Dude, I Got Knocked Out

The summer of 1976 was a big one for me.

Our historical town was celebrating the bi centennial with any number of staged battles at our real battlefield with men dressed in heavy woolen uniforms and muskets.  The whole place was ablaze with patriotism and cannon fire. 

As far as we were concerned it was the most boring thing in the entire world.

For us it was the summer of trying to “get knocked out”.

Earlier on, during the final days of the school year we had all been standing on the precipice overlooking one of the local schools smaller fields when a breathless and shrieking classmate had rocketed over to our group with news.


We all turned to listen to what this unhinged youngster needed to tell us.


He pointed to the space between his eyebrow and his eye.

“Wow, did she go to the nurse?”


Lightbulbs went off over each small head standing there, temporarily blinding us and everyone near to the group.

Sorry to subject you to this but I couldn't find a photo of a knocked out child with others standing around with lightbulbs over their heads.

What could be MORE awesome than getting knocked unconscious?

This was how legends were made and nothing proved our point more effectively than the rock star status Patty M. attained when she walked back through the doors of the school.

Cheering crowds, hushed whispers of reverence and awe as she passed you in the lunch room.

Stories of her fight for life in the emergency room that got more overblown and grandiose each time a new person told them.

“Dude, I heard they had to put her on life support and gouge out her eye to replace it with a new one!”

“Oh yeah, I heard that’s not even her. The rumor is she died and that’s a pod person.”

“She’s totally blind, but it’s so awesome that she got knocked out”

What was it like, this mysterious plane of consciousness attained only by the recently concussed or near dying?

We were determined to find out.

Spending the better part of the next six months trying to bludgeon ourselves unconscious using various questionable methods was exhausting.

Making a ramp to fly our bikes over rocks and sticks and old tires didn’t work.

Tripping each other when it was least expected only resulted in the loss of some teeth and a sprained wrist.

Pushing each other backwards while sitting in a chair (parents always said if you tipped and fell you would get knocked out. LIE) was unsuccessful.

A few of us tried to pretend that we had actually gotten knocked out in a pitiful deceitful act of desperation when it seemed that we would never manage to reach this goal. It was a new low for us. Faking it.

There was no dare too outrageous or risk we weren’t willing to take to get knocked out, but it never happened for us.

Tragically our dream was snuffed out by the cruel mistress, self-preservation.



Filed under don't try this at home, I still haven't gotten knocked out, stupid things kids do

47 responses to “Dude, I Got Knocked Out

  1. Tom G.

    When I first read this, I thought it said “Dude I got Knocked Up”, but I quickly realized that 1976 was way to early for you and your friends to be trying that.

    That was probably the summer of 1986.

  2. I had a similar romantic idea about passing out. It was always so dramatic on TV. Unfortunately, when I finally did pass out as a teenager, from a high fever, I came to with my head in the dog food dish and a two liter of Diet Coke spilled all over my pajamas. Not quite as awesome as it was in my imagination.

  3. You are the prettiest of those three. Just look at those nice arched brows.

    So this KNOCK-OUT could not be achieved by massive consumption of alcohol, was that the rule?!

    Hearing these stories, I can’t decide whether I WISH I went to a Catholic school or not…

    • Tom G.

      No, that is “Passing Out”, which is totally different from being “Knocked Out”.

    • dufmanno

      You could have gone to any type of school and gotten bitten by the “I want to get knocked out” bug. Fame, fortune and the knowledge you had lived through something your chicken shit classmates would never be able to recreate no matter how hard they tried. (and believe me THEY TRIED)
      In the spirit of full disclosure I will tell you that we all think that Patty M. also got a screw knocked loose by that rock as she was never quite the same. She was always skittish and weird after that especially after her initial fame wore off. There was also that matter of her father suing the parents of the child who threw the rock. Good times!

  4. This is exactly why I plan on locking up my children and throwing away the key.

    • dufmanno

      I promise that your children aren’t as stupid as I was. On a scale of one to ten , ten being the number that lacks the most common sense, I was a ten.

  5. Tom G.

    I totally understand the fame of a massive injury. When I was about the same age, a kid named Garret around the corner had an accident on his bike, and cut his head open. He ran home gushing blood the whole way. For the rest of the summer those bloodstains on the sidewalk were the coolest thing ever. He was a superstar like “Leif Garret” after that.

