Some people have taken to the keyboard to send email asking how I get away with being somewhat confrontational and remain among the living. Still others want to try to get to the genesis of why I’m like I am.
Well, I’m not much for introspection (dark, dangerous place I’d have to assume). I do what I do, don’t go looking for trouble, recycle, scoop cat shit on a far too regular basis. Just a normal life. For me.
That said, I have always reacted in the moment. Not over reacted. Just the right push, tug, or truncheon. It’s likely a learned response from all the sports I’ve played. I’m definitely from the ‘do it and get stitched up later’ school of athletics.
I spent years training, for lack of a better term, to be mindless. A bundle of well polished reactions. Most of the time in life, and sports, you don’t know exactly what’s going to transpire from moment to moment. Sure, you know there will be some bumps and errors, but you don’t know if you’ll be the hero or the goat.
A defining moment was when a coach said he was glad I was a good athlete because, “Everyone around here’s an idiot and you’re no different.”
Okay, fine. Thinking’s out so let’s puts more emphasis on reaction. So that’s what I did. I didn’t jump to conclusions or fly off the handle. I waited. Got adept at counterpunching. I’d let someone make the first more then figure out how to beat them. A spider/fly thing, if you will.
I think the moment I proved that was the best tactic for me was when I saved my Mother’s life. There were other people on the stagecoach, but I only cared about saving my Mother.
And, yes, I said stagecoach.
I’m very old.
I was pre-ten and we went on a day trip to some wild West amusement park. Ride ’em, kid from the city who knew, without ever experiencing it, that horse shit was a bad thing.
I don’t know why, probably because it was there, we went to the gift shop right off the bat. Filled with cheap wild West trinkets manufactured in the far East.
This was back when parents would give you actual weapons to play with. A friend of mine got a bow and arrow and one day we were shredding a fence when one kid ran across the line of fire and got an arrow in the leg.
Leaving him there like he tried to commit suicide with a bow and arrow.
So, being in uncertain terrain, I had my Mother purchase a tomahawk. It had a rubber blade but it had heft. I found that out when I walked around the building and threw it against the side until some salescowpoke ran out to tell me to knock that shit off.
One of the adventures during this cavalcade of joy was a stagecoach ride through the wilds. A group of us sitting on the top of the stagecoach bumping and sliding over the road. The driver is telling us stories of the desperados that lurk within these woods.
I’m sure this would have bothered me more if it weren’t for the fact that, in case of trouble, I could jump down and head to the highway visible twenty yards through the trees.
We’re rounding the bend when, out of nowhere, a gaggle of evil doers accosted us guns ‘a blazing.
I look toward the highway.
Shit! One of them is there. And he’s pointing a gun at me. Fuck!
So I look at the adults. Surely one of the men will stand up. I look at a couple of guys. They’re smiling! What are these fucks smiling about? Have they ever heard of robbery? Rape? Horse shit!?!?!
I look at my Mother and, thankfully, she had the good sense to look scared. But I didn’t like my Mother looking scared. So I looked at her boyfriend. A big guy. A woodsy guy from the great state of Maine. And he’s sitting there! Last time I listen to any of your ‘we people from up in gawd’s country are tough’ bullshit stories.
It’s hitting critical mass. The guns are firing. The bad guys are demanding our stuff. One of the horses smells. A bad guy maneuvers his horse and is almost face to face with my Mother.
“Gi’me ‘ur loot, missy.”
Oh. No. He. Didn’t!
My Mother begins to lift her purse. I look at all the guys. Nothing. Useless fucking adults. What to do? What to do?
Look at the closest robber.
I look at the closest robber.
I thought you’d know.
I wind up with all my might and fire my tomahawk directly into the robbers face sending him sprawling into the dirt. I moved to the edge of the stagecoach to admire my handiwork.
The guy stumbled to his feet, grabbed his horse and jogged into the woods. The remaining desperados, now knowing who they were up against, rode off into the sunset.
I turn and, with an expectation of hero worship, look at my fellow passengers. Why are they looking at me as if I’m a goat? My Mother pulls me over and sits me on the bench.
“I chased the bad guys away.” I point out incase they were still too frightened to process my amazing bravery.
I looked at my Mother for a minute and figured she just didn’t want to make a public spectacle of her pride.
The stagecoach pulls into the town where the sheriff greets us. I don’t remember what he said (I never been one to like a big fuss being made over) but I do remember three things.
1) He gave me back my tomahawk.
2) From that moment on, whenever I’ve been to any tourist place, the gift shop has been at the end of the park.
3) My Mother took my tomahawk and I never saw it again.
So, as you can see, I’m a well trained counterpuncher. I’ll follow where the lead takes me before laying the hammer down. The only difference is instead of old weapons I now do it with ancient words.
I’m hoping that’s the answer because, if it’s not, I’m just one gigantic asshole.