A certain video was making the rounds on social media this past week that really tugged at the heart strings and brought a tear to my eye. More headlines made the rounds today saying that the original video may have been a scam. Truthfully, I don’t think it matters in the end because of the message that was being expressed.

The video showed a boy burdened with a form of dwarfism in tears and saying he wanted to die. It seems that other little hoodlums had been bullying the poor chap. The “mother” on the video admonished other parents for not teaching their children to be nice. And she is right.

But one thing particularly ate at me when I watched the video. The “child” pointed at the person taking the video and said something along the lines of “And you just stood there and said nothing.” When I heard this, my thoughts first ran to my mother. What I can say about her when she was in a similar situation is: YOU DON’T MESS WITH MAMA BEAR AND HER CUBS!

Mama Bear protecting her cub.

Two specific events in which I was involved stand out. The first occurred when we lived in Chicago (actually North Chicago). A neighborhood bully had stolen the grasshoppers my best friend and I had spent all afternoon catching. Well, I stole them back after a flying kick into his back. He chased me through the houses and up our walk. I dove into the house, and my sister slammed the door in his face.

Bullying happens everyday. How do we react?

In a rage, he slammed his hand against the screen door and threatened to cause me significant bodily harm. Nope. Wrong thing to do when my mother stood in the family room within hearing distance. She came storming down the hall and charged out the door after the poor kid. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I wouldn’t doubt that a trail of Hershery’s kisses had been left along the walk behind him.

The second event transpired after we moved to Huntsville, Arkansas from Iceland. Our first year there, I only went to school the final two months of the academic year. On that last day, a teacher caught me with water balloons and ordered me to destroy them. I complied. But another teacher, who thought I made too much trouble called me back into the school with a witness.

I didn’t have this many, but probably close.

Back then, the school sometimes paddled misbehaving cretins like myself. He gave me the first hit, and I jumped because it stung. That earned me, according to his generosity, two more “swats.” I took the second and third without moving. But the fourth hurt particularly bad. I nearly jumped to the ceiling. That earned me another brace.

After he said that with what I thought was glee in his voice, I jerked away from grasp and jumped up on the desk. I shouted an f-word obscenity in his direction and then took off. I caught the bus as it was leaving the schoolyard and rode home in a standing position. The first thing I did when I arrived at the house was to look at my backside in the bathroom mirror. I promptly shouted for my mother and showed her the bruises and cuts.

The paddle that struck me was very similar.

She nodded and went back to the kitchen to start dinner. The next school year, I was horrified to learn that I had that teacher as my algebra instructor. He never called my name for roll and never checked to see if I did the homework—which I never did. And I still made an “A” in the class. I assumed it was because I did well on the tests.

A couple years later, I told my mother about my experience with him as a teacher. She nodded, and without even looking at me, said, “Yeah. I took care of it.” Yep. You didn’t mess with Mama Bear’s cubs. Her bite was worse than her bark.

WHAT I’M UP TO

WRITING: Well…I did not win the poetry chapbook contest. No matter. Those same poems will be going back out to find a home. After knowing my wife 22 years and writing quite a few sad stories, I never brought her to tears with my tales. Well that changed with a short I wrote last week called An Envelope Addressed to Me. And the historical horror Bishop is over halfway to completion. Always writing.

FICTION: I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s historical fantasy Tigana many years ago and loved it. I read another of his books Under Heaven and loved it as well. Right now I am in the middle of his ninth book The Last Light of the Sun. It takes place in a world with a similar history to ours. This book covers the often-violent relationship between the Cyngael (Welsh), Anglcyn (English), and the Erling (Norse). I highly recommend it for its beautiful scenery and language, and the author’s ability to imbue historical events with magic and mystery.

Excellent, beautifully-written book I highly recommend.

NONFICTION: I picked up African Samurai by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard. A fascinating history of Yasuke—a man kidnapped from his family as a child that traveled the world learning several languages as a servant and bodyguard to Jesuits in Asia. When he arrived in Kyoto, he caused a riot in the traditionally xenophobic country. He learned the traditions of his host country and soon climbed the hierarchy of Japanese society to become an honored Samurai.

Fascinating history occurs in our world.

TELEVISION: There are several things that have been released on streaming services that I want to watch—I just haven’t had time for the small screen over the last two weeks.

MOVIES: Since my lost update, I have seen Birds of Prey and 1917. The first was excellent in parts and just kind of meh in others. I could have done without the monologue but that is also part of what makes Harley Quinn unique. The second was an incredible, heartfelt movie about a brother and his friend trying to save 1,600 British soldiers from certain doom. What I loved about the movies was how it progressed in action filled with brief moments of respite, like a championship boxing match.

Two movies that I am glad I had the chance to see in the theater on the big screen, the way movies are meant to be watched.