October 31, 2005

You did WHAT?

Strange news out of Boston Monday -- 31-year-old GM Theo Epstein, the man who popularized prepubescent executivery (is that a word? Didn't think so), has up and left the Red Sox.

It's rare that a piece of sports news elicits an audible "Wow" from this overinundated sports fan, but when I saw this news fly across the crawl early this evening that's exactly what I said. To me, this is just fascinating. A rising young executive with his dream job for his hometown team walks away just one season removed from a World Series title, for no apparent reason.

If I was Theo's mom or girlfriend or dad or friend, or even if I was just me -- I'd smack him in the face and tell him to snap out of it. I can't even fathom doing what he just did.

And it makes me think -- some part of this story isn't being told.
-Was anyone watching Monday night when the Steelers lined up to punt and the team's rookie snapper hiked the ball directly into a dude's leg at the line of scrimmage? That guy whose leg got hit -- Brown University's own Sean Morey. Quite a good receiver back in his Ivy League heyday. I once played pickup basketball against him. True story.

-NBA season starts tomorrow night, and thus far I've resisted temptation to purchase League Pass. I've had it the past two years, and I know full well that it is basically addictive to the point of being extremely disruptive of everyday life. But once that free preview starts, it will be tough to resist. Must...be...strong.

October 25, 2005

Michael Vick -- Call on Line Two

I meant to mention it in my post Monday night, but the legend of Michael Vick definitely gained another chapter during last night’s broadcast of Monday Night Football. At one point during the game, ABC aired a short segment in which Vick let us, the fans, have a little glimpse into his personal life, sharing some details so we could get to know Mike Vick the person a little better. One such thing we learned was that if Vick could be any actor, he’d be Jamie Foxx. All of the things Vick said were fairly innocuous, until the last one. With no forewarning, a grinning Vick uttered (this isn’t an exact quote, but very close): “The secret to dating multiple women at the same time – more than one cell phone.” At which point, a smiling Vick held up a pair of flip phones, one at each ear.

Wow. Not to say I’m stunned that Michael Vick – in many ways the crown prince of the city of ATL has relations(hips) with multiple women, but the admission of it on national television is pretty bold. This wasn't an event of Ron Mexico magnitude, but it was somewhat stunning nonetheless.

Perhaps the best thing about this episode was that, the moment after Vick whipped out his cell phones, the segment was over, and suddenly Al Michaels and John Madden were back on the air live, left to figure out how to respond. All Michaels could muster was to say, half-jokingly, how risky it is to date multiple women and that at least a couple women out there now know Vick’s secret.

My guess is that Vick probably considered the implications of this little stunt, but just as he does on the football field every week, Number 7 saw danger in his face, paused for the briefest of moments, and promptly took off running with it.
-Not sure if you heard about this, but Craig Biggio’s wife Patty got slapped by a White Sox fan during Game 2 of the World Series in Chicago on Sunday. Now I have a pretty liberal ( some might even say, sick) sense of humor, but this is just not funny at all. Actually, I take that
back – yes it is.

-Non-sports item of the day, courtesy of loyal reader Frank G. Yak: In Sydney recently, police gave a 71-year-old man a parking ticket while he was sitting dead in his car. Those wacky Aussie cops!

-Breaking (and frankly quite exciting) news from the NFL: The man they call Taco is back.

-I don’t know about you, but I always thought of Celtics’ big man Mark Blount as your average, middling NBA player who holds down a roster spot but otherwise gives the 15 NBA fans left on the planet (myself included) no legitimate reason to take any interest in him. Boy, how wrong I was.

Monday Night Dementia

Some random thoughts from a late Monday night:

-I once forgot to bring my shorts to a basketball game, but I can't even come close to identifying with the feeling of checking into an NBA preseason game and ripping off my warmups only to realize I'm shirtless. It's honestly like one of those horrendous nightmares you wake up from and are just so happy it's not true. Well, the other night, it happened to Celtics' forward Justin Reed, and he didn't wake up from any dream.

