last december, after i had completed my work for the term, i was unwinding at one of the frats here on campus with a friend of mine who had also finished his exams. we were doing the usual post-exam-celebratory frat thing, playing beer pong. one of the guys we were playing against was harassing me the whole time for wearing a red sox hat. for the purposes of anonymity and mocking stupid frat nick-names i will refer to him throughout as "g-nads." clearly, g-nads was upset about new york’s recent choke job, and a tad inebriated. at first, it didn’t seem like a big deal.
1st 15 minutes: playful ribbing, apparent self-depreciation. joking spirit appreciated by all.
2nd 15 minutes: bizarre need to keep the topic alive, light cursing. what seem to be mock insults. behavior still barely within acceptable range.
3rd 15 minutes: profanity-laden speech. furtive glances of concern by friends having no effect. suspect puts down proper wooden paddle and begins using flat rock instead. attempt to conceal hostility through mask of sarcasm unsuccessful and disturbing.
thankfully, at this point, the game ends and we head upstairs for a while. my friend, who is a member of this fraternal organization, tries to reassure me that his frat-mate is a decent person who is well known for his playful aggressiveness. i’m unconvinced. in what way can you be a nice guy whose actions reflect the total opposite? you don’t just earn “nice guy” status for life and then get permission to go around insulting strangers. that is when you cease to be a nice guy. (on a side note, this is why i loathe the greek system. you are required to stand up for the people in your little club no matter how awful they are. it’s so phony. from a random sampling of 30 individuals there have got to be at least 5 that you hate. why would you want to be permanently attached to a group of people that might end up sucking later?) i wasn’t particularly bothered that g-nads was bashing the sox; after all, they did win, and this was just sort of reminding me. and it’s not as though i personally drove a stake through his heart, i’m just from new england. that he was so upset seemed more pathetic than offensive. i don’t even care if someone likes the yankees, as long as they’re originally from new york (fair-weather fans from other places, on the other hand, should be put out to sea on a boat full of zombies). nonetheless, these people seem to attach an inordinate amount of self-esteem to the success of their team.
anyway, i didn’t even mention any of this stuff to our vituperative friend. i just figured it would make him madder if i didn’t seem to care. i was right. besides, limiting myself to more concise responses was just easier.
“see you in another 86 years”
“when scientists have designed super-steroids that keep jason giambi alive forever?”
“we still have 25 more trophies than you.”
“umm, what did you think that 1918 chant was about?”
“fuck you fucking sox fan.”
those are a cleaner than average sampling of what he sounded like. anyway, to my great amusement, all my absentminded taciturnity did was inflame his anger, and by the time we left g-nads was steaming.
then we made the mistake of going back downstairs. well, it wasn't a huge mistake, since nothing bad really ended up happening, but still. as we walked into the room we could hear him say into his cell phone “…so do you think i should punch this kid in the face? yeah, he’s some kind of fuckin’ rhode islander or something…” i'm one kind alright. seems like a little regional hostility here. am i going to get in a fight? i don’t want to be in a fight. if i was going to be in a fight i would want it to be the kind where i am mad at them. i am not interested in altercating with this drunken kid about a bunch of games that my side won. the only possible outcomes are: (a) i beat up g-nads, continue to feel good about alcs, (b) he wins, gets satisfaction of hurting sox fan, or (c) we tie, bringing me down to his level. my disinterest in fighting had really aggravated g-nads, and i was quite glad that new yorkers were feeling at least a small fraction of the pain that we’ve had to put up with over the years. it’s definitely what they deserve. and this lunatic trying to pummel me 2 months after the alcs put a late exclamation point on october. we had finally had those vainglorious yankees to hating us back! if he were actually mad enough to hit me, i would be thrilled. i got the feeling that my hardcore-sox-fan pre-2004-deceased grandfather would have savored a moment like this, and would have eagerly wished such a punching on his progeny.
at this point g-nads decides his provocation-at-a-distance thing isn’t working and opts to go into what can only be described as full “getting all up in my face” mode. Of course, the only appropriate response is full "crazy accent" mode.
“listen pal, the spankees blew it this ye-ah. go beat up jetah, not me. i don’t care that you’re mad, get ovah it...also, a-rod slaps balls.”
“hey geech [or insert second stupid frat nick-name here], do you think i should punch this guy?”
geech’s reply: “i don’t think so g-nads, he didn’t do anything and you are too wasted to judge your actions appropriately.”
g-nads: “he wore a boston hat in my basement, that’s what he did!”
[tears off my hat, throws it across room]
[tackles me to the ground]
me: “wicked awesome!”
oh what a sweet day it was when all i had to do to infuriate a new yorker was wear a cap with a "b" on it. that was when it hit me (quite literally) that life was finally different in new england.