Dad grew up in a tough mill town. Fights were common.
My dad said to never threaten anyone. He never did.
He had a few reasons. Threatening someone gave them advanced warning. If the guy really needed a punch in the nose -punch him in the nose. Don’t use words when a fist is needed.
If something bad happens to someone, the cops always look for the guy who threatened the victum in public. Even if you didn’t harm the guy, you are still a suspect because of your words. On the other hand, if you really really do harm someone, there are no threats in the public record.
Dad thought threatening someone was a sign of weakness. Words are empty. He had no respect for “big talk and no action.”
Some people yell when mad. Dad did just the opposite. If someone really ticked him off he’d get real quiet. He’d walk up close to the guy and talk in a low voice that only they could hear. The guy would have to pay attention and listen closely. Then dad would tell him the consequences if his actions continued. It wasn’t a threat in dad’s mind -more of a promise. He’d explain to the guy exactly what kind of hurt he was in for. The choice was his. Dad kept his promises.
My father told me to never start fights, but to finish them. In spite of his toughness, he never looked for trouble. In a fighting town, trouble would sometimes find him. Not all those fights were won, but the winner didn’t get away without a world of hurt. Nobody wanted to mess with him again.
As a kid, I knew little of dad’s rough and tumble past. He never wanted me to have to grow up the way he did. Over the years, more and more stories from the old days came to light. I learned a few more while visiting him in Florida this past winter.
Dad’s 76 now and living the typical retired guy life, but heaven help the man who threatens him. My old man is still tough enough if the need should ever arise.
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