Well, another week has passed, and my beard is coming in nicely. In fact, I think it's fair to say that this is a full-grown beard. I actually surprised myself a bit this time.... wasn't sure I could pull it off this quickly. It's a personal best for me. My last record in beard-growing was back in the winter of 1990. I was 10 years old, and it was an especially cold winter.... perhaps my body just knew to kick it up a notch. I don't know.
Anyways, my old college buddy, Ross, was in NYC this past weekend. And, of course, Ross is also one of the co-hosts along with Greg and myself on the podcast Fourth Time Around. You should have been there.... the two of us were inseparable as we traipsed across Manhattan.... through the hectic Times Square, across a gorgeous Central Park, and in the upscale Upper East Side. Oh, and we also got in a bar fight.
There we were in a quiet little Irish pub.... up around York Avenue and 84th Street. Ross and I were relaxing over a tall beer after a long day of taking in the city. Some college-age hooligans were over in the corner throwing darts. Lousy bums. One fat guy and one cute little gal who couldn't have been older than 17. They started heckling me. "Hey, beard-guy, where's your blue ox?".... and "Hey, Paul Bunyan called. He wants his beard back." You know, real kid stuff. Still, I won't lie.... I was itching for a fight. I just sat there silently sizing them up. But I couldn't hide the rage that was swelling up inside of me.
"Easy, Mikey," Ross whispered to me. "Those two are trouble. One of them's got a blade."
"Thanks, Ross, but I think I can handle it." Ross always did have good eyes. That's why we used to call him Scout back in the old days.
"Just take it easy," he said. "I don't want to get arrested on this trip for putting those kids in the hospital."
I told him that I'd keep my cool, but the kids wouldn't let up. We ordered a couple more beers and two whiskeys each. There was a storm brewing, and I was preparing for the worst. Suddenly, the fat one threw a dart from across the room directly at us. It landed in my beer spraying the stuff all over my face.
I turned to Ross and calmly whispered, "I'll take the fat one. You take the short girl." He nodded. I grabbed the dart and walked up to the fat man. Ross sidled up next to the little girl. She looked cute, but I knew she could be dangerous. The cutest ones always are.
"I believe this is yours," I said to the fat guy. I could see his right hand slowly reaching for the blade in his boot.
"Yeah, well maybe it is."
"Well, maybe this!" I screamed as I jabbed the dart into his side.
I gave him a quick punch to the groin. He fell like a baby.
"Nobody makes fun of my beard!" I cried giving several round kicks to his stomach as he lay on the floor.
Seeing me stab the fay guy, Ross nimbly grabbed the nearest bar stool and swung it around hitting the girl on the back. Boom! Down she went next to the fat guy. Ross was livid, and I could see that this was as personal for him as it was for me.
"His beard is a national treasure! You hear me! A national treasure!"
"Ross, that's enough! We gotta get out of here. The cops'll be here soon," I tried to calm him down, but I could see the rage in his eyes was growing. I finally had to throw him over my shoulder and haul him out.
And that's how Ross and I got in a bar fight and defended the honor of my beard.