Once upon a time, there was
a kid who was the biggest kid on the block. It hadn't always
been that way, of course - the Kid used to be just one of the
many littler kids who lived there in days gone by, always looking
over their shoulder in case one of the meaner big kids happened
to be passing by.
There were lots of big kids
in those days, and some of them were downright nasty. Our Kid
and many other little kids were often in terror for their lives.
Fortunately, the biggest kid
on the block at the time was a nice chap - we'll call him "Winston".
Winston was a good hearted kid, had a rather far sighted sense
of fair play, and didn't like to see other big kids bullying
the little ones. Winston protected our Kid, and many others.
The only problem was that Winston
had an enormous appetite - he was always hungry, and the littler
kids would have to give him their lunch money every day so he
could keep his strength up and fight the other, meaner big kids.
One day, our Kid, not so big
yet but with big ideas, decided he wanted to keep his lunch money,
and he and Winston got into a fight. To everyone's surprise,
our Kid won. Winston was still the biggest kid on the block,
but our Kid had shown that he could take care of himself pretty
Fortunately, our Kid and Winston
soon made up, and became the best of friends, forming an alliance
that made all the meaner big kids a little more hesitant to start
Of course, bullies will be
bullies, and every once in a while all the mean kids would get
together and start a big fight. They would start by picking
on the littler kids, and sooner or later Winston and our Kid
would show up, knowing that, as the good big kids (for our own
Kid was growing rapidly), it was their responsibility to protect
the littler ones.
Now, our Kid had a little problem.
He loved to sleep. He would go out with Winston and take care
of the mean kids, only to trot home happy, flop on his bed, and
sink into a content and comfortable sleep. He was often hard
to wake on such occasions.
Winston at such times just
shook his head. He knew the mean kids would never give up as
long as there were littler kids to pick on, but the Kid had always
been there when he needed him (and was getting pretty big himself,
as I've said), and so Winston decided that if the Kid needed
to sleep once in awhile, so be it. Winston would continue patrolling
the block himself, still the biggest kid on the block, of course,
and keep a solitary eye out for signs of trouble.
One day, trouble came.
A bunch of the biggest mean
kids on the block got together, and started beating up every
little kid they could find. By the time Winston realized what
was happening, it was almost too late, and he found himself alone,
surrounded by every bully in the world. Frantically he called
out to our Kid - who unfortunately was in bed, sound asleep.
Alone and severely outnumbered,
Winston fought bravely, keeping the bullies just at bay, but
he knew he couldn't hold out by himself. Then, as luck would
have it, one of the bullies tiptoed over to our Kid's house,
and saw him sleeping.
"He's asleep," the
bully thought. "Now's my chance!" And with that the
bully attacked our Kid.
This was, of course, a fatal
mistake, for all he had done was to wake our Kid up. As soon
as he was alert enough to hear Winston yelling for help, he jumped
right out of bed and flew out of doors and down the street to
where Winston was, and together they pulverized the mean kids
as mean kids had never been pulverized before.
And then, in the heat of victory,
they looked at each other, and were amazed.
For Winston seemed a little
smaller than before, while our Kid had grown and grown,
and it was clear that our Kid was now the Biggest Kid on the
Well, our Kid and Winston remained
friends, though our Kid made Winston stop taking lunch money
from others. They had a new problem now. One of the mean kids
(we'll call him "Nikita") had had a falling out with
the other bullies, and had come over to help our Kid and Winston
win the fight. As it would turn out, Nikita wasn't such a bad
sort, really - he'd just been reading the wrong books.
At this time, though, he was
pretty big, and had different ideas about how things should go
on the block. He didn't trust Winston or our Kid, and they certainly
didn't trust him. Funnily enough, though, there never
was a fight. Mostly our Kid and Nikita would yell things at
each other, or just stand and stare, waiting for the other one
to blink. For Nikita was nearly as big as our Kid.
Anyway, as the Biggest Kid
on the block, our Kid was now very busy. Every time someone
tried to beat someone else up our Kid was there, breaking it
up. Every time flood or famine occurred, our Kid was there,
helping. It got to the point where our Kid was everywhere, and
some of the other kids started complaining. To make matters
worse, our Kid sometimes got into fights he shouldn't have, and
some kids started complaining even more, forgetting all the times
he'd helped them.
But kids will be kids, and
you can't blame our Kid for not being perfect. He was always
trying to help, and hadn't learned yet that sometimes there are
problems that don't have a Biggest Kid on the Block solution.
As time went by, of course,
our Kid learned all that, and was more careful about what he
got himself into. And then, one day, Nikita got very sick, and
when it was over he was no longer nearly as big as he'd been.
And now there was no longer
anyone on the block remotely as big as our Kid.
And so ten years went by, and
- yep, you guessed it - our Kid went back to sleep.
And a very mean kid, who had
been bullying other kids when no one was watching, and who had
been waiting for such an opportunity, launched an attack on our
This very mean kid had obviously
not been reading his history books. He only managed to wake
our Kid up, and now our Kid was angry. Very angry. Foolish
You can guess what happened
next . . .
A note to mean kids everywhere:
it is never, ever, ever a good idea to wake a Sleeping Giant.
In honor of the many victims,
their families, and freedom lovers everywhere.
(and yes - there will be
a Halloween column! See you then . . .)