The Beatings pt 1

When I was a kid, I lived in constant fear of getting beat up. I don’t worry about it now, and not because I’ve magically acquired UFC fighting skills. I’m just focused on adult concerns, like remembering which stores give 5¢ for reusing bags, or why no one’s replying to my OK Cupid profile. (But I look so cute in my little sailor suit!)

My physical and mental weakness, oversized glasses, and cluelessness about team sports were catnip to suburban thugs ages 8 to 18. Plus with my duck feet and fat-ass cardio, I was almost as fun to watch run away as I was to hunt down. From the time I trudged onto the school bus to the moment I closed my bedroom door, there were bullies eager to ask “Why do you keep hitting yourself? Why do you keep hitting yourself?”

Ah, the curiosity of youth!

If you’ve never been tuned up by your peers, know this: it’s not the actual beating that hurts. Skin and bones heal, blood stops flowing, and bruises fade – even a punch that sits you on your butt arrives with merciful speed. If you’re a savvy beat-ee, you’ll learn to take it quietly or flail around enough that the beater decides you’re not worth the effort.

What lasts is the terror before, the helplessness during, and the humiliation after.

Listen up, childrens: if you’re asked to plead for mercy (particularly while a pre-teen twice your size rains down punches), the correct answer is silence or a muttered “fuck you.” You can get that tooth repaired later when you’re an adult and your attacker works at the Shell station. Take the L, and hold on to your dignity. Otherwise, the whole school knows you’re easy pickin’s and The Stink of the Beat-up-able® is forever upon you. The herd announces, “Hey lions – have we got an antelope for you!” That’s life on the savanna and in the suburbs, too.

Once I survived junior high, the savagery slowed but not because anyone got nicer. By then, the bully ranks were depleted by drop outs, drug and legal problems, and teenage pregnancies. The “smart ones” got left back so many times they drove THEMSELVES to Schaghticoke Middle School. They spent their glory days in the school parking lot, impressing 13-year-old skanks in Jordache jeans with their molester mustaches thin as prison gruel.


The Nubbin

That’s the doctor’s arm. He should get that bump of his own looked at, too.

(originally posted on Facebook December 2016)

I had this little gremlin dug out of my forehead today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a horn – all those years of Satan worship for NOTHING.

It’ll take a few weeks to get the results, but no matter what the lab says I’m holding firm: we are NOT putting that freeloader back in. Get out and stay out, you little moocher.

It’s frustrating to think that when I supply my body with vitamins, protein drinks, etc., this is what it decides to do. “We’ve got the raw materials – but forget about fixing his knees. Let’s focus on growing a superfluous head nubbin.”

About 15 years ago I had another unwelcome guest appear on top of Old Smoky. At the time, I was shaving my head as a fashion statement and a test-run for my eventual male pattern baldness. As El Nubbo grew into a full-fledged tater tot, my friends gave me an ultimatum: get that bugger removed, or grow taller so we don’t have to look at it.


1999 – Here I am trying to look as much like a head nubbin as possible

I asked the doctor about the procedure and he said, “First, we’re gonna split your scalp open. Sometimes they pop out like a grape – sometimes we gotta scrape your skull and dig around for a while.” Which was exactly the kind of straight talk I appreciate from a medical professional.

The doctor gave me the local and said relax, he’ll be right back. I heard him chat with what sounded like a family the next room. The muffled voices got louder and louder until I heard a kid screaming “No! No! NOOOO!” followed by a scuffle, then either the sound of medical instruments getting knocked over or a reenactment of the Jane Mansfield crash. Just as I reached for my coat and thought “maybe top hats will come back in style,” the doctor burst into the room, sweating, with his shirt untucked and tie over his shoulder.

“Uh, you may have heard some noise from next door. Just a little trouble changing a dressing, nothing to worry about. That patient is fine.”

“Fantastic news!” I said, as he grabbed my ankles and pulled me back through the window.

Fortunately, after scraping my skull and digging around for a while (as promised), the doctor said hello/goodbye to my little friend. It turned out to be a benign tumor that looked like a little white soccer ball with red & blue threads in it – BECAUSE I’M A PATRIOT. Then the doctor sent me on my way with a warning: although this intruder wouldn’t return, someday I’d probably grow another.

In mid 2016, Nubbin 2.0 made his debut – but unlike his great grandpappy, he set up camp on my forehead. Location, location, location. My original treatment plan (“doing nothing”) ended after a family gathering and my mother’s gentle hint: “Dear God, what is that THING growing on your FACE?” My family persuaded me to make an appointment, adding “What’s the worst it can be?”

(FYI: For the DeVitos, “What’s the worst it can be?” is more than a rhetorical question. It’s an invitation to brainstorm the worst possible outcome for any situation. Free trip to Palm Beach? Be careful, it’s shark season. Just bought a new car? Enjoy your higher insurance premiums, that thing’s a death trap. And when in doubt: cancer, cancer, CANCER. Especially head cancer.)

So today I had my illegal tenant evicted. No more free cable or blood supply for you, pal! As they jabbed around his campsite with the anesthetic, I told the physician’s assistant to wake me when the procedure was over.

“Mr. DeVito you don’t understand. This is just a local – we don’t put you under.”

I said, “YOU don’t understand. I’m 48 and I’m already laying down. That sounds like a nap to me.”

Luckily, the diminutive doohickey went quietly into that good night and the doctor stitched me back up after only a few minutes. Right now I’m treating the goose egg bruise on my forehead with ice packs and medical marijuana, as prescribed by Dr. Me.

For the moment, I need to avoid any news stories that claim to be “raising eyebrows.” But have no fear – I’ll be back to rolling my eyes with disapproval in no time. Over the next few days, the fluid will drain down my jawline, so if you see me and feel tempted to ask “why the long face?” please try to control yourself.

Here we go

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Hello, I’m Joe DeVito – welcome to my blog.

This is where I plan to post stories, opinions, complaints, and various other flotsam & jetsam from my brain.

I know, I know. I’m late to the party. But if you think this is the latest I’ve ever jumped into a trend, please be advised that I’m also wearing leg warmers. And my calves get very, very cold from all that trend jumping.