It was a cold Friday night in late December 2010. My good friend Dorman and I were looking for a place to hang out, somewhere that was rocking, a place we could have fun. He knew of a grimy karaoke bar where he’d been previously and always had fun.
For me, it was a stressful time. The previous year, my youngest child at the time had just gone through almost a full year of grueling chemotherapy after having surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor when he was only three months old. Although I wasn’t officially diagnosed with PTSD, the demands of getting a child through that while maintaining a job, a marriage, and taking care of another toddler certainly took it’s toll on me.
It was also the time of year for the fantasy football championship game. I played fantasy sports on and off in the early 2000s, but in 2006 I joined a pretty serious dynasty fantasy football league and dove in way too deep. In 2007, I won my first title. We moved to Alabama in 2008, so I sat out that year, but in 2009 I resumed my “career” and won my second title. By the end of the 2010 season, I was once again in the title game. By this time, I think fantasy football had become something in my life that was an escape, but also something that shackled me in a sense. It’s like I was jumping out of one prison and into another.
So, back to the karaoke bar. Dorman and I arrived a bit after 8pm and the place was bumping (or rocking or whatever people say). Traditionally I hadn’t been someone who hung out in crowds, but there I was. As the night went on, we were having a really good time just having drinks and listening to people, most of them drunk, try to sing. It was comedy more than art, as one might expect, but it was fun. I’m not a “big drinker” as you hear people say. Most days of my life I have one beer after my kids go to bed. Some people have a cola or coffee at night. I have a beer. I like the taste. I like to try new ones because there are literally hundreds of thousands of them.
By 10pm the karaoke bar was pretty full. There was walking room, but not much. As Dorman and I made our way from one side of the bar to the other to get a different perspective, I was slammed into by just a giant of a man. At first I would describe him as Biff Tannen from the motion picture Back to the Future, however this Goliath of a man was much larger. I would say he stood at least 6′ 4″ and probably weighed 290 lbs. He was essentially Biff Tannen on steroids and growth hormone.
As I regained my balance, like a running back getting obliterated by a gargantuan linebacker, my blood boiled. “Who did this little man think he was?” I said to myself as, in my mind, I had instantly grown from an average height, 165 lb man into Hulk Hogan. Moving forward with my new perception of myself as a WWE Superstar, I went up to the guy and gave him a huge shove, as a crazy person who is outweighed by his opponent by over 100 lbs would do right? Believe it or not, the shove actually moved the giant a bit, but not enough for him to care. He turned and looked at me with the most confused face I could imagine. I feel like by this time the record had screeched and the music had stopped and the entire place was staring at me.
Ironically enough, years earlier my friend Dorman had partaken in an all-out bar brawl that poured outside into the parking lot and ended up with the police showing up at this same karaoke bar, only at their other location. Once the bell rang on my match this night, the owner recognized Dorman and immediately asked us to leave. While I was still in an awkward Hulk Hogan vs Biff Tannen stare-down, Dorman had to forcefully, if not elegantly, usher me to the door.
I’m not proud of my behavior that night, but it definitely makes for a good story. I’m very lucky Biff wasn’t the brawling type or I may have been thrust down the length of the bar, taking all the drinks with me. As it was though, we were able to meet a peaceful resolution. Oh, I forgot to mention, I ended up losing the fantasy football title game that year, but went on to win titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.