Bar Fights That Do Not Kill You Make You Stronger

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Columnist Ron Hart on personal responsibility, risk-taking, and ear-biting:

When one interviewer, without even looking up from my resume, said to me, "Well Mr. Hart, we see so many Ivy League MBA's here at Goldman Sachs, how are you different?" I thought for a second and said the following: "I have been to a cock fight; I have spent a night in a county jail, and I have seen a man bite another man's ear lobe off in a bar fight. Other than that, there is probably no difference."

This guy was shocked, and as my interviews went on that day each person would ask me in detail about that earlier comment. My thinking, and eventually theirs, was that we are all products of our experiences, and the ones that do not kill you make you stronger.

We all must take some risks, understand those risks and find a way to survive them. Failure, success, consequences and the underlying premise of all human activity is that you, not the government or your parents, are responsible for yourself.

What got him started? A proposed law in Massachusetts that would mandate kids to wear helmets while playing soccer. Sadly, the World Cup final may well push such legislation forward. Damn you, Zidane!

Whole thing here.

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  1. dude, when you think about, Zidane’s head-butt falls into that exceedingly tiny category of violence that is AWESOME.

    Think about it, there’s no chance that he would do real, lasting damage to the guy. By today, the victim has nothing more serious than a bruise on his chest.

    Meanwhile, it was beautiful to watch an intense bald man lay out a trifling pretty-boy for getting out of line. And then he took his red card like a man. AWESOME

  2. Ha! Wasn’t soccer supposed to be the “safe” alternative to getting beaned by a fastball or paralyzed by a late hit? Sweet irony.

  3. This guy was shocked, and as my interviews went on that day each person would ask me in detail about that earlier comment.

    Did he get the job? I hope so.

  4. Wait… if he was wearing a helmet, wouldn’t the head butt do *more* damage?

  5. Steve: yes it would do more damage to the other guy, but Zidane would be protected!

    Ed: considering he head butted the dude in the chest and after watching the tape numerous times the Italain anticipated it and it really was no where near as bad as it looks.

    Also this was awesome violence, little potential damage to be done and you but a racist in his place. I love Materazzi’s defense “I’m ignorant. I don’t even know what a terrorist is.” is it just me or this just as bad as if the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit.

  6. So my next job interview I should bring up the couple of times the Man took me for a ride downtown? (No felonies). Hmm. I like the way that guy thinks. Does make you stand out. I figure employers get spammed with so many resumes anything that sticks out might help.

    There is zero leg room in the back of a cop car.

  7. What got him started? A proposed law in Massachusetts that would mandate kids to wear helmets while playing soccer.

    Wouldn’t it be best if children just always wore helmets? …especially when they’re in a car.

  8. For one breif moment soccer wasn’t gay.

  9. For the record, I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible to play soccer with a helmet on. Next they’ll have a law mandating the use of full inflatable body army whilst playing baseball. Let’s see you hit a homer in that, kid.

  10. For the record, I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible to play soccer with a helmet on.

    All the more reason to support the proposed law.

  11. Fucking Idiot Douchebag is too kind a descriptor for the asshole proposing this law.

    I hope Eric Cantona goes all Kung-Fu on this guy.

  12. My wife and I need to hurry up and adopt some kids. I’m afraid that if we wait too long, they’ll pass a law that everybody under the age of 18 must wear full body armor at all times.

    It may be inevitable, but I’d rather see this travesty inflicted on my grandkids, not my kids.

  13. I’ll be sure to mention that I failed the ninth grade twice on my resume the next time I’m looking for a job.I’ll also include my experience as a black market dealer of cigarettes and stereo equipment in Europe under the “work experience” section. Perhaps I’ll work in a “The difference between me and the other candidates is that I am the only one to have been beaten up by gypsies”.

    That’ll be sure and land me a choice Database admin gig 🙂

  14. “There is zero leg room in the back of a cop car.”

    No door handles, either.
    *At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

    —————-

    As I look back on my childhood, I cannot help thinking that kids today are getting gypped in a big way. My parents let me eat dirt (undoubtedly the genesis of my superhuman constitution), climb trees, explore the woods hunting for frogs, snakes, et c, ride my bicycle after dark (as long as I stayed within a fifty mile radius), play in ditches filled with 36 degree water from melting snow, you name it. All helmet- free.

    They may not have explicitly sent me out to do any of those things, but they let me out the door; from then on, I was running the show.

    When was the last time you saw a kid out running around loose? When I see some kid on a bigwheel wearing a helmet, I can’t decide whether to laugh, or just feel sorry for him.

  15. Actually, when interviewing at Microsoft I mentioned that I have spoken with a ghost, been struck by lightning, and poisoned by a newt. I got the job.

  16. My wife and I need to hurry up and adopt some kids. I’m afraid that if we wait too long, they’ll pass a law that everybody under the age of 18 must wear full body armor at all times.

    Really. And then they’ll be shocked and appalled by the unprecedented rise in fatalities among adults ages 18-19. “You mean those fast metal things actually hurt when they hit you?”

