Some advice before I dive into my anecdotal account of last night that included front handsprings, cripple karaoke and a 42-year-old wearing no underwear: Tread softly with your words, my friends. Caitlin Rule: Once you say something out loud, it makes it real, whether you fight it or not. Relationships are a good example. You may have thoughts that are trying their best to surface, but once you admit OUT LOUD that your boyfriend/girlfriend is not the one, it’s now real. It’s doomed. So be wise with your words.
I sat here for a solid ten minutes, trying to figure out the most concise way to describe Micah (the commando 42-year-old). Unfortunately, the phrase “town drunk” kept invading my thoughts. Not because I deemed him with that title, but just because I had heard someone else describe him as such in the past, so now, because of my rule, that’s the first thing I think of when attempting to describe him. However, I am going to wash him of this title in this entry because I think, when you remove the blinders, that Micah is fantastic.
I was at a local bar, having a martini to try to ease my anxiety over how to get my phone up and running again. I had my laptop out, a couple of cords… apparently I had to do some kind of “master reset” which included backing up files and blah blah blah. I’m not huge on the technological front, so this was absolutely a chore for me. Cut to: A middle-aged man of about 6’1″ and 290 lbs. sporting a visor, basketball shorts and a long chin beard approaches.
Me: “What’s up, Micah? Haven’t seen you around lately.”
He and I are acquainted through the relatively small town of Safety Harbor in which we live. Most of the locals who are regulars at any type of watering hole, all seem to be at least acquainted. We’ve shared beer and conversation a couple of times in the past, and it’s always a great time. Frivolous, boring small talk does not exist in Micah world. I dare say that our conversations sometimes take an inappropriate route, considering how well we do NOT know each other, but I live off of these types of encounters. Let’s just say that in the past, instead of the first few minutes of verbal exchange being about how business is and what a rainy summer it’s been, we have immediately gone into discussions of hooking up with people with three nipples and strippers on speed dial.
The first time I had a real conversation with him, he disclosed some honesty, and that was the moment that I knew I liked him. Honesty is a rarer quality than we think. Just because you don’t lie, doesn’t mean that you’re honest. About five months ago:
Micah: I love your hair, man. It’s always crazy.
Me: Thank you. That makes me feel good.
Micah: (Without breaking eye contact) I could tell you right now, what every girl in this bar’s body looks like.
Micah: But I have no idea what your body looks like because I’m always looking at your hair.
And that’s when I knew he was a cool dude. Honesty. Some girl’s would have taken offense to his overtly sexist statement, but I loved his candor and that’s where Micah lives. In a permanent state of candor.
Last night, when he asked me what I was doing (this was because of all of the forms of technology I had before me, along with an abiding scowl), I didn’t bore him with my story of how my phone wasn’t working, I simply said, “Just trying to deal with my first world problems.” This sparked a discussion about the difference of the worlds, that I can most easily summarize as such:
Getting arms and legs hacked off by angry Somalians. + Having perpetual bad breath. = Third World problems
Having trouble catching a chicken in your backyard + only having vodka as an available alcohol choice = Second World problems
My BlackBerry not having service for a whole day = First World problems.
That was the beginning of our conversation, Caitlin and Micah theories on World Economic Division. It grew from there. Out of nowhere, he shared with me, and the other bar patrons that he was not wearing any panties. Yes, he used the word “panties.” I hate that word, but found it hilarious that he would describe his XXL plaid boxers (this is a guess) as “panties.” A couple of drinks later, and now we’re doing acrobatics in the bar’s patio.
As much as I consider myself a Professional Drinker, I suck at taking shots. I don’t particularly like them because I actually like the taste of alcohol and want to enjoy my drink, and also, I just can’t open my throat the way that Professional Shot-takers can. Micah, making fun of me about this, led to the bar talking about what other things you can open your throat for… and somehow this led to Micah discussing his desire to start a Safety Harbor freak show and what role each of us would play in it. Quickly, this became a one on one conversation, as the others couldn’t keep up with our weirdness. I was wracking my brain for any quirky things that I can do, (since sword swallowing wouldn’t be my talent) and remembered that I can walk on my hands for a really long time!
Micah: Do it!
Me: I can’t when I’ve been drinking! It throws my equilibrium off.
Micah: Walk on your goddamn hands!
Micah: I’ll do a front handspring if you walk on your hands.
Me: Then I’m definitely not. That sounds like a disaster.
Micah: (Pulling his pants up and moving patio furniture out of the way) I’m doing it.
Micah: This is going to hurt.
Me: Okay! Okay! I’ll walk on my hands if you don’t attempt a front handspring. You’re going to break your entire body.
Micah: It’s happenin’ baby.
Me: All right, all right I’m doing it!
I kick up into a handstand, and with numerous drinks flowing through my veins, I managed to walk on my hands for a solid ten seconds. Impressive, considering my state… but it still ended with me on the ground. You’d think that would be embarrassing, but it wasn’t at all. Thinking back, it would have been embarrassing had I not let loose and tried.
I thought that my sacrifice would stop my 290 lbs. friend from attempting a front handspring on the concrete patio. Nope. He goes for it. Lands flat on his ass. Does this deter him? Nope. Again. And again. Three front handsprings, all ending on his tailbone. I’m sure he was sore today. Back inside, we told the others what they had just missed out on. This got a forty-something year old lady to bust out with her talent; a full split on both sides. Impressive.
I found myself feeling like an excited little kid again, eager to think up a new trick that I could try. At one point, Micah looked at me and said, “You’re glad you did it.” Referring to the handstand. I didn’t want to admit it to him, but he was right. I really was. It was fun. For the first time in quite a while, I was having unguarded fun out at a bar.
We then made our way to another bar across the street where there was a crippled guy singing shit karaoke. Although I didn’t recognize any of the songs, I assumed them to be Pantera or Anthrax or some other abhorrent psuedo rock band, Micah knew the words to EVERY song. And he was singing along, LOUD. It was hilarious. He did not give a fuck. Then, some chick got on stage, and sang a song that I recognized. I found myself loudly singing along as well… and I never sing. Our singalong definitely turned some heads, but we didn’t care. How did this guy that I barely know, get me to let loose again? His whole “don’t take life too seriously” attitude, reminded me of an illustration in Breakfast of Champions of a tombstone. The name simply says, “SOMEBODY.” Instead of a birth and death date, it says “sometime to sometime” and then for the headstone quote it reads, “He tried.” I wanted to share this with Micah, so I quickly drew it out for him. He studied it for a short moment, then took the pen out of my hand and made his own edits.
He inserted “kept” and added an i-n-g, making the headstone quote now read, “He kept trying.” Leave it to a true badass to one up Kurt Vonnegut. So there you have it, words of the wise from my fellow barfly. Just keep trying.
As I’ve stated before, in I Dare You, Smartphone Hater and My Rules… give everyone the time of day. People who are a little rough around the edges, are usually the most interesting. And if they make you slightly uncomfortable, before you judge, take a look at yourself, and maybe you’re the one who just needs to let loose a little bit and get on the Small Town Freak Show train. My assignment to you, go do a cart-wheel or something and fail, but have fun.
I knew that by the end of writing this blog entry, that I’d figure out how to more accurately describe Micah. He is a non-fiction antihero. He’s just a dude who is unapologetically himself, living in a small, sleepy town, trying to wake everyone the fuck up.