They were older guys who liked hassling younger kids for no apparent reason. Bullies, I guess.
You really couldn’t complain about them. To whom? Their parents? No way. Your parents? They’d just tell you to stay away from the guy. You just had to get a little tougher and perhaps a little smarter.
Maybe all they wanted to do was get into your head. If so, they succeeded. They’re still in there, four of them, 40 years on.
Two of these guys were bad news from the neighborhood. Hot-headed, unpredictable “stay off my property” types. The other two were from school. One of them stole my wallet. The other guy walked up to me one day, eyed up the star on my sweatshirt and punched me right smack in the middle of the chest.
You just never know what’s going on with someone, what’s in their head, what’s going on at home. So I took my parents’ advice and steered clear of those guys. Eventually, everyone went on with their lives.
Yet quite by happenstance, I know the rest of the story for all four of those guys.
The cat who punched me in the chest turned out to be a real nice guy. He’s dead.
The neighborhood guys turned out to be blue-collar workers and good family men. They’re dead, too. One of them, just the other day.
The guy who stole my wallet is the only one left, as far as I know. Which is about the nicest thing that can be said about him. This gent has lots of experience with the Wisconsin court system.
You wouldn’t have wished any of that on any of them in a million years.
“Title Theme (from ‘Three Tough Guys’),” Isaac Hayes, from “Tough Guys,” 1974. It’s out of print as such, but is available on this double CD with the soundtracks from “Three Tough Guys” and “Truck Turner,” a pair of 1974 films starring Hayes and featuring music by him. Also available digitally.
I don’t have this record. My copy of “Title Theme” came off the Oxford American 10th anniversary music sampler, which was a 2-CD set released in 2008 featuring music by Southern artists. This is from the Past Masters CD.
Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.