Blogging The Harper Way 2: Badass (Chapter 3)
Know this, Web Buddies: If I say my Dad can beat up your Dad, I've done my research.
When I was a wee lass of but 13 summers, my Dad started taking me to the shooting range. I've had big, big problems with guns pretty much forever and, back then, that fear bled into every fucking aspect of my life. For instance, I couldn't watch certain movies and TV shows because they had gun play in them, and simply anticipating seeing it play out would throw me into a massive fucking panic attack. The same went for video games and books, too. I was a complete, neurotic fucking mess.
So, in an effort not to make me love guns, but to make it so I didn't malfunction if they were simply mentioned, Dad decided we'd be spending every Saturday morning over that summer at the shooting range. You have to understand; Being a detective on his level means also being kind of an expert on the subject of human behavior. Couple that with the stone cold fact that my family functions best when thrown into the deep end, and you can see why he figured that 'bring her to the fear' was the best option for me.
I wasn't going to the range to shoot guns. I was going to get a crash course on guns and gun safety from a certified, award-winning marksman and, in turn, to gain a level of comfort I'd likely never achieve going it all alone. And his methodology worked fucking wonders, it really, really did! I wasn't recoiling at the sound of every shot fired, I wasn't getting tunnel vision and cold sweats seeing the butt of the gun, nor was I bursting into a full-blown panic upon seeing the weapon itself.
I still didn't like them, of course (nor do I now, even though I fucking carry one), but I could live with them. I could live with the fact that they weren't going to take my life just by existing. Plus, I could finally watch "Pulp Fiction" and just enjoy the shit out of it. I could play "Resident Evil" and not use the fucking combat knife exclusively (yes, that’s how I played it). It was awesome, and I'm thankful for it every single day of my life.
Anyhoo, back on my main topic, after Dad and I had been going to the range for a few weeks and things were beginning to look up for me, we had a morning that really didn't go all that well. It split to Shitsville, as a matter of fact. Funnily enough, the guns themselves had fuck all to do with it. No, it was all the handful of other shooters' fault that that fucking day dove into the outhouse nose first.
At the start of the day, everybody was having kind of an awesome time, and we were all lobbing jokes Hail Mary. But our new friends were anything but friends, a fact they let us in on the moment they started in on some horribly, purposefully, viciously racist, unfunny, bullshit 'jokes'. I could tell Dad was getting ready to erupt (which is never good for anyone), but was actually doing a bang up job of keeping it to himself. Instead, he kindly (though sternly) asked the men to cool it with the overt racism.
Wouldn't ya' know, one of them almost immediately answered thus (and I'll never forget the pride on his stupid, pasty, piggly face as he said it):
"Hey, little girl - Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a n****r by the toe! They teach you that one in school yet?"
I was so stunned and appalled that I couldn't find the words to answer him. I just gawked and gasped as the usually fine-tuned 'fuck you' portion of my brain crapped out entirely. Dad, on the other hand, quietly packed up our stuff and ushered me out to the car, no doubt hoping like hell to avoid the scene that followed as the confederacy of dunces followed us, continuing their verbal assault as we hurried through the parking lot.
Dad's fists were clenching and releasing like they always do before he goes off the deep end, and he was gritting his teeth and breathing as deeply as he could. I half expected him to start growling like Wolverine, but that didn't happen. Instead, he stayed quiet, but picked up the pace a little bit, causing me to lag behind ever so slightly. Seemed he was keen on not letting his brain damage take over that day. I can't imagine how difficult that is.
That, of fucking course, is when the morons decided to seal their stupid, stupid fate.
One of them caught up and grabbed me by the shoulder, saying "What's-a-matter? You got a n****r mama or somethin'?" as he kind of tugged me to a stop. Without a single word of warning, Dad shot at him like a rocket and drove his elbow down on the bridge of the guy's fucking nose, sending a thunderous, crackling ‘POP’ out into the wind. A pop that was soon swallowed up by the man's pained shrieks.
If he hadn't earned what he got, I'd've felt bad for him.
Then, as if they had a death wish, his two buddies decided it was time to play the Billy Badass game and go after Dad. The first guy took a wild swing, but Dad dodged it like a fucking champ. The other guy swung at almost that exact moment, but only managed to slug Pops' shoulder. Now, in case you didn't know, in a fist fight, foot placement is fucking paramount. Fights are won and lost based on that above almost every other factor, and Dad always understood this with all the kinetic grace of someone who's won a couple of Val Barker trophies (even though he hasn't).
As our moron friend's stunted, weak sauce, limp dick left hook tapped Dad, the old bastard stepped into it with a hard right uppercut to the base of the guy's fucking sternum. It sent him gasping to the ground, while Dad, in the same, fluid motion, leveraged his momentum into a left hook to the other moron's jaw, sending him crashing into the impromptu pavement slumber party his buddies had started without him.
When they finally decided to start getting their bearings back, Dad said "Let this be a lesson; Keep your goddamn hands to yourselves, assholes." to the guys as they started to scurry away like toppled playground bullies, desperately clutching at any piece of their shattered egos they could collect with their tails between their legs. I think I called them 'Humpty Dumpty motherfuckers' or something like that. I mean, guns and fat guys? It was the right call.
I mean, Humpty Dumpty wasn't a fucking egg, people. That’s propaganda made up by people who wanted to make everything safe, sanitized, and kid friendly. No, Humpty Dumpty was a canon, and h—
Sorry. No time for that rant right now!
Anyway, from the range, Dad and I went back to his apartment and I made us a hearty victory breakfast like a good daughter. Now, I have a metric fuckton of stories like that about Dad from all throughout his life, and they equal, to me, the concrete basis of my lifelong assertion that, yes, my Dad can totally beat up your Dad. Fuck, depending on the type of person your Dad is, he may already have. He gets around.
Anyway, I believe it's time to go back to holding my family together at its many frayed seams like a boss, because that shit's a full-time job. Soooooo...
Toodles caboodles, m' dudles!
- E. L. Fudge
P.S. My daughter once said to me - in front of her father, no less - that her Dad can beat up my Dad, and I had to half pretend to choke on my water to avoid the truckload of fallout that would absolutely follow the opening of that particular can of worms. You see, my Dad is a hot button issue with her Dad.