Archive for August, 2008

The Art of Being Bas Ruten

Bas Ruten is a bad-ass. He’s fought mixed martial arts for years, and now is a successful commentator. Here are some excerpts from his self-defense videos.

I love Bas Ruten, but if I tried any of these things on a guy like Bas Ruten, a guy like Bas Ruten would swallow me whole. While I don’t advocate using many the Bas Ruten techniques, it’s very entertaining.

I showed you that to you to show you this. I have no idea who these goofballs are, but if you try one of these moves on someone like Bas Ruten, Bas Ruten will do to you what Bas Ruten does.

Imagine spitting soda in Bas Ruten’s face, as these guys advocate. How long do you think it would be before you woke up and in what hospital?

Why bring all this up? Bas Ruten is the yardstick that I measure self-defense techniques by. If a technique might work against Bas Ruten, it might just work against someone else.

I was specifically thinking of the defense against the choke that the above goofs use. If I poke my finger in Bas Ruten’s neck, Bas Ruten will break my arm and punch me in the face with it.

My advice, whenever possible, is to de-escalate the situation. If Bas Ruten chokes me and I simply duck under his arms and pop up on the other side (my first line of defense of choice against that attack), I’m going to get out of Bas Ruten’s choke. He’s going to laugh. And he might even buy me a beer.

De-escalation with a happy ending.

Act Like A Man

Riding mower. Mowing. In the dark. I hit a stump.

The mower wobbled. Sparks flew from under the deck. Something broke. Bent blade.

I tried to fix it the easy way this afternoon. I lifted the tractor on some cynder blocks and raised the deck. Crawling under and using two adjustable wrenches, I tried to straighten the blade. It didn’t work.

“I’m going to have to take the deck off,” I told myself.

This is something I’ve avoided for the three years that I’ve owned the John Deere. Removing the mower deck, my brother-in-law told me, is a royal pain in the ass. “It’s why I don’t use my plow attachment.”

Oh. Boy.

Two two-by-fours, seven quick-release pins, and 10 minutes later (most of it worrying that things were going too smoothly), the deck was off and resting on my garage floor. It’s much lighter than I thought. Carrying it out of the garage and onto the lawn was, as Randy would say, “Easy, squeezy, Japan-eezy.”

In the next half hour, not only was I able to straighten the blade, I even sharpened both blades using my handy-dandy Dremel.

The deck went on easier than it came off. No extra parts. Nothing came flying off on the test run. I’ll be damned.

Why do I tell you that story? A story where nothing happened? Because doing something like that makes me feel like a man. I feel like I really did something. Something a man should do.

I told my wife the news. I seriously expected her to rip her clothes off and say, “Take me.”

She didn’t.

I drank a beer instead.

Well. Fuck.

One In the Ass

Georgie looked up and said, “Hey, Jim, there you are. Where the hell have you been?”

“I thought maybe you guys were still eating lunch, so I went up to the lounge. I saw a couple of guys I know. One of the guys was the first guy that ever stuck his finger up my ass,” I answered.

This is the beauty of guys. No one flinched. No one asked a follow-up question nothing except for a quick one-liner from Georgie. “Oh, it must have been a school principal. Of course.”

To explain Georgie’s joke, we were playing in a charity golf tournament run by the local school administrative and supervisor types. The whole place was crawling our school system’s potentates.

I’d been looking for Georgie and the other two guys I was playing golf with. I caught up with them on the practice tee.

Funny guy, that Georgie.

But I wasn’t joking. There, eating lunch with an old friend, was a guy that, 26 years ago, got me alone, talked me out of my pants, and then, when I was distracted, shoved his finger in my ass.

You see, I was 18-years-old — a young, naive 18 — and I didn’t know what to expect. I was trusting. He loosened my belt, touched my belly, had me take my pants off and lay down. I didn’t know how to say, “No. I’m scared.” I was trusting.

He asked me to turn to my side. I did. And then he did the unspeakable. I was violated.

Dr. Cuozzo had big hands too. Long fingers. Like you wouldn’t believe.

He said my prostate was fine. At that point, I wasn’t worried about my prostate. I was worried about my dignity.

