Forced to Step Outside of My True Pacifist Nature, Part 2 (Conclusion)

DURING my troubled teen years of the 1980s I observed that by ‘swinging first’, in general, a person potentially places himself (or herself) in an unanticipated psychological disadvantage—one favoring the combatant who chooses to patiently wait for his opponent to take the first swing, perhaps even without the fist necessarily connecting.

Just having the combatant swing at him before he’d even given his challenger a physical justification for doing so seemed to instantly create a combined psychological and physical imperative within to react to that swung fist with justified anger. In fact, such testosterone-prone behavior may be reflected in the typically male (perhaps unconsciously strategic) invitation for one’s foe to ‘go ahead and lay one on me’, while tapping one’s own chin with his forefinger.

Yet, from my experience, it’s a theoretical advantage not widely recognized by both the regular scrapper mindset nor general society. Instead of the commonly expected advantage of an opponent-stunning first blow, the hit only triggers an infuriated response earning the instigator two-or-more-fold returned-payment hard hits.

It brings to mind an analogous scenario in which a chess player recklessly plays white by rashly forcefully moving his pawn first in foolish anticipation that doing so will indeed stupefy his adversary.

I’ve theorized that it may be an evolutionary instinct ingrained upon the human male psyche—one preventing us from inadvertently killing off our own species by way of an essentially gratuitous instigation of deadly violence in bulk, which also results in a lack of semen providers to maintain our race. Therefore, in this sense, we can survive: if only a first strike typically results in physical violence, avoiding that first strike altogether significantly reduces the risk of this form of wanton self-annihilation. In other words, things should remain peachy when every party shows the other(s) proper, due respect. It’s like a proactively perfect solution.

It should also be noted, however, that on rare occasion (at least from my many years of observation) an anomalous initiator/aggressor will be sufficiently confident, daring and violently motivated, perhaps through internal and/or external anger, to outright breach the abovementioned convention by brazenly throwing the first punch(es). Perhaps with the logical anticipation, or hope even, that his conventional foe will physically respond in kind by swinging at or hitting him, the unprovoked initiator/aggressor will feel confident and angered enough to willfully physically continue, finishing what he had essentially inexcusably started. It was as though he had anticipated that through both his boldness in daring to throw the first punch and then furthermore finish the physical job he himself had the gall to unjustifiably start in the first place, he will resultantly intimidate his (though now perhaps already quite intimidated) non-initiator/non-aggressor foe into a crippling inferior sense of physical-defense debilitation, itself capable of resulting in a more serious beating received by that diminished non-initiator/non-aggressor party. Or, another possibility remains that the initiator/aggressor will be completely confident that when/if he strikes first and the non-initiator/non-aggressor responds with reactor’s fury, he, the initiator/aggressor will himself respond to that response with even greater fury thus physically/psychologically overwhelm the non-initiator/non-aggressor with a very unfortunate outcome for the latter party.

Regardless, it has always both bewildered and sickened me how a person can throw a serious punch without any physical provocation.


(Personal encounter resumed)

HAVING observed the said turn of events, the arcade attendant—short, but with a conspicuously heavy build (perhaps through steroid use, being in vogue back then)—jumped me from the side and held me to the floor. Again John went outside to await my eventual exit. When I did so only a couple minutes later, my exit was without choice, according to the attendant, who had intervened on a total of three occasions during that day’s arcade altercation by diving on me and only when I’d finally let loose on John.

I was outside for a few seconds before my debilitating fear again ridiculously turned me into a limp noodle, thus enabling him to easily throw me down onto the red brick walkway like I was naught but a ragdoll.

Immediately after dropping his knee onto my abdomen (or perhaps my chin, though I don’t recall feeling any notable impact, pain nor further facial lacerations), I threw a punch upwards that connected with his nose area but was too weak to draw any blood.

Separated once again, I then sufficiently sensed the thick air of contempt felt for me almost all around in order to walk away.

I walked away with my coat over my shoulder, a gash on my cheek and mangled glasses left behind somewhere inside the arcade. What a day, I thought, spitting out some reddish saliva, which was followed by my tongue sliding across my two loose upper-front teeth.

But it all wasn’t over, yet. “Frank!” came the cry from somewhere behind me. John was running towards me without his T-shirt, Clint Eastwood style, and closely followed by his mob-like supporters.

