of those thoughts have involved the zillions of tourists that hover around my work area of Rockefeller Center this past holiday season. If one more person asks me where that goddamn tree is, well, I'm gonna...
Well, I'm probably not going to do anything, just think about tripping them, or cutting off pieces of the tree and smacking them in the face with it--or the most frustrating--walking in front of them and then stopping suddenly to look up. Yeah, that would show them!
But it's not just the thoughts. It's been all around me lately.
I was sitting on the subway and overheard these two women. One of them said with sass, "Yeah, so he pushed me against the wall and I turned around and smacked him in his face!"
I totally expected the other girl to be like, "Oh, my god! Did you call the cops? I'm so glad you could protect yourself, but there's no reason for him to put his hands on you!" (I know, I’ve seen too many Lifetime movies).
But, no. Her friend responded with: "That's right, girl. My boy pushed me the other day and I kicked the shit out of him."
And I thought to myself, I wish I was Puerto Rican, 'cause those girls know how to fight!(Well, except my roommate, but maybe that’s because she’s only half Puerto Rican.) We white girls, as ambiguously ethnic as we may look, do not inherit that gene. And if it's a parental teaching thing, I think Dr. Spock needs to include a chapter in his book on this topic.
[Note: I did not call the girls Puerto Rican because I'm racist, but because they were Puerto Rican. I know this because one of the girls was wearing a necklace that said "Puerto Rico." In big gold letters. I'm serious.]
And this wasn't the first time I came upon this discussion in a week. My boyfriend's mother shared with me a story over Christmas dinner. (Yes, Jews can eat Christmas dinner, too. It's not like I was eating a quiche in the shape of Christ.) It was a little story about how she learned to fight.
When she was about five, a little white girl used to chase her home after school every day and threaten to beat her up. Her grandmother got wind of this and finally said, "If you don't stop running and turn around and kick that girl's ass, I'm going to whoop yours." What a choice.
So that very next day, the little girl chased little Joyce home from school. And she started to run until she saw her grandmother walking down the street. And she was holding what looked to be a switch. (Apparently this was also in the days before child abuse laws.)
Little Joyce had to make a decision. So she turned around and whooped that little girl's ass until her grandmother actually said to her, "that's enough."
If this was big Joyce's way of explaining to me that if I ever hurt her baby, I'll get my ass whooped, her pointed was dully noted.
But I have to say, although I never want to be in the situation where I have to kick someone’s toosh to defend my own, it would have been nice if I’d gotten a little of that “tough love” or “self defense class” or whatever you call it as a child.
It would be nice if despite my small stature I actually looked intimidating, because, well, I can kick some butt! Because maybe then tourists wouldn’t come up to me and ask where the goddamn Rockefeller tree is. Or they’d ask me, and I’d glare at them, and they’d just slink away. And maybe if I was lucky I’d hear them say “See, Jimmy? You shouldn’t talk to a girl like that. I think she has a bad attitude.” And I’d smile (but not so they could see it), knowing that my bad assness showed.