Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sensitive Area

So, one afternoon this week I picked up my folks from the railway station as they returned from their holiday. I decided to spend the night at their place, in Grassington. They asked me to nip to the Fish & Chip shop and get them some fish and chips (so northern). So I did. I got in there and as I waited I realised it was 30 years since I had last stood in that place. It is the same: same fryers, same tiles on the walls and floor.

In 1984, aged 14, I was in there with, I suspect, my friend Bob Middleton. There was not a lot else to do in Grassington for 14 and 15 year olds. In came some older lads, who had left my school a year or two earlier. One of them was a lad called Chris Parkinson, if I recall correctly. He just didn't like me. I've no idea why. We didn’t know each other. He stood in front of me, I was 3 years his junior and a good bit smaller, he said nothing but headbutted me as hard as he could.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember just standing there and looking at him after he had done it. I didn't say a word, I just looked at him. I remember thinking: I don't think you are supposed to headbutt people on their forehead. I think you should aim for their nose or one of their cheek bones. Not their forehead. That's hard. I kept looking at him for what seemed like minutes, but was probably no more than a couple of seconds. I saw a tear form in the corner of his eye as he sought to remain cool. He left.

I relived that moment, stood there in the Grassington Fish and Chip shop on this February evening in 2014. I've not had such a flashback before. It was like a scene from a film. I was snapped out of my immersion in the memory, as the woman serving me tried to get my attention, to pass me the fish and chips. She said "I thought you'd drifted off to sleep." I said, "I was last in here in 1984 and someone headbutted me". She said "Oh, we took over the shop in 1989". Me: "I'll try not to leave it 30 years until the next visit".

This being 2014, I checked Wikipedia's headbutt page. Sure enough, the second sentence reads: "Effective headbutting involves striking a sensitive area of an opponent using the forehead, such as the nose of an opponent." Maybe both our lives would have been a little different if Chris had had the opportunity to read the Wikipedia entry on headbutts before he entered the Grassington Fish and Chip shop that night in 1984.

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