I used to be a pretty puny kid.
In the sixth grade I’d already hit 5’6″, and I weighed right around 95 pounds. I was a stick. It was not a healthy, cut up, lean physique, either. I was a measly little sixth grader who got tossed around like a rag doll by bullies.
Weaknesses aside, I did have a talent of sorts. I was really good at pillow fighting. Years of church camps and practicing moves on my younger brothers had given me a keen eye, fast reflexes, and a finishing move that rivaled anything the creators of Mortal Kombat could have dreamed up.
Seventh grade wasn’t much better for me (some of you read my Twitter story about the first time I got slapped), but I did start putting on a little bit of weight.
As a seventh grader I wasn’t supposed to go to Kiamichi (the church camp for third through sixth graders), but because my parents were sponsors, I had to go. They couldn’t exactly leave me alone at the house for a week.
Naturally, being one of the oldest kids there, I took charge of the dorm in much the same way the Aryan Brotherhood takes control of a prison, only I wasn’t racist. I established my rule with violence, unfairness, and a general sort of all encompassing control.
One of my first orders of business was to establish the first annual Kiamichi Invitational Pillow Fight Tournament. And, as the founder of the tournament, I gave myself the top seed. I would preside over the tournament like Shao Kahn, and I would fight the winner.
I have to say, even though the tournament was immediately and forever banned from Kiamichi, it was the best pillow fight tournament ever fought on those hallowed grounds. Young men battled and fought their way to the top, leaving their battered victims muttering excuses to the adults like “Oh, I slipped and fell on a rock.”
The first rule of Pillow Fight Club is you don’t talk about Pillow Fight Club y’all.
And at last we had a winner, Tommy.*
Tommy was a scrapper, a measly sixth grade kid who may or may not have won his matches by incorporating biting into his pillow fights. All’s fair in love and pillow fights though, am I right?
So it had come down to this.
A crowd gathered around like a playground fight, the better to shield what was taking place from the prying eyes of well-meaning but ultimately overbearing adults who would rid us of our fun if they caught us.
It was a pillow fight for the ages. Tommy did try to bite, but I fended him off. I was spinning and ducking and dodging blows and teeth like a Shaolin monk, and I was pulling off some spectacular combo moves that left poor Tommy reeling.
Finally I did it. I landed a series of spinning roundhouse hits that put Tommy against the wall. After I was done he looked like this:
|He was, to put it in the words of today’s youth, “wobbled.”
So I moved in for my patented “finish him” move. Fatality style.
Now, I’ve told you all of this to tell you another crucial part of the story. If you’re desperate for the end bit, go ahead and skip this, but it won’t make much sense without it.
If any of you have ever been to church camp, you understand the importance of “packing light.” I think what this actually means is to pack as little as you possibly can, but in reality how people take it is to cram as much stuff as you can into the least amount of space taking luggage.
Being the industrious young man I was, I had taken the liberty of saving some space in my luggage by packing about four pairs of Wrangler jeans in another vessel.
In my pillow case.
To be completely honest, and I mean this guys, I swear, I had forgotten that I’d put the jeans in there. I really did. I would never have tried to win the Kiamichi Invitational with subversion and ill-begotten tactics, I was no biting Tommy after all.
Alright, back to Tommy, poor, wobbled Tommy, up against the ropes, and me coming in for the fatality.
I spun, ducked, and exploded up onto my toes, so I could bring every ounce of body weight I had into the blow. I brought the pillow up swiftly with a flick of the wrists (it’s all in the wrists guys), and I made solid contact with Tommy’s jaw.
Since we were poor growing up, I had a rock hard pillow anyway. I also had a homemade pillow case that was stitched together by my mother and would have held 1,000 pounds without coming apart. Now if you add those things together plus the fact that I had four pairs of hard as a rock denim packed in there, you get a pretty staggering result when you force uppercut someone on the jaw with it.
It wasn’t that bad.
But it did knock Tommy partly unconscious and wound up getting me into a world of trouble with a couple of sponsors who just happened to be my parents.
And thus ended two things: my reign over the boys dorm at Kiamichi, and the Kiamichi Invitational Pillow Fight Tournament.
