Monday, August 23, 2004

Don't Make Me Hit You!

The Set-Up

Decades ago in Austin, Texas I was working at an outdoor fundraiser. Some friends of mine at The One Knite, the bar sometimes known as "The Joint That Won't Go Out", were throwing a fundraiser for themselves. Admittance was cheap and nobody objected to the boys throwing themselves a party as long as all were invited. I worked the ticket gate from noon until evening, then somebody sent a message for us to forget about the tickets and come listen to some of the bands.

When I got to the scene of the crime, having only experienced the show as a distant bam-bam thud-thud all day long, it was exceedingly noisy, confusing, and energizing. My head rattled, for the only pay for the day's volunteer duties had been free beer, and I was therefore as drunk as anybody else.

Out Of My Element Without A Paddle

Before long I was out of my element and trying to stop two drunks from fighting. The crowd was loony and they stopped me instead, just grabbed me and threw me aside. Someone sat on my chest and others held my arms down while yet others yelled that they wanted to see this fight! I decided, Fine, let 'em fight, and I nodded at the crowd. I wasn't even mad. I figured I'd wait until one of the bar-owners showed up and then I'd back him up, if possible. Then a girl I knew named Stuart came along and she must have known them for she got so mad that she tried to stop it, but the crowd grabbed her and tossed her out of the way. I got mad this time-I think because I was a sick-puppy secret-admirer of Stuart's and couldn't stand to see her mistreated.

Somebody knocked me down with a heavy shoulder-nudge, then someone sat on my chest. For the first time in more than a decade, I hit at least one person in the face with my left hand (I am left-handed). Then everything got complicated and I ineffectually smacked a bunch of somebodies with my right and left hand. That weight was back on my chest and a lot of people had hold of me. Someone argued that I was outnumbered, why didn't I hold still! At least part of the crowd was getting a little ashamed, I deduced. But I saw something then and I agreed with the crowd and they let me up. As the dust settled and I got to my feet, I told them they didn't have to keep an eye on me anymore.

Roger To The Rescue

"Look, Roger's got it under control now," I told them.

As they looked where I was pointing, they saw that Roger (known by many as Roger One-Knite), the most flamboyant and least cautious of the bar-owners, was striding through the crowd from the other side and people were rapidly moving aside for him. He was forcefully swinging his long black metal flashlight left and right and nobody thought of throwing him aside. Accustomed to ejecting people out of his bar and to outyelling everyone in the place, this was his kind of work. The crowd knew he wasn't fooling around or out of his water. Roger was the right man for the job, not me. I just wish he'd shown up a little earlier.

My Just Rewards

When I woke up the next morning, both hands ached miserably. With fingers numb, I almost couldn't get my pants hooked and zipped and buckled. You never know how much is involved until your hands feel like you're wearing boxing gloves. I ended up with an injured left fist that stayed sore for about six weeks. You can't do much without the use of your "good" hand. I haven't much wanted to hit anybody since then. If I did, I'd use a big black 3-cell Maglite, not my little sissy fists. I'd use a baseball bat or a hammer or I'd take off my boot and crown you. I would not use my puny fists, Sam-I-am!

Oh, one last thing-both hands had hurt so much at first that I didn't notice for a while that I'd broken the little finger of my right hand. By the time I did realize it, my hands didn't hurt, so I never did anything about it. To this day, you can tell which one was broken, for it's nowhere near as straight as the other one. Yeah, big street-brawler, that's me.

I had forgotten this small piece of my history until I mentioned some of it to Peter at "Changes In The Glass". I was just giving him a small example of how to make a big miscalculation. Since 2 or 3 of my readers don't read Peter's blog or comments, I "remembered" a little more detail for this account.

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