by John Hawkins | June 6, 2012 10:29 am
Forrest Griffin is one funny dude. Yes, that Forrest Griffin. The UFC Fighter. I’m laughing my way through Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat right now, but there’s one story from the book that is SO GOOD, I just had to share. The story is about manliness, how to respond to bullies, pride, and even unlikely victory, although some people won’t see it that way — hell, even he might not see it that way. In any case, this deserves to get out to a wider audience.
The toughest dude on the planet is not competing in the UFC or any other MMA organization. He doesn’t train in the martial arts, shoot roids into his ass cheeks, or even hit the heavy bag. He couldn’t have. From the looks of him, it’s impossible. I don’t know his name or what he’s been up to for the past six years, but I’ll never forget his face.
Back when I was attempting to play football for the University of Georgia, I’d occasionally catch a ride with a group of meatheads who were also attempting to play football. One afternoon, four of us were packed into a jeep with the top down, cruising around for a while, when someone had the bright idea to go down to Georgia Tech and harass some of the smart folk. With nearly a thousand pounds of muscle, fat, and attitude weighing down our ride, we trolled around campus. I wasn’t exactly sure what my cohorts had in mind until one of the guys jumped out of the Jeep while it was still rolling and headed straight for the only person in sight. The target happened to be the biggest geek I had ever seen. Now I’m not calling this kid a geek because he had more brains than all of us combined and actually went to class, but he was five nine, packed at best a hundred and twenty pounds, wore a button down shirt, and had, in his breast pocket, half a dozen pens crammed into a plastic protector. But there’s more. He had on horn-rim glasses and hugged a handful of books to his chest like a ten-year-old schoolgirl. Hands down, he was the most pathetic looking kid in existence.
So what does the d*ckhead who jumped out of the jeep do? He goes straight up to the kid, slaps his books out of his hands, and then begins laughing at him and calling him names. Dork, dipsh*t, f*ck nuts — he let this kid have it. Pretty early on in the verbal assault, I suggested that we get moving and, to expedite our departure, started to say that the cops would be showing up. Now, I was certain this short, scrawny kid would begin wailing and running in circles, which only would have prompted this *sshole I was with to chase after him. It would have been a horrible (although hilarious) sight to watch — a two hundred-and-fifty pound linebacker chasing down a hundred-and-twenty pound kid, pens flying everywhere. But that’s not what our geek chose to do. Out of nowhere, he charged directly at my d*ckface associate and swung for the hills.
I couldn’t f*cking believe it. Swear to God, the football player was so big that even if you had ten buddies getting your back, you’d still think twice about charging him. And here, this little kid was doing it all on his own, petite fists looping through the air like pesky mosquitoes. But before the kid could land a single shot, the football player cracks him and he goes down. I thought that would be it. The kid had probably watched too many kung-fu movies and thought he was some kind of tough guy. Daniel-san or some sh*t. Anyone who saw this exchange would have figured that now he had taken one to the face, he would stay down and play dead. That’s not what happened. Getting socked only seemed to fuel his passion for justice. He popped back up like a weeble-wobble and again charged forward.
By this time, another one of the guys in the Jeep had jumped out. Harnessing the pack mentality, he grabbed the kid by his neck, dragged him over to the edge of a grassy slope, and threw him down it. The kid tumbled head over tail, but when he reached the bottom, he didn’t lie there in a tattered heap. He came storming back up the hill. When he reached the top, he stopped for a moment, casually removed his glasses, set them down on the grass, and then panned his eyes back and forth between his two assailants. The four words that came hissing out of his mouth will be etched into my frontal lobe for an eternity.
“I’M READY TO DIE!”
He began his charge at five hundred pounds of muscle. He ran straight into one of them and knocked him backward into the Jeep, producing a decent-size dent. This naturally angered the driver, so he jumped out and joined in on the “fun.” Together, they began beating the holy hell of this kid. They’d throw him down, kick him in the guts and back, and then begin to walk away. Before they could make it five feet back to the Jeep, the kid would leap up again and charge them. So they’d smack him around, throw him down again, and do some more kicking. All the while the kid threw his fists for all he worth, head butting, trying to bite. Meanwhile, I’m urging these boneheads to get moving.
After this went on for a little while, I could see the fear growing in the eyes of my fellow football-player wannabes. They weren’t worried about this kid causing them damage with his fists — they were scared of his heart and soul. It suddenly dawned on these geniuses that they had started something they couldn’t finish, not unlike a twenty-pound burrito. This kid really was prepared to die for the sake of his dignity. Unless they were willing to go to that end and actually kill this kid, they could not win this fight. Eventually, the three of them picked the kid up, carried him back to the hill and threw him over. The second his sinewy frame left their hands, all three of them came scrambling toward the jeep, scared that they wouldn’t make it back before the runt clawed his way up the slope and began his next charge.
All of them fell inside, as though they were trying to escape some terrible onslaught. The driver revved the engine and peeled out. As we sped away from the scene, I looked back over my shoulder. I saw the kid come over the top of the hill in all of his hundred-and-twenty pound glory, and a chill went down my spine. His face was bloody, and his button-down shirt was torn and grass-stained, but there wasn’t a trace of emotion on his face. Instead of running for the police, the kid dusted himself off, put his glasses back on, and then casually headed off, I assume to Gryffindor or Hogwarts or wherever, hugging his books in his arms. Right then, I realized that not only was that kid the coolest guy in the world, he was the toughest son of a b*tch ever to walk the face of this earth.
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