When I was a child I received religious instruction from my Sunday school teachers, mostly older women who told us the simpler stories, those that a child's intellect could grasp. One of these stories was David and Goliath, of how the shepherd boy defeated the mighty warrior with his sling and a stone. The story was embellished with accounts of the young David protecting his flock from wolves, practicing for hours with his simple weapon- all in preparation for the greatness that he would achieve later in life. I would pretend to be David, I didn't have a sling (I was kind of confused- I thought that was the thing my broken arm rested in) so I just threw stones. In my back yard, down by the river, and in grassy fields at the end of the block.
One summer when I was about eight a new house was being constructed on our street; there was an excavation and lots of clods of clayey dirt and small stones. The mean kids from the apartment house started throwing dirt at me and my friends from across the pit; we threw back and then the battle was on. Soon rocks started coming our way, and little David's example came to mind. The first rock I threw hit one of the kids over the eye, and his forehead started to bleed. That was the end of the conflict. I ran home.
Later, my mother found out and she brought me over to the apartment house, where I had to apologize for my savagery. I was more impressed with being in the apartment house itself, (it was actually an old frame boarding house that had been converted into a crude eight-plex) than I was with the enormity of my crime. It would not be the last time that I would emulate Little David, and with the same result.
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