* Tommy’s name has been changed to protect his privacy mostly because I’m friends with him on Facebook. I got the text message early Friday evening.
“Hey man, you still want to play?”
My reply: “Absolutely.”
The game in question? Dodgeball. The last time I’d played? Oh, about the 8th grade. 15 years ago, give or take a few. But in the 8th grade, I was a hero. Kids fought over me, because I could catch anything. It’s always been a gift of mine. I don’t know if it’s the large hands, the fast reflexes, or the double sided tape you ladies use for minimal boob exposure that I apply to my hands before each athletic performance. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. But I was good, y’all. Very good.
So I jumped at the chance to play as a grown up. It was an all day tournament thing, we were guaranteed at least 3 games, one warm up, two for realsies. We got more if we won, so naturally we wanted to get our money’s worth. We had some pretty athletic looking dudes on our team…and then me. I’m not what you’d call “in shape” unless the shape you’re talking about is round.
We lined up for the first game, the ref said go, and I walked up to the boundary line, not in any rush to get a ball first. I don’t throw all that well, and I am sure as sugar not going to win any foot races to get a ball. I’m just sort of standing there, looking around, and someone hurls a ball at me. I dodge it. I have successfully completed the rules of the namesake! However, someone else hurled a ball at me. It came straight for my chest.
I caught it.
Then I caught another one. Then one more, and we won the game.
Those of you that follow me on Twitter and Facebook kind of know how it went from there, so I’ll hit the highlights.
- We lost our second game, but battled back from the loser’s bracket to fourth place.
- There were 3 games when it was me against 6 people. We won 2 of those games.
- I actually threw a couple of people out.
- I had a black guy come up to me in the parking lot after and tell me he was jealous of my skills.
- It was for real a black guy.
- I had a guy come up to me after a game and say, “You can catch, mother f*cker.”
- I had a pregnant mother come sit by me because I was catching balls on the sidelines.
- I got a couple of offers from other teams for next year.
- Ripley’s wound up calling. They couldn’t believe it.
- I only heard the phrase “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” 457 times.
- Seriously. It was a black guy.
So, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m a pretty dang fine dodgeball player.
And the weekend didn’t stop there. Saturday afternoon I got to go fishing with The Groom, who hasn’t been in about 2 years. He caught four fish. I caught none. I’ve been fishing 3 times this year, I’ve reeled in zero fish.
Then on Sunday night, our church had a “Barn Dance.” I know you’re thinking, “Southern Baptists, dancing?” And that’s mostly what I thought too. But I have to tell you, I had a blast. Plus, I looked like this.
|Fellas, hide your gals. And your chickens.
It was a great weekend, but I’ll be real honest. I feel like I’ve been hit with a truck. I could barely get out of bed this morning. Maybe I need to start exercising again instead of eating massive quantities of Mexican food and playing Words with Friends on my iPad 2. When the weather warms up, there will definitely be more tennis, that’s for sure.
So listen, if you need a dodgeball teammate, you give me a yell. Also, if you need a sexy cowboy, you give me a yell. But only iffen you’re a fine lil lady. No dudes allowed.*
Hey, y’all also need to tell me if you like the Facebook Comment thing. I think it makes it easier to comment, plus you can do Anon if you don’t want the world knowing your real name. Let me know what you think!
*Maybe if the money is right. Some restrictions apply.*
*No gay sex. That’s the restriction. I figured I owe y’all an update.
You know, on the whole sparring in Tae Kwon Do thing.
Tuesday night I fought a 14 year old. Before you judge me, this kid is a recommended black belt, 6 feet tall, 220 pounds, has a deeper voice than me and a better mustache. I’m telling ya, it’s the hormones in the chicken.
We got in the ring, and he started “taking it easy” on me. So I popped him one in the ear hole. That’s all he needed. He came at me. Hit me pretty hard, and I smiled at him and said, “There it is!” We fought pretty evenly. It’s hard to declare a winner in sparring. I will say this though, at the end of 2 minutes, I’m exhausted.
