18 Jan 2022

When push comes to shove

When push comes to shove

They were fighting in the corridor. And they were both bigger than I was. Sixteen years old, full of testosterone and with minimal self-control.

 

Fighting? Well, it was more of a pushing and shoving match. But now they had gripped each other at the shoulders like two elk, antlers locked.

 

That might not have been a problem if it wasn’t for the class of youngsters looking on at them, with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes. As the only teacher in the vicinity, I had to do something, if only to protect the little’uns. I walked towards the two elk.

 

“Oh, and what are you doing?” I enquired as though they were idly playing marbles.

 

They grunted at each other and spoke to me in single words

 

“He. Started. It”, they both said.

 

I was sure I would never get to the bottom of whether it was Push or Shove that started it. And I didn’t care. All I wanted was for them to stop, and for me to avoid getting hurt in the process.

 

“What made you push him?”, I asked one, and immediately asked the other. “What made you shove him?” “He said I was a …”, garbled one, and shoved.

 

“He called me a …”, stuttered the other, and pushed.

 

“Oh, and how did that make you feel?”, I asked them both. By now they were standing almost still. Their arms were still locked around each other’s shoulders. They had stopped struggling. It had become more of a hug. It was getting embarrassing. I grabbed the advantage.

 

“And how often will you let him decide how you feel?” I asked them both. Neither could answer. I’m not sure I could have answered the question either.

 

“Aww, we’re just friends”, they both said and hugged each other. In a manly way.

 

“Well, go and be friends elsewhere,” I suggested. “You are scaring the little’uns.”

 

They galloped down the corridor and outdoors, to be friends out there I supposed.

 

It was at that moment I became fully aware that the little'uns were looking at me with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes.

 

“Line up outside your classroom,” I ordered. They scuttled into line and stood there like tin soldiers and waited for their class teacher to arrive.

 

Courtesy of Martin Richards. 

When push comes to shove
Written by:
Martin Richards
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