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Joe Somebody

I started this scatterthought right after posting the previous one, but haven’t had a chance to finish it this week. I’ve been crazy busy both in and out of the office. But I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Beginning next week, there’ll be more people around me in the office, and hopefully a portion of my duties will shift to them. And then I’m getting a co-op student this summer, which I’m looking forward to. So I’ll go from being an island to being surrounded by people again. Yay!

This past week, I had five proposals due. Actually, a fairly quick fee letter that was due on Tuesday, then five full proposals due on Thursday. Yikes. But thanks to an artificial sense of urgency that set in on Monday, I managed to get it all done, as well as a car article. So it’s been a productive week, culminating in last night’s Battle of the Bards, which I have to say will go down as one of my favourite shows ever–it was THAT good. Wow.

So, about Joe Somebody. The premise of the movie is that Joe gets punched out and embarassed by a mean coworker, so he demands a rematch and starts working out to get himself ready. Meanwhile, everyone at the office suddenly thinks he’s cool, and it starts going to his head. He doesn’t realize that they don’t really care about him…that his sudden popularity could disappear as quickly as it arrives. But he figures it out eventually.

It reminded me of an incident almost ten years ago…a somewhat defining moment in my life. It was on January 16, 2008, and it led to me writing this piece.

Want to hear a funny story?  Here’s one…

I was at a local club last Thursday with some friends. Two of us were dancing, and we all know how tightly packed dance floors can get.

Anyway, I guess this guy thought I put my elbow into him on purpose. Next thing I know, I’m lying on my back on the dance floor. Attempt to stand #1 results in a kick to my throat. Attempt to stand #2 results in a black eye and two stitches from the guy’s ring. Attempt #3 was met with no resistance, probably because I had thrown my arms up and was trying to leave the dance floor. By the time I found my friends, I’m fairly sure the guy was on his way out of the club, and that’s why security couldn’t find him.

How often does a night out result in a black eye?  Well, this was the first time this has ever happened to me, and I never expected that it would. I’ll assume that the guy isn’t normally this violent, and I’m betting he had more than a few drinks in him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not denouncing alcohol or anything. I’m just a bit surprised that someone would, without ever saying a word or allowing me to, start kicking and punching me. I wasn’t fighting. I wasn’t planning to. So what did I do that deserved that kind of treatment?  I don’t think anyone has an answer to that.

I think that when the guy realizes what he did, he’ll feel sorry. Well, you know who you are, and I forgive you. Maybe that doesn’t mean much to you, but I needed to hear myself say it. All I can ask is that you think about what you’re doing the next time, before you really hurt somebody.

Is there a deeper meaning behind this story?  Not really. You see, I can’t do anything to stop this kind of violence except to tell you what happened. Even then, all I can hope for is that someone will read this and we can prevent a similar situation in the near or distant future. So, the next time someone elbows you on the dance floor, ask him or her to cut it out before throwing punches. If that makes sense to you now, I hope it makes sense to you then.

I don’t know if I’ve ever shown this to anyone. It was long before I had Scatterthought, so I don’t think I’ve ever published it anywhere.

Nine years later, I wonder what I might have done differently. And I wonder if I would have been a different person because of it. What if I had decided to fight back, rather than just trying to escape? I probably would have gotten beaten up worse, since the guy was twice my size and had me on the floor before I knew what was going on.

Years later, I read what I wrote back then, and I marvel at how optimistic I was. I really thought that the guy would feel bad about what he did to me.

Nowadays, I know better. It’s not that I’m more cynical…I just have a better understanding of people. And if whatever I did set that guy off so easily, then it wasn’t hard to set him off at all. Odds are pretty good that he got into a lot more fights over the course of his life, and that this incident is just a long forgotten footnote. Since I never saw his face and the bouncers didn’t catch him, I’ll never know.

Some people enjoy causing trouble. I don’t get it, but I don’t have to. I just have to accept it.

I suppose that’s more accurate. I don’t have a better understanding of people now than I did back then, but I accept that people are what they are. They can choose to change if they really want to. But few of us ever do.

I’m not entirely sure what’s bothering me. I’m not a violent person and never have been. But after watching the movie, I find myself wondering what might have been different. What if I had tried to defend myself that night? What if had been a little more sober and able to figure out what was going on in time to put up a fight? Or at least kept the guy there till the bouncers could catch him.

Would I be a different person today? Perhaps more confident and self-assured.

Would I run around looking to get into fights all of the time, like some people out there?

Or would I still be the same person I am today?

I don’t know. I never will. But I’ll say one thing for sure.

Sometimes, I wish I had shattered his kneecap. I probably would have regretted it later–actually, I definitely would have regretted it later–but I think, on some subconscious level, it would have been very satisfying.

And I don’t know what that says about me.

Russ

One Comment

  1. What’s really funny is I missed the line that said this was ten years ago and I thought: “Did this happen to him again?? How is that possible??”

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