Back when I was a dumb teenager, I got into a fight with another dumb teenager one spring day.
Looking back on it, it was a pretty stupid thing to do. Not just because I wasn’t in any position to fight good. Although this was before I’d started lifting weights and weighed all of 125 pounds.
Like most things that teenagers take too seriously, it was pointless. This being nearly 25 years ago, I couldn’t even tell you what it was about, except drama.
Drama that didn’t exist outside my own head. Nobody else cared. This was a totally avoidable episode.
Fortunately nothing got broke, except my pride.
Compare that to another “fight” that happened a few years later.
This was one night I went out to meet a group of friends for some drinking. When I turned up at the bar, the five or six of them were already up to something.
Several of these guys worked construction, and this was back when all the construction guys had Nextels. If you don’t know what that is, imagine a cross between a mobile phone and a walkie-talkie. You’d push a button and connect like a two-way radio over their network. I still remember that double “beep beep” sound it would make.
Anyway, one guy Mike was having a good time in the back and forth over the two-way.
My buddy filled me in on what was happening.
Turns out the guy on the other end of the conversation had buzzed Mike’s number by accident. Mike, being “that kind of personality”, wound the dude up a little. All in good fun. But, this being the South, belligerent rednecks ain’t hard to come by.
The guy wanted to track Mike down and give him a beating.
“We sent him over to the Wal-Mart about 20 minutes ago. I just told them that we’re heading to the Waffle House and come meet us there,” Mike tells me.
The pissed-off redneck was looking for a fight… so Mike had him running all over the county looking for it.
It still makes me laugh when I think back on it. He kept this guy going for another hour or two after that, before he clued in.
Think about that.
Dude let himself waste half a Friday night getting played for our enjoyment, all because he was too mad and too proud to think straight.
You’ll find a moral in that story if you compare it to the stupidity of my teenager ego. Several morals even:
* You don’t have to play by “the rules” just because somebody else expects it of you. Your possibilities aren’t dictated by other people’s expectations.
* A creative and clear-thinking head can always out-smart raw force.
* Acting like you’re in control when you have no power won’t get you far. But your pride might make you the punchline of somebody’s joke.
* A wise and patient soul always prevails over the blind pull of irrational emotion. It’s worth the trouble to cultivate the many virtues of self-control.
* The best way to win a fight is not to fight it.
Take it easy.
– Matt P