I was in elementary school – fourth grade? Fifth? Right on the cusp of those years when all insecurities manifest themselves, when we glom upon the perceived weaknesses of others to deflect attention from our own, when we’re at our worst. Or maybe I’m just trying to justify what I did.
The Feist family lived across the alley from us. They were pariahs, the perfect “others.” The dad was qualifiably insane. He had two sons, one a year older than me. Both were low, trash in my eyes. Bad kids. Poor kids. But they never did anything to me.
I can’t remember why we decided to do it. It was me and my friend Timmy. We were walking home from school, and the younger Feist boy was walking ahead of us, and one of us (I think it was Timmy) suggested we get him. We walked up to him. I had an umbrella. We hit him with it. I remember him trying to get away, and I was whacking him with this folded-up umbrella.
I’m glad I remember this. It’s good to know I can be as awful as the rest of humanity.