When I was a boy, I had some truly spectacularly douchy moments. Because a child has nothing to do but be awful. That's really the only important thing that they do until they go to college. They're just terrible 24/7. But this is the story of one moment of douchiness so intense that I can hardly believe I was even a part of it. But I was, and here is my confession.
In late middle school, my two best friends were also particularly douchy kids. For this story, let's call them Alistair and Ezra, partly to protect their identities, but mostly because thinking about them with those names is super hilarious.
So Alistair was the worst of the three of us. By far. If I was the Goebbels of child douchiness, and Ezra was Mengele, then Alistair was the Red Skull. That's right, he was so bad that there aren't even any real Nazis I can compare to him. (The analogy is safe, because Ezra and I are Jews, and I've heard Alistair converted. Also, I've always kinda begrudgingly had to accept the Goebbels comparison).
Our story opens at Ezra's apartment. Alistair and I were staying over to hang out and watch movies all night. We did this a lot. Because of that, there were fewer and fewer movies in Ezra's collection that we hadn't seen. He wanted to watch Traffic, and I wanted to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou. But then, Alistair had different plans. Alistair wanted to watch The Legend of Bagger Vance.
Ezra knew how bad The Legend of Bagger Vance was. He had watched it with his father weeks before. So Ezra, in a shocking moment of heroism, told us that he would not let us watch it, because it was just that bad. Alistair starts brought it towards the DVD player, and Ezra did the only thing he thought would help- he grabbed the DVD and dropped to the floor like he was playing possum for a bear, with the DVD under him.
Another clarification to help your mental image. At the time, Alistair and I were both tall and extremely skinny boys, and while Ezra was not fat, he certainly had a lot more meat than either of us. If he was lying down on top of a DVD, we were not getting at it. So then it was Alistair's turn to do the first thing he could think of- if he couldn't grab the DVD, he'd just kick what was on top of it for a while. So Alistair was kicking Ezra in the stomach nonchalantly, and I sat there, plotting. Even as a kid, my dickishness emerged with wit and forethought. So I get up, walk over to Ezra, lean down and say "Is the Legend of Bagger Vance really that bad? So bad that it's worth this?"
"Yes, Zack. It is so bad. It is the baddest. It is worse than Plan 9."
"But I love Plan 9! Now I have to see it"
And I joined in. I'm not proud of it, but there we were, kicking our best friend repeatedly for protecting us from watching a terrible movie. We weren't kicking him hard, he didn't get any internal bleeding (as far as I know), but that is what we were doing. And we had no qualms about it at all. I'm pretty sure there was even another guy there at the time, but I don't remember cause he didn't do anything. Let that be a lesson to you- anecdotes include only people who actually participate.
So Ezra finally shifts and crawls, like a commando who's gone to ground, over to the piano, under which he hides. Well, I saw this as escalation, and brought this up to Alistair. We agreed that if he was going to fortify his position, we would siege him. And siege we did.
For at least twenty minutes, we threw everything in the room at him. Most of it didn't hit, cause he was hiding under a piano and behind a cardboard box. But we barraged the shit out of him. Finally, it was time for the perfect attack. Alistair jumped under the piano and startled him to move so that his head was exposed, and there I was waiting.
I am not proud of this part. For this, I am genuinely sorry. Because then, I dropped a steel toed boot on his head.
I don't know what I was thinking, or why I thought it was a good idea, but the moment might have screwed my morals to hell for a few years, because it worked. Ezra submitted and gave us the DVD. Delighted, we put it in while he grabbed a bag of frozen peas for his head. And we watched the Legend of Bagger Vance.
Now this part… this part I'm proud of. Every time I tell this story, I look back at 14 year old me and say "Dude, thank you for being so awesome and making this story incredible." Because about fifteen minutes into the movie, I turn to Alistair and give him the eye. He doesn't pick up on it immediately, but once I start talking, he's with me 100%.
"Oh my God. I can not watch this movie for another second. Ezra, why the f*** did you let us watch this!?!"
"Yeah, Zack's right. You are such a terrible friend. Asshole."
"That's what I was saying guys!!! That was the whole…"
Then Alistair and I got up and kicked him some more, for submitting to our original beating and letting us watch the movie. It was an awful thing to do, but sweet damn was it funny. And I've got tons of stories where Ezra deserves it more, but this particular cross section favors him.
However, if there's a point to this story, it's that I am super glad that I have this story to tell people. It is an incredible story. And as a child, you have two things you need to do. Slowly learn enough things to not die when you turn 18, and make awesome stories like this. If you are a kid reading this, make sure you do tons of awesome and horrible things, because you can't go to proper jail, and it'll make you a more interesting adult. Because, like the title says, your only job is to be a douche.