• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • June 14, 2014 in Columnists

    The lesson of Billy and Fat Phil

    In times of stress and hardship many things change, even the way you think about what you have or don’t have. What was once thought of as trash to be thrown in a garbage can or flushed down a toilet now has value. When you don’t have anything, nothing goes to waste. Everything is used up until it’s gone.

    Some people have what they consider to be the best of everything. They think they have the best homes, cars and weapons. They think better technology will keep them ahead of the game, above the rest. Well, the fact of the matter is that a pop bottle full of gasoline with a rag shoved in it will kill you just as dead as a high tech rifle will.

    Human ingenuity is an awesome thing. Just as there are those who can build something with all of the right parts, there are those that can build something with nothing except what is lying around on the ground. They can build anything with anything they have. In the end, it might not look exactly right, but it gets the job done anyway.

    Things can change very quickly. The way you see someone or something on one day can change and you will see it differently tomorrow. One day you may laugh at what you were afraid of yesterday. I think the solution may be in the way you think about things. Your frame of mind determines how you interpret your environment and the signals you receive.

    When we were very young, my brother and I found ourselves in a Catholic orphanage. We found that the first people to approach us were bullies or those that want to control the way you think. Their tools are intimidation and brutality. They take what they want from those who may be weaker or unprotected. Bullies are always loud and have exaggerated movements. They seek to be larger than life.

    Billy was the bully of our dormitory, where 50 or so kids slept in bunks lined up head to toe in five rows of ten. Billy’s bunk was in the row to the right of me and my friend Fat Phil was in the row to my left. For some reason, Billy wouldn’t mess with me, but he was constantly punching and slandering Fat Phil. Fat Phil would whine and cry every time Billy would do what he did to everybody he felt superior to.

    Here is the point where I learned my lessons on human ingenuity and the fact that nothing should go to waste in times of stress. I found the way I thought about something or someone could actually change the real world physically. Scary people became funny people as quickly as I thought of them that way.

    After the lights went out, Billy would make his rounds to bully those who would be bullied. There, in the dark, I watched Fat Phil put something under Billy’s pillow. Fat Phil said, “Watch this” as he passed me going back to his bunk. I played like I was asleep as Billy returned and jumped upon his bunk.

    Only minutes passed before Billy stuck his head up and said, “Who farted?” He then proceeded to blame everyone around him. I was watching under my arm as Billy flipped his pillow over and laid his head upon a glob of brown goo. It was at the very moment that I lost it. I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. I never saw Billy or Fat Phil in the same way again.

    Billy was irate, jumping and screaming around, trying to get Fat Phil’s turd off of the side of his face. Within moments, the nun was dragging him down the hall where she administered 10 very loud swats with a wooden paddle.

    It was on that very night I found that it’s the quiet ones who deserve watching, for they control it all. They can use any simple tool to control you without a sound or an action. When they grow to adulthood, they can make you send your children off to war in some God forsaken country you have never heard of and then they will make you think you have done the right thing.

    It is a fact that those up front bullies have nothing to hide. Everything they do is open and aboveboard. It’s another fact that those who really have control of everything we know and love remain anonymous and unseen. When they do something, we think to ourselves, “Did I just see him do that?”

    We don’t really know for sure do we?

    • No we don’t. I remember reading this in your stories you sent me, I think. It is always the quiet ones.

      • Ralph

      • June 14, 2014 at 10:41 am
      • Reply

      Well said Donald. I attended eleven different high schools and was bullied as the ‘new kid’. I got so tired of the harrassment and intimidation that it finally changed my life. I decided I would never feel that same way again. I did not revert to violence, but as you infered in your article, I used my brain……even as a retired senior adult now, I will not allowed others to control me or my reactions……I may have taken punishment in my life, but I never accepted harrassment or intimidation again…….

    • You quiet ones… we definitely have to keep an eye on you! You are one of the quiet ones… but there’s always a twinkle of mischief in your eyes!

      • Kathleen Brotherton

      • June 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm
      • Reply

      Anything involving a prank with poop is a good time!

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