Now Starting at Left Tackle…

This is a god question...

As I mentioned in my last installment, there are two different directions men go in their late 30s and 40s. Last night I got to see both in vivid color.

At dinner a fight disrupted the meal line. Before I knew it two of the younger guys in the program here (full-timers…I am just part-time) had the guy locked up on either side and escorted him swifty out the door. Roger, the executive director, and not a man to be rattled, looked back at me as I moved toward the front door. I nodded quietly knowing exactly what he wanted.

I stood at the left side of the door like  an offensive lineman protecting a quarterback and Roger took the right side and tried to engage the enraged man.

Few teeth, matted white hair, and sinewy-thin like a taller Gollum he spat rage in every direction then rushed at the door. Right into me.

Um….no.

Caught in my grip and  looking up into my face just inches away he yelled he would rip my balls off and cut out my eyes from behind their sockets.

“No,” I said calmly into his eyes. “You will not hurt anyone”.

I was not mocking, nor angry. I doubt my blood pressure even rose. Meanwhile the younger bucks were riled and wanted the man to take a swing at someone. Roger looked at me again…I let him know non-verbally that he was free to do as he wished, but the guy was neutralized.

He complained bitterly that his shoulder was dislocated. I looked at it. It looked bad. I told him calmly that I was going to ease up on his shoulder and asked him what he had left inside. He yelled that he had not gotten his food. I told him I would get him some. I made no conditions for this…I just said I would.

Then he started in with the insults. I would have laughed but it would have offended and escalated the situation. He called me a whale and punched me in the gut. Of course it did not hurt. “Roger, do you think I have a weight problem?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he smiled. “You should work on that.”

Then the man fell trying to struggle. It was difficult not to fall on him (though it would have been poetic justice)..

I helped him up and the police were coming. Without asking permission I fetched him some sandwiches.

My assessment (from being so close to his toxicity) was a powerful combination of alcohol (thus, in his case, rage) and Meth making him stronger and less aware of pain.

Oh and at one point he grabbed my crotch. Again, calmly I told him to give it up. “You are not going to do anything” I said with quiet authority. He released my nutsack.

After he was picked up there was the usual buzz. Not from me. I went up and watched the Giants begin some real clubbing of the Rangers before my Big Book study with Roger.

And this is just one of the many reason I love, respect, trust and listen to him. He doesn’t see me as a hopeless alcoholic, but rather a pastor with a great deal of God’s love who happens to have to battle a disease.

So, unlike at UGM, were 25 totally clueless youths would have ended up in a fight because they had been in the program longer, Roger in one look said “I know you know what to do…c’mon Mac”.

And so I did.

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