The Right Coast

April 22, 2004
Stupid mid-life urges
By Tom Smith

I have this really stupid urge to show up at this thing and compete. But I have thought up the following reasons not to:

1. I could get my nose smashed like I did in high school.
2. I could tear my rib muscles or even get a rib cracked, both of which are very painful and slow to heal.
3. Some idiot could break my arm if I don't tap out fast enough.
4. It could be really humiliating to be crushed by a smaller guy and really unpleasant to be crushed by a bigger guy.
5. Since I am not going to be below 209 I would have to go in heavyweight where people can be really, really big and even mean.
6. Just because I would be in white belt does not mean competitors would not be skilled in collegiate style wrestling, street fighting or just plain mean M-F's
7. Whatever Andrew Sullivan may think, rolling around with big, sweaty guys in inherently disgusting, and that part of the experience is always a negative, even if you do win.
8. I might be one of the oldest competitors. Guys in their 20's are often bizarrely strong and flexible.
9. I could get hurt.
10. Maybe I should go and watch and see what I would be getting into. The chicken is a noble bird.
11. I could hurt my back.
12. I could get bitten by some HIV positive guy. Illegal, but it could happen. Not PC, but it could happen.
13. I know there are such a thing as foot locks, but I have no idea how do defend against them, so some monster could hurt my feet or ankles.
14. I might humiliate myself in front of a bunch of people like those who go to watch these things, who are not known for their sensitivity.
15. There's no graceful way to not compete once you get a look at your opponent. E.g., if some 260 pound, ripped monster with Semper Fi tatooed on his shaved head shows up, you can't really say, I fweel sick, or pretend you get a call on your cell phone, without getting jeered at. Yet, you would be insane to do otherwise.
16. Last time I did something similar I went out for the boxing team at Oxford, got my head pounded on for two weeks, then quit with nothing more to show for it than 10 missing IQ points. People kept throwing punches at my head I couldn't stop or avoid. Most unfair.
17. It would piss off my wife though she also might think it was kind of sexy.
18. I could get hurt.

So, I think I will just go and watch. In all likelihood I will be deeply grateful for my prudence. If I'm not, there's always next time.