-Adding further to his aura -- if you could call it that -- as one of the craziest individuals on Planet Sport, Rams' coach Mike Martz, on leave from the team with a heart ailment, tried to phone in a play from home on Sunday. Can't you just picture Martz sneaking upstairs to the study, hand cupped over the mouthpiece of his cell phone, frantically whispering instructions to some bewildered Rams' staffer while his overprotective wife was in the kitchen making him more soup?

-Maybe I just have a soft spot for 6-3, 270-pound closers who throw 100 mph despite having a screw holding their elbow together, but I like Bobby Jenks.

-Who says Atlanta sports fans suck? Over 70,000 strong at the GA Dome for Monday Night Football against the Jets. (Who, in an unrelated observation, desperately need a quarterback.)

-Speaking of Monday Night Football -- The latest sign that my fantasy sports "habit" might be morphing into a "problem": About midway through the third quarter of Monday's game, when Jets' RB Curtis Martin -- who was on my opponent's team in a tightly-contested match -- caught a pass out of the backfield and was upended by a Falcons' defender, without knowing what I was saying, I instinctively uttered the hopeful words "Broken neck," a clear hint of excitement in my voice.

I immediately scolded myself for having such a horrible thought...all while some sick part of me hoped Curtis would suffer a temporarily debilitating -- but not life or career-threatening -- injury.

Does this make me a horrible person? I'll leave that up to you, but I should inform you that it has been handed down from on high that the Fantasy Gods neither approved nor disapproved of my actions.

My match ended in a tie.

October 21, 2005

Bird, The Snake, Liftoff and Leo

-Is it noble or just plain stupid to ask to have an additional three years tacked on to your 30-year prison sentence so that your time in jail can match Larry Bird's jersey number? I think I'd air on the side of "just plain stupid," but I think that's because I'm more afraid of spending one night in jail than just about anything else on the planet. It's kind of one of those funny things that you might do to impress your friends and then realize that it was a really poor idea the moment the laughter stopped.

-Jake the Snake shaved his 'stache, and some people are not happy about it.

-As if I didn't already dislike the Astros enough for a) beating the Braves, and b) being located in Texas, now there's the intolerable array of Houston/NASA headlines being ladled into our faces by what are supposed to be the industry leaders (and yes ESPN, not surprisingly I'm talking to you here, among others). Someone please shoot me with a sedated crossbow bolt -- I don't think I can take this anymore. Houston, We Have a World Series...Houston, We Have a Pennant...We Have Liftoff...Ready for Launch? I'm ready to vomit.

-Leo -- where's the loyalty? It wasn't supposed to end like this. Don't you have any competitive pride? Don't you want to try to bring another World Series title to ATL? Or are you just another guy who wants to go play with your friends at home? I've never said a bad thing about you in my entire life...until now. You sell-out. Yeah, that's right -- I said it. And don't come back either!

Acutally, on second thought...

October 19, 2005


I hate that Bill Romanowski acts like a tremendous asshole throughout his career, uses steroids, punches a teammate in the face, ending the teammate’s career – and gets a book deal for it. What a ridiculous country.

I hate that the NBA has a new dress code, but I hate even more that the media is devoting so much attention to such a boring issue.

I hate that Fox commentator Thom Brenneman said during Game 6 of Astros-Cardinals, “Ask your doctor if [unnamed prescription drug] can make a difference for you," and then seamlessly transitioned to, "Boy, what a difference Roy Oswalt has made tonight for the Astros.”

I hate that I didn’t write down Brenneman’s exact quote.

I hate that my IPod headphones seem to be designed specifically to fall out of my ears if I turn my head or start walking.

I hate this baseball postseason.

I hate that the Braves punk out every year in the first round.

I hate that Leo Mazzone talked to the Yankees, and I want to puke thinking about him being pitching coach for another team.

