[Originally published April 8, 2005.]

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Your average 12-year-old boy is about 5 feet tall, weighs in the area of a buck-fifteen, and has developed little muscle mass.

I am 21, approximately 6 feet tall, tip the scales at an even 180, and have a moderately athletic and muscular build.

Judging on these statistics and what I assume would be a natural ferocity that would spring forth in a moment of physical danger, I estimate that I could beat up seven 12-year-olds before they overtook me. Of course, these would have to be the aforementioned average-sized 12-year-olds. Future linebackers, NBA players, and all Scandinavian children would throw off this equation. On the flip side, if these were some wimpy, four-square-playing, future-jockey 12-year-olds, I imagine the number would skyrocket to anywhere between 12 and 15. It’s simple exponential math.

This is also assuming that my opponents are smart enough to organize themselves into a circular attack instead of coming at me one by one. If it were an individual, king-of-the-mountain battle royale, I could endlessly pummel 12-year-olds without mercy. But we’re assuming at least a sixth-grade education in a marginal public school as well as some exposure to kung-fu movies, so these kids would form a circle.

However, using my quick wits, I would charge one portion of the circle, landing a devastating blow on the unlucky individual, which would make the others proceed with hesitancy. One on one, I feel like I could deliver a lot of punishment to a 12-year-old. There would be one or two brave ones who would jump on my back, distracting me and thus enabling the others to attack. At best, I could fight off the two heroes on my back and maybe take out four on the ground before I was felled by fatigue and numerous kicks to my groin and shins. This would equal a grand total of seven.

My friend Brian, who stands about 6 feet 2 inches and is stronger than myself, estimates that he could take down a dozen 12-year-olds. I find this hard to believe, but he has been in a fight with people his own age and is a little taller, making groin shots more difficult. Brian’s reach is much longer than mine as well, which is a huge advantage. If you can land solid shots from a distance longer than the 12-year-olds’ legs, there is no need to worry about groin kicks.

He says he would attack one portion of the circle in a fury, scaring off any would-be heroes who wanted to jump on his back and sacrifice themselves for the group. Then he would deal massive blows until fatigue and the inevitable groin shots brought him to the ground. I told him I’d give him nine or ten, but even for the above-average Brian, taking down a dozen 12-year-olds seems like a lot.

If it weren’t for the law and my own morals, we could put these pressing questions to rest. Alas, these barriers still stand in our way.

I’m a pacifist anyway.