In “He Was Weird,” the character Joe Callazone was a little of all of the previous eighth grade bullies I’ve covered so far all rolled into one. First, like so many of his teammates, he is very critical of Mark for quitting the American football team and constantly demands to know why he quit. Like David Roseman, he too raised questions over Mark’s sexuality by inviting him to an all male orgy and making remarks about penises. While his physical bullying of Mark wasn’t to the extreme of Jim Nickerson’s, he found it very amusing to poke Mark in the glasses with his fingers. Admittedly, one would think that this wasn’t too bad but it had the same effect as the bullying of Brian Cullen had on Mark. It made him feel intimidated and eroded what little self esteem he had. However, what made Joe’s bullying worse was the fact that whenever Mark was on the receiving end of any bullying from the eighth graders, he always seemed to be present.
One shining example of the last part of the above paragraph happens when Mark is indecently assaulted by the substitute teacher. Because the substitute is considered a hero among the jocks, some of the seventh grade jocks in Mark’s class take exception to the fact that his family had their hero teacher arrested. Joe happens to be walking by while this is happening and the spokesman for the group harassing Mark tells Joe that he has gotten the substitute in trouble. Joe says nothing at the time but later on at lunch, Mark is accosted by a group of eighth graders who threaten they will get him if their hero goes down. Of course, they all get their punches and kicks in to ram home the point.
Joe is not present on the day Mark finally exacts his revenge for all the hell he had been through over the past three years. Luckily, he is away in Puerto Rico on a basketball programme and therefore survives the carnage Mark causes. When he hears about the death or near death of so many of his friends, he vows revenge of his own and he does get it in one way. Also, when Mark’s family move out of the town afterwards, the real estate company owned by Joe’s father helps them sell their house.
My inspiration for Joe Callazone came from a boy named Joe Carrazoni. He was a gifted athlete and did give me lots of crap when I quit the American football team. Furthermore, he carried out the finger poking of the glasses as well as making jokes about me going with him and other boys to an all male orgy. And he often seemed to be around when the other eighth graders were bullying me. I have come through all of that and that’s why I am willing to forgive but like with all the others, he must want my forgiveness otherwise it would be empty.
Next post: The Less Important Eighth Graders
To buy He Was Weird, go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441652314&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird