Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bad news, or just bad news?

Back in January, I wrote about four guys — bullies, I guess. Three of them were dead, the third one just then.

Now the fourth one, the guy who hassled me in junior high school and stole my wallet, is dead.

Strange, indeed, how things turn out.

As soon as I read the news of this gent’s passing, I messaged another of my junior high classmates. He did not immediately go into mourning. This was the first thing that popped into his head, a story he’d shared before:

“He used to steal my lunch … until my mom and I made a special sandwich for him. With hot sauce and hot pepper.”

Then my friend ran into another of our junior high classmates. He’d heard the news, too. He also did not immediately go into mourning.

“You know, I’m not terribly saddened,” he said.

Our mutual friend was in shop class one day, doing some soldering. That guy walked up, grabbed the hand that held the torch and wrested it so the torch burned our friend’s other hand.

We were just kids then, but he was not a guy who mellowed with age.

His ex-wife had to get restraining orders to stop his harassment, and even then it didn’t stop. They once hauled him into court for violating those restraining orders not once, not twice, but 19 times. The man had issues.

Junior high was a long time ago. My friends and I don’t dwell on what happened then, yet clearly we haven’t let it go.

Why? Again, maybe all he wanted to do was get into our heads. If so, he succeeded. He’s still in there, 40 years on. There, apparently, he will stay.

I hope he’s found peace. I hope he enjoys that sandwich.


“Bad News,” Clarence Carter, from “Testifyin’,” 1969. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under August 2013, Sounds