According to Mark, what is true about 'hits' in That Was Then, This Is Now?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mark says that "a hit don't have to be physical".  An insulting or obscene remark is every bit as malicious and damaging as a physical attack.

The conversation about "hits" comes up after an incident with another guy who is riding "a green outasite Corvette" on the Ribbon.  While the car that Mark, Bryon, and Cathy are riding in is stopped alongside the Corvette at a signal, the guy, for whatever reason, glances at them and "pop(s) off with a really obscene remark".  Mark responds by getting out of the car, going over, and "punch(ing) the foul-mouthed guy in the nose, literally smashing his nose in".  After the incident is over, Cathy expresses her displeasure at Mark's impulsive and violent behavior.  Mark defends himself to her, saying,

"They hit us first...a hit don't have to be physical.  I couldn't hit them the way they hit us without hitting you too".

Bryon and Mark both feel that the boy in the Corvette's remark had been not only an assault on them, but on Cathy as well.  Mark, being by nature more prone to quick action, retaliates for all of them, by punching the guy in the nose.  In Mark's thinking, if he had tried to get back at his adversary with an obscene retort, he would have been insulting Cathy too by subjecting her to his own foul language.  Out of respect to her, he decided that it would be better to go over and punch the guy; that way, he would have hit back without involving her (Chapter 6).