I've often seen high school bullies in TV and movies scheduling and upcoming fight. This might involve the bully saying something like "3pm on Friday, YOU'RE DEAD" or similar. I always thought this was very odd, but yet I've seen it in multiple shows.

What is the origin of this trope? Does it have any relation to real-life events?

  • Does it have any relation to real-life events, yes. that's one way of people threatening someone. it's basically a scare tactic. it doesn't need to actually make it as said.. simply just pre-fight trash talking
    – Vishwa
    Oct 6 '20 at 5:03

Yes, it is very much a real thing. Fighting during school hours would be difficult. Not only do you have staff and faculty around. The kids don’t have the same schedules. Especially in high school. Their schedules are spread out over multiple lunch periods and multiple classes. The only time you can guarantee for two people to be free of supervision and free to congregate without interference would be entering and exiting school. Before and after school. The only other time two student with different academic standings, different grade levels, different social groups, and different interests would be together would be during sporting events and class assemblies.

  • Logistically it makes sense! So is this a phrase that has been uttered in real life? "Let's fight at 3:45" (or similar?)
    – Behacad
    Oct 6 '20 at 2:27
  • @Behacad - “Let’s fight at 3:45?”, probably has never been said. That is way too polite and a weak statement at a time when intimidation plays a strong role. It would be more like, “I’m going to kick your butt at 3:45! You better be there or it will be worse tomorrow!”
    – Dean F.
    Oct 6 '20 at 2:36
  • 1
    @Behacad Yes, it has definitely been said in real life. I remember some bullies in school saying it to me. (More along the lines of the "3:00pm you're dead!" line you used in the question.) I didn't show up of course, because I was a scrawny nerd and knew I would lose, so I left through a back door and went home, but I still heard it. 90% of the time the bully had either cooled off or moved on to a new target by the time I came to school the next day, so usually nothing came of it.
    – Steve-O
    Oct 6 '20 at 13:59
  • @Steve-O - Sorry about your experience. My comment was specifically directed at the passive questioning statement of “Let’s fight at 3:45?”. Making a directive or demanding assumptive statement such as "3:00pm you're dead!" is more likely of a real bully or someone who really wants to fight. The former is a request giving the option of fighting to the one to whom they are speaking. The latter is a threat that should probably be taken seriously. Whether the recipient of the threat wants to fight or not.
    – Dean F.
    Oct 6 '20 at 16:14
  • I went to a reasonably 'up-market' grammar school in the 70s. The closest to a coherent threat you would ever actually hear would be "Four o'clock. Bike sheds." That said it all.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 7 '20 at 19:16

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