I was recently at a bar with some friends, and this guy, for no reason at all, tried to pick a fight with me. When I passed him on my way to the bathroom, he said "Hi, faggot." I thought he must be kidding, because I'm not gay. So I ignored him. But when I came back out he was still there. This time he said "Hey, faggot, did you make tinkle?" I'm not the violent type, so I just told him to keep his remarks to himself. But that just riled him up all the more. He poked at me with his pool cue and said, in a baby voice, "What's the matter, are we gonna cry?" I just kept walking.
This event has been bothering me ever since it happened. Some part of me feels like a coward, even though I didn't exactly back down. Another part of me wonders what I would have done if the guy had taken a swing. I've never learned how to box or anything, so I probably would have tried to kick him in the nuts or something. But is that really the best way to quickly immobilize an opponent? How do you win a fight you didn't start?
Laid-Back Dude: As even battle-scarred bruisers will tell you, the best way to win a fight is to avoid the fight in the first place. Otherwise, somebody's going to get hurt and somebody's probably going to land in jail. Not only that, but one of you is liable to land in that great boxing ring in the sky, because fistfights tend to end in gunfights these days. So why would anybody in his right mind want to engage in one? Well, because not everybody's in his right mind. Just because you're not looking for trouble doesn't mean trouble isn't looking for you. The question is how to respond in such situations. And that's why I've formed a nationwide organization of laid-back dudes called Flight Club.
The first rule of Flight Club is, you do not talk about Flight Club. The second rule of Flight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Flight Club. The third rule of Flight Club is, okay, go ahead and talk about it, anything to avoid a fight. The fourth, and most important, rule of Flight Club is, do WHATEVER it takes to avoid a fight. Walk away if possible, run if you have to, but get the hell out of there. If he comes after you, run faster. If he catches up with you, lie down and curl up like a ball. If he starts kicking you, mention that you have hemophilia. If he keeps on kicking you, add that you also have AIDS. And if that doesn't do the trick, fake an epileptic seizure.
With any luck at all, this will give him pause. And you should take advantage of that pause to get back up on your feet. If he then moves toward you, wait until he's pretty close and then stick out both hands as if to say "Enough is enough." He will probably hesitate for a second, and that's when you should do one of the following: 1) Kick him in the nuts, 2) punch him in the stomach, 3) poke him in the eye, 4) jab him in the throat, or - and this is the one I wish you'd do, but you're only human - 5) turn and run. The jab in the throat will shut him up for good. The poke in the eye will blind him, if not worse. The punch in the stomach will take his breath away. The kick in the nuts will...well, you know what a kick in the nuts will do.
But if you turn and run away, you'll be displaying the kind of courage true heroes are made of, the courage to be a coward. He may not understand this, course. His loss. Your win.
If your idea of a fistfight is Rock, Paper, Scissors, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR EMAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.