I hate that the subway station I walk through every day smells like a hippo’s dick.

I hate that I think I saw Rich Eisen riding in a taxi cab tonight but couldn’t be sure if it was him before he drove away.

I am completely unsure how to react to the fact that Ron Artest is on the cover of Penthouse.

I hate that one of my fantasy football teams is 1-5.

I hate that I have a fantasy hockey team but can’t bear to watch five minutes of a single game on TV.

I hate that I can’t get NFL Sunday Ticket because I don’t have a DirecTV satellite.

I hate that Michael Vick doesn’t have anyone to throw to.

I hate that Michael Vick hasn’t figured out how to throw to anyone he has.

I hate polls on Internet sports sites.

There. I feel better now.

October 16, 2005

As Hoops Draw Near

Back in August, I started making a list of things I was looking forward to about the 2005-06 NBA season. And yes, I am fully aware that such activity is a fairly clear indicator of psychological, developmental and emotional problems. Not surprisingly since the season was so far away, that list was long ago forgotten and left unfinished. But I recently stumbled back upon it and have decided that it is high time -- lucky you -- to share just a few items from said list. Because what better time is there to talk NBA hoops than a day with a full slate of NFL games and two baseball playoff games? Here are a few of the many things that have the OCC waiting anxiously for November 1st:

1) Nate Robinson: This guy's going to electrify the Garden. I've been
talking him up since July, and I have no intention of shutting up now. I just hope he's able to earn minutes from notorious rookie-hater Larry Brown.

2) The Stro Show: Sure he's gotten some chances to play in Memphis, but the fact is, the force that is Stromile Swift has yet to be unleashed on the League. Assuming Stro can minimize the coach-infuriating blunders that limited his playing time as a Grizzly, he's going to be incredible to watch in Houston. (Note that I didn't say he was going to be fun to watch because Jeff Van Gundy's teams are never fun to watch. As a side note, have I ever mentioned that I really was hoping to see Stromile Swift in a Hawks uni?)

3) Joe Johnson: Will he prove he was worth all the money, the draft picks and the embarassing exposition of the Hawks' dischordant ownership situation? The answer here is yes. (But then again, I'm not the one cutting the check.)

4) Return of Ron Ron: Say what you want about Ron Artest (I probably won't listen anyways), but he's one of the 10 best players in the league and is still getting better. And bigger -- he's up to 260. And he's still clearly insane. If you don't enjoy watching this dude play, you ought take a step back and reconsider what you're looking for. Whatever his motivation may be -- determination to win or switching to a new medication -- no one plays the game with more intensity.

5) Larry Brown and Isaiah's Knicks: So much offensive talent, an absurdly overblown payroll, an impatient coach and no chance all of the players can possibly work with one another. This will be good theater.

Okay, I don't want to overdo it just yet, as there will be plenty of time to overdo it once the season gets closer. And if I hadn't capped that list at the precise moment I did, I very well might have gotten carried away and had it at 100 items in no time. More to come soon.

-An unnecessary reminder that life is fragile: Hawks' backup center Jason Collier
died suddenly on Saturday at 28, possibly of a heart attack. And by all accounts he was totally healthy. Damn.

-A reminder that some things are still the same: The Craptors
lost to Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv Sunday. And yes, the Raptors were playing their starters.

-The 10,000th glaring sign that I have a fantasy sports "problem": I'm
playing fantasy hockey again, and loving it.

October 14, 2005

Nine Days in October

The OCC was called away on official business for the past nine days, so you were most likely forced to search elsewhere for witty and insightful sports commentary (which you probably do anyways). Naturally, I come back online to find the House of Sport in complete disarray. Here are some of the key things that went down during my absence:

-I wasn't near a TV when it happened, but you can bet there will be some cries for instant replay in baseball after
that call in the White Sox-Angels game the other night.

