I went to Catholic School when I was a kid. In 4th grade, I was assigned to the 4th row and sat directly behind a girl named Mary Beth Noonan. Mary Beth was a bitch. She came from a well to do family and reveled in any opportunity to let her classmates know how much money her parents had.
Fortunately, the playing field was leveled somewhat since we wore uniforms to school. Outside of school, however, Mary Beth dressed perfectly always in new clothes. She spent more on one of her hand bags than my mom and dad spent on my clothes in an entire year.
Mary Beth had a small group of friends she hung out with. Like her, they were well to do, arrogant, and snobbish.
Of course sitting behind Mary Beth provided me with ample time to study Mary Beth's hair. The girl was a brunette who wore pig tails on a daily basis. For those of you not in the US, let me explain the term pig tails. The term refers to a hairstyle where the hair is braided on both sides of the head. The term pony tail refers to hair being braided at the back of the head.
From September to March of 4th grade, I sat behind Mary Beth every day. I watched her earnestly raise and wave her hand trying to answer every one of Sister Teresa's questions. I watched as she raised her hand one day and reported Billy Roberts to Sister Teresa for cheating on an test. I watched as she explained to Sister Teresa why her desk should be moved to the front row because her parents gave lots of money to the church.
The more I watched from the desk behind Mary Beth, the more I hated the obnoxious little bitch.
In March, Mary Beth had a birthday party at a roller rink. I was not invited of course. For me, there was some small consolation that Mary Beth fell while skating and broke her arm. She showed up at school the following Monday in a pearly white plaster full arm cast.
She milked the broken arm for all she could. At recess and lunch, Mary Beth would run, jump, and play like a normal kid in spite of the cast. In the classroom, she would tell Sister Teresa that the broken arm was horribly painful. She would get a hall pass to the nurse's room where she could lay down and rest.
I didn't snap until April. Mary Beth was still in her cast. No one, including Sister Teresa, believed the girl's arm still hurt. When not continuing her efforts to be the teacher's pet, Mary Beth spent a great deal of classroom time sticking pencils and rulers up her cast, pulling out cast padding, and admiring her vast collection of cast autographs.
The trigger for what I did was Michael Rhodes. Michael was a decent kid whose father had passed away earlier in the year. Apparently bored with Sister Teresa's geography lesson, Mary Beth threw a spit ball at Michael while the nun was writing on the chalk board. The spit ball hit Michael squarely on his cheek.
Michael, never a fan of Mary Beth's, reacted as any 9 year old boy would. He retaliated with spit ball of his own. Michael, never a great athlete, managed to miss Mary Beth entirely. This did not deter Mary Beth. Her good arm was waving in the air immediately. "Sister Teresa!" Mary Beth screamed in a horrified voice. "Michael just threw a spit ball at me."
That's when I lost it. I knew I was doing something bad. But it was like my hands were no longer part of my body. I watched those brown pig tails bobbing up and down. Mary Beth's good arm still waving in the air. I was sure she was smiling broadly as she threw Michael under the bus. The pig tails were screaming at me - "Pull Us".
And so I did. I reached forward took a pig tail in each hand , and pulled downward with all of my 9 year old might. Mary Beth screamed and Sister Teresa took off like a rocket toward me. Back in those days, the corporal punishment dished out by nuns was a terrifying as the sexual abuse dished out by homosexual priests.
"Both hands on the desk, Missy." Sister Teresa called all girls Missy when they were about to get the shit kicked out of them. "This may teach you to keep your hands where they belong!" The wooden ruler came down 30 times on each hand. After the beating, the red faced Sister Teresa sent me to the principal's office. Mom and dad were summoned. And I spent a week with limited TV privileges confined to my bedroom.
Looking back on this incidence a few decades later, Mary Beth deserved what I did to her. The pig tail pulling incident became urban legend at our school. My senior year high school year book referred to 'Pig Tail Pulling Champion' as one of the many accomplishments in my academic career.