In necessary haste I scanned the large parking lot of an old strip mall across the busy main road, as though I was ludicrously seeking out the softest looking twenty-square-metre piece of decades-hardened pavement upon which to go yet another round. (As I ran to my choice of locale, I now believe, I may have disappointed some who would’ve taken pleasure in seeing me flee the entire scene.) There, I tossed my coat aside and watched the maniacal Eastwood charging at me.

With the arcade spectators right behind him, John stopped about a meter from me. He threw a fist and a kick at me with both off their mark, as I simply pulled back; however, his misdirected kick caused him to lose enough balance to fall upon his hands and knees. He obviously was wearing thin, tiring and losing body co-ordination, all at an increasing rate.

Of course I wasn’t at all in a merciful mood after having to deal with such an obnoxiously inebriated, violent punk and to such a nasty degree. I physically explained to him that he should’ve remained back at the arcade or very near it.

My succeeding kick into his horizontally orientated abdomen was easy yet satisfying. I went down on my knees, awkwardly wrapped my left arm around his head and face then began delivering for a second and final time a succession of rapid uppercuts to his face, which that time wasn’t blocked at all by anything.

In turn, perhaps intended to literally cost me a digit, he bit into my forefinger, since my left hand’s fingers happened to be gripping that area of his face. As he bit with increasing jaw strength, I transferred the pain to my finger to the intensity of and rate at which my right fist delivered additional uppercuts.

It was somewhat like a who’ll-blink-first standoff—which of us could endure the most intensifying assault, for the longest time.

Biting into my finger as hard as he could, he seemed to realize that he was getting by far the worst of the trade-off and threw himself upwards sufficiently forceful to throw me off, causing me to lose balance and land on my back.

As I lay there vulnerable, he attempted to gain total advantage by solidly positioning himself above my head and shoulder region. However, as he tried to get around my feet, repeatedly dodging left to right then back again, I rotated my grounded body so as to kick him away if he tried to get close enough to evade my feet.

Luckily, the embarrassing conduct lasted no more than fifteen seconds before some older, larger guy brought it all to a halt.

I suggested that we settle any remaining differences another day, which never did come, with nothing but silence from John.

Re-engaging my walk away home, I looked at my bloodied finger and noticed that, ironically, John had viciously bitten square on and deep into a large wart thus permanently annihilating it.

With many townsfolk eyes witnessing the ugly violence, not to mention my lacerated face, the police not surprisingly were summoned. The police officer who’d intercepted me with his cruiser made a notable effort to be sympathetic while insisting that I go to the emergency ward of the local hospital to be checked out for any unseen physical trauma (e.g. brain hemorrhage).

Once there, given the doctor’s O.K. and feeling somewhat foolish, I went through some tedious paperwork with a staffer. All the while I couldn’t help but repetitiously wonder how in hell I got into such a mess—as though it was my blunder or character flaw that was at fault.

Leaving the hospital, though, I once again was forced to endure John’s (fortunately very brief) presence, for he was taken to the hospital by another officer shortly after I’d arrived. John sat slumped forward in a wheelchair, his head hanging down as though he’d passed out. It then fully dawned on me that he was the reason I was at the hospital and faced with the prospect of a catastrophizing, overemotional mother greeting me in shock when the officer drove me home.

“Goof!” was the last and only thing that I’d say to him as I, flanked by the officer, left the hospital. (Yes, I did see him one last time as we exchanged a stare dare glare one day by the beach front adjacent to the White Rock pier—in fact, just meters from the very spot where he’d given me that first ugly look and, as chance would have it, a blatant stare dare likely for no other reason than just to be a tough guy in the eyes of a couple kids.)

“You know, you can always lay assault charges,” I was informed by the officer, who’d learned from some honest source which of us had indeed instigated the brawl. “But from what I’ve seen, he got the worst of it.”

“Nah,” I replied, still picturing Mom suffering a large stroke when she’d see my face, no matter who “got the worst of it” or the least. “Just let it be.”

(The Laser Palace arcade was shut down only days later by a Surrey city council greatly embarrassed by and therefore fed up with all of the criminal activity frequently occurring there. The fight was simply the cliché straw that broke the camel’s back. About two weeks after the fight, I was attacked by a girl who thought much of John and therefore not much about me telling her that I’ve been told he’d gotten the worst of the altercation. Also, I was told by a good-ally friend of mine, who unfortunately for me numbered quite few back then and there, that John’s father—who was somewhat known for physically expressing his significant displeasure towards any son of his who bore a shiner, etcetera—smacked him around shortly after the arcade incident.)

(Frank G Sterle Jr)

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