Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogging Out of One Eye is Kinda Fun

In case some of you didn’t know, the local professional basketball team here in South Florida won some sort of big game the other night. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I like the Heat about as much as I like a punch in the face, which is to say not bloody much. Which makes the events of Tuesday night all the more ironic.

It became painfully obvious to me with about 4 minutes left that Dallas had about as much chance of winning the game as Walter Mondale did of wining the 1984 presidential election. My friends were planning to go out afterwards for the traditional “Let’s all party like we actually accomplished something” celebration that follows a pro-sports championship, but I declined the invitation. Being the Heat hater that I am, I told them, “Nah, dude. Probably not a good idea. I’ll end up getting in a fight or something. Best I just stay home.” Which was my plan, until I had a few more beers and decided that since I had never lived in a city when it won a pro title, I should go out and see what all the fuss was about.

We decided to begin the evening at our favorite watering hole Tavern in The Grove. The bartender there, who we call Uncle Neal, is a borderline friend, and Johnson's #1 man-crush. Uncle Neal is an interesting character. He is about 33 years old, holds a law degree from UM, but has instead decided that slinging draft beer at a grimy college bar is a better way of life. I can’t really blame him, as he makes as much if not more than a typical young associate or prosecutor, but only works three nights a week and gets to bang college girls on a weekly basis. He is, at least to some, a hero. At any rate, Uncle Neal had lost a bet with Graig and my roommate on the outcome of the series, and they went to collect.

I knew something was wrong when he ignored us for about the first ten minutes we were inside. He finally looked over and told my boys “Look, I’ll give you your money. Not today, not tomorrow, but sometime next week.” With that, he gave us a pitcher of Bud Light and we went over to our customary corner table. Of course, by this point the table was occupied by some Javi’s and Jose’s, so we opted to stand and wait for them to leave.

And they left. Or so we thought. As Juan and Marcos got up, my roommate and I sat down, taking our customary position at the back corner table. We have occupied that table since 1999, so once we sit down, we’re not going anywhere. Unfortunately, Pedro and Ricardo did not understand this, and upon returning from their trip to the men’s room, expected their table back. Now I was feeling charitable and told them we could share it, which they apparently felt was an affront to their Latin Machismo. So they asked again and I said, “No, but we can share.” To which one responded “Tell your boy to get the fuck up.” I informed Oscar and Frank that I was not “my boy’s” boss, and that they would have to request this of him themselves. Which they did, to which my roommate responded with a kiss blown in their direction, which they responded to with a beer to his face, which he responded to with a beer back, which they responded to with a flipped table.

At this point, I was trying to break it up. I did not want our reputation at the Tavern soiled, and I didn’t want the night to end in violence. So I tried to separate my roommate and Graig, who had now unwittingly been thrown into the fray, from Paco and Martin. This was perhaps the poorest decision I made since I said “Yeah, writing a blog might be fun.” It did not occur to me that at this point, the fight was already out of control so I may as well try and get some White Dade Rage out on Manny and Joel. Instead, I continued trying to separate everyone and was thusly punched in the head multiple times by both Carlos and Enrique and by my roommate. Funny, since they were all swinging at each other and not me. Basically, aside from Graig getting hit in the head with a pitcher and whatever shots he and my roommate got in on the Hialeah All Stars, I took every punch in the fight. And all I did was keep pushing people away from each other. I guess it is often the biggest guy in the fight who throws the least punches, but next time, I told my roommate, just tell me to hit somebody so this doesn’t happen again. The fight finally ended with Uncle Neal choking out my roommate saying “I’ll fucking kill you right now. Get the fuck out of here!”

So, sorry Johnson, all those nights you spent with Uncle Neil have now been nullified by the incredulous actions of Luis and Antonio. I apologize for not realizing the fight was out of control and getting in some licks, but I promise it will not happen again. I don’t like fighting, I think it is stupid. But if you’re put in a position where it is either slug a guy or get caught in the crossfire and hit by friendly and not-so-friendly fire, you gotta come out swinging. My bad. I’m sure the Marines would be ashamed. The lesson here: If I ever say the words “I probably shouldn’t go out tonight. I’ll probably get in a fight,’ listen to me. I know what I’m talking about.


At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

Goddamn you guys!!! I spent the better part of the last 7 years building up a rapport with Neal and a solid reputation at The Tavern and it's all down the toilet like a greasy Mexican bean burrito due to you dumbasses. Not like it matters to Graig because he's leaving in a month anyway. Hopefully your actions won't jeapordize my free pitcher status with Neal as the only way I ever get any skanks in Miami is my standard, "hey, want a free beer?" line. Again, goddamn you all.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Roger L. said...

Dude, you're going a little far on the racist remarks - even for you. I think you are more likely to have problems with the gringos in Ft. Liquordale.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger minijonb said...

I learned not to try to break up fights in the f*ing third grade. Got thrown out of school for doing that crap. I spent my entire college career watching my buddy FD try to break up fights and getting throwing out of places in the process. Just took him longer to figure it out. Catch your boy's back when they really need it.

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous nicole said...

One word: WHOAH!!!!

I know that's lame but it's pretty much all I can muster up right now. Okay, so I don't do well with fights.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I've never known a guy who has gotten in a fight before, much less over a seat at a bar.

Hope you're not too black-n-blue!

So...this guy who went to college and then became a bartender...he's making lots of $$ then? Hmm...(contemplating my choice of career).

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Derek said...

at least you got a great story out of it

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Cliff said...

...and a hot lookin shiner!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Johnson - Maybe now you can clean yourself up and get some game. or not.

Roger - Racist? What? Becasue I said they were Latin. Give me a break.

Mini - Yeah, well it took me 26 years. Probably becasue my friends don't really fight that much.

Nicole - That's okay. Whoa pretty much sums it up anyway.

Tara - Tavern Bartender is a very specialized niche. Perhaps you could seek an apprenticeship.

Derek/Cliff - Yes, that, and perhaps some permenant vision loss. That remains to be seen. Oh, and Derek, #40 happened when I had my last black eye. Go figure.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous rumandpopcorn said...

The key, I find, to breaking up fights without injury is to break it up before any actual punches are thrown. But this escalated pretty quickly, as they say.

But forget your potential loss of vision for a you think you'll ever be able to repair your status at the Tavern? It's kind of unfair for this to happen after one incident. I mean, your prior track record sounds like it should have earned you a little pass. Shouldn't you be able to say, "Hey, we're with Matt Johnson!" and use it like a 'get out of jail free' card?

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

"Johnson - Maybe now you can clean yourself up and get some game. or not."

Or maybe I'll continue to drink cheap pitchers when I come back to Miami. I'm not angered by my loss of my one pick-up line. I'm angered that my cheap beer hook-up may be gone.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

"Shouldn't you be able to say, "Hey, we're with Matt Johnson!" and use it like a 'get out of jail free' card?"

Pulling the "I'm with Matt Johnson Card" will more than likely to get you thrown out of a place than any sort of VIP treatment.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

That's too bad; a grown man's opportunities for a real, live bar fight are much too rare to waste on being the better man.

Intellectually, of course, you did the right thing... but as a former Marine, I have to say: next time, swing away.


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