I didn’t go back to Dr. Cuozzo. The next time I had belly pains, I went to Dr. Kim. Small hands. Like shaking a dog’s paw.

Club Championships – 2nd Round

Par. Bogey. Par.

Three-putt bogey at the 2nd hole put me one down in my match. But my up-and-down par at the 3rd evened it back up. All square after three.

Bogey. Par. Birdie.

Another three-putt bogey, this time at the 5th put me one down again. The “gimme” birdie at 6 brought me all square again.

Par. Par. Par.

Nice run to complete the front side, but Fitzy’s birdie at the 7th left me one down after nine.

Par. Par. Par.

Parring the 10th and 11th beat Fitzy’s two bogeys giving me a one hole lead after the twelfth. One up with six left to play.

Par. Par. Eagle.

My best run. My par at the 14th bested Fitzy’s disappointing bogey. But my eagle at the par 5 15th bested Fitzy’s incredible birdie. I’m three holes up with three holes to play. Dormie.

Double bogey. Bogey. Par.

I lost every hole. Fitzy is quite a competitor. All square. Extra hole sudden death. First man to win a hole wins the match and moves on to play Rock in the semi-finals of the club championship.

:::

1st Hole of Sudden Death – Par 4

Fitzy blows his drive a little right, being sure to steer clear of the ominous Out of Bounds on the left. His 260-yard drive (into a wind) leaves him 120 yards to the pin from the right rough.

My 285-yard drive leaves me inside 90 yards with a perfect angle to attack the pin.

Fitzy hits his ball safely on the green, pin high right. He’s got a 25-footer for birdie.

My shot is a simple punch sand wedge. Several weeks ago you could have spread a blanket on the green and I’d have landed my ball on it from this distance. Lately, I’ve lost the touch a little.

At the top of my backswing the know-it-all inside my head says, “Hey, dipshit. You’re into the wind. Make sure you hit it hard enough.”

This bit of late advice causes me to jerk a little bit at the ball from the top and I pull it 20 feet left of my target.

We both 2-putt for par.

2nd Hole of Sudden Death – Par 5

Fitzy smother hooks his drive and is lucky his ball didn’t run out into the out of bounds fence. It travels some 230 yards and leaves him an opening between some trees to push the ball forward.

My drive splits the fairway, 295 yards, leaving me a six iron to the green.

Fitzy hits a ball that luckily avoids a sand trap that would have left him an awkward 50-yard bunker shot. Instead, it kicks right and sets up for a nice 50 yard pitch.

I hook my six iron 30 yards left of my target leaving me a relatively simple pitch-and-run shot over the fattest part of the green.

Fitzy hits a big time wedge to four feet. My ball doesn’t release as far as I’d like. I have a 10-footer left for birdie.

My putt loses steam and doesn’t hold its line and dives right at the last moment. Fitzy gives me the par and then drains his four-footer.

I lose.

:::

Fitzy has genuine compliments for me. Says it’s the best match he’s ever played. The most fun.

“Neither one of us deserved to lose, Jimmy,” he says as we shake hands.

I stop him. “Bob, you birdied two of the last three holes. You beat me. You deserve to move on. You played a gutty last six holes and played some incredible wedge shots under pressure. I appreciate your sentiment, but you deserve the win.”

He ended telling me that it was an honor playing with a “gentleman” like me. He was sincere. It gives me chills. I show him.

:::

This is golf and it’s how I play: I don’t root against my opponent. Ever.

When my opponent is in trouble, I urge him on. When he has to make a tough putt, I tell him, “Knock it in the hole.” When he plays a gutty shot, I compliment him. When he sinks a long putt, I smile and congratulate him. I’m sincere. I think it shows.

At least Fitzy noticed.

And that’s a victory for me.

:::

Oh, and if you’re keeping score at home. That was a 2-over-par 74 with my swing under the most pressure that it will be under all year.

In 20 holes of golf today, I had 14 pars, 3 bogeys, 1 double-bogey, 1 birdie, and 1 eagle.

I don’t like losing, but that’s a good shooting. And it took two birdies on the last three holes to beat me.

I’m a little down in the dumps now, but I can hold my head high.

:::

Good luck, Fitzy.