"BEIN' A TOUGH GUY"
Man by nature, is a rather dim witted sort. In the metaphorical tool drawer of intelligence, they are as sharp as a fresh donut. We compensate for this deficiency with machismo from an early age. At the daycare center, the indoctrination is exacting. Another toddler appears to have failed to learn ‘boundaries’ and pilfers your building block. The tall people you’re surrounded by take immediate action for the felonious behavior with a smile and a piercing, “you little dickens.” Did you hear me, “little Dickens.” I guess he’ll never do that again. When the coast is clear, you assault him with a block to the forehead, lest you be thought a pushover. His bawling brings the tall one back into the room. By this time, you are lying down with your thumb firmly planted in your trap, seemingly sound asleep. Your squint allows you to exchange menacing stares with the ‘little baby’. You’ve established yourself and the remainder of pre-school, kindergarten and much of elementary education is a breeze.
Junior High or Middle School, as it was renamed, probably by a recipient of a building block to the forehead, is a different story. Now, the arena of manhood is the streets you traverse to and from school. Any warrior worth his salt, will forever defend his God given right to the middle of the sidewalk. This begins with the time honored, shoulder bump and can and will evolve to something resembling, one on one football lineman scrimmage. Since your adversary’s route is the same everyday, you may develop a begrudging mutual respect and switch shoulders.
In High School, some gladiators are driving a car. Truth be known, some of these warriors have been old enough to drive since sixth grade. Now the ante has been raised exponentially and the weak are mercifully culled from the herd. Sophomoric shoulder bumping is replaced with...wait for it...racing one’s engine. The revver must expect the worst and this should never be attempted without a vehicle full of confederates.
“You lookin’ at me?” A little known fact among younger people is that Robert DiNero did not introduce this phrase. One of the benefits of being a tough guy, was only the faithful were permitted to let their gaze fall upon them. “You lookin’ at me,” has always been a starter. Two ways to go with this:lower your field of vision and walk away defeated. Or, “no but I am now,” and beat the livin’ hell out of the, ‘used to be tough guy.’ It should be noted, all tough guys are not tough.
Spending too much time in front of a mirror, may provide disinformation in terms of your degree of badass.