“How much can you know about yourself, if you’ve never been in a fight?” – Tyler Durden
“Please don’t hit me in the face.” -Steve Ryan
I got the shit beat out of me when I was 21.
I didn’t feel like more of a man afterward. I didn’t have an adrenaline rush.
I had bruises. I had shame. I had allergies…and a little bit of blood in my urine.
Before the brawl, I was a lot like Edward Norton in Fight Club. I was timid, quiet, couldn’t sleep, not confident…crazy.
Tyler found me after the fight. Tyler changed me. Tyler showed me the light.
Well…sort of. My Tyler Durden alter-ego was different, simply put:
My Tyler Durden was a huge pussy.
He didn’t turn into an anarchist driven soap-maker, who wanted to get back to primal roots through sabotage and masculinity. He turned into a guy who wanted to high-five people at bars, and sing karaoke. He wanted to make your acquaintance. My Tyler wanted to go candle shopping. He wanted to spend the day at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and get a ‘nice dinner; nothing fancy, but ya know…nice’ with his mother.
I knew this, because Tyler knew this.
My face was in pain. I took pictures afterward of the damage done, that way I would never forget what I got into that night. WARNING: It’s very graphic and not for weak stomachs. Click HERE.
I remember how the blood in my mouth tasted like copper and metal, and how, for the next few days, milk would escape the hole in my bottom lip when I ate cereal.
I’m serious. I got fucked up by these guys.
I also didn’t fight back. I ran.
I assessed the situation and came to three conclusions before making my decision to, in fact, run:
- I couldn’t fight.
- There were 3 of them.
- I couldn’t fight.
They were also coked out of their minds and had a much better pain threshold than I ever could withstand.
Do you charge the bear, or run?
Running away was the best strategy, and it went off beautifully.
It started at our apartment’s pool, where we were lounging in the hot tub. We left our beers next to a table by the clubhouse and sure enough, some early 20′s kids came and stole them.
We confronted them.
Then they came back…with four more dudes.
They had a small militia and by the time I even knew I was getting jumped, I felt my face hitting the concrete. It was nothing but a blur of feet and fists flying at me, and I huddled up as if my body were in a shell.
When a small moment came of them letting up, I jumped the 7 foot fence, and booked it for the clubhouse where there was some kind of reception going on.
I slapped the glass with blood-stained palms, screaming to be let in, and all they did was fucking stare at me.
Nobody let me in.
It was a horrible feeling to get your ass kicked. I still hate thinking about it. I was a pussy. It was a fact. I was such a beaten-up pussy you’d think I was dwelling in Courtney Love’s underwear.
I hated myself.
There’s a stigma attached to realizing that you can’t fight. It gets expressed in different ways, of course-
- I’m a lover, baby.
- I’m scared of what I’d do to that guy!
- It’s not worth going to jail over!
- He’d probably get really turned on during the fight, and I don’t want to bring out his suppressed, homo-erotic fantasies.
For some individuals, the knowledge and esteem collected from knowing that they can fight and cause pain, fills them with confidence. It’s the American way. It’s how you know you’re a man. It comes in handy for things like, hunting, protecting yourself and family, and..I don’t know, rape?
There is pride in violence.
I want to have some great, Ghandi-like pacifism to make myself feel better, to make me seem above it, but I don’t.
I think a nice balance of being a wordsmith, and a blacksmith would be humbling.
I just don’t have that though.
I will still keep my head down in public, avert eye-contact, and avoid confrontation.
I’m no Tyler Durden, in fact, as the years go on, I seem to be more like Bob, with heartier bitch tits, than glistening washboard abs.
I am Jack’s face, completely happy with still being somewhat pretty.
I have seen the transformation and decline of my vanity over the past 10 years with my body’s own genetics. I don’t need some asshole at a bar to help in rushing the process.
I don’t want to fight you.
I don’t want payback.
I don’t want pain.
I know this, because Tyler knows this.
Because if I come to find out the pen really isn’t mightier than the sword, I’d hope that a keyboard and domain name are at least some brass knuckles for the fight.