Sounds Like a Country Song

Three or four years ago, I got into a fight in Five Points. It left me with a bloody lip, an acquaintance with a bruised face, and my drummer with a few minutes of lost time after being knocked out cold (Poor Ronnie. Can't take him anywhere without him getting punched in the face).

So yeah ... it's safe to say Team Kenley lost.

There is nothing quite like getting beaten in a fight to remind you that you, sir (or madam), are alive. Nothing is quite so jolting, so visceral, so liberating. The punch (or in my case, the headbutt) lands, it splits your lip or knocks you out cold and senseless, but you're really not senseless until you hit the ground. And in between, it's like a wave washes over, takes you under, floods your lungs. Tasting the blood in your mouth, feeling the swell and throb of a black eye, you start to understand what "Fight Club" was talking about.

In 27-and-a-half years, I can count on three fingers the number of times I've been in a legitimate fight (fake WWE matches in my dorm room not included), and I can count on one finger the number of times a fight has ended well for me.

It was my freshman year in college. I leapt on top of a no-neck, pierced-punk meathead at a Violent Femmes concert who couldn't control himself in the mosh pit and began wailing on my good friend/guitarist.

Why was there a mosh pit at a Violent Femmes show, you ask? Good question, but not the point of my story.

The two were rolling around on the dirty venue's floor, and I jumped in and delivered a few solid shots to the guy's lower back. It had all the effect of shooting a BB gun at a charging rhino. Fortunately, I was there with a big crew (ain't no party like a Georgetown party) who rushed to my aid. A bouncer then grabbed Mr. Meathead, threw the Million Dollar Dream on him and escorted him out. Ted DiBiase would have been jealous. I know I was.

I also remember being surprised--perhaps as surprised as you might be, gentle reader--to find myself down there in the mix on that sticky floor, smelling the spilled beer and cigarette butts and the stench of the sweaty rhino. But I got my licks in, I helped out a buddy, and I earned a little honor that I have long since squandered.

The fight in Five Points was nowhere near as dramatic and only slightly more pathetic. And I wasn't so fortunate this time around.

It began, as most fights do, with alcohol. My erstwhile roommate Ronnie, his brother and I were out on the town. We'd tossed back more than a few shots and were walking to our next watering hole. The three of us made it about a block up the road, when we passed a group of maybe six to eight frat boys who were, um, fraternizing and chortling among themselves suspiciously in the Harper's parking lot. Almost at the same moment, we passed by the guy they were laughing at. He was a thin, pale, smallish slip of a boy wearing eyeliner, a mesh shirt and various piercings--a goth, I believe is the term. In any case, he stuck out like ... well ... like a goth kid in the South.

I heard one of the frat boys utter the slur that got Dr. Burke in trouble on the "Grey's Anatomy" set, and I knew at that moment that the pale kid was as good as toast. Milquetoast, if you will.

No sooner had I turned around than I saw this poor kid backing away, reeling, leaning up against a parking meter, bleeding from the mouth and surrounded by Kappa Alpha Asshole.

I don't know that I would have done this without all the Southern Comfort I had imbibed moments earlier, but my companions and I physically inserted ourselves between the victim and the most vocal of the attackers. I was wearing my metal-encrusted biker's jacket and my combat boots, looking rather goth myself, and I guess in my head I combined that with the liquid courage and was feeling no pain.

Until the headbutt smashed into my face, of course.

I lurched backward, my outmanned friends lurched forward for counterattack, but in the end we were all repelled, wretchedly and emphatically. And then I remember the most vocal of the attackers yelling something to the effect of, "Woooo! That's right, man! Don't mess with S.C.! Wooooo!"

I was both drunk and seeing stars at the time, so I'll leave it to you, gentle readers, to determine whether his words make any more sense in the cold light of day than they did to me at the time.

The goth kid ended up having to get his teeth capped, and I went to court to testify on his behalf. My lip started turning an ugly purplish-blue that week, so to avoid arousing suspicion among my bosses, I simply told co-workers that a ballpoint pen had exploded in my mouth.

Go, Team Kenley!

Original MySpace post: 1/30/2007

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