This is a really long story, so I’ll divide it up into parts for easier reading. As always, true story.
Let’s talk a bit about peer pressure. I’ll start it off with a bad example of handling peer pressure; featuring yours truly, and I’ll follow it up with a good example, featuring my daughter.
Here’s a little more background on me for you. Most of my teenage life, I was a lightweight. In fact, even when I joined the Air Force, I was 5 ’10”-ish and I weighed in at a WHOPPING 128 pounds…sopping wet and WITH boots on. Suffice it to say, that I never really injected much fear into anybody’s heart when they saw me coming. So, for that reason, the guys that were bigger than me, which to me, seemed like 99% of the population, chose to test my resolve… fiercely and often. Honestly though, I don’t know if it was because of my lack of size or my over abundance of “smart mouthedness. Okay, so it was probably more about the mouth than anything but it didn’t really matter though, ‘cause either way, the results were typically the same. When presented with the inevitability of a brouhaha, my fight or flight instinct kicked in at full force…and for the most part, a few of factors would always determine which one prevailed. Here they are (in no specific order).
1) Whether or not there were girls there….(DUMMY!)
2) Whether or not I could ease off into the sunset without being seen.
3) Could I take him?
4) Did I have enough backup in case I couldn’t? (see rule 3)
5) Would I be willing to fight the guy AGAIN when he would come after me in a week or so when he caught me somewhere by myself?
Those were my standard rules of engagement. (Don’t laugh fellas, cause if you think about it….those were pretty much your rules too.)
I can remember one night in particular. When I was about sixteen or seventeen I was dating a girl that had a twin sister. Her twin would prove to be an evil twin. Trust me. You’ll see.
On this night, I went out with my best friend and his girlfriend of the week at that time. We were just walking into a night club. Now if you’re from the city, you probably have a more glamorous idea of what I mean by “nightclub” than what a nightclub is where I’m from. In fact, they weren’t even night clubs exactly, they were just reconditioned houses and barns and stuff with a DJ. To put it in perspective, I even remember buying “chicken sandwiches” that were actually just fried chicken pieces; wings, thighs, legs and such, nestled in the middle of a folded piece of “light bread” (white bread); with a couple of dashes of hot sauce for added flavor. That was pretty much the fine cuisine of the places we frequented. Aahhhhh….the memories.
Anyway, the year was somewhere in the ‘87/’88 time frame. This night, we found ourselves going into a place called The Hayloft, and yep, you guessed it, it was an old reconditioned barn, but it didn’t SMELL like one, so, for us, it was like being in a HOT nightspot in L.A. or something. Besides, the strings of Christmas lights (it was June) hanging around the place gave it a particular “ambiance” for kids like us. It was smack dab in the middle of NOWHERE and NOTHING; surrounded by big empty fields. So if we didn’t have the money to get in…doggone it, we could just hang out in the parking lot and tell everybody that we didn’t WANT to go in….(That’s called “ballin’ on a budget”). However, that night, we had a few dollars, so we paid our money and went in.
At that time, there were a BUNCH of really wild dances that were popular, but I can’t remember many of the names of them. If you can remember the hot ones from the late ‘80’s that required a lot of flailing of the arms and such, that’s what we were probably doing. So, when I felt a hand it me hard across the right side of the face, I thought it was just a MC Hammer dance move gone horribly, horribly awry. I didn’t think much of it. After I took a couple of steps to the left to see where it had come from, and that’s when the truth became obvious, and I had some decisions to make.
There was a guy, in the middle of the dance floor, screaming LOUD at me. At least he LOOKED like he was screaming. It was hard to hear what he was saying over the music, so I could just see his mouth opening and closing. I remember for a split second laughing to myself thinking, “Wow, that dude looks like a fish trying to catch his breath.” It would’ve been comical…if he hadn’t been clearing a big circle on the dance floor, and daring me to come at him. At that point, there was no question about his intent in my mind anymore. It wasn’t a misplaced MC Hammer arm flail; he had intentionally “smooshed” my face. (Definition–Smoosh: 1) verb; to place the palm of one’s hand to the side of another’s face and apply force in a pushing motion” 2)noun: Not quite slapping; primarily meant to embarrass. )
I didn’t recognize him, so just then, I had no reason to believe that his beef with me was all THAT serious. Besides, when I did the math in my head, it looked like he might’ve only had me by about 5 or so pounds, so I thought I could take him. (Rule 3…CHECK!) It was a risk, but a calculated one. So I turned to go at him. I couldn’t lose cool points while girls were there. (Darn rule 1! Did I mention that I would ALWAYS do stupid stuff if girls were involved?) It was on!
I spun around to go straight at him, when a big hand grabbed me by my right elbow and spun me around. It was one of the few other friends that we had in the place that night; all 6 foot something and 200 plus pounds of him. He shook his head from side to side and started pulling me towards the front door. (Rule 4…..failed.) I knew things couldn’t be good and wouldn’t be getting any better from that moment on. I mean, I had all the clues. It started with the DJ scratching the record to a halt with a loud SKRITTTTTT, starting to pack up his crates which allowed ME to start hearing stuff. “Fish guy” intended to do me some serious bodily harm….all 128 pounds of me. DANG! What made matters worse though, was that apparently, he wasn’t alone. He had a LOT of his friends there and they didn’t like us…rather, for the MOST part, they didn’t like CHRIS. I was just hated by association. Remember when I mentioned that Chris’ latest girlfriend was his “girlfriend of the week? Well, before her, quite a few of those guys’ girlfriends had been various girls of various weeks for Chris and none of their boyfriends had very many pleasantries to exchange with us as a result. (Rule 4 DOUBLE failed…..darn CHRIS!)
So, we head outside, and that is when it REALLY starts to get interesting. They pretty much shut the club down because of the upcoming fight, and remember, we are in the COUNTRY; nothing but big open fields. Security was nonexistent to say the least. I really have a hard time remember names, but I remember the security that night (as most nights) was the owner of the club; some really big old fat man that looked like he had eaten one, or one hundred, too many of those fried chicken on white bread sandwiches, so I couldn’t look for him to bail me out of this mess.
(TO BE CONTINUED)…..Dunt…dunt…dunnnnnnnnn