I guess I’ve forgotten to tell you about the time I took a piledriver from the height of one story. Then, getting dropped on your head from that height goes a long way toward explaining memory lapses.

Remember Kyle, the kid on crutches in my neighborhood who was a real jerk, who I eventually clocked because, well, crutches or not, he was a real jerk? (Collected in Two-Fisted Tales of Peter Lynn #1) He had a big brother called Erik, who looked like an eighth-grade Viking — big, blonde, thick-necked. Erik went through this phase of making people bow to him. He’d just walk up to them and command “Bow!” If you prostrated yourself at his feet, he’d leave you be.

My friend Barry had a good approach to the situation when he was commanded to bow by this kid named Jason, who’d himself been made to bow by Erik, which is of course where he got the idea. Barry looked around, saw that no one was nearby, shrugged and bowed. Later, Erik was nearby, and Jason said, “Hey, Erik! Watch this!” Then he turned to Barry and said, “Bow!”

Barry just looked at him like he was an idiot and said, “Fuck you!” And Jason did look like an idiot.

I wasn’t as bright. When Erik commanded me to bow, I also said “No.” And that’s when I learned that Erik was no Jason. He threw me in one devastating wrestling hold after another. Each time, he’d command me to bow, and each time I’d say no. This culminated in him putting me in a piledriver and jumping down into the recently dug foundation of a nearby house under construction. Fortunately, there was a fair amount of snow on the ground to cushion my head-first landing.

That made me kind of dizzy, but I believe that when Erik commanded me to bow that time, I must have said something like, “I can’t really move, so, no.” And that was the end of that. He stalked off and never went through the trouble of trying to make me bow again. Then again, I’m not sure he made anyone else bow either. He may have just gotten bored of the entire business.

I guess this story must have made quite an impression on my mom, because she told me years later that even though I was only in grade six or so at the time, that’s when she knew I was more of a man than my father. But that’s the sort of thing divorced women say, I guess, and it may not be fair to him. Judging by the number of scars criss-crossing his dome resulting from the combination of his poor depth perception and low basement ceiling, I can confidently say that my dad can take a good blow to the head like a champ.

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