At recess time someone would yell Noogie Circle and all the guys at Roosevelt Junior High School would arrange themselves into circle. After rolling up their sleeves the guys would rub the meaty part of their uppers arms and begin chiding and challenging each other, saying things like, I'm gonna get ya ta day, Tobiasson. You guys ready? I'm gonna cause some real pain. Come on you bunch a chicken sissies, I can't wait ta hurt ya. The Noogie Circle was one of the games played in 1949 Susanville, California designed to prepare young men to survive in a world where men were constantly comparing themselves with and pitted against other men. After things calmed a bit, the Noogie Circles recess ritual would begin. The guy who called firsts would ready himself. He would make a fist with the knuckle of the middle finger extended, and then turn to the guy on his left, and slowly measure for a sharp stinging blow to the soft fleshy part of the guys upper arm. After waiting a few seconds he'd strike. If he was willing to continue in the game, the guy who received the hit would then turn to the guy to his left and repeat the abusive action. And so it would go. One guy after ather dropping out as the pain became too much, until the circle consisted of but two guys who stood and exchanged blows until one of them would have to say uncle and quit. A few days later, (it took that long before anyone was willing to participate in a new game, ) a Noogie Circle would be called again. The arms of the winners from last time were still so sore from the pounding they took in winning always did very poorly. Life in Susanville, California in the early 1950s was one long series of Noogie Circles. The true story of a boys coming of age in a competitive, harsh time and town, of getting and loosing, of having and letting go.