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PAT, Who Was Hell With His Fists

Sunday, June 19, 2005

PAT, Who Was Hell With His Fists
by Michael Ian Black

When I was in Junior College I knew a guy named Pat who was hell with his fists. Everybody thought Pat was the tops, but nobody messed with him. Nobody would dare, because Pat was hell with his fists.
One day, there was a mean guy who started calling Pat names for no reason at all, and it seemed to all of us watching that this mean guy was itching for a fight. But Pat didn't want to fight, so he just kept walking. The mean guy was calling Pat terrible names. Names like "Chicken" and "Fraidy Cat!" Pat kept walking though and didn't pay that mean guy no mind. Then the mean guy started calling Pat's girlfriend names, and Pat was steamed!!! But he didn't punch the guy because Pat was reading a book about Gandhi.
But then the mean guy started calling Pat's mother names, and that was too much even for Pat. Everybody knew Pat's mother was a saint who had died saving a hat from a burning building. Pat stopped right in his tracks, and when that happened we all knew Pat was finally going to use those fabled fists of his, because Gandhi is one thing, but a guy's mother, by definition, is something else entirely. Many people said, "Don't do it, Pat," and "No, Pat," but Pat couldn't hear those people. He was lost in a world of his own, a world not unlike our own planet Earth, but without all those people who were telling Pat not to punch the mean guy.
Pat's eyes grew very big, and his hands curled up into tight little balls, or to put it another, more succinct, way, fists. Then Pat reared back his mighty hands and punched the mean guy as hard as he could, even though by now the whole crowd was screaming, "No, Pat!"
Well, what do you think happened then? We all heard a terrible sound, a sound we all recognized from movies in which bones broke. It was the sound of bones breaking, and then we saw a man on the ground in terrible pain. And who do you think that man was? It was Pat! Pat, who was hell with his fists! He was lying in the road holding his broken fists and saying certain swear words like "Damn!" and "Damn It!"
You see, Pat had discovered what the rest of the crowd had been warning him about when they had said, "Don't do it, Pat," and "No, Pat!" They had noticed something that Pat, in his anger, couldn't see. They had noticed that the mean guy was made out of CONCRETE! He was a concrete man, the only one any of us had ever seen, and what's more, he was a transfer student.
The mean guy just stood there laughing, and after a while some of the people in the crowd began laughing, too. Pretty soon, everybody was laughing, because even though we all felt bad for Pat, it was kind of funny that he had tried to punch a guy made out of concrete. Pat walked away alone, and the mean guy took us all out for fries. It turns out his name was Steve, and he wasn't so mean after all.
I lost touch with Pat after that. We all did. He dropped out of school and died a few years later from a stomach disease that he left untreated because he was reading a book about Christian Scientists.

-from State by State with The State, Hyperion publishing
posted by Dan, 4:01 PM


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