Nut Buster Club
In 1973, I was a fifth grader at Folger McKinsey Elementary School. Every morning we'd say our pledge of allegiance and sing our school song, "Folger McKinsey to you we sing." Two of our classmates decided to create a club called the Nut Buster Club. Why I can’t answer. I guess it was like two rivals leaders from The Lord of the Flies vying for supremacy of the playground. Maybe it was because we were an open space school and the lack of walls did something to their self esteem. Tommy led Tommy’s Nut Buster Club while rival Jimmy led the Jimmy’s Nut Buster Club. I dare not call them a gang as it was fifth grade at Folger McKinsey Elementary School. Folger was populated primarily by upper middle class white kids with a handful of African Americans for 1970’s diversity.
The nut breakers club consisted of you joining one of the teams for protection from the other team. Protection was you being issued a piece of paper showing your club membership which thereby protected you from getting your nuts racked by members of the opposite club. Nut racking consisted of a guy fisting or kneeing you in the groin region when you weren’t looking. These attacks could happen at any time. We all know how cruel kids can be, but this was wrong for a myriad of reasons. Both, Jimmy and Tommy were fat kids. So, this may have been a self-esteem issue or a bullying issue, but you knew it was going to end up bad for somebody.
You avoiding being racked by proving you were a club member. By now, most of us had learned to survive the ever dangerous playground dodge ball and the politically incorrect game of smear the queer, but nut racking took playground dangers to a whole new level. Our friend David was the last straw. David got attacked while sitting on a piece of playground equipment called the chains. The chains were a strange pipe frame about eight feet high and four feet wide with hanging chain ladders you could climb or sit in. The description of chains hanging from pipes does not sound like safe playground equipment, but it was considered playground safe in the seventies. Unfortunately it was not safe for David sitting in it when someone decided to rack him by kicking him. There is nothing worse for a man or boy than being kicked in the crotch. It is one of those cowardly attacks rarely talked about similar to friendly fire in combat or fragging.
We all now the pain, fear, and loathing associated with a crotch kick for a male member of the species. The mental picture is not unlike Superman and his relationship to the debilitating kryptonite. David had to see the dreaded school nurse before being sent home with a bag of ice for his testicles. David got to see his family physician before coming back to school. His family doctor wrote a prescription allowing David to bring a pillow to school to sit on until the swelling went down. The pillow brought all sorts of stories and rumors with it. Girls asked if he was sterile from the assault.
The David Nut Busting Incident as it became to be known by was the nexus for a full teacher investigation into the nut busters club. Mr. Hopkins was our sole male fifth grade teacher, so he got stuck with leading the administrative inquiry into the alleged assault. Mr. Hopkins was considered wise and worldly as he knew magic tricks and had been an extra in the Frank Sinatra war movie, Von Ryan’s Express. Mr. Hopkins interviewed team members and obtained physical evidence in the form of handwritten club rosters. Justice was swift and the clubs were brought to an end with an impromptu assembly for the fifth grade boys only where we were read the riot act and educated on the dangers of related playground attacks.