How many fist fights have you had? I mean, real, honest, fist fights, not just pushing. The kind of fist fights where you realize that the human head is really hard. I have one of those Irish tempers so I’ve had some sprawling scraps. I’ve had adrenaline burn through my esophagus; I’ve been shaking and sick with it. I’ve been thrown into any number of potted plants.
One might ask what the point was? What did those fistfights ever get me? Were they productive?
Not strictly productive, no. No land grab, no score of resources or access rights. I’m not even sure they were a show of strength entirely. After all, I didn’t always win. So what was the point? I don’t think there was a point. I think they were an experience, each of them, like sexual conquests, daring and volatile. I think they were a proof that I was alive with wildness. Untamed, and sometimes, beyond my own or anyone else’s control.
Am I rationalizing violence? Of course. This skin is a costume I’m still adjusting to. Like any teenager, I was always seeking evidence of my own existence. Nothing quite as immediate and visceral as blood on your knuckles.