So last night they put me against this 45 year old spry little ginger kid. When we came to the middle to bump gloves, I remember thinking, “Geez, those things are huge. I hope he can’t hit hard.”
He can, and he did. I went in big and easy, and he hit me three times before I even knew what was happening. From there, it degraded into a series of blows that wound up getting me punched in the lip on accident. I started bleeding. Strangely enough, I didn’t get mad. I got focused. I went back in after him and got him in a clench, then I caught him square on the jaw with a full force blow.
It didn’t focus him. He had to take a knee.
Then the 30 second bell rang, and we both thought the match was over. They had to talk us into fighting for 30 more seconds. We danced around a bit, but both of us had seemed to reach a silent agreement to not put anything into the punches. We went mostly body shots. At the end of the fight, I shook his hand, thanked him for making me bleed, and talked about how I wanted to make sure I eventually got gloves like him.
I will say this though.
I like fighting.
I’m going to keep doing it.
Thank you guys for all of your support and the comments I got. It’s nice to see that even though I haven’t remained extremely loyal to this blog, I still have a faithful few who take time out of their day to let me know how they feel. Tip of the cap to y’all, and I hope you have a GREAT weekend.
I know I will. I’m going to see if The Missus will spar with me.
I’m totally going to kick her ass.
Hi! My name is Travis, I am a 27 year old, red blooded, hormone fueled, egotistical, smart ass American male.
You throw all of these things together, and one thing would be assumed about me so quickly, quietly, and easily that it would never be brought up unless I did it. And when I brought it up, you’d act very surprised, and look at me kind of differently.
I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never taken a swing at anyone, I’ve never beat anyone up, I’ve never had my ass kicked.
I’ve never seen the point in it. I don’t like watching UFC fights on TV, and I don’t care for watching boxing or any kind of fighting unless it’s in the movies. With my size, there aren’t a lot of people who would start something with me, and if someone does get antsy, I beat them verbally before it ever comes to words.
I’m a lover, not a fighter. Make love, not war. All that hippie BS. I don’t buy into that, I’d just rather not fight. I’m not one of those guys that says, “Oh, I don’t fight because I’m scared of what I’ll do, also I have a 15 inch penis.” I hate those guys. I don’t fight because I don’t like confrontation. You want to fight? Let’s play Scrabble.
As some of you know, I’m taking the Tae Kwon Do. As some of you might figure out, taking a martial arts class eventually involves…sparring.
That happened last night.
I was given some headgear and some hand pads, and I was tossed into the ring for 2 minutes.
Rocky. A 50+ male who has trouble standing up straight and who can’t walk real well.
Yeah, he was the only one in my “weight class.”
The bell rang, and I went out and waited on him, bound and determined that I wasn’t going to hit him first unless he hit me. Them’s the rules of the street, people. Thug life and what not. We just sort of danced around each other, then he came in with it. Only, I thought he came in with it. Turns out, he was just kind of stumbling forward a little bit, and is fist kind of moved towards me.
So I punched his fist and then popped him one on the earhole.
I don’t think Rocky ever really recovered from that, but he finally came after me. The whole time, the instructor is yelling, “TURN LOOSE THAT RIGHT ARM, ROCKY!” If he ever turned it loose, I don’t remember. All I know is that at the end of 2 minutes, I was exhausted, and I’m pretty sure I had won.
If I had any doubts about winning, the CPR they had to do on Rocky cleared them up somewhat, then the EMS workers that tried to revive him removed them completely.
I’m kidding. I didn’t kill the guy.
We got out of the ring, I sat down, and I realized that maybe I didn’t want to do Tae Kwon Do anymore. I just don’t like the fighting. When I got dressed to leave, one of the assistant instructors said, “You have amazing control with your hands.”
“It comes from many years of chronic masturbation.”
I didn’t say that…
But seriously, what should I do? Will the dislike of fighting eventually fall by the wayside? Or will I feel bad about hitting someone every single time I get in the ring? I don’t want to throw money away every month if I’m not going to eventually learn how to hit someone without feeling bad. And how bad am I going to feel when I get my ass kicked? I’m pretty sure there’s no crying in Tae Kwon Do.