-In undoubtedly the most grueling sporting event I've ever watched (and I don't mean that in a good way), the Braves lost, in six hours and 18 innings on Sunday, wiped out in the first round -- again. I know this is already old news. In fact, the Braves fan in me is so well-conditioned to expect and accept failure that I've already moved on. As one loyal reader and fellow Braves fan put it to me recently, they gave us another memorable summer and forgettable October. Perhaps I'm just desperate for some positive take-away from this season, but it's true -- in many ways it was an incredible season for Los Bravos. It just ended the wrong way.

-The man who ended the Braves season -- Chris Burke -- is starting to make
quite a name for himself with hot postseason hitting. I, for one, haven't noticed Burke's hot hitting -- I'm too distracted by the eerie resemblance between him and Chris Kattan.

-On the subject of look-alikes, does anyone else see an odd similarity between Julian Tavarez and Freddy Krueger?

-Ever heard of someone being hospitalized for multiple days because of a pulled chest muscle? Me neither -- but that's what's happening right now
with LeBron. The Cavs are doing their best to downplay this, and my guess is it will end up being nothing, but it sure sounds to me like they're worried he might have a heart problem.

-You probably saw this already, but Nomar did his finest Hasselhoff impersonation the other day. No, he's not
putting out a rap album -- he jumped into Boston Harbor to save a couple of ladies who were struggling to stay afloat. The best thing about this story: The moment she realized what was going on, one of the women immediately said, "Are you Nomar?" I don't know about all of you, but if I could have one pro sports star save me from drowning, it would definitely be Mutombo. Just picturing him frantically flapping around in the water makes me laugh. Then again, he might not be the best choice -- he'd most likely put me under with a vicious elbow while trying to carry me ashore.

-In case Ron Artest wasn't already the most intimidating defender in the NBA, dude is now up to 260, and
wishes he weighed 280.

-ESP-aNnoyance: Actually, this isn't annoying at all.
It's perfect.

-From the "This Could Only Happen to Darko" files: On his way to pick up Serbian food with some buddies on Wednesday, the oft-overwhelmed 7-footer got
pulled over for having illegally tinted windows and then was arrested for driving with a suspended license (he hadn't paid some parking tickets). Apparently, many of Darko's teammates have would-be-illegal tints on their windows, but they have obtained medical waivers to make Johnny Law leave them alone. Come on, fellas. Help the poor bastard out. Someone's gotta tell Darko these things!

October 05, 2005

So it Begins...Again

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’ve been waiting for this day a long time. The start of a much-anticipated new season, a chance for redemption, optimism renewed, excessive use of clichés. For me, this is in many ways the most exciting day on the sports calendar.

Yes, that’s right – it’s NHL opening night!

Actually, that’s not what I’m excited about. I will admit that I’m greeting this new NHL season with as much interest as I’ve shown in the sport since NHL ’94 was regularly parked in my Super NES, but my real excitement has to do with today’s 4 p.m. first pitch, Game 1, Braves-Astros. A chance, for the 10th year in a row since the championship season of ’95, for the Braves to make another run at the title, to shut up all of you disrespectful louts who have dared utter “Buffalo Bills” over the years, you detractors who run your yappers about the lack of fans in the stands at Turner Field, who always pick against the Braves to win. And on that subject…

A friend of mine pointed out yesterday that it’s getting a wee bit stuffy on the Houston bandwagon. Seems the Astros are everyone’s edgy pick to win the World Series. Sorry, but I just don’t see it. (And I’m fully aware that has something to do with the fact that I don’t want to.)

In closing, it begins now – and by “it” I mean the Braves-Astros series, and my blood pressure rising to perilous heights from its normally innocuous level. We Braves fans keep a cool demeanor during the regular season, but once the playoffs start, every opposing base hit is cause for full-scale panic. That sound you hear come game time is me screaming at the TV. And the sound you hear after that is me explaining to the neighbors that, Really, everything’s fine – there is no domestic disturbance. If, after that, things go suddenly quiet, it means most likely that the Braves have lost and I’m curled up in the corner, sucking my thumb and humming myself a lullaby.

