Thursday, May 29, 2008


A fist fight nearly broke out at my local watering hole here in Brooklyn. I've seen fights break out over girls, spilled drinks and sports. But, never in my wildest imagination could I envision a fight breaking out over, steakhouses.

These two guys were playing pool. One guy, a shorter Asian dude, was insisting the only real steakhouse in New York City was Peter Luger's in Williamsburg. The tall skinny white guy argued that it's over rated and over priced and suggested Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan was much better. Whatever!

As the shouting escalated, the Asian guy yells, "yeah, let's take it outside." At this point, I stepped in and yelled, "Stop it, you're fighting over a steakhouse." Then, the bartender steps in and says tells them to knock it off. The guy who was being challenged and his chubby friend decide to leave, rather than escalating the situation. He told me he works in New York City public schools and can't have a fist fight on his record or worse yet, a night in jail.

This reminds me of an incident I had about eight years ago at a now defunct bar in Carroll Gardens. It was coming up on Christmas and I just bought a tree that day.
This young Italian punk asks me where I bought it. I told him on the corner of Henry and Sackett streets. At that point, he asks if I checked out the trees at Court and President streets. I told him yes, but I found the trees more expensive and inferior. At this point, he yells "Me and my two brothers run that place." The makeshift Christmas tree place was called, "Three Brothers," and I suppose he was one of them. He then proceeded to tell me how not buying a tree from him insults his family (this is a very mob type thing to say).

I'm trying to tell him it's nothing personal, I just happened to like the Christmas trees better around the corner. I told him I don't know him or his family and wondered how I could insult someone I had never met. This confused his pea-brain mind. At this point, flustered, he stood up and tried to make something of it. "Want to take this outside?", he asked. I said I don't fight over Christmas trees. I wanted to say, "Jesus wouldn't be very proud of you," but I decided against that path. I was on pins and pine needles at this point, when the burly bartender stepped in told the two of us to knock it off. He settled down and I finished my drink.

In both cases the antagonists were drunk. That may explain some of their bravado, but not all of it. When I've had too much to drink, I tend to talk a lot. Others just laugh a lot and many become quiet and introverted. My sense is it's not the drinking that causes these outbursts, because my friends will tell you, I'm not the fighter type. So, I think it's a born behavior, a chemical imbalance, perhaps, much like depression. My thought is, those who want to fight have been punks all their lives and alcohol just charges their natural born aggression.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to go back to that bar where I met the steakhouse combatants and see what happens when I launch into a diatribe goose liver pate.

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