How Star Wars Created A Friendship

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When I was growing up, I was a bully.

Well, that isn't 100% accurate. I was really just a bully to one kid: Brad.

Brad was the epitome of nerd. Big, dorky glasses. Greasy hair. A preference to wear corduroy pants and Keds shoes. Brad was the a-typical weakling momma's boy and teachers pet rolled into one - he was incredibly bright and was that kid you who would raise his hand first in class.

We first met in kindergarten. I was larger than most kids in height, but certainly not stronger. Being a child, with hyperactivity (now its called "ADD"), I was always terrifying my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Jones, with my antics and unrivaled energy. My mother was advised to put me on a new drug, called Ritalin, but she didn't like it very much. She decided against putting me on the drug, and would find alternative ways to control my wild ways. To this day, after hearing nightmare stories about kids on Ritalin, i'm very happy she didn't use drugs like that on me.

At the same time they were telling my mother that her little monster needed to go on drugs, they also thought I needed to be put into special classes for the learning disabled, since my attention span was that of a gnat.

I remember my mother taking me to doctors to examine me, and take some strange tests to determine my IQ. Imagine their amazement when it turned out that my intelligence wasn't that of a turnip but an astounding 143 IQ. Horray, i'm a genius.

Yet, for some reason I still sucked in school. Unlike someone like Brad who would run circles around the teachers with his knowledge, I was terrible in certain subjects - yet my creativity and insight was off the charts from what the doctors told my mother.

Worship me. Bow down before your master...

Oh, where was I?

Anyhow...what does all this have to with me and my story? Well, I was bullying Brad for the better part of kindergarten, first and second grade. It was around third grade that they threw the maniac known as Furey into the same classes with Mr. Brain - "The Brad". They had classes in grade school called "Humanities", which the kids like Brad & I would take while everyone else was doing "Social Studies" or "History".

While I still tormented Brad at school, and at the bus stop...and well, a few memorable chases from the bus stop back to his house where I would tackle him mercilessly...eventually we became friends.

Sort of.

Brad's parents gave him some great gifts as a kid - most notably would be his collection of Star Wars action figures. I'm not 100% sure how it started. I remember when I was growing up I had a fairly good collection of toys, including my Micronaut collection.

But once Star Wars hit the big screens, and the action figures appeared, it was like crack-cocaine for any 8 year old. I reformed my bullying ways and eventually became "an afterschool friend" of Brads.

At school, I would still tease him relentlessly. After school I would grundingly say, "Wanna play Star Wars" after we got off the school bus. If he said no, I would put him into the "Figure-four-leg-lock" or the "Boston Crab" (WWF Fans know what i'm talking about) and go home.

Just kidding.

What started as a simple afterschool game of playing with our dolls - ACTION FIGURES, NOT DOLLS - yes, Action Figures. We used to take all the action figures and lay them on the floor - then we each took turns on making our "team". The top picks were always: Boba Fett, Han Solo, Luke and Chewbacca. The last picked were: C3P0, Hammerhead, Greedo, Walrusman, Leia and anything native of Endor. Vader had a busted up cape and didn't look as menancing so he was a first-round pick that got busted to the mid-rounds.

Our games usually involed making two "base camps" on either side of his property, where we would build defenses that we could mercilessly destroy. I'm not exactly sure I remember how we determined who shot down what - I think it mostly involved who could knock the attacking ship out of each other's hands.

It was galactic entertainment for suburbia.

As years progressed, the taunting and barbed attacks towards Brad diminished. Once we hit 6th grade Brad and I were true friends, along with his little brother, two years his junior, Matt. Matt was thrown into our Star Wars after-school fun - we were forced to let him play with us because Brad & Matt's mother didn't want him left out. So, being the cruel 8 year olds that we were - we would happily let him play with us because he was given Greedo, Hammerhead and the other "rejects" of the action figures against our more favorable team of action figures. Poor Matt.

During those early years I was considered, by my peers, as cool - mostly because I had an older brother along with his rough and tumble friends who would would kick anyone's ass if they deemed otherwise. So I had to impart my wisdom upon the poor nerdy Brad if I was going to be seen in public with him on a daily basis.

My first step with "Operation Brad Coolness" was to pressure him, who would in turn pressure his parents, to get rid of his glasses. Once that was done, we introduced Brad to shampoo and they became good friends. Goobye Osh Kosh Bi-Gosh! Hello Lee Jeans! Nike soon replaced his Ked shoes and then another thing hit Brad with a fierce vengance...

Puberty.

In a very interesting turn of events, Brad's hormones jumpstarted early for him. By 7th grade he really began to fill out in very muscular ways. Gone was the weakling nerd and replaced it with a much stronger version of Brad. Literally it was one summer where Brad went from the nerd of the herd to where girls would be whispering about him to each other and the other bullies of the school would no longer taunt him.

Brad began learning Tae-Kwon-Do. One unlucky bully learned that it was a bad idea to mess with Brad when Brad's foot was snapped against the side of the bully's face during an after-school fight.

Soon, my weakling friend became my ace-in-the-hole.

In 7th grade I was still tall, but also still gawky. Brad was sprouting hair all over his body (along with a lot of the other early bloomers) while I was still embarassed to play basketball because I had no hair under my arms like the other kids.

In a strange turn of events - I began to become the one who was picked on in school, by the other bullies in 7th grade. My brother had gone on to high school - and wasn't around to protect me anymore. I was on my own...well, not completely.

I still had Brad and his legendary roundhouse kicks.

Brad and I went our seperate ways in 8th grade. I went to Germantown Academy and he went to Lawrenceville Prep. I moved from Richboro to Gwynedd Valley during that time also. But we never lost touch with each other. We would still have sleepovers every few weeks, with many times my mom driving me to Richboro on a Saturday morning and picking me up on a Sunday afternoon.

Once I learned how to drive, I would make the 30 minute trek just about every weekend to see my old friends from the neighborhood. Also each summer was in Ocean City, NJ - and I would see Brad then, too.

Our friendship changed into family over the years. Brad and Matt are my brothers now, if not in blood, we are brothers in every other sense of the word. We have been through many adventures together, shared our most personal experiences and never lost that bond of trust and understanding.

Today, Brad is happily married to a wonderful woman (and fellow Eagles fan), Nicole, in Princeton, NJ. He reads this blog, and i'm sure after reading this he is going to be sending me an angry email on how I got the details all wrong about our history.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on March 24, 2005 10:01 AM.

Venue: Lisa's Birthday was the previous entry in this blog.

Resurrection Weekend: Villanova Loses is the next entry in this blog.

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