To defend is primal.
To defend is more fierce than to attack.
It is tempting to suppose that the Viking, on his Berserker rampage of pillage and wreckage and harm – is the highest expression of human aggression. Or that the carnivore at the top of the food chain represents the purest form of fury and ferocity. This is not so.
It’s like they say: defense wins ball games. It is the cornered animal that is most dangerous.
The force that lays siege to a city is a lower form of Bad-Ass than the force that hunkers down to defend it. Because defenders will know starvation and disease, they will sleep on sandbags and eat what rats they can catch, but they WILL. NOT. RELENT.
Vasily Zaitsev served as a sniper in the Russian Army during World War II. He learned marksmanship hunting deer with his grandfather in Siberia. During the Nazi siege of Stalingrad, Vasily Zaitsev picked off 242 enemies, including 11 German snipers.
242. That’s like seven and a half John Wayne Gacys.
This is ferocity. To clear a patch in the rubble that remains of your city and repel an enemy. One. Bullet. At a time. And what language do they speak in Russia today? German? Guess again.
Now, superficially, I bear no resemblance to Vasily Zaisev – he was lean and hard and deadly. I work in an office. I am a complainer. I require snacks. I shrink from discomfort of the mildest sort. In the zombie apocalypse, I will be among the first to fall. I am slow-footed and easily overwhelmed. I am distractible and put-upon.
I am what sociologists call a massive pusswad.
[PICK SCRAWNY DUDE IN AUDIENCE]
What’s your name, please?
[REPLY] Could you stand up, please, NAME?
Now. If NAME were to pick a fight with me, I would spin on my heel and hustle out of here. My ears would burn with the molten scorn you all would heap upon me. My testicles would rightly withdraw into my abdominal cavity, for my testicles would conclude – again, rightly – that I was not worthy to own and operate such testicles.
That is who I am. I am no tough guy. A puny little hipster like NAME can send me scurrying on my quaking way. And when I got home, I’d wanna talk through my feelings about this experience. And my wife would hate me.
But. But. If you make a move to harm my children, or if I see you threatening my wife, then you better kill me right now because I will BLITHELY beat your face into paté. I will nonchalantly split your limbs like crab claws. I will stomp your fucking hands into gelatinous mittens and my heart rate wouldn’t hit 85. I will calmly crush you like an urban-legend gerbil between Richard Gere’s ass cheeks.
The number of people I love in this world is quite small, so please, for your own sake – I implore you: Do. Not. Fuck With Them.
The ONLY time I ever fought effectively was at the Ted Williams Baseball Camp in Hanson, Mass. at the age of 12. It is no exaggeration to say that I became, if only for one glorious, shining moment, a ninja.
There was this fat-ass dickface named Eric who’d been giving me shit all week. I had saved up my money for a YEAR to go this fucking camp, and this needling asshole was ruining it. But I took it. I took his shit all week, and he did not let up.
His critical error was when he went after my brother. This Eric was up on a top bunk being an abusive douche, and my brother Josh wasn’t standing for it, even though this lard-ass dickface had like 60 pounds on him. So they’re getting into it and then Eric done fucked up, son. He launched his sack of shit self off that bunk to go after Josh.
And that’s when everything went into Matrix bullet time. I slid across the room like I was on casters. With my left hand I caught Eric by his throat. In mid-air. I continued forward and SLAMMED his neck into a bedrail. I had my right fist cocked and was ready to unload on his chickenshit face. I got right up close and go: “Are you sure you wanna do that?” and I am fairly certain I was squinting like Lee Van Cleef when I said it. Eric, after being plucked in mid-flight and pinned like bug specimen, didn’t wanna.
I let him go without throwing a punch. Because his ass was preemptively kicked. He slunk off. Because I was Chuck Fucking Norris and he wanted to keep his teeth.
THAT is the only kind of fight I will ever win – when I am rising to the defense of someone else. If I’m fighting for myself, I will debate the merits of the cause and I’ll take a beating every time.
THAT is the kind of fight I’m engaged in right now. So I’m not above fighting dirty.
I’m WRITE CLUB fighting tonight on behalf of a girl named Journey Early. Journey is six. Journey is a spark plug of a kid who is awesome and appeared in a show in this year’s Rhino Fest. Her family just learned that she has a rare heart condition called Long QT. They need to buy a defibrillator, or she could die out of the blue. Her heart could just stop.
I am fighting to defend Journey Early. From her own heart. And you should, too, by granting me victory in this bout.