And so I’m at an impasse, the proverbial “fight or flight.” I have to make a decision, and I have no idea what I’m going to do.
(Hey y’all. This little thing is called Memoir Monday, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a shot. Just jot down a story about yourself, grab my code down there, and I’ll link you up to be read by all my wonderful blog buddies. The only rule? It has to be true. I am personally doing what I can to help cure your case of the Mondays. Thanks for playing along!)
I’ve always had this sort of uncanny accidental accuracy when it comes to throwing things. If you gave me a baseball and set me in a field full of babies and told me to hit one of them with the ball, I will somehow miss all the babies completely, and instead land the ball squarely on the base of the Eiffel Towel, triggering a hairline fracture that will cause it to come crashing to the ground, killing approximately 5,345 people.
Tell me NOT to hit a baby, I would undoubtedly try to set the ball down as gently as possible, the ball would slip from my hands, bounce off of a trampoline and would somehow strike each child in the field not only in the head, but in the soft part of the head, thus giving each of them permanent brain damage, and giving me the opportunity to spend the rest of my life in prison where I will be violently gang raped by “The Sisters.” And no, I won’t be able to come up with a fancy line about how sharp instruments trigger a bite reflex, thus saving my virginity.
Allow me to give you a few examples.
When I was about 10, I was involved in a game of “jarts” (lawn darts) with my younger brother at my grandparents house, only we were playing with a twist. The twist was that in order for you to successfully score a point, you had to make sure the jart cleared my grandfather’s Buick Regal. Oh. And you had to make the throw standing about 4 feet from the car. Oh. And no overhand throws. So I wound up, I let it fly, and that jart flew right at the WINDOW of my grandfather’s beloved car. Instead of crashing through the window, the jart hit the metal trim just above it, denting it rather badly, and fell to the ground.
I pissed myself, y’all. Scary accuracy.
Then there was the time I decided I liked a girl in my second grade class. She was beautiful, and her name was Lacy. I was going to marry Lacy, all I had to do was figure out a way to propose. I thought long and hard about it, and then I decided that the best way to propose would be to hurl rocks at her whilst she was swinging during recess. I got a neat little pile of rocks, David style, and set up camp by the monkey bars. I turned loose the first rock, it sailed high into the air, looked a little long, then caught her square in the temple as she was swinging up into the air. This caused her to turn loose of the chains on the swing, which caused her to complete a series of rather astonishing in-air acrobatics before finally coming to a rest about 10 feet from the swing set.
I can’t really put into words the amount of trouble I got in for that. Also, she declined my proposal.
Then there was the time I decided to have a dirt clod fight with a kid in the 5th grade. We armed ourselves and went into positions, ducking, running slant routes, taking aim. I fired first, and with laser guided missile like accuracy, the clod found the kid’s head. Instead of exploding on impact the way dirt clods are SUPPOSED to do, this kid’s head immediately started gushing blood. Turns out, instead of a dirt clod, I’d armed myself with a really dirty rock.
It took a few stitches, but he’s fine now. Seriously. He only had to repeat 5th grade three times.
Fast forward to present day, which was actually about 3 months ago. I had just started playing tennis seriously, and I was ready to take on my youngest brothers, The Liar and The Youngest, in a doubles game in which Kid Funk would be my partner. The first set was over, Kid Funk and I victorious, and we were setting up for the second set, and The Youngest started talking crap. I took aim carefully, and I hit an incredible forehand…right into the eye of the The Liar, who had just stood up from looking at his phone. The eyeball, y’all. His cornea immediately filled with blood, and he had to be rushed to the ER, and to this day he claims he can’t see good out of that eye.
All I’m saying is, if you want it hit on accident, give me a call. If you gave me two lawn darts and told me NOT to hit anything in the Middle East for fear of starting war, you’d find Bin Laden two day’s later, dead on the ground with a jart sticking out of his femoral artery.
Other Walks Down Memory Lane. (GO READ THEM!)
Ally’s Memoir Monday.
Madmother’s Memoir Monday: Everyone Needs A Monty.
I started taekwondo last Thursday night.
I weigh 300 pounds.