  17. Bringing a diabolo and talking about unicycle riding helped me land a nice job @ Gutfreund era SBI. I even bought a custom 3′ diameter uni (thanks Tom) to commute to work from the apartment they let me use. In the interview, did I mention getting arrested for kicking a cop in the jaw? Maybe.

  18. Kevin,
    I see kids wearing helmets in their frikkin driveways while on frikkin tricycles! O! the horrors if little Burke or Connor gets knocked down by a head butt! But I think I would pay to see the little midgets tottering about the field with giant plastic helmets on, just for the sheer hilarity of it.

  19. I really think we need to take a look at the effect of eating dirt as a child. I really think it helped my immune system, also made me unafraid to eat or drink pretty much anything. I’ve drank water straight from many a questionable stream and suffered no ill effects. I remember coating my pretzels with dirt as a kid…added flavour I thought.

  20. I still got images of Dan ripping out Hearst’s henchman’s eyeball out on Deadwood last week.

  21. “When was the last time you saw a kid out running around loose?”

    Yesterday, in the Downtown Minneapolis skyway system. He was 10-years-old. I asked him if he was with someone. He said no. And added that he’d been to the new library before hitting the skyways. I suggest he be careful and head back towards the library, adding that if my 11-year-old daughter were downtown on her own, I’d be mad at her.

    To be fair, when I was about twelve, my freinds and I would hop a bus to downtown and do all sorts of mischief, but this kid was only ten.

    I’ve though of this kid several times since yesterday, because I’ve done a lot of work with street-kids (15 to 20-years-old) and even within that demographic they are ripe for exploitation by sickos.

  22. In my rough, needle-covered suburban neighborhood in Oregon we had “neighborhood wars” growing up. Usually once or twice a summer all the kids from one side of the block would team up and fight with the kids from the other side of the block. Mostly it consisted of throwing dirt clods at each other and occassionally hitting with small sticks. Nobody was ever seriously injured.

  23. and even within that demographic they are ripe for exploitation by sickos…

    …who are usually employed by the public school system. So the kids already know how to handle it.

  24. He did get the job at Goldman Sachs and he is a great guy!
    Larry

  25. Same deal, Timothy, but we threw crabapples.
    Do something like this today and a SWAT team would arrive. My local paper’s Police Blotter
    actually has articles about people who call the cops because someone threw a roll of toilet paper in their tree!

  26. What a great column, this Ron Hart is funny.
    I did love the “what rednecks say before they die” line.

  27. Jerry,

    Actually it’s “Hey ya’ll watch this!” with “Hold mah beer” being a close second.

  28. That video game needs John Otway on the soundtrack.

    I’m another dirtclod war veteran. The kids in my neighborhood built what these days we would call a BMX bicycle course through a wooded lot, complete with dips and jumps made by moving dirt. Then we’d ride around on 20″ bikes, mostly Stingrays, “trying to kill ourselves.” I don’t think bike helmets were invented yet. We wanted to cry when someone started to build a house on it, but the dirtclods provided by the construction were excellent!

    No fun when someone throws a dirtclod with a small rock at its core, though. 🙁

    Kevin

  29. It’s interesting to me that before they’re born, children are so dispensable that no one need lift a finger to prevent them from being dismembered in the womb…but after birth, the lives of the parents and the surrounding society must revolve around their safety, so that the little precious ones will never suffer the slightest bruise.

    Also, I wonder if the tendency to overprotect our children bears some relation to the dwindling number of children in each family. In a family of five children, losing one is surely a tragedy, but for a mother to lose her only child is a far profounder catastrophe.

  30. What got him started? A proposed law in Massachusetts that would mandate kids to wear helmets while playing soccer. Sadly, the World Cup final may well push such legislation forward. Damn you, Zidane!

    Sure blame the French for screwing up Massachusetts…..I thought that issue was settled in the 2004 presidential elections.

  31. ralphus, Jerry – I had heard it was more like “Lookie here what I can do!”

    🙂

  32. crimethink,

    It’s interesting to me that before they’re born, children are so dispensable that no one need lift a finger to prevent them from being dismembered in the womb…but after birth, the lives of the parents and the surrounding society must revolve around their safety, so that the little precious ones will never suffer the slightest bruise.

    I’d say that the attitude towards these issues varies from person to person.

    In a family of five children, losing one is surely a tragedy, but for a mother to lose her only child is a far profounder catastrophe.

    Historians used to think that was case, unil they looked at the historical record. The reaction of people varies and it is not dependent on the number of children a person may have.

  33. When we were kids, we had BB gun fights and used metal trash can lids for shields. We used car antennae as foils for sword fights. We lit other kids on fire. Only three kids died throughout our years in that neighborhood, and a helmet might have saved just one of them.

  34. Loved Ron Hart’s take on this. I have read his stuff in the past, he is in papers here in the South…yes the South! Probably the funniest guy writing today.

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