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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. Fork My Arm

While we were living in the Kingston Ontario PMQs in the early '70s, my older brothers, Mark and Rob (we were calling him Rob by this time instead if Robin) bought themselves a set of workout weights and a bench. We all did some hanging and banging, but it was Rob who remained the most dedicated. After a bit, it began to show.

I recall one day in the kitchen, Rob had just finished a workout. I think he had done it in the backyard, which he did from time to time. Anyway, he was all pumped up, looking very fit, and I guess he was feeling quite Supermanish. He asked me to try to push a fork into his arm. I guess he expected it to just bend now that he was so strong.

I was a brat and sometimes I made pretty dumb decisions, but this one was beyond even me. I knew there was no way he would come out of that demo unscathed, I didn't care how many reps he did or how heavy he lifted. Sharp objects and skin? Skin always loses and I didn't want to be cleaning up the remnants of gushing geysers of blood.

Now, I'm not saying Rob was dumb, he was a straight B student, and even now can finish a New York Times Sunday crossword without breaking a sweat, but I think he was prone to a bit of machismo this time.

Another thing I struggled with this day was, he was inviting me to hurt him. He had been my bigger brother my whole life and had meted out considerable poundings, noogies, punishments, and humiliations to me over the years and he was offering me an opportunity to seek some vengeance. That was very tempting.

But, he was my brother and had stood beside me more times than he had punched me so I couldn't just jam that fork into his arm. But I couldn't back down either, I had my own ego to take care of. "Alright." I said, and he held his arm out, tensing the muscles to repel the metal.

I pushed that fork against his skin, watching as it dimpled at the tines. I kept pushing until the skin, where the fork was pushing, turned an angry purple. I strained my face to make it look I was exerting more effort than I was, hoping to fool him because, if he thought I was wimping out, there would be repercussions that I wouldn't like.

Then I withdrew the fork, watching the deep impressions in his skin begin to relax and said "Wow, like steel."

I don't know if Rob believed my little charade but he seemed pleased enough with the results, beaming through his freckles and flexing his arm. He didn't pound me at least. I have thought about that day many times over the years. I could have just stabbed him, showing that he wasn't quite as tough as he thought he was. And, it would have been hard for him to fault me, after all, he asked me to do it.

Sometimes I wonder what made me play that one out the way I did. It may have been my love for him which I would have denied then, because admitting you loved your brother back then would only lead to another pounding. Perhaps it was a sign that I was maturing, learning to see beyond the moment. I do know it was uncharacteristic of me, I was a brat.

What memories do you hold onto where your actions surprised even you, good or bad?

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Terry Groves
Terry Groves
Nov 10, 2019

Wow, quite the story. Amazing that just pushing them back in worked. I hear dentists wailing all over the world. It is amazing what we can do for ourselves. I was a long-time thumb sucker and that caused my front teeth to protrude. I was embarassed by this and started pushing on my teeth while sitting in class. After a few months, they were pretty much straight up and down again. Thanks for writing.


Nov 10, 2019

When my brother and I were kids in CFB greenwood, we were play wrestling in the basement while our parents slept I found a brass lock and put it on my middle finger and proceeded to punch my brother in the mouth, he lost his 2 front teeth, panicked I ran upstairs and told my mom that I knocked out my brothers teeth which she replied “you better put them back in before I get up, so I ran down stairs, grabbed my crying brother in a headlock, picked up the teeth and jammed the teeth back in his head to my surprise they stayed in. And are in to this day. Sorry bro I still feel bad about it…

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