The recent spate of people scaling the #MeToo bandwagon has caused me to possibly reconsider. After some deep contemplation, I may have been wrong about defending Al Franken in a previous commentary. You see, I was a "victim" too and might have cause to join the Movement of the Year. What follows is a true account…as I can recollect.
Circa 1968; Having chronic health ailments which seemed to be a mystery at the time to the medical community, I spent a great deal of my childhood in the hospital. Every childhood bug would manifest itself within my disorder, placing me in a hospital bed, fighting both the disease and its effects on my condition. The result was that I was kind of a scrawny, wimpy kid.
My dear mother, trying to strengthen me, enrolled me in an acrobatics class with my sisters. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, the acrobatics class was at a dance studio on Fifth Avenue in Kankakee. Now, as Denny Yohnka used to tell you, growing up in Chebanse in the 60's really wasn't too unlike Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. And once my peeps got a hold of the information I went to a dance studio...well, you can imagine the rest of that story. Let's just say life got a tad more difficult.
One summer night a bunch of us were walking home from a Little League game. (You walked home back in the 60’s - it's what we boys did as there was no one to drive us) Having nothing better to do, my "buddies" Johnny and Joey (not real names) were riding me pretty good. It’s what boys do, too. By the time we got within a block of my house, a fight broke out. Boys do that also. In front of many teammates, Johnny and Joey proceeded to beat the tar out of me, while the rest of the guys cheered. I don't want to give you a false impression that it took two of them to whip me, but for whatever reason, both piled on. I went home bloody, ashamed, shocked, and humiliated. I spent the next two days in the hospital.
As I look back at that situation 49 years ago, I still feel somewhat humiliated. My teammates laughed at me! Dad had no medical insurance and the hospital stay cost a fortune. While I can't say the beating altered my life, it’s disconcerting now when I think of it. I quit acrobat lessons, as my parents now had hospital bills to pay and there wasn't enough money left for lessons. Maybe I would have been a famous acrobat or gone to the Olympics. Or, perhaps the beating was a blessing in that the hazing stopped. And within a week of returning to Little League, all had been forgiven.
I thought of this when I read about the moron who foolishly put his hand on Taylor Swift's derrière during a photo shoot, which included his girlfriend. Taylor sued, won a dollar, got her mug on Time magazine, and the guy was fired from his job. Really! Was the act worth clogging up our court system and for the man to lose his career? What real crimes were delayed while Ms. Swift jammed the incident through the legal system with her high-powered attorney? Couldn't she have just said something to the moron's girlfriend at the time the lecherous act was committed, and let the nature of the relationship take over? Couldn't she have just stopped the photo op and not allowed the couple the picture they wanted? She certainly held that “power.”
As I think about it, I suppose I could bring Johnny and Joey to court for my pain and humiliation. I still sometimes see Johnny, who has worked in a warehouse for 30-plus years and never caused a public problem. Joey became a policeman and is probably near retirement. But I doubt either of them is wealthy nor running for government. I certainly don’t need the extra notoriety. There simply is nothing to gain all these years later. I bet they have a different version of the events 49 years later. I guarantee you they won’t admit it took both of them to whip me.
I do remember some of the guys standing around cheering, which included Joey's brother, who went on to some success. Maybe I could sue the entire gang, especially Joey's brother. After all, he’s famous and laughed at me all those years ago. Perhaps, that might be a way to soothe my humiliated soul.
Or, I could just chalk it up to another of life's speed-bumps and leave the over-burdened court system to focus on more serious crimes, like actual cases of rape and murder. Seems to be the more adult way of handling this situation.