80 Hour Man Takes Command
Last Tuesday I attended a Red Sox game with my esteemed colleague, 80 Hour Man. Now, 80 Hour Man has, from time to time, been roughed up a little in this space, but today I have come to praise him. He did good and I want to tell you all about it.
Our tickets were for seats in the extreme right field section of Fenway Park, over to the fair side of the Pesky Pole. Not far from us was that nether world known as the bleachers, and you could, from time to time, catch the strong odor of alcohol and the unhealthy reek of many unwashed bodies wafting over to us from that direction. Perhaps it was this stench of drunkenness and depravity that had its influence on our more cultured section, I’m not sure, but whether it was the bad breeze or just or our bad luck, the two ticket holders who seated themselves behind us began to loudly demonstrate to our entire section the behavior of an early evolutionary stage in man’s development, perhaps the one just after our ancestors stopped using their knuckles to walk. They became boisterous and profane. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not the prissy type who gets shocked by a little boorish behavior, and sometimes the loud, coarse ones you hear in a crowd can often make up for their crudity and lack of social grace by saying some funny things. Not so with these guys. Despite being over 21— as shown by their ability to legally purchase beer — their humor and intellectual capability was stuck somewhere between grades 5 and 6. The word “fuckin’” had to be in every sentence they uttered; for instance, ballplayers they didn’t like were “fuckin’ homos,” an epithet I haven’t heard since junior high. There was absolutely no wit to anything they said. Believe me, Biff from Back to the Future seemed a Rhodes scholar compared to these two knuckleheads.
At one point the louder of the two — the alpha male if you will — bought a bag of peanuts. As he ate them, he started tossing the shells at the fans seated some five or six rows in front of us. Finally, a man of middle eastern descent turned and glared at him. This drew from our intellectual friend this comment: “What the fuck are you lookin’ at, Taliban?” and then he commenced, from time to time, to throw peanut shells directly at him.
80 Hour Man and I looked at each other rolled our eyes. At one point I said, “Where’s Clint Eastwood when you need him?” I started to cast about in my mind for something I could do that would a) save this night from becoming a disaster and b) not involve grave physical harm to myself. I thought of discreetly leaving to find security to report them. But before I could formulate any concrete plan, 80 Hour Man turned to Alpha Male and said, “Throw one more of those and I’m calling security.”
Alpha Male said, “I wouldn’t do that.”
“Why not?” asked 80 Hour Man.
“Because I’ll punch your fuckin’ head in.”
I could tell as Alpha Male said that he was feeling a little put on the spot. There wasn’t a whole lot of conviction behind the statement.
“I wouldn’t try that if I were you,” said 80 Hour Man.
“You’re not so tough.”
“We’re all here to enjoy a ball game.”
“So why do you have to spoil it for the rest of us?” said Alpha Male.
Then he and his buddy got really quiet. No more peanut shells were thrown. A minute later they got up from their seats and walked away. And that was the last we saw of them.
So that was all it took to rid ourselves of two bullies. I give 80 Hour Man all the credit in the world for standing up to those morons. And the truth is, 80 Hour Man does look kind of tough. He looks like he could handle himself in a fight. He’s kind of burly, his lined brow has a distinctive, prominent scar that runs crosswise against its furrows, and his blue collar manner of speaking is done in a naturally resonant, forceful voice. I wouldn’t screw with him.
And as far is those two miscreants are concerned, I think I more pity them than anything else. It looks like it will take them a long, long time to wise up. I doubt very much their tough guy posturing will take them far in this world, and what I saw of their intelligence is not at all promising. They were simply a pair of very unpleasant clowns. It was pathetic really.