Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Men You Just Can't Reach

It's a famous movie quote. “Some men you just can't reach.” In my own experiences it has certainly been true. There are people in the world that you can tell not to touch something because it's hot who won't touch it because they don't want to get burned. Then there are people who will only touch it once, just to make sure that you were telling the truth. Then there are the kind of people that will pick it up again and again each time hoping it's cooled off already. I mention this observation of mine because Ron Smith had a hard time learning lessons when he was younger. He was a boy who was just plain hard to reach.

One of the hardest things Ron ever had to learn was that it usually wasn't worth getting into it with Sam. Whenever there was any kind of minor confrontation Sam would have to escalate it just a bit. He had to have the last word or strike the last blow. In fact, Sam is still like that. At a recent birthday party Sam and Ms. Pat (His mother if you'll recall) got into an argument about whether Sam would pull the table cloth off the table with things still sitting on it. She said if he did it she would hit him with a chair. So... he did it and she threw a chair at him and actually managed to hit him. (Of course he would never have done it if his mother hadn't told him not to, but she was determined to tell him. I wonder where he gets his hard head from....)

Ron had known Sam for years and they had gotten into many arguments and more than a few fights. He could never do what I did with Sam. If Sam and I got into it I finally reached the “Whatever” stage where I would ignore whatever Sam did or said. The choice was that or shoot him because he's too hard headed to realize that when you start stabbing each other with needles over what channel the TV is on you've gone too far. Ron never understood that the options were to kill Sam or leave him alone. Sam would just keep escalating things until you stopped or died. So, the best thing to do was let Sam have the last word and go on with it. Ron could never do that.

Ron also didn't have another of the advantages I had in dealing with Sam. When Sam and I got into an argument I was right at least as often as I was wrong. If I was right Sam's having the last word didn't matter (and it was often something like “takes one to know one!” which I could ignore) and if Sam was right he deserved the last word so, again, it didn't bother me. Ron had the gift of almost always being wrong when he got into a fight with Sam. As unreasonable as Sam could be at times he usually looked like a saint when dealing with an incensed Ron Smith.

One sunny summer afternoon Ron and Sam started getting into it. I don't remember what it was about, but Sam was basically minding his own business when Ron started getting louder and louder and up in Sam's face, as the saying goes. Sam must have been in a good mood, because he ignored Ron for a good while. Finally he decided he was going to have to shut Ron up.

Now, I have to take a moment and explain why it was that Sam had a machete on him that day. It was actually very common. We spent so much time in the woods and going here and there that each of us kept our woodsman's tools about us. I would often have my long wooden staff in hand, Josh usually had a knife on him and Sam would walk around with his machete stuck down in one leg of his pants. At any given moment on any given day you would be likely to find us armed with our tools.

It was because of that fact that Ron wasn't at all surprised when Sam pulled a machete out of his pants. What was surprising was the conversation that took place between them:

“Ron, you don't want to talk like that to man with a machete in his hands.” Sam said after he had drawn his blade.

“Why not? You ain't going to do anything with it!” Ron yelled defiantly.

“I might, if you don't get out of my face.”

“You ain't gonna hit me with a machete!”

“You keep thinking that.”

“Well then do it, if you think you're man enough!”

Chop! Right in the leg. Ron howled and jumped around cussing at Sam, but he didn't do anything else. Sam had barely broken the skin, but he had in fact, chopped Ron with the machete, just like he said he would. Ron had seen countless examples over the years and should have know better than to start something with Sam over nothing. In stead Ron kept raising the ante until he was the one who got hurt. Once he was in pain he calmed down and stopped fighting. However, even pain couldn't reach him in the long run.

We have to fast forward to another beautiful summer day to find Ron's next lesson in not messing with Sam. Once again Ron had started an argument with Sam and gotten louder and louder while Sam maintained his quiet countenance. To drive one of his points home Ron had jammed his forefinger right in Sam's face. That was just a bit too much.

“Ron, you better get your finger out my face.” Sam said calmly.

“Or what!?!” Ron replied waving his finger right under Sam's nose.

“Or you're not going to like what happens.”

“You ain't gonna do nothing Sam! I'll put my finger where ever I want.”

As he said that he shoved his outstretched digit once more into Sam's face. As quick as lightning Sam grabbed Ron's finger and snapped it strait up. Now, there has been some debate about whether on not the finger was actually broken. It might have merely been that the tendons were damaged and that the bone itself didn't break. However, if the scream that Ron let out was any indication it might very well have been that the bone did, in fact, break. Once again, screaming was Ron's only reaction. Well, that and keeping his fingers out of Sam's face. One would think that he would have learned his lesson from all this, but no it took more than that.

Years later both Ron and Sam were living with Jesse. I should actually say they were living with Jesse's parents because Jesse was still at home. They stayed there together for several months. Here I must take a moment to mention why Ron finally got thrown out. Jesse had a job and Ron was living there and looking for work. One night Jesse had to work overtime and so he got home after dinner. He opened the fridge to get out the plate his Mom had put in there for him, but it was gone. “What happened to my dinner?” Jesse asked aloud. “Oh, I ate it because you weren't home from work yet.” Ron replied. That night Ron had to find another place to sleep.

In any event, the point is that Sam and Ron were living there together. One night Sam was sitting out on the porch talking to his future wife Becky. Once again, Ron had gotten mad at Sam and was walking back and forth in the front of the porch cussing at him. For a good while Sam ignored him and continued to talk on the phone with Becky. Finally Ron got loud enough that Sam was having trouble hearing the phone, so he decided something had to be done.

“Hold on Becky, I have to go slap a B****....” Sam said and then laid down the phone.

“Oh! You have to slap a B**** eh Sam? Why don't you come slap me then boy? Why don't you do that and find out what's going to happen?! I want you to!!”

As Ron said all this Sam walked to the screen door, opened it and walked slowly down the steps. As soon as Ron was within arm's reach Sam pulled back and slapped him down onto the ground. Then he turned silently went back up onto the porch, sat down and picked up the phone.

“Where were we?” Sam asked.

Ron jumped up rubbing his face and again began to cuss at Sam full volume.

“Hold on, some people just can't learn the first time. I'll be right back.” Sam said and laid down the phone.

“I didn't expect that! You hit me like a coward! I'm ready for you now boy! Try that again and see what you get!” Ron bellowed as loudly as he could.

Sam walked down the steps without speaking. Then he reached back and slapped Ron down onto the ground again. Once more he turned went up on the porch and picked up the phone.

“Back.” He simply said.

As far as I know that was finally enough for Ron. He never bothered starting anything with Sam again. So, I guess in the long run, Sam did reach him. This story certainly does have a moral and I believe it's a good one. Don't get slapped down again and again before you learn your lesson. If someone tells you that something is hot don't touch it. The faster you learn the less pain you are likely to go through. That is certainly something worth learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment