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Context

This heat is talked by Richard Vernon, play by Paul Gleason, in the film The Breakfast Club, directed by John Hughes (1985).

You are watching: Don’t mess with the bull young man

Mr. Vernon is the assistant principal at Shermer High School, and also that method he it s okay the honor of looking after the delinquents in Saturday detention. Walk he desire to be over there babysitting a bunch that bratty teenagers? Nope—but some low-ranking administrator has to, right?

When Mr. Vernon strolls right into the library in ~ 7:06AM and also addresses the five kids sitting there, he lays down the rule pretty quickly. No talking. No moving. No sleeping—especially you, Bender. The high college students are additionally supposed to write a one thousand-word essay that answers the eternal question—"Who am I?" (like Mr. Vernon cares).

The only member of the small detention crew who concerns Mr. Vernon is john Bender, who instantly insults the vice principal by asking if the raided Barry Manilow"s wardrobe. (Hey, we think Barry Manilow actually dresses type of cool.) Mr. Vernon responds by offering Bender an additional detention next Saturday and then lays this tiny bit of wisdom top top him: "Don"t mess v the bull, young man. You"ll get the horns."

Oh man—could Mr. Vernon be any an ext of a pompous jerk in this scene? Sure, Bender backtalks him a little, however the male basically walks right into this room, talks down to these kids, and also flaunts what tiny power he has. He doesn"t care around them at all. In fact, he wants to make certain their day is yes, really miserable. Mr. Vernon can think he"s a powerful and danger bull, but Bender isn"t afraid to hit him under a couple of pegs—even if it method two months" precious of detentions. Wow.

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Where you"ve heard it

"Mess v a bull, you get the horns," is actually a relatively popular little idiom. It makes sense because, basically, you"re simply saying the if you shot to tangle v a dangerous animal, you can end up acquiring gored a little. Hey, that never stopped any of those guys in Pamplona, currently did it?

Additional significant References

In the Veronica Mars movie, a fresh brand-new Neptune cop is about to spit this line to Veronica and also her father, however Veronica cuts him off: "You mess v the bull—" "You obtain the clichés?" nice one, Veronica.

Pretentious Factor

If you to be to fall this quote in ~ a dinner party, would certainly you get an in-unison "awww" or would everyone roll their eyes and never invite friend back? right here it is, ~ above a scale of 1-10.

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Using this quote as a severe threat is gonna make you watch pretty showy and ridiculous. You"re not a bull. You"re an assistant vice major (at best). So let"s take it it down a few notches, okay?