Self Conscious, the J Eric Miller blog

Friday, March 18, 2005

Yes, Physically.

--I talk with an old friend, D, of Jersey. D, he’s just returned from Vegas and LA. LA, that’s where we knew each other. What I think about D, he was an innocent when I met him.

There was a night at a bar when I was trying to show a girl some a dark side of me so that she’d want to stop dating. Some things never change, though I’m subtler now. I’d hauled D and one of my roommates with me, and the four of us sat around a dark table with me drinking hard and trying to convince the girl through conversation and action of what bad guy I was.

(You write something like that down and you realize what a dumb ass you have been and sometimes still are).

D, he hadn’t even had a drink at that point in his life. He’d grown up the ward of his grandparents who lived in a community that didn’t allow children. He grew up, essentially, hidden away. Now he was taking care of his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s, and who was, as far as I could tell, a lovely old man. Anyway, the absoluteness of D’s loyalty to his grandfather endeared D to me.

So how do I reward him? I invite to a bar to see me be an asshole, and while there, when perhaps I’ve run out of really terrible things to suggest to the girl, when there is all ready a broken glass on the table and the night is really a mess around us, I say, D, have you ever had your ass kicked?

And he looks at me sort of blankly across the table, looks at me over his Seven Up or tonic water or orange juice or whatever the fuck he was drinking in those good old days before he learned to pretend he liked the taste of the kind of poison we all chug, D looks past my roommate, who loved shows like these, who came along often to see my relationships, if you could call them that, crash, D looks past her to me, and past the girl, M, the girl I’m trying to get rid of, this girl who had very long legs, and who, as it would turn out, would not be fully fed up with me yet, this poor long legged girl who sat there sort of pretending it was just a night out with a with friends and the guy she was fucking, D looks over at me blankly for a moment and then says, What, do you mean physically?

…A couple weeks later, with a couple girls I know, we do, in fact, get in a bar fight. D does in fact get his ass kicked. Physically.

This is not all my fault.

Part of the problem is D chugs a half glass of brandy at my apartment before we go. He does this primarily because of the girls. Asshole that I can be, I never goaded D to drink. I just enabled his decision to do so.

So now we’re at Canters with these girls and one thing leads to another and the long and the short of it is that it’s D, whose never had his asked kicked physically, end up on the floor while the guy who has thrown him there is standing over him kicking, and me, I’m rolling around in a booth with a couple of the guy’s friends while a few of the others try to reach in and punch.

When it’s all said and done, which really doesn’t take very long, D wants to know, How’d I do?

This is on the way home with the girls who are pretty silent.

Well, I say, Did you land any punches?

No, he admits. I didn’t have a chance.

So in essence, he was thrown to the floor and kicked repeatedly and wants to know he did.

There’s a little bit of blood on his teeth, but nothing serious. The whole thing starts when he thinks one of the guys is looking at one of the girls with us. Out to impress her or me or something, D, he starts glaring. Me, ever willing to help somebody dig themselves in a deep hole—but also only if I can come with—I roll up a piece of gum wrapper and throw it at the guy.

The rest is history. When it’s all said and done, in the fight I’ve lost the band I wore around my neck in honor of a lost love, and I’ve got a number of little bumps all over my skull. D, he’s got a little blood on his teeth.

He’s been drunk, been in a bar fight over a girl, walked out of it without serious injury, and he wants to know how he did.

Just fine, I tell him.

…And it occurs to me now that probably as often as not those that have come into contact with me, that have known me well and for some amount of time, have been corrupted to some degree or another. Unless they were worse off than I am to begin with. That rare person, though I’ve know them. And depending on what you consider corruption.