August 24, 2002

"Put up your dukes" c.

"Put up your dukes" c. Ryan Rhodes, Feb. 8, 2001

I'm not a very confrontational person. If a situation develops into something that may turn into a fight, I'm the first person who usually wets his pants and starts crying like an infant. This may not be the most masculine approach to fighting, but I can often run away when my opponent looks away from me in disgust.

Okay, I don't really wet my pants. . . much, but I do utilize everything in my vast repertoire of cowardly tactics to avoid getting my face punched. Unfortunately, my tendency to visit drinking establishments during weekends occasionally conflicts with my desire to avoid altercations. Eventually, I'll meet someone who is just itching to throw a punch at me.

I really don't understand what it is about me that flips the violent switch in some people, although I suspect they're enraged about being in the presence of someone so much greater than themselves. Overall, however, I think some people are just incurable jerks.

When someone decides they want to harm me, they really don't put much thought into explaining why they want to harm me. I remember one fairly inebriated gentleman who simply sauntered up, looked me in the eye. . . almost, and slurred "I don't like you." Now, I think I'm a very likable guy, and I always wear deodorant so as not to offend people, so this argument just didn't make sense to me. Still, his intent was very clear. In the face of an inevitable challenge, I mustered the most masculine aura I could, and I deftly talked my way out of it.

I explained that I was sorry that I offended him, I offered to buy him a beer, and I more or less praised him to the skies until, thankfully, a bouncer escorted him to the exit. I then drank the beer I bought for him. It was a great almost-fight. Despite my cowardly brilliance, I'm not always able to weasel my way out of a fight.

There were two incidents, both in college, where I was unable to use my English skills to talk my way out of a beating. Both incidents resulted because I mistakenly began talking to females who, according to their boyfriends, "were taken." For all you cowards reading this column, I should warn you that female-related fights are almost impossible to talk your way out of. You've dug your own grave, and it requires a weasel rating of at least a nine on a ten point scale to dig your way out. In other words, prepare to "put up your dukes."

My first fight really didn't last that long. I felt a tap on my shoulder, turned away from the female vision in front of me, and promptly saw a fist in my gut that wasn't there before. I never actually saw the guy who did the deed, although some bystanders told me that he was quite large and very mad. The only consolation I brought away from the whole experience was that I puked on his shoes on my way to the ground. After roughly 10 minutes of laying in a puddle of stale beer, I scraped up what little dignity I had, and made my way to the door. It was not a great fight.

My other fight took place outside of a bar appropriately named "Bulls-Eye." It was nearly closing time, and I had been inside enjoying a pleasant conversation with a young woman who insisted on saying every five minutes that "my boyfriend would kill you if he saw me talking to you." But, since her boyfriend was nowhere to be seen, I felt pretty safe, and just a bit cocky. Unfortunately, her boyfriend was nowhere to be seen because he was standing outside waiting for me to come out. Even more unfortunately, all my friends were at a bar about a block-and-a-half down.

As I stepped outside into the crisp winter air, I heard a voice to the right of me say, "I'm going to kick your 'buttocks'" (with buttocks being substituted with a familiar expletive). I was again forced to "put up my dukes."

I always have to laugh when I see fight scenes in movies, where one guy punches, the other guy's head snaps back, then he throws a punch, and the other guy's head snaps back, and so on. Yeah, right!!

In a split second, I was blindsided by a grazing punch that landed on my right cheek and sent me staggering to my left. I turned to face my opponent, who had, by that time, planted a fist squarely in my gut. Just a note, I speak from experience when I say that gut punches really, really, really hurt. By this time, I was at a severe disadvantage, but I managed to fight off nausea long enough to barrel ahead and tackle the jerk in front of me.

We rolled around in a violent hug for several seconds before I managed to call on my wrestling experience and place him on his back, where I quickly punched him three times in the gut, jumped up, and ran for my life. After running about five blocks, I ducked into an alley and threw up for about four minutes before walking the rest of the way home. It was not a great fight.

Putting my illustrious fighting career into perspective, it's no wonder why I choose to try and talk my way out of trouble. If given a choice between cowardice or a cut cheek,
raging gut pain, and vomiting, I'll take cowardice any day.

Posted by Ryan at August 24, 2002 08:08 PM
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