I Watch Fights – (TMAS8)


Tell Me a Story 8 – I Watch Fights

At the Smithsonian Asian-Latino convening a couple of months ago, a question was asked: “name one of your vices.” In an effort to ice-break the room, people talked about their love of chocolate, pork belly and Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. My turn came, and I let it out: I like to watch street fight videos.

It’s the connecting haymakers recorded on shaky cellphones. Bodies go limp in strange ways before a final kick to the head, which is then followed by bravado and n-words. Post club cat fights erupt at a Burger King, often ending with a pile of bodies, short skirts, nipple slips and hair being grasped. If it’s been recorded and uploaded, I’m watching it.

Since the beginning of time, if two people came to blows, there was an audience. It’s why boxing, UFC and even wrestling is big business. I watch the battles and at times laugh at the strangeness of our problem solving skills. I root for the smaller guy or the bullied. I want to see the vanquished, rise up and redeem.

If I were one of the combatants, could I have solved the disagreement with humor? Would there be a gentleman handshake to squash our beef? If it did come to blows, what if I got solidly clocked? Would I have the presence of mind to stay down and play dead? Or would my ego make me think I could stand, recover and do damage back? I’m not a fighter, so I lurk. My thoughts of “what would I do?” race in my mind.

After the ten minutes of fight videos, I’m done. I’ve traveled the States, including a trailer park, multiple parking lots and courtyards of housing projects. I’ve watched multi-racial crowds – all coming to blows. I realize it’s just violence and human nature and further proof that our hands are made to be balled up into fists. It happens and I watch.


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