I’ve never encountered rites similar to those practiced at Boston’s Cathedral Grammar School in the early 1970s, outside of Herodotus’ accounts of Amazonian warriors. Or maybe episodes of "Xena: Warrior Princess." Simply put, the eighth-grade girls hunted the seventh-grade boys for sport.
I’ve never encountered rites similar to those practiced at Boston’s Cathedral Grammar School in the early 1970s, outside of Herodotus’ accounts of Amazonian warriors.
Or maybe episodes of "Xena: Warrior Princess."
Simply put, the eighth-grade girls hunted the seventh-grade boys for sport.
They banded together into a tribal alliance 25 to 30 strong.
There was no such loyalty among the seventh-grade males. We were content to look the other way when one of our number was chosen as prey.
There were two recesses per school day. The eighth-grade girls would spend a great part of the morning recess deciding which seventh-grade boy to target in the afternoon recess.
That boy could subsequently run, but there was nowhere to hide.
The girls would chase the victim down and manhandle him toward the large mud puddle that adorned the parking lot where afternoon recesses were convened.
They would proceed to throw him into said mud puddle.
They would then encircle this vernal pool of anguish and endeavor to keep the boy trapped within. Their aim was to keep the victim as submerged as possible for as long as possible.
The victim would then spend the rest of the day muddied and bowed, a tangible example that girls are more than just sugar and spice.
Now Herodotus is sometimes referred to as “the great liar,” as well as “the great historian.” Claims that Amazonian women were not allowed to marry until they’d killed a man in battle were felt to be stretching things a bit by some subsequent historians.
I would offer that these critics were never led thrashing ineffectually to be tossed into a mud puddle by a determined cohort of eighth-grade girls. Some of whom were pretty big and hormonally advantaged.
There being a limited herd to cull, it was inevitable that one day I would play herbivore to this carnivorous pack. The lionesses fully enjoyed informing the day’s wildebeest at the end of the morning recess that he would be next. That way he could spend the intervening three hours contemplating his karma and sins committed in past lives.
In keeping with tradition, my seventh-grade male colleagues distanced themselves from me immediately. Like Gary Cooper in "High Noon," I had been forsaken.
I considered courses of action. I could run, of course. But I’d seen far speedier classmates foiled. The girls would join hands, forming a parking-lot-wide chain to net the would-be escapee like a halibut.
Fighting back would be ungentlemanly, ungallant and unlikely to be effective. Didn’t I mention they were pretty big and hormonally advantaged?
In the end, I devised a scheme brilliant in its simplicity, like the feigned retreats practiced by invincible Mongol armies.
I frustrated their sense of sport by meekly delivering myself up. They were so disappointed in the hunt that they only half-heartedly escorted me to the puddle, and didn’t even bother to surround and submerge me.
You might think my strategy was more wimpy than savvy, a view expressed by several of the young ladies, in fact.
But I only got my shoes wet.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.