The adrenaline drives the blood pressure in my head, narrows my vision and makes my skin feel like basement steel, cold and clammy. I have lost concentration on my last pyramid of Heismans as I leer consumed with angst at my nemesis. The obnoxious rooster is strutting and leaving a slimy trail of slurs and guffaws. I loathe this neanderthal as my knuckles turn white and I feel the heaviness in my belly.
The end pugilist result would declare publically the victor and the valid endowment of honour…
In my grandfather’s time the solution would be simple with rules of protocol and a clear resounding resolution. Having my honour trounced would trigger autonomic reaction to glare the offensive party in the eye and state that there is a social need for he and I to “go outside”. This challenge must be thrown where there are bystanders who can testify to the outcome and maintain a minimal level of protocol. Having been called out and accepting the challenge, the antagonist and the protagonists follow the gladiator path to the alley or sidewalk arena (a throttled restraint that has not been witnessed in a century). The rolling of sleeves (better yet, the bare chest pomp) precedes the square-off then initiates the combat. The end pugilist result would declare publically the victor and the valid endowment of honour. In essence, the transaction is complete.
Having been called out and accepting the challenge, the antagonist and the protagonists follow the gladiator path to the alley…
Sadly however, this is not realistic in my times. My generation relies on sport or drunken chaos to initiate the primal need to employ combat to settle differences and issues of honour. I could join the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) class and hope to spar with Shrek to leverage my wrath or I wait and throw a shoulder into him on the way to the bathroom when I follow him to the Malbec tasting night at Gino’s Wine & Oyster Emporium. Both openings are based on an ambush rather than an acknowledged and expected conflict though. Then there is contemplation of which style of combat do I want to use..
My Olympic boxing lessons are effective but too clean an attack against his BJJ. I could lead with a good Irish sucker punch to the throat and end with a foot stomp but there is a chance I could cause too much harm and get charged with assault. Tai Chi is deadly but I really don’t have an hour and a half to lay this ogre out (gotta pick up groceries then get the kid from daycare). This is moment I wished I actually made contact with something during those sweatbox Tae Bo classes.
So instead of employing the traditional melee, used since the primordial days of humanity, I retreat to the swiss balls to finish with some ab work. Raging and focusing on taking a punch in the solar plexus on each cross-over crunch. Human nature will always have conflict but sadly we have lost a protocol for settling differences. Street pugilism may be brash and ugly but the traditional protocol worked to facilitate a conclusion. For now I will continue to apply Vaseline on the bench press grips to expedite a divine intervention for the Gronk. How my grandfather and I miss a good dust-up.