-Speaking of Houston (great transition, right?), an interesting NBA trade went down yesterday: Rafer Alston was dealt from the Raptors to the Rockets in exchange for Mike James. At first glance, I like this deal quite a bit for the Rockets. I just think Skip’s a better, more dynamic player. Mike James isn’t bad; he’s just not exactly brimming with potential. This trade tells me two things: 1) The Raptors have had enough of Skip’s complaining, and 2) the Rockets are more worried about Bob Sura’s recent knee surgery than they’re letting on. The most obvious question here: How will Jeff Van Gundy make a team of Rafer Alston, T-Mac, Stromile Swift and Yao unwatchable? I don’t know how, but rest assured – he will.

-During Game 1 of the Yankees-Angels series last night, Fox showed footage of Vlad Guerrero earlier this year at Yankee Stadium chucking a ball from the left field foul line over the right-center field wall. Pretty sick. Made me think they should have some kind of distance throwing contest during the All Star festivities, which, the more I think about it, is a horrendous idea. No one would want to do it for fear of injury, and the fools dumb enough to compete would most likely annihilate their labrums trying to uncork the best throw. Those obvious concerns aside, I’d tune in to watch such an event. Wouldn’t you?

-Call off the search – I found Frederick Weis.

October 03, 2005

Digging for Headlines

Breaking news you may not find elsewhere: Heard from a reliable anonymous source recently that Pedro Martinez is an avid (if not constant) gardener. Yes, that’s right friends, Number 45 likes to mix it up amongst the tulips and hydrangeas. I don’t know about all of you, but I think this is just fantastic. Picturing Pedro out on the front lawn in a pair of white Keds, sporting a fisherman’s hat and digging around with a mini-spade makes me laugh. It’s great to imagine one of the game’s most intimidating pitchers donning a pair of gardening gloves and checking on his hyacinths.

-Considering his track record of taking on talent at all costs, disregarding salary and other important implications of his transactions (in this case a potentially serious heart problem), I’m stunned that Isaiah Thomas traded for Eddy Curry. Wait, no I’m not.

-Saw a preview tonight for Tony Scott’s new movie Domino, starring Keira Knightley. Apparently the flick features a group of bank robbers who call themselves “The First Ladies” and wear masks of past presidents’ wives while carrying out their crimes. Pretty cool idea. I think I’m going to write a script for a movie about a group of bank robbers called “The Dead Presidents” who wear masks of past presidents during their robberies. Not sure who I’d cast in it, but I’m thinking Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves would be good choices, and I’m strongly considering calling the film Point Break. Who’s with me?

-ESP-aNnoyance: Okay, I can't fully commit to being annoyed about this because I don't want to be insensitive in case it's some sort of corrective vision thing, but did I happen to catch Stu Scott wearing semi-tinted spectacles during Monday Night Countdown?

-Speaking of football, in the first quarter of Monday night’s Green Bay-Carolina game, Al Michaels referred to Green Bay’s offensive line as “gerrymandered.” Hang on a second, I’m confused – what does Green Bay’s offensive line have to do with voting districts? About a minute later, John Madden described the same offensive line as “discombobbled.” One of broadcasting’s finest hours.

-Non-Sports Interaction of the Day I Feel Compelled to Share: At the 125th Street 4-5-6 subway station on my way home from work this evening, I was attempting to swipe my metrocard through the turnstile, but repeatedly was getting a “please swipe card again” message. I continued to swipe at the same turnstile because, as any savvy New Yorker knows, if you swipe at one turnstile and get the “swipe again” message, you’re supposed to stay at the same one because you can potentially lose that subway fare if you switch.

