Yeah, we've all done it before: mouth off just a little too much at the bar - just enough to get someone within earshot pissed off. Words are exchanged and all of a sudden, you're pouding a barstool into some asshole's skull while their back is turned. Of course, sometimes you might be on the working end of that barstool and you're the one in the fetal position as the deafening cheer from onlookers spur on your assailant's thrashing. Then, it's all about survival, right? Read on and you just might walk away from the bar to live day.
1. Don't fight in small neighborhood bars filled with locals.
Newcomers are left on the floor, bloody and beaten without a friend in the world. Take it from me: if you've got a problem with a local, take it outside, grab a big stick, and beat your way out of that town. I had a guy pull a small revolver on me at Red's Bar in Huntington Beach once (seriously). When I told the owner of the bar what just went down, he just said, "I think that's your cue to leave, guy." I knew where the line was drawn that night.
2. There is no going back.
Before you hit someone, make damned sure you're prepared to deal with the results. Win or lose, it's going to get messy. Let's say you get lucky and take your foe down with one blow. Do you think he came drinking alone? I seriously doubt it. He has six or seven drunk, frustrated, mentally inferior "frat bros." in the mood for payback.
3. Don't look for fights.
They'll find you. Personally, I've walked away from more fights than I've been in. Funny thing about fights - - there's always another waiting in the wings. Take a look at what you're wearing before you walk out. Is it really a good idea to wear that shiny pink tank-top to a hardcore punk gig? Probably not.
4. Dad says, "Hit Him in the Throat."
The one and only bit of advice my estranged my father ever gave me. He fought in Vietnam on the frontlines, in the shit as they say. In boot camp, one of the things they told him was that one shot in the Adam's Apple will bring any person to their knees, gasping for air, and vulnerable to a few kicks to the balls. How a Vietnam soldier would be mano-a-mano with Charlie is beyond me, but I took his advice one night in the parking lot at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa a few years back (when it was still called the Tiki Bar) and damned if the old man wasn't on the money.
5. Stay close to an exit.
It only takes one good head-kicking to teach you to always keep your eyes on the EXIT sign. There is no worse feeling than to be on the floor, in the corner, losing blood...helpless. Take inventory of your surroundings - - act like an airline hostess before a flight, check your front and rear exit doors and plan your escape routes early.
6. Know your friends well.
Unsupportive friends are worse than no friends at all. I once had an old high school friend who used to frequent local nightspots with me all the time. Then I pissed off the wrong footballer during a visit at Fullerton's Off Campus Pub. I knew I couldn't take him and his friend on at once, but I knew that my old pal and I would shred them to ribbons. That is if he wouldn't have conveniently ducked into the bathroom when I needed him. Coincidence? I think not. So anticipate your friend's actions. Know whether or not they'll stick around to at least peel you off the floor when things don't go so well.
7. The wise man hits first.And the better man hits last. But before you strike, reconsider everything you've read one last time. Then, if you're reasonably sure you stand a chance, hit early and hit often and ask yourself this question: Is this battle worth going to jail, and yes, possibly even getting sued over. (Note: Generally, the guy who strikes first is guilty of assault & battery when the coppers start asking questions.)
8. And finally, there's no shame in backing down.
Ironically, there's plenty of glory in conquest. For some reason, though, the chickies don't seem to like a fighter. Ironic, no?
Hamilton High was born on Doheny Ave in the gutter, is a poet, writer and observer of popular culture. Likes fashion and cares less for style. He's on the move, he's an alter ego and we hardly ever hear from him.