    We used to play Evil Kneivel with our bikes too. We progressed from jumping garbage cans, to having kids lay down in front of the ramp to see how many we could jump. Then some buzz kill Mom looked out the window, screamed, and made us stop.

    Demolition Derby on Big Wheels, and Wagons was another fun game, until I came home with bruises the size of grape fruit on my legs.

    We lived on a big hill, and we used to like to take skateboard to the top, set cardboard boxes on them, climb in and “race” down the street. If you leaned left & right you could steer them pretty well, but when you hit a sewer grate, and the box tipped over it was major road rash.

    These kids today with their helmets and seatbelts are total sissies.

    • dufmanno

      Evil Kneivel jumps the “grand canyon” was a big favorite on our block. Why is it that all children feel compelled to lie down on the concrete between the ramps? That must be a universal desire of everyone under the age of eleven!!

  6. when i made the switch from catholic to public school in 9th grade, i was fascinated by all the burners with their grunge clothes and bloodshot eyes. i was able to mimic the clothing easily by ordering a bunch of rocker tshirts from the back of rolling stone magazine and putting intentional holes in my jeans. but achieving the bloodshot eyes wasn’t as easy. before school, i’d pour peroxide into my eyes so they’d burn and get all red. yep, i stumped the clinicians. they don’t even have a clinical term for this kind of mental.

  7. I can’t stop singing L.L. Cool J. Also, I want bamboo earrings. At least two pair.

  8. laughing laughing laughing…

    side note: I star the pod person rumor about myself all the time. somehow people aren’t really ever that surprised…

    • I wish I could hire a pod person right about now. Can we get one of those from Amazon or Etsy? Where is subWOW? I know she will have the answer to this!

      Here in KY we were busy trying to knock other kids out with the tether ball. Remember that? This was the height of excellence in our school. Awesome of you could knock someone down with it, unstoppable if you could actually keep them down.

      • dufmanno

        Tether ball rocked!!! We also had a weird looking funnel on a pole with holes out the side. You threw a kick ball in the top of the vat and it could fly out of any of the side holes to be caught by waiting children.
        I was also a big fan of double dutch.

    • dufmanno

      For years I was suspiciously eyeing my parents thinking that every time they acted “out of character” it might be a sign that pod people had in fact gotten them.
      Body snatchers have destroyed many a family in this manner.

  9. We just did a story on kids playing the “choking game” here in Utah. Basically they strangle each other until one passes out.

    Kids are so dumb.

    • dufmanno

      Honestly, I agree. The choking game sounds nowhere NEAR as fun as the getting knocked out game. Kids have got their priorities screwed up.

  10. I just generally like to knock kids out, really.

    I’m not what you would call “kid friendly”…

    – B x

  11. SO VERY FUNNY. Great cartoon. Pod people are real. One of my uncles was a pod person. Also someone I dated. Actually several.

  12. [LIKE]. That post knocked me out.

    • dufmanno

      Glad you liked it. Today was one of those days where I thought maybe I’d give it the old college try again and fall down the front stairs on some ice.
      Again, I came up short.

  13. Your parents said that about leaning back in a chair too? Are you my sister?

    • dufmanno

      Not just my parents, my teachers , babysitters, friends and relatives did too.
      “Don’t tip in that chair or you’ll be sorry”
      “No tipping in the classroom”
      “If you go over backwards you’ll crack your skull”

  14. Must have been something about this age. My husband shot himself in the face with a BB gun when he was 10 because he wanted to see what the BB looked like coming out of the barrel. Never understood that.

  15. OK please help: There was this book I loved as a kid about a kid who wants glasses really bad so he fakes his eye exam and gets a prescription so strong he can see through walls so some bank robbers kidnap him to help crack a safe?

  16. You had a wee little fight club going on. How deranged. And this is why you are a rock star to this day.

  17. Where I’m from, all it woulda taken was one sentence…”Yo, douchebag, ya sister’s a fuggin’ hoo-ah.”

    • dufmanno

      Nah, I tried that. The punch that resulted STILL didn’t knock me out.
      It was fun calling his sister that though because she totally WAS a whore. My New York accent wasn’t as good as yours, I was from Rockland.

  18. Pingback: We Build Character « 20 Prospect

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