Seven Personal Reasons Why I Admired The "Early" Thugs

Jesse (left), and Frank James, the most-famous outlaws, "thugs," of the Old West.
Jesse (left), and Frank James, the most-famous outlaws, "thugs," of the Old West. | Source

Talking about origins.

Every giant oak began as an acorn. Every delicious apple began as a seed. Therein you have the sequence of life. If my principle holds up, then this test will prove it. Every seasoned criminal, free or in custody, started as a thug.

Do I hear any objections? If any of you can show reason why this hub shouldn't be written, speak your piece now, or for six hours, hold your peace.

(Circa 1954) Gangs in Los Angeles were known to use dangerous homemade weapons as this when fighting against a rival thug or two.
(Circa 1954) Gangs in Los Angeles were known to use dangerous homemade weapons as this when fighting against a rival thug or two. | Source
 Vic Morrow threatens  Glenn Ford who plays  a teacher in thug- related film, Blackboard Jungle.
Vic Morrow threatens Glenn Ford who plays a teacher in thug- related film, Blackboard Jungle. | Source

Getting started.

"These" young men, "thugs," invoked fear in all they met. All they had to do was walk that walk with that cool, confident, "take no crap from anyone" swagger. If one of them should wink at an older conservative citizen shaking in his shoes, the poor citizen might be spared. Then again, maybe not. "These" guys loved to bring the blood from their victims. And all mostly for no reason.

"These" young hooligans, for lack of a worse adjective, were called "thugs," the fully-grown, end-result of starting as a juvenile delinquent--disrespectful to parents, destructive, cold-hearted, and a smart mouth they weren't afraid to use on anyone who stood in their way.

This is the origin of thugs.

Girls like these, circa 1954, admired thugs. Thugs were thought of as "heroes," in these days.
Girls like these, circa 1954, admired thugs. Thugs were thought of as "heroes," in these days. | Source

What a lifestyle.

Thugs, as they were labeled, were the envy of most teenage guys still living underneath the roof of their conservative, law abiding parents. These adoring teenage guys would dream (of care-free days of thuggery) while sleeping in their warm beds (provided by their conservative, law abiding parents) of one day joining a gang of thugs, then climbing the "ladder of civil disobedience" to become the leader of their own gang of lawbreaking thugs one sunny day.

Thugs did not dress, walk, talk, or act like everyone else. Fact is, they were diametrically-opposed to everything that average people stood for and lived by. Thugs did not try to hide in or behind a crowd. If anything, they strived to stand-out from the crowd--to be an entity unto themselves and recognized as "bad butts" wherever they appeared. Who wouldn't appreciate this type of respect?

(Circa 1972)  New York thug, now a prisoner, reads a book in his cell.
(Circa 1972) New York thug, now a prisoner, reads a book in his cell. | Source
Claude Akins, character actor, famous  for thug roles. But in the late 70's, Adkins and Frank Converse, played two buddies who drove a truck for a living in the NBC show: "Movin' On."
Claude Akins, character actor, famous for thug roles. But in the late 70's, Adkins and Frank Converse, played two buddies who drove a truck for a living in the NBC show: "Movin' On." | Source
These thugs may look  and dress cool, but  these guys are dangerous.
These thugs may look and dress cool, but these guys are dangerous. | Source
Percy Helton is so talented, that he can easily play an evil thug or a law-abiding detective for some big city police force.
Percy Helton is so talented, that he can easily play an evil thug or a law-abiding detective for some big city police force. | Source
Paul Newman in this early career often played roles as thugs.
Paul Newman in this early career often played roles as thugs. | Source
The equation for chaos is: Guys that dress and act like these guys and own a fast car can only equal trouble.
The equation for chaos is: Guys that dress and act like these guys and own a fast car can only equal trouble. | Source
Quiz: Are these thugs or greasers? It was tough in the early days to tell the difference.
Quiz: Are these thugs or greasers? It was tough in the early days to tell the difference. | Source

That's one of the reasons why I named this hub:

Seven Personal Reasons Why I Admired The "Early" Thugs

Instant Notoriety - - a thug's vile reputation always preceded him. And her if there were any female thugs. In short, if a thug who had to travel across town or the country, were to stop for the night, you can bet that he (or she) would be instantly-recognized by looks alone when they entered the hotel or inn to get a room for the night. (In my case, not that I've ever emulated a thug, have always had to show my driver's license, Social Security card, or other means of identification first in order to be treated as a human).