So there I was swiping away – thrice, five times, 10 times. Then, all of a sudden, someone from my right lightly tapped my forearm and said: “Hey man, bring your little ass over here and swipe on this machine. That one’s not working.”

Standing at the turnstile to my right was a man who looked a little bit down on his luck, for lack of a more offensive way of putting it. I mumbled something about losing my fare if I switched to swipe the card elsewhere.

But he adamantly insisted that my card would in fact not work unless I switched, which went against everything I had been taught at Subway Academy. I said I was going to try to swipe it at this gate for just one more minute.

“Try for 10 minutes if you want – it ain’t gonna work,” he said confidently.

Becoming less convicted by the second, I mumbled once again about not wanting to lose my fare.

To this, he responded, “I’m a hustler, a metro-man. If I tell you it’s gonna work, it will.”

Perhaps swayed by the pleasurable juxtaposition of “hustler” and “metro-man” in the same utterance, I decided to make the switch. On my first try swiping at the new turnstile, the “Go” sign lit up. Still a little perplexed by the whole interaction, particularly the fact that my benefactor had felt comfortable enough to address me using the informal “bring your little ass over here” form, I said thanks in the most mildly-irritated tone I could muster.

“You’re welcome,” said the Metro Man cheerily as I walked away.

October 02, 2005

Look, Don't Touch

-Caught a glimpse of Robert Redford sitting in the stands at Fenway while I was watching the Yanks-Red Sox game on TV Friday. My first thought was: Damn, Roy Hobbs looks old as hell. Forget wrinkles -- dude’s face has canyons running through it. I obviously don't begrudge him that -- Redford turned 68 in August, so it’s a given that he’s going to show some age. The problem, though, is that he’s still dyeing his hair bright red, and the contrast between his aging gentleman’s face and near-fluorescent shock of locks is enough to give you chills. Like, in a bad, heebie-jeebies kind of way. Frankly, it makes Redford look kind of creepy, like an elderly woman at the mall confusedly pushing around one of those huge granny carts. Come on, Roy. Age with dignity! (Or at the very least think about dyeing that hair a different color.)
-Later on Friday night, I was watching the game at a restaurant with the sound muted and the close captioning on. At one point, the TV announcers made mention of Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and where Arroyo’s name should have been, the caption read, “Awry grow.” I immediately thought back to the time several years back when I was out at a bar watching a Cardinals game, and with Placido Polanco at the plate, the caption referred to him as “Policy Language Co.” Seeing such frequent and odd misfires by the captions makes me wonder just how this system works. Is it actually a human typing in the names, or is it done with voice recognition software? If it is a human, apparently being a knowledgeable sports fan is not a prerequisite of the job.
-Speaking of Yankees-Red Sox, Joe Torre was crying like a homesick kid with a skinned knee when the Yanks clinched the AL East on Saturday. I know it’s a great feeling to win your division, but spare us the melodrama, Joe. Seeing you weep like a little sissy for no apparent reason is not good television.
-I know I shouldn’t really be thinking about the upcoming NBA season with the baseball playoffs about to start, but for some reason, this little dust-up between Kwame Brown and Gilbert Arenas got me pretty excited for pro hoops.
-Back to Friday: I was out at a bar late that particular evening with some friends and decided to throw a few bank notes into Big Buck Hunter, which a friend of mine recently proclaimed “the new Golden Tee.” I don’t know about that – in my mind, Golden Tee is still king – but I will say that I have seen a number of establishments that have lost their Golden Tee machines in favor of the Big Buck, which is an interesting trend. I think it might have something to do with the fact that we Americans prefer, at least ever so slightly, shooting things with a shotgun as opposed to bashing them with a club.
Anyhoo, so there I was at the bar playing Big Buck Hunter, and I must say I had it going on. At one point I registered a triple buck – meaning I hit all three bucks in the round without shooting any of the doe (which is a no-no). Perhaps the triple buck is common for some of you veteran players out there, but it was the first such achievement of my young career, and I was pretty happy with it. As I stood there figuratively popping my collar, a guy walked up from somewhere to my left.

