Make no mistake about it, I never enjoy getting hit. I am not one of those guys who wishes that I could be an MMA fighter. I don’t need to prove my masculinity by stepping inside the ring to see who is the last man standing.
That is not because I am a pacifist or have any moral issues with hurting another human being. I don’t. Never have. Don”t go out of my way looking for trouble but if it finds me I am not always good about turning away.
I should be. It would be the smarter move to walk away. It would have saved me a lot of trouble but I am not that guy. I don’t play consciously think about it. I just do it and when I do it is without concern for consequences.
Last Saturday night I went out for a drink. Didn’t have a particular destination in mind or a need to be with friends. I just wanted to have a beer and watch whatever ballgame might be on the television.
It wasn’t a night for small talk nor was I an angry or upset. I just felt like being among people but not with people.
I chose local college bar. It fit the bill of what I wanted and was close enough to my place to not worry about how to get their and back. All I needed were my own two feet. That suited me just fine. Human powered transportation. Environmentally friendly, reliable, steady and safe, mostly.
Most nights it would have gone down exactly as I expected it to. I would have walked over, ordered my beer and burger and eaten my meal in quiet. This time I pulled the Joker out of the deck.
And I knew it.
Hadn’t been there more than five minutes when one of the kids bumped into me and gave me a glassy eyed stare that told me he was too drunk to recognize that there are some people you just don’t mess with.
I didn’t say excuse me. He had bumped into me and frankly I wasn’t in the mood to kiss his twenty-something ass. I saw his two buddies and the girls they were speaking to. I knew that he was going to act like an asshole. I knew that an apology would have defused the entire situation, but when trouble comes looking for me I don’t flinch.
So when he called me an asshole I punched him in the face and watched him crumble. If this would have been a movie I would have been worried about his little friends who most certainly would have joined in, but it wasn’t and they didn’t.
I finished my beer and I walked out of the place. Not because I was asked to leave or was afraid of getting arrested but because the little prick soured me on the place.
Two blocks south of the joint a man stepped out from between two cars and pointed a gun at my head. He didn’t look like the speed freaks you sometimes see roaming around the edges of society. Didn’t look like any of the junkies I have seen at all. His eyes were clear and his hands were steady.
“Give me your wallet.”
His voice was flat and there was no intonation in it.
“I don’t have a wallet.”
For a moment there was a flicker of something in his eyes and then it was gone. He walked up to me, put the gun against my head and repeated “Give me your wallet.”
Make a note, don’t ever point a gun at me unless you intend to use it. I don’t take kindly to it and I don’t appreciate being threatened. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of being crippled by some jerk off who can’t shoot straight.
And when I get scared I tend to get angry.
So I reached up and wrapped my hand around his wrist and pulled the gun away from my head. When he didn’t shoot I realized what had just happened and I really got angry. One quick twist and a small step to my left and that gun wasn’t in his hand anymore.
Smarter men would have taken the gun and run away. Smarter men would have gotten out of there, but I proved not to be that smart.
Instead of running I took the butt of the gun and hit the guy in the head with it twice. “Don’t ever put a gun against my head unless you are going to pull the trigger. I hope that hurts motherfucker.”
And then I dropped the gun next to where he lay in the street and resumed walking home. Probably would have gotten there without incident, but he shot me. Clipped me on the Â left side and put me on my ass.
Maybe I should taken the gun with me or fixed things so that he couldn’t use his hands, but I didn’t. Remember when I said that I pulled the Joker from the deck that night, well I think getting shot qualifies as one hell of a reminder.
I don’t know what happened to the guy who shot me. Can’t tell you if he felt vindicated by popping me from behind or if he got scared about what happened. What I’d like to tell you is that I jumped up, pulled his right arm off of his body and beat him to death with it.
It would have made me feel better and probably made for a better story but that is not how things went down. When I got clipped I went down and then stayed down, primarily because my head smacked into a light pole and then for good measure cracked the curb.
Probably knocked me out for a moment or two, maybe three or four, I really don’t know. When I first came to I was mildly disoriented which is my fragile egos way of saying I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing on the ground. That sort of thing hasn’t happened very often to me.
Nature gave me a hard head…literally. Three different men have had the good fortune to have broken their fists upon my skull. That isÂ not really a badge of honor but I suppose if you have to get hit it is something to be proud about, sort of. I remember telling my grandfather about it once and he suggested I learn how to duck or step to the side.
He said it with love but the look in his eyes made it clear it wasn’t a joke. Frankly I didn’t take it that way either, I don’t particularly enjoy getting hit, not even when I can say I came out better than the other guy.
Eventually I realized I had left the land of the vertical for a spot kissing the concrete and I decided it would be better to stand up. As I pulled myself up I saw a pair of black boots approaching rapidly and that made me nervous.
It never occurred to me to figure out who those boots belonged before I tried to help their owner embrace the concrete the way I had been doing. It would have saved me a lot of trouble but you know which card I pulled that evening so instead of things going easy they went hard.
Cops don’t like being touched by people they don’t know and they don’t react kindly to seeing their partner get taken down.
Later on in the courtroom my attorney would argue that I shouldn’t be held accountable for the overly aggressive actions of a rookie cop. He’d argue that I had just been shot and was in survival mode and the judge would offer some leniency for that, but that didn’t change the beat down those guys gave me.
By the time I got to the hospital I couldn’t see the silver bracelets I was wearing or the men who gave them to me. Maybe if I had been luckier I would have passed out, but I didn’t so I have a full memory of the festivities from that evening.
I have got to tell you, it is no fun getting arrested.