Last night, while I was at work, Big Orange called and reminded me that the Ides of March were upon us and the best thing to do was to keep our collective heads low and have an extra beer. I found this to be useful and practical advice.
I am not a superstitious person, but I have had a checkered history with this time of year. In high school, I prevented a fellow classmate from being stabbed by another classmate. It is the one and only time that your chicken-hearted editor ever swallowed a large, steaming cup-o-fear and didn’t run away, shrieking like a scalded little girl. And what did the stabber call out as he attempted to impale the stabbie, “Beware the Ides of March!” We were in theater class and we had been studying Julius Caesar. In hindsight, we probably should have covered this material in December, instead of the time of year when the actual murder of Rome’s greatest leader occurred.
The stabber was a troubled kid who took a lot of teasing. He was mentally “slow”, not stupid, not retarded, just “slow”. I had tried to be nice to him, and would chat and pass the time of day sort of thing, until he started pedaling his bicycle to my house every day and knocked on the door at all hours. He showed up at a late hour one night and I told him I didn’t have time to talk, as I was just headed to bed. He quit coming to my house after that, but a week later I discovered in my yard a human turd the size of my left leg. I think it was his “parting shot”.
The stabbie was an acquaintance of mine. His mother had been my 7th grade English teacher, and he made the honor role every month. He was a smart guy, at least as far as books went, but just lacked the kind of God given horse sense that most people take for granted. To my knowledge, theater class was the only thing that he didn’t do well in. He couldn’t tell a knock-knock joke, let alone act, but a nice guy nonetheless.
Why the stabber chose the stabbie is unknown. The stabbie had never teased or taunted the stabber. Other than theater class, I don’t think that their paths ever crossed. Maybe the stabber envied the brains and good looks of the stabbie? I don’t know. The point of the story is Scott Muto tried to shiv Tyler Knack with a six-inch buck knife, and I stepped in. I don’t know what the hell I thought I was doing. Scott was a foot and a half taller than me, had me by thirty pounds, and was crazier than an outhouse rat. I wrestled with him and gave Tyler a chance to get away. Tyler, like a dufus, took a few steps away and stared with the look of some one who has just seen a large flock of monkeys fly from their own butt. We wrestled until the teacher returned to the classroom from her midmorning smoke break. Once she entered the room, Scott wilted. Mrs. Moore didn’t break the five-foot mark in height, but she had enough grit and balls from umpteen years in the public school system to make a marine sergeant assume the fetal position and suck his thumb.
I was the only one wounded. I had a scratch on my hand and a sore wrist, Scott got suspended, and Tyler wore that dumbfounded look for a week.
I told you that story so I could tell you this one.
I don’t know how long the Ides last. I thought that it was just the 15th, but I guess not. Today, the 16th, in the first half hour after getting up, my children managed to break a very expensive lamp that the wife and I got for Christmas, spill two glasses of milk, and pore out most of a gallon jug of syrup. The battery on my phone reads charged, but only for ten minutes or so. I have thrown my back out moving the picnic table, and while I have never had one, I believe I am developing a hemorrhoid.
Have an extra beer and keep your head down indeed!