Growing up a short, funny, redhead dude, in desegregated schools, I now and then got my butt kicked. It taught me how not to treat people. It molded me into a mild mannered adult who is a bit cautious. So, as an adult, when only for two weeks, being known as a bad ass was a cool feeling. All the less empowered should have it, at least once.
I was working in a night club as an MC/Entertainer, when the owner and one a the bouncers, who everyone said was a “real bad-ass,” came into the office while I was filling out winner’s sheets for a Hawaiian Tropic Beauty Contest. When I heard them enter, I was standing by the desk. (Steve is the owner, Joe, the bad ass and it’s not their real names.)
“Look, Joe. I don’t care. It’s no ones fault.”
“But Steve, It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. I was just trying to help.”
“It doesn’t matter, Joe. Things like that happen, but your job is fine."
“But Steve, I didn’t do anything. I was trying to help.”
“It’s OK, Joe.”
It was getting heated and making me uncomfortable. I was now pretending to ignore the commotion, looking down at the desk and writing.
“Steve, I didn’t do it!”
“It’s OK. Joe. I have too much to do right now and it doesn’t really matter.”
“I didn’t do anything, that’s bullshit, Steve!”
The next thing I know, Steve and Joe have each other by the throat, pushing each other around the room and into walls. Things in the office are being knocked around and falling to the floor, so I drop my pen and try to calm the situation. Before I could, Steve punches Joe in the face, and Joe storms out with a big whelp on his eye.
Steve and I, who are very good friends, start to wonder, “how the hell did that just that happen.” I finish the winner’s sheets, take the stage, announce the winners, and a lovely lady in a bikini gets a trip to Hawaii to be a beauty queen.
When I left the stage, this is the story that got back to me.
Joe, after being punched in the face, went toward the front door and ran into another bouncer. He said, “Steve and Larry are assholes, they just jumped me in the office.”
“Yea, Steve and Larry.”
“Yea, Larry Hyatt.”
“No shit? Larry Hyatt?"
Joe then went to the doorman. “Steve and Larry just jumped me in the office.”
“No shit, Larry?”
Joe then went to the parking lot and told the head valet, “Steve just jumped me in the office,” that, the valet believed.
I was now a bad ass in the eyes of my peers, but wait there’s more. The next weekend I was off of work and a bunch of the employees went to another club in the next town. It was the first time I didn’t have a show in months, so I was having a great time watching other people on stage.
I was standing in the audience listening to the live music when Steve leans over and asks if I have a problem with the Thibodaux Police. Screaming over the music I say, “Not in Thibodaux, but I am wanted in ten states for unnatural sex acts.” Steve laughs and says, “OK, but there’s a cop staring at you.” I turn around and the police officer leans into me and says. “Excuse me, can you please step outside a moment?” I was confused.
I follow the cop toward the door, checking my pockets for something illegal someone might have put in there, and my friends all go along, wondering what the hell did Larry do now. Outside, the cop says, “I’m really sorry, but we’ve been told you people from “Illusions” are known to carry guns. Do you have a weapon on you?” My jaw drops and the group cracks up laughing. The cop, thinks me, the actor/entertainer, who couldn’t beat himself out of a wet paper bag, carries a gun. I said, “No man, I don’t have a gun,” and I went back inside, a few inches taller, being one badass mother. For two weeks after that, I brandished a banana that I carried in my sport coat. I had a “rep” and it felt good.
Until you’ve been beat, bad, because of the color of your skin or the way you talk, you cooked dinner with too much salt, you found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re a child, or any number of reasons people get hit, you might not understand the allure of being a bad ass. For the real bad asses in the world, be careful, you may run into a guy who’ll brandish his banana.