Monday, August 02, 2021


To appropriately steal the name of a song from a 1997 Biggie Smalls album - I got a story to tell.

For the past few weeks, I had been thinking back to the spring and summer of 1997. I suppose the main reason why my mind has travelled back to that period is after writing about how much I enjoyed the Canada versus USA angle that played on WWF TV back then.

Anyway, one of the things I thought back to - in regards to my own life - is about a little bit of trouble my big mouth brought me one night at a local nightclub.

As was always the case - a congregation of partiers from the sixth form college I attended were there with my friends and I that night. 

Friends of those acquaintances came along as well. One was a boyfriend of a girl who was in my A-Level English Literature class. 

If I recall correctly, this lad was a year or so older than us. While standing at the bar waiting to buy drinks, I drunkenly told him that he looked like Travis Nash, who was - at that time - a character from the Australian soap, Home and Away.

The bloke did not like me saying that at all and started a fight with me. His friends and mine pulled us both apart to stop us - or rather him, because I was trying to cool him down - from fighting inside the nightclub. 

Their plan worked. 

But sometimes the best plans have terrible results.

After a gang of bouncers showed up, the opponent and myself were ejected from the premises. Together.

Once outside, the guy said 'you've gotten me thrown out'. That sentence was followed by a headbutt that sent me to the ground. 

I got back up to try and stop the assault but was met by a punch. At this point, I turned to try and get back into the club only to find the bouncers had closed the doors and had their backs turned to me. I knocked the window, but they ignored my pleas. 

Another punch sent me crashing to the ground. I got back up before being felled again. By this point, a few of my friends had managed to get the doors opened and they were outside with me. I remember looking up to see my best friend tell me to 'stay down'. 

Then a kick came my way.

Another friend ended up being punched by my new foe. 

I can't recall how it all ended other than the guy, realising I had backup, knew he had done enough damage and left the area.

I was a mess. Even to this day, I remember looking at my hand and seeing a little bit of blood on it. I didn't know where it had came from. I still don't!

When I made it home, everyone else in my family was asleep. My head and face was hurting, so I thought I'd put some ice cubes on it while I went to sleep. 

Remember when I wrote that sometimes the best plans have terrible results? We didn't have any ice cubes prepared in the freezer. 

I settled for a frozen red pepper and tried to sleep off the pain.

The beat down gave me fifteen minutes of fame at college hours later. A crowd of students knew the story before I walked through the gates. I even had people I had never spoken to before come up to me and ask about the events that had unfolded in the early hours of that morning. 

A couple of nights later, we were back out. Another club. This one was not my favourite joint. In fact - it still remains the establishment I dislike the most whenever I think back to all the old places we used to hang out back then.

On this occasion, somebody who was a year older than me throughout school was with us because he was close friends with a few of my friends. 

Anyway, to cut a long story short - guess who happened to show up that night? Yes - my new nemesis. He noticed me sitting down at one end of the barroom and shouted a threat my way.

The guy who was tagging along with us for the night was the first to react by standing up and issuing his own threat to him.

It was at this point, while I told our friend to sit down, that I realised the situation was getting out of hand. People around me were being dragged into my - or rather OUR - mess. 

I had to fix it.

And so I did.

The next time I came face-to-face with the guy, I approached him with the aim of reaching some sort of pax. We shook hands and then that was it. No more hostility on his part and no more fear on my part of another beating or - even worse - of friends/acquaintances being involved in any backlash.

Whenever we'd see each other at clubs after that, and it was quite rare, we'd be okay with each other. I even recall one night when he was out with the girl from my English class and all three of us had a bit of a chat.

Years later, after leaving college, I found out that the couple was expecting a child. Then - one afternoon, while watching a World Cup 2002 game at a pub with friends, I looked out the window and saw my old foe with his new baby.

He was carrying the child in a sling across his chest and I thought I'd go out to say hello. I then stopped and decided to leave him be. 

No one with me knew the story from five years earlier, so I sat there for a minute or two afterwards thinking how times had changed. He certainly seemed in a different place with new responsibilities. 

I didn't even know the guy well at all, but I did get a sense that he had chilled out and was taking to his new role.

That was the last time I saw him.

It'll be the last time.

A few weeks ago, I wondered to myself what he was up to nowadays. I typed his name into Google. His face popped up on an images search, so I clicked on it.

It led me to a page with information for his funeral from five years ago. According to the brief obituary, he had passed away suddenly. 

There was a picture of him with his wife (not the girl from my English Literature class). As well as that, there was a picture of three children. 

Seeing those pictures once again made me reminisce about how the guy from 1997 contrasted with the person he had seemingly become. Unlike that time seeing him pass by the window while the World Cup game was going on, It wasn't a positive feeling.

I feel so bad for them. 

And for him.

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