Facing down my eighth-grade tormentor

Steve Almond in Salon:

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 28 11.26 So, like I said, I wanted to talk about this brief, intense period of time when — and I realize this is a memory, so it's totally subjective — but it felt like you really hated me.

Really?

Yeah. It was mostly in this metal shop class we took together.

I definitely remember taking that metal shop class in eighth grade. And I was thinking about it, since you sent that original email, and I do remember being in a relationship with someone where I was the bully or the dominant, because I remember feeling that. But I never would have put two and two together and thought it was you.

I had this sense of being totally frozen out. And it was clear, or it seemed clear to me, that you were calling the shots. You were the alpha of that group.

It's funny you would say that, because this was around the time that Billy Dempsey entered the picture —

Yeah, I remember Billy coming up to me at the lockers, I think you were there for this, and threatening to kick my ass.

I don't remember that, but it wouldn't surprise me. The thing is, we had this very tortured relationship where I spent the entire time trying to prove myself to him. Billy was athletically more gifted than me and he was fearless and willing to get into fights with anybody, whereas I always saw myself as an egghead nerd. So it's quite possible, I could easily see, if there was an opportunity for me to prove to Billy that I was his equal in terms of being the macho guy I would have grabbed at it.

More here.

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