Friday, July 16, 2010

Hero or Goat?

Another lifetime ago I lived in a relocated-industrial-park house rented with four other 20-somethings. It was an unusual location of un-annexed property. Too close to the power lines? A semi-remote insignificant speck? The largest benefit was that it fell under county jurisdiction rather than a local municipality and sat on the far western fringe of Cook County. A serendipitous fluke of urban planning. The wainscotting of society, with all of the access to a large metropolis, without the pecksniffery, pretense, or authorities. It offered a rare opportunity for self-reliance.

The developer had poured a 10 foot foundation to receive the transplant which arrived with a 4 foot apron. A 14 foot basement beneath a four-bedroom ranch home! The property also boasted not a garage, but a machine shed, easily capable of holding 10 cars and misc. motorcycles.

For two years this was the place. It remains legendary in some of the local lore.
Small-scale Woodstocks took place there several times. Overall, we dealt with the freedom and responsibilities well, but there were three times, over the two-year span, when things happened for which we were unprepared.

The incidents were handled, without outside intervention, but not without consequence. We tried very hard to be very low-profile. We knew we had a great thing going; one that undue attention could make very ugly, so we tried to act accordingly. We had some very simple, but important rules. These were the 70s, so our rule focus was on minimizing the reasons our "neighbors" would have to complain.
We didn't drag race after 8 p.m., our landscaping was maintained, the after-party clean-up extended all the way to the road and we didn't let high-school kids join in our reindeer games.

The current Mel Gibson train-wreck, and the flurry of outrageous outrage that has ensued, reminded me of one of the incidents way back then. The 20-something son of a semi-well-known writer showed up at one of our parties. We called him "Goat" and generally liked him despite the given name with Jr. tacked at the end. Who he was/is is not important. What he did is. Eight hits of microdot. He quickly became very uncool. His training as a gold-glove boxer took over and he started walking around sucker-punching anyone he encountered. I can't say what was taking place in his head and I haven't talked to him since that event, but, needless to say, it turned the party into an incident.

The assaults were taking place on the front lawn while I was doing what I did in the backyard. The shrieks and general panic drew me out front where I saw Goat circling with another guy. The other guy obviously had some training too and could take a punch, a crowd had gathered around, ringing the combatants, as crowds do. Elsewhere around the front lawn there were several groggy victims being tended.

I had to break up the fight somehow. Goat was clearly the aggressor, so I concentrated on him and got knocked down for my troubles. From there, I executed a knee-high tackle bringing him down while calling for others to help restrain him.
Three brave souls, including his last opponent rushed in and lent a hand.
Only then did the crowd react, they began screaming, punching and kicking at Goat for his brutish rampage. It seemed everybody wanted a shot at him now that he wasn't upright and swinging and they weren't being real specific about where their feet were landing.

After several long minutes in the pile, I was able to detach and started moving people away. I went inside the house to check on victims and injuries. When I came back outside a little while later, Goat was gone. I was told that he had been tied up and loaded into the back of a pickup truck. I wasn't sure what that meant.

It turns out that the pickup belonged to the guy Goat had been fighting who drove him to the parking lot outside of the police station and dumped him, still bound, onto the pavement then drove away. Not my idea of a solution, but considering other possible options, not the worst fate. It was front page news in the weekly paper, but luckily was not traced back to our location. I'm not sure it would have been easy to explain the day/night's chain of events.

If this all sounds bizarre and foreign to your experience, I apologize for wasting your time, but if you've ever been in the vortex of a melee I think you understand.
It isn't the incidents or even the initial reaction to incidents that get scary, it's always the mindless aftermath as everyone suddenly wants to get in a few cheap, if well deserved, shots to the guy once he's down.

In the end I don't give a rat's ass about the wringer Goat was put through at the station, the hospital or from his parents who had to step up and I care even less what happens to Mel "bad publicity whore" Gibson. I just want all the cheap shotters to get their due too.

1 comment:

darkblack said...

If the throng lacks the fortitude to wreak their indiscriminate vengeance with unassisted precision - whatever the biochemical state of affairs - there's a good chance that they won't possess the steel to accept the subjective consequences with grace, and perhaps a bit of dash.

So many humanoids, so few humans.