Embarrassmonth: When I Brawled Over the Cubs and Cards
My alarm clock shot off and I rolled on my side. I groaned and grimaced and gingerly sat up to see what the pain was about. My entire left side – hip to knee – was scraped and a purple bruise rested under the surface of my skin. And there I sat without any recollection of how it appeared.
Sadly, this wasn’t too irregular. I had turned 21 that Summer and was blacking out drunk on a consistent basis and waking with a strange scrape or torn jeans. But this one was worse than usual. And I just felt plain off. Plain off.
The day ticked on and late in the afternoon I ventured to a bar with a couple of friends. I mean, it was Saturday and I wasn’t about to let a little ol’ flesh wound stop me from getting back on the horse. We were in Charleston, Illinois, a small college town with only eight bars to choose from and we picked one I didn’t visit too often. Right when we walked in a group of unfamiliar faces stood in the corner, and it sure seemed they were whispering to each other and pointing at me.
My friends and I ordered a drink or two. One friend asked if I knew them. “They keep looking at us,” she said. I had made a lot of strange acquaintances in the past couple of years, but I honestly had no recollection of them. So we hurried our beers and started for the exit. We started to walk past the group, and sure enough one of the guys stopped me.
“You doing okay, buddy?” he asked. Another couple of women stood behind him, staring at me like they were trying to pick me out of a lineup.
“Um, yea, I suppose. Why?”
“Wait, you don’t remember, do you?” He said, sounding sympathetic. “Do you remember me? Like, when I took you home?”
I stood there, speechless.
“Well, yea. You know, because you got into a fight last night. At our house. In our living room.” He paused, looking deeper into me. The women were still watching.
“What?” I asked.
“Yea, man. It was pretty ugly so that’s why I took ya home. I mean, your place was just a couple blocks over and all, but I wanted to make sure you made it,” he said.
“Why?” I asked. More questions followed. “Who with? Why did we fight? What was it about?”
“Dude, you got into a fight with my roommate,” he said, slowing himself. Because he was about to say something that would make most people feel stupid. “And you two got into a fight over the Cubs and Cardinals.”
That was the key and he turned it, and in swooped a plethora of memories. The chubby guy in glasses. Of course.
“Your roommate, is he a little bigger? And with glasses?” I asked him.
“Yep,” he said.
I didn’t like his roommate’s ugly face or his Cardinals shirt. And from my few memories he didn’t care much for me, either.
If the Cubs and Cards came up I’m not surprised things went horribly wrong. Charleston was about the same distance between Chicago and St. Louis, so the town was split between these teams. We were raised on it, as in junior high everyone sparred while waiting for the bus.
Unfortunately, Cardinals fans normally won those fights. And apparently they won other fights, too.