Aggression is an older past time in America than baseball, an older past time in the world than shamanism, the actual oldest profession, even older than prostitution. Yet in 2011, despite the advancement of technology, we still wonder what makes the biggest man the biggest man, we wonder how one man overcomes the other, whether in a street fight or in a corporate dispute. The answer is surprisingly simple.
The winner is the one who decides to win, the one who displays the most aggression, the one who exudes the higher superiority. While we acknowledge that might does not make right, we also don’t always accept that whoever makes the most logical argument is the winner either. But how are these displays exemplified in order to obtain success? Easily – by the one who cares the least, but has the most to win; by the one who says, “I’m going to own this motherfucker.” And I’ve used this lesson; I’ve lived it and won.
When I was 17, I was visiting my friend who made sandwiches at Subway. One night, a few friends and I were at the store visiting him when we decided to walk to Winn-Dixie, just a few stores down in the same shopping plaza. We were in a small, old strip mall in a town developed as a community for a nice place for old people to die, but it wasn’t a nice place, it was just a place for people to die. I had moved there a year earlier. There were no ghettos, no projects, just guys who pretended they were from them.
I led the walk to Winn-Dixie singing a Black Flag song, not arrogantly, but with the pride one feels knowing the lyrics to a Black Flag song. As we kept walking, some fat guy and his prissy girlfriend stood hiding behind a large, circular column. As I approached the entranceway, the fat guy began mocking me and stepped out of hiding, turning to face me. I kept walking then turned around, snarled, showed my teeth like a rabid dog and asked him what his problem was.
“Whatever, bitch. We’ll see what you have to say when you come back outside.”
“Fuck you, motherfucker,” I told him, walking inside the store, never breaking eye contact.
I went inside and made my purchase, the whole time planning my attack, my technique, my plan to win his waged war. My intent was to make a purchase at a store; his intent was to attack that which he saw as being weaker, but it didn’t matter to me. I had it figured out. I knew this guy was some dipshit standing outside a grocery store talking shit to strangers, so how tough could he be? I planned my defense and I planned it well.
When I walked outside, he walked up to me, his eyes locked with mine, his chest puffed toward the sky and he said, “So what’s up man? What’d you say?”
I executed my attack.
I spit at his feet using phlegm from the bottom of my belly. I arched my back, thrust my head back and screamed toward the sky like I was giving birth through my urethra. I spit again at his feet, snarled, spit, twitched like I was shaking a demon from my back, then – I looked deep into and through his eyes. When he asked me in a bout of fear if I was ok, I calmly and coolly said, “Yeah, man, I’m ok.” Then I spit again at his feet.
It didn’t matter if I was ok because he didn’t believe I was ok and he wasn’t supposed to believe I was ok. He saw the demons, real or imaginary, that were overtaking me. He stepped backward, stepped behind him in attempt to escape, not out of a conscious effort, but because his logical brain stopped working and he froze; he stepped away out of fear. Once ready to fight, he was now ready for flight. He wasn’t expecting what I was bringing. In fact, I wasn’t expecting what I was bringing; I just knew I had to bring something and it had to be greater than what he was bringing.
I twitched again, then again, then harder, then again and even harder until I started making myself drool and spit uncontrollably, switching between deeply looking into his eyes and rolling my eyes and screaming at nonexistent demons surrounding us. His girlfriend’s mouth dropped open. She stepped backward like her boyfriend into a pillar. Her eyes opened up, grew wet and began to tear. Fewer than ten seconds later, she was crying, wondering what was happening to me. For all her young, inexperienced mind knew, I was giving birth from my forehead to a new god that would be created just to destroy her. She shut down and let the tears stream down her puffy slut cheeks. I almost wanted to burst into laughter at the whole scene, but I had to keep it going.
The guy couldn’t fuck with me. The guy couldn’t fuck with crazy. He thought he was badass because he had watched a lot of rap videos, but I won because I didn’t give a fuck. Punch me in the face, kick me in my ribs – I’ve suffered worse, but I will win because I will show you what crazy is. He could have swung at me, and that would have been fine because in retrospect, I could have taken him, but if I couldn’t have, it wouldn’t have mattered because he failed to act. Fear took him over. His fear was my victory.
Fake it or make it, but perception is reality. If you’re a good actor, you’re a good winner.
But what if this guy was ready to drop the same insane bomb I was? This guy could have thrown the same chair I was ready to throw. Nine out of ten fights simply are not worth it. I’ve walked away from numerous fights, but this particular confrontation required action because I couldn’t walk away from it – so I acted, and not only did I fake crazy, I would have backed it up because I was ready to. Crazy isn’t having a loud mouth. In fact, it’s not even about having a loud mouth because everyone wants to kick the loud mouth guy’s ass, even his friends.
It takes years of experience to figure which fights are worth involving yourself in, but once you can decipher the one in ten that are worth it, you’ll know that you need to go in at the top of your lungs, sword in hand, fire in mouth and eyes locked on the enemy, because if you don’t, you’ve already lost. If you’re going to win, you have to be crazier than your enemy. You have to win the fight before they get the chance. Your sword should rarely be used, but when the rare obligation comes when you have to, start decapitating.
We might think we are civilized, walking around in suits, ordering expensive meals at restaurants, tossing about opinions with expansive vocabularies, but the way we win any confrontation is the same way we won it hundreds of thousands of years ago. This has been and always will be our history of aggression.