Thursday, May 25, 2017
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Chapter 2

C H A P T E R   T W O ::

I  N   T H I S   C O R N E R


Fightey-Town, noun. Def.: A violent place in either an actual physical location or simply a violent headspace. EXAMPLE "If you keep pushing my buttons, we are going to take the train to Fightey- Town together.” OR "Even now, when I see Bush on TV my stomach roils and my attitude goes straight to Fightey-Town." OR "At first blush, it looked like a tranquil 1970s Chicagoland bedroom community...but the large population of Irish made it a dangerous Fightey-Town for the children who lived there."


First of all, what kind of a-hole would write a book about all of his stupid fistfights? Good question. The short answer is: This a-hole. I have been paid [a little] to write about a lot of things, mainly humor, but I GOT TO thinking that the fights, while certainly one of the most asinine topics ever, make fairly interesting stories.  Well, at least I have repeated them verbally ad nauseum, as any of my friends will tell you. Plus, I remember them all very clearly. Plus, they say a lot about me...good and bad...maybe even about our world in general, but probably not. Hey, at least this tale is going to be ACTION! PACKED!


I have had about 40 fistfights or more. That’s about the same amount as a family of Oakie white supremacist crank dealers. And I don't look like a fighter. Sometimes I look like one of those 40- year-old cologne commercial guys stepping off of a yacht. You know, chiseled features, ascot riffling in the breeze: a gray fox with too much to lose to fight. Ha! Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am a semi-starving artist/ carpenter without a bank account who just happens to LOOK pretty good because I stay in shape...for my next fight! I kid. I play a lot of sports where I live in sunny Los Angeles and I am a good carpenter with a surviving small business and an aspiring...well, still everything. One of my friend’s ongoing jokes is that a gang whose member I beat up would show my acting headshot around to his boys to organize my beatdown...and everyone would laugh-'THAT'S THE GUY WHO BEAT YOU UP?!??’ 


BUT people who fight me I guess think I look soft. What they don't realize is that I'm descended from the most violent people on parents [badoomp boomp shish.] Maybe there is more than a grain of truth to that. We'll go into that whole can of worms later. Okay, maybe now.


I mean, I come from vi-O-lent people. My mom’s side is full of fightin’ Norwegianuncles who are supposedly descended from a Viking that killed a guy when he was eight years old, but that’s no excuse, cuz actual Norwegians are very civilized. My dad, well, the poor guy... I think his dad beat him and he was a corporate dude who probably half- hated his job and family...a heavy drinker who just kept it all bottled up until he unleashed some horrifying child-services-alerting-level spankings on me for, guess what, being violent! My mom wasn’t all about asking us fifty times to shut up. It was kind of a bad scene sometimes behind closed doors of our gorgeous 4-bedroom pad in Suburban Chicago with a bitchin’ lawn and full court hoops: Glen Ellyn to be exact.


And Jesus Christ our town itself was full of violent and horrible little rich children...AND I was completely unsupervised for the majority of my childhood! [I have to tell you, though, it was fun.] AND sometimes the PARENTS made us fight each other;go outside and settle it man to man and shake hands afterwards. Also, it was always like 20 below zero. I remember watching 'Lord of the Flies' with my little sister. It’s a movie [and a book, I remember reading it after punching someone out at the library] about how these little English rich kids get marooned on an island and start murdering each other. I said to my sister, "Annie, that reminds me of our childhood." She looked at me and said, "I don't remember any fuckin’ palm trees."


But I live in Southern California, where most white people, especially blond-haired, blue-eyed white people, are too sensible, according to my black friends, and have too much to lose to fight. There are also a lot of pussies here compared to where I am from. Where was I going with this?


When I happened upon the idea to write about all my fights, I came up with the following categories, or chapters as we in the 'biz' call them. Feel free to skip around. They are in no particular order. They are a bunch of fistfights. It’s not like they lead up to anything such as growth or knowledge, unless you consider knowing how to kick somebody’s ass a valuable thing. I can tell you it isn't. I have never earned a penny or impressed a girl with any of these damn fights. I got stabbed and nearly died after one fistfight...and then I never got into another fight again, until like eight weeks later with thousands of stitches still in me. Okay, not every single chapter is the detailing of an actual fistfight that I had. Some of the later chapters get into areas closely related to the fights. Now that I am up on the old psychologist’s couch for a second before I slug someone, let’s get into some environmental factors that could have caused me to punch more people out than Naomi Campbell:




Mary Lane was my big sister Kim's friend who was hilarious and got me high when I was like twelve. She called me Vi-Bri. Vi being violent, Bri being Brian, my middle name, which I was known by...I was always punching something or thinking about it. My parents got me a punching bag AND I BROKE IT. I actually broke the steel pin on a speed bag. My dad bought me a pair of boxing gloves when I was about seven or so, then knelt down to show me a couple of moves. As soon as he got down there, I sucker-punched the shit out of him, HARD, and he just got up and walked away. He never brought it up again.


I was a violent kid, with violent fantasies of war, death, fighting and bloodshed. This could have been caused by a rather common condition: I was a little boy, and little boys, especially when left to their own devices, are horrid.




I guess that since I'm on the subject, you would think that I was completely obsessed with fighting from birth to present. NOT really. The periods in my life where I had actual fistfights were from ages 6-11, 18-22 then maybe 27 thru 43, so I didn't fight anyone really as a baby or in high school. I don’t think that ever was my identity anyway, like, tough guy. Okay, maybe for about three years when I lived in Venice [I will get into the pointlessness of that later]. In my high school, I was voted the Funniest Guy, as a kid, I was obsessed with everything from dinosaurs to aircraft to scary books and movies, to writing. I played football, wrestled and swam. But I was a very ugly and skinny kid, not a jock really. But there were THINGS...


I mean, when I think about the fights I backed out of or “pussed out” of, they bring me an almost physical sense of shame. Even if it was when I was ten, I am ashamed of it to this day. I would lay awake many nights fantasizing about how I was going to murder my bullies at school. That’s major! If you can walk away from a fight with a mentally healthy attitude, then you are more likely to become successful in life [which I am not] and not be known for pointless street scraps. At forty- four, I am a very good carpenter with talents in some artistic fields that have brought me a tiny bit of recognition. I don’t know...this autobiographical shit is getting very depressing. To pick up my spirits, I am going to regale you with a tale that may have begun my actual adult road to Fightey-Town!


Author’s note: As a child, I knew that when I watched “The Incredible Hulk,” Bill Bixby became a giant green Lou Ferrigno exactly twice in every episode. There isn’t a fight in every chapter, just the majority of them. This analogy isn’t going where I thought it was, but if the Hulk transformation didn’t happen twice, I would be very disappointed. I don’t want you to be disappointed.


Suffice it to say, there are PLENTY of fights in Fightey-Town, don’t worry, an embarrassment of stitches, if you will.