June 21, 2007
Originally published October 4, 2004
I came to Savannah in 1958 after the coal mine at Louellen shut down and my daddy lost his job. We lived with my grandmother for a few months until my daddy found steady work and could afford a place of our own. We ended up in a small, two-bedroom house in Pine Gardens, which was a working-class neighborhood, okay, but no fricking palace. My daddy worked incredible amounts of overtime just to make ends meet.
I started school that fall and I was laughed at, picked on and bullied because I was small and I talked "funny" with my hillbilly accent. That's how I learned to fight, because if I DIDN'T FIGHT, I wouldn't have survived. Kids are naturally cruel to those different from themselves. A good punch in the jaw helps cure some of those problems.
We ate a lot of pinto beans and cornbread. Money was tight. But we got by. Mama always took a job around Christmas, and I know NOW that she paid for Santa Claus that way. My parents were tough, in both the way they handled life and the way they raised me and my brother.
Do you own a good knife? I do. What makes tempered steel that'll hold an edge and not break easily?
I'll tell you, if you don't know. That blade is stuck in a fire, then beat with a hammer, over and over again, until it is tougher than the hammer hitting it. I believe that process is called "annealing," and it works just the same on people as it does on knife blades.
We don't anneal children anymore. We pamper the shit out of them and be their "friends" instead of their parents, and we're raising people who vote for John Kerry. Read my comments about the "FOOTBALL" post below. Yeah. I'm an "abusive" coach.
I don't think so, because I PLAYED for coaches that stood over me and screamed when I hit the ground and didn't get up. If I didn't have a broken bone protruding from my flesh and I wasn't losing copious amounts of blood, I WASN'T HURT! GET UP! RUB SOME DIRT ON IT!! DON'T BE A PUSSY!!!
Guess what? I got up every time.
They annealed my ass and I am a better man for that experience today. Wimmen and pussified men may not understand the concept of getting up when you hurt, taking one more step when you think you're exhausted, or refusing to quit when everybody else gives up. I DO.
It's tempering steel, and we don't do enough of that today.
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