Instant Respect - - pretty much the same definition as above, but with one variation. If, say, the motel clerk did not understand the tired, weary thug say, "need a room for the night," he might say, "pardon me?" All the thug had to do was look at the clerk with his evil dark, evil eyes. That's all it took. No more talk. The thug was given the best room in the place. (With my family and myself, we are always thankful just to get any room we are given and not say a word about the behemoth roaches playing poker at the little table used for our personal items in the room).

Perfect Service - - in cafe's or stores, it didn't matter. Thugs always got perfect service without having to open their mouth to ask for it. It was like magic to see a nervous store clerk literally run to the thug and "may I help you, sir?" spewing off their lips. Many times the thug would pay for the item or items and the store clerk or owner would "throw in" a few freebies to make the thug feel more at ease. (Nothing free for yours truly. In fact, most out-of-town merchants have shown indignity toward me if I just ask for help in finding the "men's underwear department).

Songs and Stories - - about "thugs of yesteryear," are available today in 2016 by simply doing a search on the internet or visiting your local library. (Can you make this statement about yourself? I can't).

No Talking Back - - by anyone. From a store or motel employee to a rank stranger. Thugs never had to worry about people talking back or down to them. At anytime. (I remember a low life in a pool (at a motel) where my family and I were staying making light of how we talked. If it were to do over, I would have told this jackass, "you can thank God Jehovah that I am not a thug, friend. Otherwise you would be laying out cold).

Most Females - - either loved these thugs openly, or secretly. This is a proven fact. For instance. A lonely, single school teacher heading toward being a spinster, would just look upon the frame of an Old West thug come slowly riding into town on his blcack horse (naturally), and then she could feel her own heart breaking as the thug slowly got off of his horse and scanned the street to see if anyone was wise to him. Now, the school teacher would go out of her way to just meet this thug, to get his name, and hopefully have him fall in love with her. (I was the one in my single days who had to "beg" girls to go out with me. One pretty girl, an R.N., from Red Bay, Alabama, (a real city. Do a Google search if you don't believe me), did go out with me only to speak to every guy she knew from her hometown and ignore the fact that she was riding with me. This relationship was short-lived, to say the least).

Thugs Were Gifted - - seemingly by a magic spell to be able to play and win at Poker, horse races, shooting contests. You name it. Winning came easy to thugs. Why? I cannot answer you. So I offer you this theory: God so loved all of us, even thugs, that He even gave the law-breaking thugs these gifts in order to survive. This includes being fast with a six-gun.

Bruce Dern is recognized as one of the most-recognizable "thug" actors of all-time.
Bruce Dern is recognized as one of the most-recognizable "thug" actors of all-time. | Source

Summary

To my thinking, not every thug was evil, vile or a smart aleck. Oh, they did steal to live and this was wrong, but when it came to not only helping a woman or child who needed help, they helped. All without needing a lot of fanfare.

This, I have to look at with a lot of respect.

I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of the teenage guys who I mentioned in this hub who admired thugs at a distance. But my parents, God rest their souls, did the best that they knew how to raise me the right way and have respect for myself, the law, and those around me.

But I can pin-point the sole reason "why" I loved to associate with thugs when out of my parents' jurisdiction. It was due to my parents keeping me in an overly-protective atmosphere, which is as bad as if they just turned me loose to do as I pleased.

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Comments 2 comments

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 8 months ago from Texas

Romanticized. That's the word I'd use to describe the "early" thugs and outlaws alike. I do enjoy your humor.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

April 12/11:12 p.m./cst

Hey, shanmarie,

How are things out there in Texas? I hope you are well.

Cudo's to you for summing-up this hub in one word: Romanticized. You said it Best. Thank you so very much.

This word did not enter my train of thought.

Write me anytime. Be safe.

Kenneth

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