Tough Guy

I don’t consider myself a “tough guy” despite what people call me in public.

“Hey, tough guy, watch where you’re walking!”

“Hey, tough guy, what are you lookin’ at?”

“Hey, Tough Guy, have you ever considered switching to DirecTV over cable?”

The last one is because I signed up for a newsletter as “Tough Guy”, mostly because of the nickname I’ve seemed to pick up at different locations.

I don’t get it though because I’m not intimidating. In fact I’m surprised people call me tough at all what with the meek, frail appearance I project into the universe and the shakiness of my voice at even the slightest of confrontation.

Last week I almost passed out asking for a refill at Starbucks because I was challenged as to how long I was in the store and whether or not I exceeded the supposed “one-hour” rule they have arbitrarily created as a measure of how long you’ve held on to the cheap paper cups that probably bursts into flames after an hour of use.

The cup I presented them with was hanging on for dear life but was still in tact – I made it under the one-hour cutoff. I bet if I rung the cup out I could’ve gotten a Tall coffee after all the liquid it soaked up.

Live and learn folks, live and learn.

Anyway, I’m not really tough. Although recently I’ve been testing my limits and purposely charging forward in my journey toward my destinations. If that means running into someone then so be it.

“Listen, Kid, get out of my way or I’ll run into you as a sign of my toughness and to prove to those around you they shouldn’t get in my way!”

I mostly only say that to small kids in strollers while their parents look on horrified.

I don’t really get the whole running into people on the street thing though. I mean, I understand why people do it but I don’t really get what they expect to happen. The chances of you running into that same person are slim enough as it is, but throw in the fact that you expect them to remember you it’s almost impossible. Not to mention that they have the same mentality as you and think that they shouldn’t have to move out of anyone’s way. Babies, elderly and pregnant people – science has made great strides in male pregnancies so soon we, too, can be like Sea Horses – be damned!

Recently, while trying to get acquainted with the much tougher me, I purposely stood my ground against an adversary in a local Starbucks. (Does this guy spend all of his time at Starbucks? — The short answer is a definitive YES) While making my way to the counter to pick up my delicious drink I found myself walking toward another person who wasn’t moving out of my way. Being that the both of us were stubborn we ran into each other with both of us pushing our left shoulders forward in some kind of weird test of strength that really ended up being two men – one man, he was more of a man than I was even though he was a teenager – having too much physical contact with each other in a public place.

I felt good about myself. I stood up for myself. I didn’t give in to some TEENS notion that the world revolved around him. I proved to a bunch of onlookers that I was not one to be messed with!

Too bad no one was paying attention.

After a few glances at each other, both of us featuring a fiery passion of two men ready to do battle, we eventually went on our ways and decided not to hurl harmful words at one another. After our glances stopped, and by stopped I mean it was just me glancing at him to make sure he wasn’t going to sneak up behind me and then steal my notebook and call me a nerd – WHY, HIGH SCHOOL, WHY?!?!?! – I couldn’t get the notion out of my head that I was being watched. Suddenly I was sure I was going to be thrown into a physical altercation, one involving mostly shoving probably because if you have ever seen two people fight in real life it’s just an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba acted out in person. But this feeling of me getting beat up kept creeping up in my head, but it wasn’t because of the teen I had a problem with BUT I THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO CALL HIS BROTHER TO BEAT ME UP!

What is this an episode of Step-By-Step? Did that even happen in Step-By-Step? I don’t think Patrick Duffy would allow that to happen, actually. More like Saved By The Bell when AC Slater and Zach act out their love for each other by fighting in the hallway of Bayside High.

I, for real, had that thought in my head. This kid was going to call his brother to come beat me up and I was ACTUALLY nervous about this as a 28 year old male.

He didn’t call his brother, fortunately. But I now know what an atomic wedgie feels like.

So, really, in the long run I’m not tough and will expect you to call your brother to beat me up even though, in reality, you could do it yourself.


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