I vehemently disagree with the notion that movie violence causes people to act violently in real life. In an unrelated matter, ever since seeing “Fight Club,” I’ve been trying to get someone to punch me in the face.
This has been much harder than you’d think it would be. At first my only condition was that I had to be allowed to hit the person back, since the whole point behind the exercise is to know what it’s like to be in a fight without actually getting in one. But I eventually had to drop even that one minor stipulation, and so I’ve just been asking people to hit me.
And even THEN I’ve had no luck. My first choice was my friend Other Eric. He was an obvious choice because 1) he saw “Fight Club” with me and could perhaps understand the reasons behind my request; and 2) despite the fact that he works out all the time and is very macho, he also has small, girlish hands that couldn’t possibly do any permanent damage, no matter how hard he hit me.
Other Eric refused to punch me, though, on the grounds that I’m his friend and he doesn’t want to hurt me — even though I’m ASKING him to, and even though his delicate, dainty fists are surely no serious threat to any living creature, and even though my being his “friend” did not prevent him from putting a CD of mine into his car stereo, knowing full well that this particular stereo has a history of not allowing CDs to come out again.
He’s come close a couple times to fulfilling my wishes; I think my constant mocking of his supple, womany hands has probably helped matters. But each time, just before he goes through with it, he chickens out and insists he can’t do it, bringing up that whole “you’re my friend” crap again.
So I asked Dave (you don’t know him), knowing he wouldn’t do it, either, because he’s just too NICE (a quality not normally associated with Other Eric, which is another reason I asked him first). And there’s really no one else I trust enough to hit me in the face without aiming directly for my nose, which I am certain would break irreparably at the slightest impact, possibly even if the impact were coming from the feeble, daisy-fresh fists of Other Eric.
Why do I want to be hit in the face? Can’t I just take everyone’s word for it that it’s unpleasant? Of course not. One of my major character flaws is that I rarely take anyone’s word for anything. (Another one is my tendency to harp on my friends’ physical imperfections.) “Fight Club” made me think about the fact that I’ve never been in a fight, and that for some reason, I really want to know what it’s like.
But I suppose I can see Other Eric’s point of view. We ARE friends, after all. Maybe that one punch would hurt our friendship, which would really be a shame, because there have been some excellent moments so far. Like the other night, we were in the video store when a man came up and asked our help in remembering the title of a movie. He said: “What was that Stephen King movie about the dog named Cujo?” We straight-facedly gave him the answer: “Cujo.” We then spent several minutes asking each other questions like “What was the name of that film where they were on the Titanic?” and “What was that movie where the guy went to the planet with all the apes?” Experiences like that, where two friends have the opportunity to ridicule a stranger behind his back, are to be cherished. Maybe I shouldn’t jeopardize that with my selfish desires to be punched in the face.
Come to think of it, I’ve learned more about life by NOT being punched. I’m going to go see Other Eric right now, thank him for being a true friend, and then shake his hand. I’ll be careful not to break any of his fragile, hairless fingers.
This column made ME giggle more than most do. I don't know if anyone else liked it or not. But I had such giddy fun finding ways of describing Other Eric's hands. (Other Eric, by the way, was allowed to read a preliminary version of the column. He insisted I re-word part of it to make it clear he is a manly man, despite having the hands of a woman. He also insisted that I not say, in the column, that he insisted I say that.)
This is a column in which every word is exactly true, by the way. I've exaggerated the womanliness of Other Eric's hands (slightly), but everything else is quite true. I really did want him to punch me -- DIRECTLY because we saw "Fight Club" -- and he really did almost do it a couple times. In fact, one night we had ourselves convinced we were each going to punch each other once. But he eventually backed out of it. I can't decide if the column would have been funnier the way it is, or if having an actual exchange of blows to report would have improved it. The world may never know.