Nice shooting, he said. My name’s Cow.

A pause, and then he added: I got the most bucks.

I took this to mean that he was the leader atop the game’s scoreboard. I told Cow that I was impressed and stood there awkwardly, half-expecting him to offer me a bottle of sarsaparilla. A few minutes later, he walked out of the bar, never to be seen again.

(Note: It has been suggested by at least one person that this individual introduced himself as “Cal,” which I heard as “Cow.” But I am quite certain that he introduced himself in the bovine form.)

-That was by no means the most bizarre thing that happened to me this weekend. This next tale has nothing at all to do with sports, but I feel compelled to share it nonetheless. I was out at a Lower East Side establishment Saturday night for a friend’s birthday celebration, and sometime around midnight headed to the bathroom (located in the back of the place) to do a number one. Everything came out fine. However, on my way out of the restroom, I was walking past a line of people waiting in line to use said bathroom when one of those people reached down and groped the area of my pants that held my wallet (the wallet was located in my right front pocket). Before I knew what was going on, he then reached, let’s just say, a bit closer to the middle of my pants.
I didn’t even think – I just flipped. I shoved the guy away from me and immediately started screaming at him. F-bombs flew forth from my pallet like daggers from a ninja’s sheath. I kept going at him – screaming, yelling and pointing – for what must have been a minute.

But an odd thing was happening. He just kept backing away, curled up into some standing variation of the fetal position. He wouldn’t even look at me. So I added “coward” to my tirade, and kept going. But it was pointless – he wouldn’t even look my way; didn’t say so much as a word. The three other people standing back by the bathroom were silent as well, I think making sure to stand aside in case I was going to start swinging.

I walked back towards the front of the bar, still furious, and started telling every friend of mine who would listen. I looked back towards the bathroom, and this weird incarnation of a human was still standing back in the corner. He soon started talking guardedly to the guy standing next to him, whom I gathered from the look of things to be his friend. I continued to wait, and when the friend walked out to the front of the bar, I approached him. “Look man, you'd better get your boy out of here,” I said. What the man said back to me was surprising. “I’m not with him,” he said with a faint hint of a European accent. “He tried to touch me as well.” A moment later, he walked out of the bar.

But the perpetrator was still in the house. A few minutes later, he had stumbled out to the middle of the place and parked himself within about 5 feet of our table. He just stood there, swaying vacantly, and it was at this point it dawned on me that he was high out of his mind on something. That granted him no amnesty or sympathy from me, however. I walked over to the bartender (there was no bouncer at this place) and informed him that there was a guy wandering around the place touching other men. The bartender looked concerned, and started to walk out from behind the bar to investigate. But at that precise moment, the perp made a swift and decisive move towards the front door and slipped out. Apparently he was more alert than he let on.

As I turned around to head back to my table, I realized I was face-to-face with three guys, significantly older and bigger than I. They had apparently overheard my conversation with the bartender. “That guy came over here and started looking at us funny,” said one of them. “We almost laid him out.”

His bald friend, whom I now recognized as having been standing nearby when the incident had gone down near the bathroom, said, “I can’t believe you were as calm as you were. I think I would have hit that guy.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t want to go to jail,” I said. (I’m terrified of jail, in large part because of the fact that it’s my understanding that people do worse things than grope you in the slammer.)

“You don’t go to jail for that,” he responded. “That’s self-defense.”

Shortly after that, I bid my newfound (and acquired through most unusual circumstances) friends a good evening, and went back to my section of the bar, where the story was spreading quickly among my friends.

Later in the evening, as the bald guy I had talked to earlier made his way out of the bar, he walked over to me and extended his hand. “Have a good night, dude,” he said. After a moment’s pause, he added: “Watch out for your package.”