My friend Danny got into a fight the other day.
A drunk had been ragging on some other people repeatedly, being a genuine jerk, and when he finally used a derogatory word towards Danny, they ended up taking it outside. I wasn’t there, but saw cell-phone video shot by a mutual friend. It was less a fight than a shove-fest that only lasted a couple of minutes, and no one was seriously hurt, thankfully.
This was very unlike Danny, who is usually a pretty cool character, but the next time we saw him, that didn’t stop all of us from razzing him, joking about promoting his next fight, wondering whether he was done with drunks and moving onto meth addicts, etc.
Listening to all of it, I remembered a phone call I got on the air a couple of years ago. I don’t know how the subject came up, but I mentioned that I hadn’t been in a fist fight since I was eight years old — and at the time, it was less a fight than me being beat up again by the neighborhood bully.
A few minutes later, a listener called up and challenged me, saying he didn’t believe me, that it was impossible that I’d gone this long without being in a brawl. I could tell from his tone that he was the kind of guy who would easily get dragged into a fight, but I’m just not that kind of guy.
I’m more of a 100% poultry kind of guy. As an adult, I’ve never wanted to hit someone. More importantly, I’ve never wanted to be hit by someone.
I’m not going to fight you just because you bumped into me accidentally, or cut in line ahead of me, or called me a name. After 30+ years in the radio business, there’s absolutely nothing you can say about me that I haven’t heard at least once.
Moreover, unlike my phone-friend, I don’t frequent places where incidents like this are likely to happen. I stopped drinking 17 years ago, so I’m rarely in a bar. In fact, I’m unlikely to patronize any place where anyone gets particularly rowdy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll defend my wife and daughter against any physical threats, and I’ll happily engage in any kind of verbal sparring you like, but once temperatures start to rise and there’s a risk things could turn physical, I’m done. You win. Congratulations. I’ll be leaving now. Fight cancelled.
For me, rule number one of fight club is no fighting.