Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breaking Down the " *Insert Event* Almost Fight "

Over the last weekend Mrs. Duke and I attended a Minneapolis music tradition that is the Basilica Block Party.  It is a two night music festival put on since 1995 by the Basilica Catholic church, with all profits going to restoring and up keeping the old church (a $9.5 million dollar project).  The acts were very solid at this years event, Friday was headlined by the likes of Lissie, Fitz and the Tantrums, Michael Franti and Spearhead and David Gray.  Saturday had the likes of Citizen Cope, Drive By Truckers, Gomez, Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs.

So, adult alternative music held in the shadows of a church of course there would be no conflict right?  Well for this story let's put aside the gay marriage issue, that was more of an issue prior to the event once it started all artists made it clear they were open to all lifestyles as did many attending with stickers even though it was held by a not so open minded Catholic church.  The conflict we will talk about here happens at almost every large event, whether it be sports, music, state fair, county fair and bar, it is of course the "Almost Fight".  I witnessed an "Almost Fight" at Basilica and I gotta say, they are hilarious.

What is the "Almost Fight" (AF)?  AF is when one person decides the best way to resolve an issue with someone is to act like they are ready to fight them, when in reality all they want to do is show everyone around they are "tough" or "bad ass" or "super cool".  Some of the ways of acting out an AF: pushing, yelling, getting in a person's face, waiting for someone to hold you back or holding arm's out to the side and saying "Hey bro, what's your problem?".  For AF's to happen, usually there needs to be a few common ingredients present: alcohol, large groups of people in a smaller space than what would usually be considered comfortable, and mixing of males and females.  Unless your Kevin Garnett, then it is just an NBA game that is needed and for you to try to think your tough but only AF with people and never actually do anything but hold your arm's up (see above) and yell at them.

Now actual fights happen in all of the situations I've laid out (minus Garnett...he never does even when Anthony Peeler elbowed him in the face...he still went to the AF), and the ingredients needed for AFs is really the same for actual fights as well.  The thing about actual fights is, they aren't funny.  To me AFs are hilarious and here is the breakdown of the one I witnessed at Basilica on Saturday night.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent. (and cause I don't know any of their names they were just random people standing in front of me)

The Players in the AF -

Bob - Bob is a mid 50's dude.

Sherry - Sherry is Bob's wife, also mid 50's.

Erik - Erik is a short dude, with hipster eye glasses in his early 30's. (we all know the type)

Salma - Salma looks like Salma Hayek, is in late 20's to early 30's and is Erik's girlfriend.

Rosie - Rosie is a mid 20's chick.

The Set Up -

It is the final act of the Basilica Block Party, Ray Lamontagne is early on in his set and it is packed.  The entire area that is standing room only and shoulder to shoulder with people jockeying for position to get a good view of the show.  I am 6'7" so I can see over everyone, I could stand at the back of everyone and still see Ray do his thing, but Mrs. Duke isn't a freakishly tall person so we made our way to the left side of the viewing area and got her a spot to stand on a curb.  On the side of the viewing area there are garbage cans directly in front of us, Rosie is standing in front of us with Bob and Sherry behind her and Erik and Salma in front of her within her viewpoint of the stage, not Mrs. Duke's or mine.  It is the second day of 5 1/2 hours of music each night, and mid 90's degree weather with high humidity has people getting testy (and smelly).

The Lead Up to the AF -

Again, everyone is standing, no auditorium set up, so you are looking over everyone in front of you to see the show.  Salma is short, she cannot see over some dudes in front of her (neither can Erik probably but...) so Erik looks at the recycle bin next to Salma, suggests she hop up and sit on it.  Salma thinks this is a great idea and hops up there (at this moment Mrs. Duke states "Don't sit on the recycle bin...pff...people are so stupid.").  Bob and Sherry aren't real happy as now Salma is in their viewing area, Rosie is even more pissed, Erik and Salma are oblivious, I don't care and Mrs. Duke can still see so outside of thinking it is a lack of respect for others by ("stupid") people it isn't affecting her viewing.

The First Blow -

Rosie picks up an empty plastic beer bottle laying in front of her off the ground (yes, there was a recycle bin 1 foot away) and throws it at the back of Salma, hitting her square in the back, and quickly pulling her arm back to hold her full beer (smart move picking up the empty while holding a full beer) in order to look innocent.

Reaction to First Blow -

Salma whips her head back startled, looking for the wannabe Pedro Martinez beer bottle bean ball thrower.  She scans the crowd and Erik notices something wrong, Salma tells him she was hit by a beer bottle he scans the crowd behind him.  Rosie acts as if she has done nothing, I smile (probably was a dumb idea) thinking this is getting interesting.  Bob and Sherry stare them down and Sherry states, "We didn't throw it but she shouldn't be sitting up there."  Erik shakes off the comment with no response and goes back to watching the show, while Salma here and there looks back to see if she can catch the bottle thrower.

Kaboom its a AF!!! -

Rosie can't believe the first bottle didn't send the message to Salma to get off the recycle bin, luckily nobody was using the recycle bin because there was another empty bottle in front of her.  She repeats the Budweiser to the back toss and it's a direct hit on Salma.  Instantly Erik turns, looks right at Bob and says, "Stop throwing bottles you *insert your favorite swear words hear*" then sprints towards Bob wrongly accusing him.

Then Erik goes through the classic AF routine:

1. Pushes Bob
2. Throws his arm's out to the side and states "What the F--- dude?!?!"
3. Waits for someone to step in before making next move towards Bob.
4. Once someone is holding him back, unleashes a tirade of insults and swear words at Bob while pointing at Bob.
5. The guy holding back Erik starts to think Erik is done, once he does Erik goes back for the 2nd rush at Bob, knowing full well that the dude would just hold him back again.

Now, Bob didn't throw the bottle.  Bob was just the first dude that Erik saw when he turned around, add to that Sherry speaking up after the first bottle was thrown and Erik had his mind made up that Bob was the guy to go after.  Bob was taken back by the AF routine that Erik put on but is now pissed, so what does Bob do?  Bob takes #2, #3, #4 and #5 out of Erik's AF playbook and returns it at Erik!

Salma doesn't get down from the recycle bin after all of this though...oh no...she stayed until finally security came by and made her get down.  To the applause of some behind her and Erik.  Salma spent the rest of the night looking back and hoping to find another possible bottle thrower to send Erik and his hipster glasses after.  She stared me down quite a few times, maybe cause she thought it was I who threw the bottle, or maybe cause I kind of have hipster glasses (more modern really...not hipster but it was dark out) and she must be into those.

I laughed, throughout the event and even more reflecting on it.  Is it funny in print?  Probably not.  But I think the entire AF culture is hilarious.  We all have seen them, the guy charging another guy cause he looked at his gal in the bar, but not wanting to get into an actual fight.  Again, actual fights, not funny.  AFs are funny because they are pathetic (so are actual fights really) not only are you too dumb to figure out a way to resolve your conflict with words not fists but you aren't brave enough to resolve the conflict with fists.

Please comment with any classic AF moments you have had, your's will probably be funnier than mine, but I more wanted to point out the stupidity of AFs and shed light on the frauds who perpetrate them.

1 comment :

  1. It was really quite ridiculous but fun to watch!

    ~Mrs. Duke