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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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I Take a Beating

By Thomas McGovern, '32

The Magpie, January 1932, v. 33, n. 1., p. 9.

It all started over a piece of cake. I had two pieces, and he didn't have any. So, when my back was turned, he walked off with one of mine. I met him later when he was sitting in front of his tent and accused him of the theft. He admitted his guilt and asked what I was going to do about it. I proposed that we go down to the ring and settle the matter. When he stood up and looked down on me, I realized that I had made my first mistake.

We went down to the ring, and about five seconds later half of Plattsburg was leaning on the ropes, yelling, "Grudge fight!" Some fellow asks what we're fighting for. When told about the precious wedge of sugared dough, he remarks, "They're a couple of jackasses." By that time I was sure that one of us, at least, was willing to admit that he resembled a longeared quadruped. My second arranges for three five minute rounds: mistake number two.

My friend Byrne arrives and tries to hearten me by saying in his cheerful little way, "Cheer up, Mac; he's only a little bigger." The bout begins and we advance, looking at each other, and wait. I hit him on the nose. It was a large nose and made a fine target. He hits me, and I forget that there are two more rounds to go and start hitting him with everything I've got. He falters, I hit him again, and he goes down. But he comes up again, and we clinch. Just as I'm genteelly biting his ear, the bell rings, and I flop into my corner after the longest five minutes in my life.

I'm tired, tired of hitting and being hit, and just about this time I lose interest in the cake. I've hardly caught my breath when the gong clangs again, and I have to get up. He has changed his tactics this time. He's waiting me out and won't close. He hits me on the chin, and I discover another unpleasant fact. He's left handed, and if I lead with my left he hooks to my jaw.

He lands one squarely on my solar plexus, and I taste last week's stew. Then I begin to get disgusted with the whole affair and want to lie down and go to sleep. The referee asks if I've had enough and want to quit. I give up, and my opponent and I shake hands. I walk home, accompanied by my erstwhile seconds who are busily inventing alibis.

On the way, I meet my comrade, Strong, who sympathetic says, "You born fool, why don' t you pick someone your own size." When I lie in my bunk, soon offer, nursing a sore chin and stomach, I say to myself, "Strong was right. Hereafter I'll unless, of course the other fellow is four feet tall art anemic." Which, it occurs to me, is the philosophy nations.




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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