“laws of physics clearly state than an object that was just pushed will push back”
Narrator: Well, what do you want me to do? You just want me to hit you?
Tyler Durden: C’mon, do me this one favor.
Tyler: Why? I don’t know why; I don’t know. Never been in a fight. You?
Narrator: No, but that’s a good thing.
Tyler: No, it is not. How much can you know about yourself, you’ve never been in a fight? I don’t wanna die without any scars. So come on; hit me before I lose my nerve.
Narrator: This is crazy.
Tyler: So go crazy. Let ‘er rip.
Narrator: I don’t know about this.
Tyler: I don’t either. Who gives a shit? No one’s watching. What do you care?
Narrator: Whoa, wait, this is crazy. You want me to hit you?
Tyler: That’s right.
Narrator: What, like in the face?
Tyler: Surprise me.
Narrator: This is so fucking stupid…
Narrator swings, connects against Tyler’s head
Tyler: Motherfucker! You hit me in the ear!
Narrator: Well, Jesus, I’m sorry.
Tyler: Ow, Christ… why the ear, man?
Narrator: Guess I fucked it up…
Tyler: No, that was perfect!
“Fight Club”; Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
Weed: A Great Substitute For A Mike-Style Father.
It’s always the dudes who think a fight is scripted: 1. Say something witty; 2. Listen to the other dudes witticism; 3. Throw punch; 4. Take a break; 5. Evade punch from dude; 6. Role d8 to determine damage… who end up getting their ass kicked.
There was this great instructional video a few years ago of how fights are conducted in this reality… it wasn’t really an instructional video, it was something caught in the corner of a home movie of a high school pool party. The person with the camera was too far away to catch the sound, but from the body language it started like this:
Dude One: “What did you just say?”
Dude Two: “What?”
DO: “Just now, man. When you walked past, what’d you say?”
DT: “About what?”
DO: “You said, ‘Smells like someone’s tokin’ some reefer.'”
DT: “No, I meant somewhere I smell some pot, you know? It was just an observation.”
DO: “Oh, an observation, huh? Well who the hell are you, man? Isaac fucking Newton?”
At which point DO, or “Clint”, does a lean in and DT — lets call him “Mike” — quickly retreats with his friends. “Mike” then spends time using this ultimate humiliation, coupled with the encouragement from his friends and all of his fighting experience taken away from a White Wolf role-playing game to gird his loins. He then returns to where “Clint” and his friends are standing, and punches “Clint” in the face. As “Mike” tries to explain himself and waits for the dice to be rolled to decide the damage inflicted by his mighty blow, “Clint” has punched him four times in the face. “Mike”, a look of disbelief and confusion on his face, falls backwards and crushes a shrub. “Clint”, now with a knee on “Mike’s” chest, punches “Mike” another four times to the head before “Clint’s” friends pull him off. In ten seconds “Clint” has taught “Mike” a valuable lesson because “Clint” is nothing if not a giver. Then the videotape ended.
I’ve been in a few fights… but not many. Frankly, I haven’t even seen that many fights… comparatively. But I know it’s not about size, and it’s definitely not about boxing. It’s about committing to the certainty that getting hurt is a risk worth taking. I also know everything my grandfather taught me about fighting was either a practical joke or he was stoned and reliving a Marx Brothers movie. No shit, he told me to stand on the other Dude’s foot and, while he was trapped, to make sure I punched him with the knuckle of my middle finger slightly raised from my fist.
Most of the fights I’ve seen usually started and ended in the same breath, and were based on an alcoholic misunderstanding or boredom. I have seen a few serious beatings — there is a difference between a fight and a beating — but I’ve never taken part in one.
The fights I’ve been a participant in are not things I like to talk about. Although I have no problem saying my grandfather’s technique does not work, anywhere. I’ve never been seriously hurt… but the time I had a large steel belt buckle bashed against the side of my head was an experience.
This is what I know about fighting: getting punched in the face hurts less than not knowing what it feels like to be punched in the face and then having a “Clint” beat you into Stupid Land. There is a lot of Truth in the movie “Fight Club”, most of the stuff about being raised in a fatherless world, for example. But also about growing up and never knowing what it’s like to get hit by someone angry enough to do it… and ‘not knowing’ is really what breeds fear, and it also encourages people to become tormentors. It isn’t the “Clint’s” of the world who wreak the most havoc, it’s the “Mike’s” who never learn the lesson. Or learn from the lesson.
It’s not the size of the person you have to watch out for, it’s how likely it is they’re so afraid of being punched that they left the house with a paring knife in their jacket pocket. And I’m talking about one-on-one stuff, if you’ve got a dude swinging a bat at you, run as fast as you can. And try to never get involved in some kind of ‘The Outsiders’, ‘Platoon’ or ‘Boyz n the Hood’ shit unless you’re armed.
My own father never taught me shit about shit, but from what I’ve learned over the years I firmly believe he is as clueless a “Mike” as there ever was. On one of the occasions I interviewed him a few years ago he was pretty proud of having had “bodyguards” through the ages. The fact he perceived the need to have one is pretty telling in itself, but in the transcripts he seemed very proud of having “others” fight for him.
When I was a kid… well, eighteen, we played this game called “Punch For Punch” almost every weekend after getting baked on weed. Basically you punch me in the chest or shoulder as hard as you can, then I do it back to you, until someone has had enough. It wasn’t about flinching, it was about repetition… it was about six or eight fatherless sons teaching ourselves how to put our weight into a punch, and how to twist your arm a little to drive your knuckles into the other person’s body.
How fucked is it that eight stoners taught me more about how to stand up for myself than my father and grandfather ever did… just as an aside, “Clint” and “Mike” are characters in “Dazed And Confused”.
Clint & Mike In “Dazed And Confused” (1993)
This movie is my life from 1988 to 1992… at least the parts about weed.
And not including Milla Jovanovich. Although Melanie came really close.
…since november fourteenth, 2006.
“You burn things when there’s no going back. How much of
yourself have you had to burn away to be
the person you are today? Because baby, my body
is ash and my mind is still smoking.”