Really, that should be the end of the post, and y’all should ideally be lying on the floor in fits of laughter that might actually cause you to have a small stroke, requiring a minimal hospital stay but no permanent damage to any speech patterns or facial muscles.
But I’m going to keep telling the story.
I walk in to a room approximately the size of a bathroom in a really small Wal-Mart. In this room are about 50 people, most of them 5 year olds who are busy kicking the dog crap out of each other in a sparring ring. Behind them are parents yelling things like, “HIT HIM, TOMMY! HIT HIM! HIT HIM!
They were a classy bunch.
I pay for my lessons and am issued a uniform.
Well, half of a uniform. You see, I’m still too fat for a top. So I’m given a pair of pants that would have made MC Hammer jealous, and…
…a 12 foot long belt that is as white as the driven snow.
12 feet long, y’all. 12 feet. I know because I measured it. All I’m sayin is, that belt could probably be helping with the oil spill in some way.
Go dip that belt in the gulf, bring it back to me, I now have a black belt AND some of the oil is out of the ocean! That’s win, win folks.
So I get out on the mat and very quickly become reacquainted with my toes. Stretching. So much stretching. Everyone is yelling and saying “YES SIR!” to this 15 year old kid yelling back at us in a voice that I’m sure he borrowed from Michael Clarke Duncan, telling us there needed to be more yes sirs. Then he moved on to knuckle push-ups, and I decided I really hated him.
Finally, the group of experienced kids (yes, I’m in a teenage class. Put the phone down, Chris Hansen, it’s legit) moved on to the sparring ring, and left me all alone with a 10 year old ginger kid. (phone. down.) This kid reminded me of the little boy from Calvin and Hobbes, only Calvin would have totally whipped this kid’s butt.
The instructor starts yelling at us to do stuff, mostly punching and kicking. Since this is exactly how I throw a fit when The Missus doesn’t give me my way, I was pretty good at it. The whole time, she’s yelling at us to yell when we throw a punch or kick, which I don’t really understand. I thought she was saying “KIA!” so at first it kind of went like this.
Me: ?? *clumsy punch
Me: Spectra! *okay punch
Me: Optima! *really in a groove punch
Me: Sorento! *this punch had the force of a Sorento driven at 50 MPH into a brick wall
We finally got it lined out when she explained that I didn’t have to yell out car models, all I had to do was make a noise. Apparently, when you strike someone, if you yell a lot, it scares them, causing them to run away and call their mother. Cussing and farting don’t count as noises though, so I was a tad disappointed, because I’m really good at both of those while doing any kind of strenuous exercise.
I DESTROYED this little kid when it came to yelling, y’all. He didn’t even know what to do. He just stared at me, and I’m pretty sure my yelling made him cry a little bit and he looked over at his mom a lot. Guess the instructor was right. I’m also pretty sure I could have taken him in a fight, and I was wicked upset that I didn’t get to spar with him.
What? We’re the same color belt! It’s allowed!
We did a few combos, and although I wasn’t given a bow staff or numchucks, I think I did alright. I didn’t split those pants, the belt only fell off twice, and I didn’t hear anyone laughing about the fat guy out on the mat scaring the piss out of a 10 year old. I think it will get easier, and I think I’ll eventually have a lot of fun with it.
The taekwondo, y’all. Not the ginger kid.
*Editor’s note: Last night was my second night, and the ginger kid showed back up, so I guess I didn’t scare him off. It was MUCH easier, and I totally learned how to do a proper knife chop to the throat with a spinning knife chop turn. I’m like E. Honda, y’all!
(Hey guys and gals. It’s Memoir Monday time! This is where you write down a story about yourself, steal my button down there, drink a beer, and call it all a win. The only rule is that it has to be true, other than that, there are no rules. I need you to join this week! Once you post, let me know, and I will link you up down there for all my kick ass bloggy followers to go and read! Y’all are the greatest, and I love you. If you want to see all the Memoir Monday posts, just click on the brand new button!! I’d also like to add here that this would be the ORIGINAL Memoir Monday, not any of this other supah bullshit copy meme stuff. So yeah. Imitation and flattery and all that jazz, right?)
