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WHAT THE WALRUS SAID--Our Authors' Blog--





When I was in sixth grade, a kid my age confronted my father, at the town's bowling alley.


"I'm going to get your son," he said.


My father warned me, watch out for Flick.


Several weeks passed and one evening my father spoke to me before supper.


"Did Flick give you trouble?" he asked


"Yeah," I said.


"What happened?" my father asked, looking grim.


"I knocked him down and that was the end of it," I said.


I'd never seen my father looking so pleased, and relieved, and so proud of me.


I hadn't thought much of it. Even as a sixth grader I somehow knew this was Flick's sad attempt to get my father's attention. He came from the shacks down by the river, and I suppose he envied me having the father I did, a man well-liked by everyone in our small town.


I'm not sure what I learned from that non-episode, but I do still remember it after all these years. Maybe it's to have some compassion, because a person may be nasty out of unhappiness. Maybe it's that some are doomed from birth, by mean parents, or squalor, or bad luck.


Not many years later Flick died miserably, apparently drowned in not much more than a puddle, in the parking lot of a run-down resort, up in the Catskill Mountains.



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