I would never again, show Allen that side of me. I never had to.
My adult self kinda wishes I’d paid more attention to how effective it was for me to be the quiet, big hairy dude. Rather than my default good natured and social, big hairy dude.
Instead of seeing myself as putting on a mask, it would have helped to recognize how being quiet (and quietly observant) was especially useful around the kind of drama that constantly followed Allen. I can now see how that would probably have led me to a more mindful way of being. A way to be aware of my surroundings and eventually (and hopefully) more aware of my own behavior.
However, as I said… I was in survival mode. My quiet, observant young self was completely reflexive at the time. I suppose I can at least credit myself for that. After all, my survival mode could have just as easily looked much different.
It was (I can see now) quite necessary for me to seem dangerous while not being expected to do dangerous things. I had shown Allen that I had the ability to act in a way that looked dangerous enough. I had used my size to diffuse a situation that could have ended in damage to everyone involved. I can’t know (and highly doubt) if Allen thought about it in this way at all, but the results were the same as if he had.
I was now Allen’s big dangerous sidekick. Funny how this also parallels (in a way) my relationship to Mark (“Mr. Cool”) back in the days of my old Rochester, Minnesota high school and subsequent cool party pad a million miles away.
A million years ago back in December of 1977.
It was December of 1978 and I left for Kansas with my fellow scabs very shortly after establishing myself with Allen’s little gang. Perfect timing really. Me being absent for those two weeks allowed the story of how I’d helped Allen “humiliate” that wrestler dude, to be told in a way that created even more mystique around my quiet, hairy largeness…
And largess. My history of cooking for the street punk kids added to my image among the entire gang.
An image of being big and generous to my friends, but big and dangerous to those who would dare to challenge us. Most importantly (for me) was how the incident with the wrestler dude had allowed me to become Allen’s “sidekick” yet not be seen as one of his minions. At all. Allen thus never challenged me because he didn’t have to. I’d already shown him that I could handle myself. I’d also shown him (without anyone else in the gang observing) that he didn’t want to try. He might have even been a little scared of me.
This was very useful when I returned from Kansas. It led to a few months of what were the best of times for me in Omaha. But being in this position (for me) with Allen and his little gang also meant that I was now a part of their lives. And so I still had to deal with being part their life style, which was of course…