Oi you! Think yer hard, eh? Think yer hard, you effing muppet?!

There’s a lot of so-called “hard men” around who actually are just bigger and stronger than average, and who like to throw their weight around to “impress” their so-called “mates”. Well in my book, beating on smaller, weaker people doesn’t make you hard – it makes you a bully, trying to make up for your teeny dick by hitting people you know ain’t gonna do you over.

Ad it ain’t just me who thinks this. Read what an OSE officer wrote on the subject – that’s a guy who parachuted into Nazi-controlled Europe during the Second World War, to kill Nazis and organize resistance. That’s right: let’s see what a truly brave man has to say about you beefy bully-boys.

I am a good enough shot. But when it comes to physical violence I am repelled. I wish it were still an age when a man could carry a sword or a rapier without attracting attention. I am no true-blue Britisher. I believe that fists are the most uncouth, the most unsatisfactory, and the most cowardly of weapons. A Corsican whom I had known and admired in Lyons, had shown me a foreigner’s viewpoint regarding the absurd British or Anglo-Saxon boast that we are the cleanest fighters because we use our fists.

“Two men are enemies,” the Corsican said. “They decide to kill each other. One is big. The other is small. They fight with fists. The small man cannot get near the big man. The small man is the most nimble. But the big man chases him. Eventually, he should catch him, and kill him. Now give to each man a knife. The small man is still at a disadvantage. The big man has more reach. It’s difficult to penetrate his wide guard. But the small man is the more nimble. His thrusts are the quicker. And knife-fighting is a question of courage. Perhaps the big one feels faint when he thinks he may die. Or when he sees blood. The battle is more even. It is more dirty to fight with fists than with knives. To attack another man with fists is a dirty trick, requiring little courage, but only bestial strength.” This Corsican was biased, being an expert with the knife he carried and ate and shaved with. It was a long curving blade, with a delicately curved, black bone handle, I recall. But I thoroughly agreed, and agree with his sentiments. To hell with adventure novelists who decry every man who draws a knife and lionise honest John who fights with his fists.

~from Maquis, by George Millar

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting we should all go round tooled up with blades, ready to stab each other at a moment’s notice. I’m using Millar’s words here because Millar was a truly brave man. He volunteered to parachute into Nazi-controlled France and who accepted the fact that each day might be his last. But the bully… he’s less than nothing. The kind of stuff I wipe off my shoe before going indoors. “Hard men”? I shit ’em.

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