Archive for June of 2006

June 07, 2006
Knock-Kneed, Part 2

(... continued from Part 1.)

One evening in early February in the hotel where I often lived during the week at the time (still working on my project in Hannover), I called up a woman I had been seeing for a while, long enough that it was starting to Get Serious. And dear gawd, I was head over heels, hardly able to think straight, but she had been iffy about the relationship the entire time, always leaving me guessing about where I stood. So we spoke on the phone for a good while, sharing our thoughts and troubles as people will do, and then about two or three hours into this conversation she announced that she wasn't ready and couldn't go on any further and would be breaking it off with me, right then and there, a decision that apparently came to her on a whim while we were talking. I sure as hell must have said something wrong.

And that settled it for me. I needed to let out my aggressions, wanted to beat the crap out of the punching bag, but I had already used up my two trial workouts at the boxing school, so if I wanted to go again I had to join. But it wasn't just that -- I knew then that this was a calling, it was something that I must do.

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June 06, 2006
Knock-Kneed, Part 1

My friend Michael had been coming around every once in a while during the winter, the two of us daddies re-living our days of bachelor decadence whenever we could get a "night off". So between watching pornos and debating about the existence of an immortal soul, he would occasionally get up and start shadow boxing. Jab, jab, jab; block, duck; jab, hook, uppercut, body shot; "you've gotta do this," he panted to me out of the midst of a combination, "this is geil!" And then he'd go into his own variation on the Ali shuffle. Michael had been going to a boxing school for a while and he couldn't quit raving about it. "You've gotta know what this feels like, there's nothing else like it," he puffed, jab jab jabbing and shuffling, "one hour of training and you've gotta give it everything you've got, your T-shirt is soaked and the room stinks of everybody's sweat," shuffle, body shot, uppercut, "you use up every bit of your strength, and when it's over you've got an endorphine high that lasts you the rest of the night, there's nothing geiler in the world!"

All of my life I had thought of boxing as the stupidest sport anyone could imagine. Two people hitting each other in the head until one of them is unconscious, I would have been hard-pressed to come up with anything that seemed more ridiculous. I thought about Butch Coolidge finding out from Esmeralda Villalobos that he'd killed his opponent in the ring while I watched Michael put on his preposterous spectacle, trying to project all the contempt I could muster. "Come on, get up," he said, "let me show you some of the stuff we do." "No fuckin' way," I answered without moving, "I'll just watch." "Just try it," he insisted, "you gotta understand, this is like being re-born, it's a revelation, it's enlightenment! Look, just stand in front of me and hold your hands up, we use punch mitts for this in training but I'll just hit your open palms. This is called a pyramid; I start with one jab, then two, and work my way up to five, and then back down to one. Come on, I'll show you, and then you do it." And so I relented; there was no stopping him, resistance was futile. I stood up and took his punches in my hand; jab; jab, jab; jab, jab, jab; jab, jab, jab, jab; jab, jab, jab, jab, jab; "and now I count back down to one"; jab, jab, jab, jab; jab, jab, jab; jab, jab; JAB! "Now you try it," he said, holding up his open palms, and so feeling like a fool I started punching -- jab; jab, jab; jab, jab, jab ...

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