Most of you know how I was brought up. Very religious, very strict, but I have to say, I had it better than most folks. My dad never punched me or put out cigarettes on my arms, although he did shake me once.
In all fairness, I was about 15, and I deserved it. I also learned a valuable lesson. When you choose to finally bo up to your father, make sure you’re not standing IN a shed, with him at the door. When he got a hold on me, he said, “Son, the day you choose to fight your father will be the day that you are wrong. It will also be the day you get your butt KICKED.”
I believed him.
My mom has never stolen money from me for drugs, and has never had a “How Many Dudes Can I Bang Tonight/Tupperware” party at her house.
My parents were strict, but they loved me, and I’m incredibly grateful for the way I was raised.
But anyway, my dad was on the school board. It was a hard fought campaign, and he won by a pretty good margin. He served as the vice president until his death.
I was kind of a calm kid, but I liked attention. I was never “cool” or “popular.” I was of the mid level ilk, and I was just fine with that. I fit in with everybody. I was the Ellen Degeneres of my high school. Only, you know, not gay.
I was in the band.
[insert band nerd joke here]
Say what you will, but I was a MEAN trumpet player. First chair, baby! To this day, I can still play “Wipe Out” with no sheet music whatsoever. I was LEGIT.
Our band teacher was someone who liked to cry a lot. She was pretty cool as band teachers go, but for sure, if you so much as blew a wrong note, she’d cry like she’d just sat on a thumbtack…which happened one time. (I was not at fault)
Band geeks are pretty much just that. Retarded. You’ve all heard of my experience with seeing boobs for the first time on a band bus. If you haven’t, click that sentence. I even illustrated it for you, although I must say, it’s probably not something you want your boss seeing.
One day, I was walking to the band room, and I was running a bit late. Some smart ass idiot freshman thought it would be funny to lock me out of the room and make me tardy. Since I didn’t want to be tardy, and since I was a pretty big guy, I decided to use some intimidation tactics.
“IF YOU DON’T LET ME IN THERE, I WILL KICK THE DOOR DOWN!”
Instead of making the kid open the door, it had the opposite effect.
“Oh my god, kick it down, Travis! Kick it down!” “Yeah! Kick it down!” “That would be so cool! Kick it down!””You won’t do it, Travis. You won’t!”
Now listen. This was right around the time that I discovered Jet Li. I was HOOKED, y’all. I mean, I watched that man kick so much ass in Lethal Weapon 4, and Romeo Must Die was about to come out, and I was a FAN. Plus, I’d pretty much been triple dog dared into doing it. And you don’t back down from that.
This was the opportunity I had been waiting for.
So I backed up a bit, then I flew at that door foot first and I gave it THA BIDNESS.
I don’t really know what I was expecting. Actually, I do. I was expecting to be bounced back by a sturdily placed door. But that isn’t what happend.
The door FLEW off the frame like it had been hit by a tornado. Kids were screaming, the teacher was screaming, wood chips were flying, I’m pretty sure the door hit a trombone player with the deadbolt.
SHIT. WAS. EPIC.
The band teacher started crying and making the sign of the cross, and I’m just standing there in the doorway, basking in it all, watching as little nerd band girls said, “Take me now you big strong brute” and licking their flutes suggestively, while the trombone player is noticing that he’s going to need a key to operate his instrument now, and it was…GLORIOUS. But at the same time, I knew…I was IN TROUBLE.
I figured since dad was on the school board, it wouldn’t be too bad, and I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I got sent to alternative school for a week AND had to pay for the door, all because my dad wanted to make an example out of me for the other students.
I never did get to see Romeo Must Die until after my dad died. I think that’s what hurt the most.
But I tell you what, watching those little nerdy band girls stare at me in awe while I stood 10 feet tall in that doorway was one of the best moments of my life.
Other Non-Broken Doorways To Memory Lane This Week: (GO READ THEM!)
Quixotic’s Memoir Monday: So You Think You Can Dance?
Josh’s Memoir Monday: But I Hate Coffee.
Angel’s Memoir Monday: I Just Had To Tell This One.
Kate’s Memoir Monday: My Favorite Smell. **ROOKIE**