Thursday, June 29, 2017

-The Quantitative Consequences of Fisticuffs in Your Fifties

There is a point in a young man's life where the acuteness of consequences for actions increases consistent with age and profession.
Almost every boy from the time they were walking until college age must have engaged in at least one physical combat away from the field of sport. Whether it was the school bully or the neighborhood jerk or even a sibling, our DNA is programmed to include this trait.
There are those that sought fights: we can call them punks or bullies.
There are the others that learned their lessons and quit fighting after their first severe beating or the disciplinary hand of mom or dad put a stop to it.
There are those that continued to be punks because their parents decided to be their friends rather than offer discipline; a common trait in turn-of-the 21st century liberal parents.
With all the hoopla in the media about Antifa and colleges being held hostage by spoiled children, there are several consequences to actions. These "punks" are adults and will be treated as such by law enforcement and other adults. Getting into a physical, violent altercation as an adult should be a rare occurrence. Once you have achieved "maturity" you should be expected to be mature. The NRA has come under fire from liberals for an advertisement that shows Antifa "protesting" (destruction of property, physical assaults, etc...). NRA and non-NRA people that just want to be left alone quickly defined that if you threaten my life, liberty or property, we will meet force with force.
Back to fighting:
Physical altercations as an adult usually result at a minimum in humiliation and at a maximum, hospitalization and arraignment.
As a young adult, an arrest record for acts of violence, assault, harassment, and terrorist threats will stay with you for your entire life or at least until you try to expunge your record. It will destroy your career before your career begins. This extends beyond your job.
I am instructed by by companies not to hire anyone with a criminal record or an arrest record for violence. NEXT. I am also asked to question a business contract where the contra-party to the contract may have such a record. I am instructed to document it and move on to the next contra-party.
Things are not cut-and-dried in all instances.
Recently, my wife was being harassed by a co-worker. Not in a sexual way, but enough to upset her and piss me off. Do I take a lunch break and meet this guy in the parking lot? No, I can't.  If I even threaten this guy I potentially lose my job and negatively impact  my home life. My wife understands this and doesn't expect me to go to extremes. It is frustrating that I cannot even call this guy to quell the threat. The wife has gone to HR, documented the infraction and received a less than luke-warm response. They assure her that this guy (a very immature 40-year-old)  will be put on notice.

The last time I got in a physical altercation outside of rough-housing with my brothers was 30-years ago. I received cracked ribs and bruises all over my body for making the mistake of trying to "break-up" a fight between people that I thought were my friends. Unfortunately, there was a crowd of people that wanted to see a fight and thought that I was a combatant. Lesson Learned. If you have no business on the battlefield as a combatant, leave the battlefield.

The only other time after that  was when one of my sister's was threatened with physical violence by some frat-boy at her western PA university.  The guy was 6'2" 240 lbs of beer gut. I was 5'8" and 170 lbs.  It was told to me by a friend that the guy took a swing at her after she tried to have the guy removed from her off-campus house. I drove to her campus for her graduation weekend with the intention of proving a point. Whether I would get my lights punched-out was factored-in. It was quite possible. My plan was to confront the guy during the pre-grad parties knowing that the majority of the faculty and student body would be in attendance. My sister's friend pointed out the guy after I explained I was going to get an apology out of him. I intercepted him at the makeshift bar. Plenty of faculty around. He, not knowing me, gave me deference to the bar access. I declined and asked him if he was "Marty". He said "yeah, who are you?". I got in his face (literally nose-to-nose), explained who I was and why I was there. Demanded an apology to my sister. He wanted none of it and started threatening me with the usual "I'll kick yer ass!' People broke it up right away but no shouting (except for him). We were separated and Marty was with his "bro's".  It was quite but for the murmer of  people asking who I was...
I used the opportunity to loudly and clearly state: "This guy Marty took a swing at my sister. He was not punished for it. I ain't going anywhere because I am right and he's wrong. He took a swing at a girl. Think about that. That's the kinda guy you call your friend? A guy that gets drunk and tries to punch girls will graduate tomorrow. You let it happen."
I spent the rest of the evening reminding people of who "Marty" truly is and why they are guilty. I directed this at Marty's friend's and professors. My sister never forgave me. Her friend's applauded my effort. I never saw "Marty" again. He probably got a brokerage job somewhere selling annuities to old ladies.

I avoid fights. I avoid people that look for fights. It's not rocket-science.
I'm 50 now. Still in good shape and permitted to carry a firearm. I don't need broken bones and I don't need to lose my job. Unfortunately, there are people in all walks of life that continue to look for trouble. There is a neighbor of mine, a doctor in his late 30's. I've never had a run-in with him but lately he starts giving me strange looks. The doctor likes to drink beer. Last week he had a few in him on the beach and decided to shoot his mouth off. I wasn't present, but he made some off color comments to my wife and others about me... enough to piss her off and give any bystander the impression that he is fixin' to make a stink with me. Why? Who knows? Again I don't even know this guy other than in passing!
What do I do? Clearly he has a lot to lose if he wants to fight. If I see him this weekend I'll demand an apology. If he's drunk and wants to make it physical, I'll remind him that - conveniently - he's a doctor. I won't fight, but I won't take no for an answer.
It's weird to think that a medical doctor with a burgeoning practice can turn into Mr. Hyde, but then again there are people that can handle their liquor and then there are those that are colossal assholes that require nothing more than a "buzz" to re-vert into adolescent behavior.  I'll give him a chance to save face, but I will not instigate.
Happy Independence Day.


Tom said...

I'm often amazed how much more willing I am to descend to violence for the sake of my women than I am for myself. Apparently I'm not alone in this behavior.

ikaika said...

True - If someone insults me, I have such a brilliant command of Marx Bros, Three Stooges, and Rodney Dangerfield quick comebacks that would probably be considered illegal in Canada.
The Doctor is not in however. I am not looking for trouble and I am not seeking this person. If our paths do cross I have a few Groucho-esque insults cued up for him.

Muzzlethemuz said...

I really enjoyed this post.

If I may impart from one man's experience... do not underestimate the art of the bluff or conversely, asserting "command presence," in a close encounter with the egocentric douche.

Both on the job and off, when I was sworn and presently, assume the aura of passive belligerence about your person. Commit to the use of force should the need arise and train for this possibility. Be mindful of the consequences of execution and parsimonious in application.

I managed countless contacts in my professional life where I was outnumbered or outgunned (metaphor for bicep diameter) but ran the contact by asserting psychological dominance over the contactee(s). Some of that was certainly due to being recognized as the authority figure on the stop but some of this was simply due to the imposition of my will over their oscillating douche-baggery.

Generally when the belligerent and/or bystanders detect that you are crazier than they are, real or perceived, it never has to go beyond a few sharp words and hurt feelings.

Happy 4th. God Bless America.