Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Yellow Chipper

Yesterday my youngest boy came home crying, tears stinging his wee round cheeks his eyes puffy and red with the type of sadness a parent does not wish on any child. He had been in a fight and took a beating from an older boy, now the ubiquitous dance of the loser begins he feels as if his life is over and every one will be laughing at him. I ask the usual questions, "Are you alright,  what happened, how did it start." The older boy had just appeared in the neighborhood and had decided to give a lesson on bullying, unfortunately my boy was the prefered target of the day.

I dediced to sit him down and tell him a little story.
Picture the scene: Strachan Avenue, West Ferry Park, Dundee Scotland, 1976. A young red headed boy on a brand new raleigh chipper bike slashing around the neighborhood like Poncho on his Harley from C.H.I.P.S. Not a care in the world just a boy and his new bike. The most important male possession, a precursor to his first car.

All of a sudden a massive thrust pushed the bike and wee red parted from the chipper as if Moses had just waved his hand. After dusting himself off, wee red looked up at the other kids in the neighborhood laughing as his new yellow chipper was being paraded around by a bully named Andy Curran. Andy Curran - bigger, stronger, faster and the spawn of satan he was abusing the yellow chipper, using it to stockpile laughs and spout invective slang at wee red and his beloved bike. After several failed attempts to regain control of the chipper, wee red began the walk of shame home with tail tucked and head hung low fighting a tear.

Wee red's Dad was the Scottish shotokan karate champion and his mother was a highland dancing enigma, wee red was just a boy without his father's chop or his mother's swirl. When he slinked throught the front door his mother was not far behind and sensed something was wrong as only a mother can. Wee red belted out a tear and emptied his wee soul to mum and dad, then the most important moment of his life happened. His father said "If you want your bike back, then go and get it. Knock him off your chipper and take it." Wee red trembled at the thought of facing Andy Curran, knowing blood loss would be the expected result, his mother added "You can't let bullies win or they will never stop, go get your bike." His father said "Don't come back without it." Yikes, wee red thought no safe haven here just pushed out in the arena to face the lion.

Wee red looked deep into his mother and fathers eyes and knew they were right, the adrenaline was brewing like lava from hell and wee red marched off to war. Andy Curran did not know what hit him as wee red pounded the bully until he cried and ran home to his own neighborhood, the blood loss was his not wee reds. That night wee red and his yellow chipper patrolled West Ferry Park just in case other bullies were hiding in wait, ready to assualt the neighborhood.

So, back to 2009, wee red is now big red, and his son is facing the same demons as he did in 1976. Bullies are bullies no matter what side of the Atlantic you call home. Society has changed drastically since '76, boys are now arrested in school for fighting and they have a 100% hands off policy here. I don't want to mollycoddle the lad, so do I send him off to war with the bully or do I do what some people I know do: call my lawyer, sue the parents for assault and battery leaving them homeless with nowhere to raise such spawn. I decided to take the old school approach and send him out to face his lion alone, he was no more than two steps out the door and I bolted after him, "Stop." I could not do it, I could not stand the thought of him beaten and hurt by a bigger adversary so I did the only thing that sounded reasonable at the time, I sent my oldest boy to punish the offender and teach him his own lesson. My youngest son is 7, the bully is 10 and my oldest boy is 11
Dundee justice, the cycle continues.....

The wee yellow chipper - the inspiration for the Hell's Angels.


  1. That poor bully didnt know he picked on a Hammond. He will be sorry... Give Jake a pat on the back for me.

  2. Glen, one of my favourite sayings is "You mess with me you mess with my family" Blood in blood out - the family creed. No matter what part of the globe you inhabit the family will always be over your shoulder, just in case you need a wee push.
    Love, sausage.....