August 16, 2005
I got the living shit beat out of me one night when I was young and dumb. I went down to a bar called "Tom's Warehouse," where they served cold beer and free roasted peanuts. You ate the peanuts and threw the shells on the floor. The place crunched everywhere you walked, even the bathrooms.
I met a couple of "friends" there one night and we were having a good time until one of my "buddies" started a quarrel with three guys at a table next to us. I don't even recall what it was about, but it reached the "Let's go outside to the parking lot" stage. The three strangers got up and walked outside.
I didn't want to go. I was feeling mellow and I didn't want to fight anybody. But my "friends" shamed me into it by saying that three-against-two wouldn't be a fair fight and that I should go with them just to even the numbers.
Like a complete dumbass, I went.
I also made the mistake of being the first one out the door. I was looking over my shoulder, telling my "buddies" that I didn't think this was a good idea, when I turned around to see a fist coming right at my nose. The world exploded, I hit the ground, and the last sight I saw was Wally and Stinker running like hell.
Bastards. THEY picked the fight, then ran off and left ME with three very angry people pounding on me. I was punched. I was kicked. I covered up my head and my nutsack as best I could and tried to crawl under a car. Those guys dragged me out and beat on me some more.
They whipped my ass and left me lying on that asphalt parking lot in a bloody heap.
After THEY left, I gradually took an inventory. I could still see, although my vison was blurred. I could move my fingers and toes. My ribs didn't feel good, but I could still breathe.
I managed to crawl to my car and drive home. I tried to take a shower to wash the blood offa me, but the water pounded too severely on the knots on my head for me to take much of that. I had two black eyes and bruises all over me, some of them showing treadmarks from the shoes those guys wore.
I was lucky that I wasn't killed that night. I pissed blood for a while.
I healed fairly quickly back in those days, so I was okay after about a week of misery. I went looking for Wally and Stinker after that, but they did a good job of avoiding me. I couldn't find them anywhere. I was carrying a sawed-off baseball bat at the time. I owed them some payback.
Those fuckers hid from me for two years.
In the end, I learned a valuable lesson from that night. If you want to pick a fight, YOU fight it. Leave ME out of it.
And know who your REAL friends are.
Closest I got to that was joining SteveH for beer drinking contests at McSorley's in NYC when we were in college. I had the flu and was teased into joining my pals despite my better instincts.
Suppressing my flu sensations, I probably also suppresed my feelings of drunkenness. I kept up with the contest, but in the cab ride home set the world distance record for puking.
SteveH kept me alive by holding tightly to my belt as I was draped over the cab door, heaving from East 7th Street to Columbus Circle.
Yeah... some bar experiences reveal your true friends.
Gotdammit accidic personage! Get up here and clean the snot from my keyboard!
That happened to my daddy once. He still has the scars on his head where some one took a lead pipe to it.
Yeah, there's nothing like the sinking feeling you get when your best friend starts running his mouth off in a bar, and you know you're gonna have to take a few lumps pulling his ass out of the wringer one more time. I have learned one important life lesson, though:
Friends will help you move.
REAL friends will help you move bodies.
One enchanted evening when I was a young sailor, a "friend" decide to pick a fight with three rather large marines recently returned from Beirut. I was forced to intercede and save his life. When he said the famous words "Me and my buddy will..." I didn't wait for the rest just rabbit punched him from behind and then enlisted aid in getting him to a cab and back to the ship. Gator if you are reading this, yes that was the second time i knocked you out that way!
Got a better one Capt:
Friends bail you out of jail. Best friends are the one's sitting next to you saying "Damn that was fun".
Bless you, Brother. I once turned from encouraging the suddenly running-backwards provocateur to --BOOT-- in the face--luckily, the shit kickers in question had a sense of honor and let me bleed in peace presumably because they knew I was the biggest victim of that fuckhead's cuntitude (sorry, ladies).
Yup, Norm was a real friend.
He always had my back.
He always defended me.
And I returned it best I could, whatever the price.
Or, I wouldn't have dared be near him.
He could end a potential fight by merely saying,
"Friend, I think you REALLY ought to reconsider".
The man was a legend in his own time at "The Long Branch".
The corner stool was "his". Always. Any time.
People moved off his stool when he came in. Without being asked.
Maybe being a sky-diver and a long-time super-modified sprint car champion driver and a motorcycle racer and a general all-around hell-raiser when it was needed gives you a bit of "confidence" in your abilities ?
Norm KNEW he was going to win in the end, whatever punishment he took in the process. And, people could sense that danger. Even the baddies.
He's in the Michigan Automotive Hall of Fame.
And he deserves every bit of their accolades. And more.
I miss him more than anyone I've ever known.