Chapter 5, Part 2 – Edgbaston & Solihull, Autumn 1961: Rufus the Doofus
Perhaps, if we’d faced the other problem earlier – nipped it in the bud – it’s possible matters could’ve gone differently. Possible, mind you, but unlikely. It entailed a trio of upper-class legacy students whose ancestors had attended the school for generations (Ian, by contrast, was a second-generation student. Stan, Jenny and I were all first-generation) . They were stupid, mean, hostile, bored and constantly on the warpath, looking for something to happen or someone to bully. Their grandfathers, each formidable in his own right, donated quite heavily and were on exceptional terms with many of the board members.
It accounted, to the more cynical amongst us, at least, for the admission and ongoing enrollment of three kids who clearly didn’t rate academically. Even with that protection, their standing regularly hung by the proverbial thread.
Nor were they popular, far from it.
Much of the student body, though – perhaps most of it – was so afraid of being victims themselves that they involuntarily became enablers, laughing along, or at least offering tacit pseudo-approval by their silence. In so doing, the three were given the kind of power they’d never have had on their own, all in exchange for a false sense of security.
The trio’s leader was one Rufus Engwister-Trott, aka, “Rufus the Goofus,” aka, “Rufus the Doofus,” aka, – in flashes of acute exasperation – “Rufus, Lord High Doofus of Goofus” (or “Rufus, Lord High Goofus of Doofus”), aka, “Doofus,” “the Doof,” or just plain “Doof.”
Doofus had the same Bobby Vee hairdo Stan and I had.
It wasn’t a bad hairdo for the time – at least if we snuck in some hairspray – even if it hadn’t been what any of us intended With it, Doof had the looks of an aspiring teen idol; going well with the ego of a peacock, intellect of a rock and insight of a fungus he also had.
As choir members, Ian, Stan and I had all had the chance to opt out of physical education class. Ian and I’d jumped at it. But Stan, with a wistful eye toward joining the school cricket team someday, had declined. Pointing out to the governors that, as a native Hindi speaker, he was already fluent in a ”foreign” language. He persuaded them to drop the foreign language requirement instead, an early demonstration of his argumentation skills. He was thus able to observe the Doof’s would-be athletic prowess firsthand in a way Ian and I were not. According to Stan, Doof was mildly athletic. But, his dream of joining the school football team had remained simply that, frustrating him to no end.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
Get ready: “The Bluebottle Boys” Volume One is almost here. Stay tuned for details.
G. H. McCallum
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