View Full Version : Epiphany in an Unlikely Place

03-16-14, 03:33 AM
From day one, it is our basic instinct—to fight. Engraved in our DNA, the urge to tug and pull consumes us, makes us who we are. Whether or not you have the privilege to hide this urge makes you a human being. Whether or not you have the urge, defines your nature.

It was a late winter’s day in mid-March. The plants were not flourishing, yet our faith and history ensured us that they would. It was the time of year when nothing is new—everything is a shade of deathly gray. My brother and a mutual friend approached me the night before about seeing “a fight” on TV at a local restaurant. I have never been too keen of the idea nor have I ever been in a fight, but all the decisions I have made up to this point said the contrary. I fought an urge, an instinctive pulse—unsure of what it even was. It was only later on in the night that I could put it into words.

The beverages were consumed, the entrees were served. Late in the evening, our sobriety unraveled leaving us calm and bold—our intellect aside, our nature reborn. The evening began slow and uninteresting to say the least. Little did I know of the realizations that would follow as they filled in, piece by piece—yet not at peace. Everyone was gathered in the restaurant to avoid the pricey toll of ordering the fight at home. Young and old, professional and criminal we banded together while at separate tables. Some held favorites, while others remained neutral. Some routed for the underdog—as it turns out I would later.

It was bloody and gory—straight out of a horror film. One man starved the other out of breath while a third man knocked out the fourth. Blood flowed like booze as we enjoyed our hamburgers medium rare. Chants were repeated, clicks were formed. Tables were high fiving while others were avoiding the least bit of eye contact. “For us or against us”, with each fight we were separated and labeled over which name we chose. I must admit, even as timid as I was, I joined the festivities with honor, often yelling “Go get ‘em” or banging the table.

The fights were arranged in order of importance. The most popular fighters combatted at the end of the night. Money was the prize along with g[l]ory and fame. Our dreams were made or broken as we projected our own expressions or strategies to the one out of fifteen screens. All shapes and sizes, they fought in respective categories—heavy fought the heavy, light fought the light. Wielding nothing but flesh, the men were locked in a cage. Only the victor could walk out holding high, his beaten head. They broke bones, I broke bread.

The revelation occurred near the end of the night, before the last fight. The beer was turning on me, the burgers were piercing my lower intestines. I do not know why or what sparked my unseen eye. Possibly it was the man behind us, who sat with his friends discussing whether or not he should be a father. (Rather atypical to speak of creating new life while they were so evidently destroying it)

“It’s the most natural sport” I heard him mention to his hopefully expectant wife. As does most things, it went in one ear and out the other, while leaving a speck or seed yielding a plow or a bird’s peck. I had not been creative all day, so I decided to investigate his proclamation. “What is at all ‘natural’ about two grown men fighting? Why do we cheer for the victor while the loser fights for consciousness?” As I took another bite of my bloody burger, I realized the answer was in my hands—food.

No, these men were not starving, it was clear they had an abundance of food. Stocky and tone, they were healthier than most athletes. The awarded money was not for poor families, although it did often bring many a fighter into the post-industrial world. The answer had its roots thousands of years ago, when mankind was very young, very natural. Our tools were not developed, we had no control over agriculture. We followed big game from continent to continent, learning as we went. As the primitive man traveled he brought the true seed of life—women.

A flash struck my eyes as another fighter went down. Roars of applause commenced as others ran for a cigarette break. I motioned for another beer and finished my fries. I was affluent in our primitive man’s eyes, there was no urgency for food. “There will always be another meal, always a candlelit dinner”. This concept was new to mankind, merely only a century old—in most places. As early back as the 19th century did we really no know whether the corn would sprout, the pigs would fatten. We now harness the power to maximum production—hunger was not an option.

I wondered what our restaurant, and its inhabitants, would look like from an outsider, a shaman of the Amazon rainforests. Their wonder over the amount of food and money would be first followed by what we were watching. There would be no questioning, the answer to this madness was obvious, “The man was fighting for food or for women”. Of course I know this was not the case, but I was curious to why he would so boldly assume such a position.

The years had gone by since we were hungry—unsure of the next Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Hanukah. For the majority of my conscious life, there had been abundant of both women and food. “Why would we fight for either of the two?”

As mentioned the answer goes deep in the jungle or time. “The sun wouldn’t feel so warm if there were no clouds in the sky”. The approaching flowers would not be beautiful if it were not for the previous months of dryness and cold—no sign of hope. It had become aware that most of the world did not always have an abundance of people or food. There was/is a time where rations were low, sexual partners were scarce. We were thrown into a world where the absence was unheard of. We were thrown into the world, creating new rhythms and cultures.

Like stacking blocks, we marked time after time—the higher you got the more unique the structure. I have always taken for granted the block before us, the one that shaped us, gave us height—and wisdom. Fighting was the answer to a block less world where foundation was unsteady, a frivolous word.

Turning back years and years while still in the present, I sipped my coffee—black with two sugars. Sitting across the table, my brother and my friend, both enjoying platters of food platters of pleasure. I wondered what would happen if there was no more menus, if the next day wasn’t planned, if work discontinued. The answer was given, I held it with care. “We would stand up and argue over which plate belonged to who—whether or not one person should have all three and the others left hungry. Madness, a common trait of our ancestry, would consume the restaurant with the all too real realization of our own vulnerability.

My own brother of blood would be a common enemy to me and my friend. Diplomatic solutions would not, could not apprehend. The fight for security, the future, over blood, would be decided by the plates of diverse grub and whom it belonged to. Guilds would be fashioned and food our contemporary currency. Anger would be common, leading to backstabbing and fist fighting. The fight had little rules, the winner got the food—simple as that. The winner was applauded and allowed to consume.

I took another swig of the Daniel’s in front of me. Carless and drunk—again—I spilled some on my logoed t-shirt. “Dammit, this thing’s brand new”. Unaware of the room’s gesture, I somehow knew this would affect my select ability by the brunettes at the bar—my tail feathers were tarnished, my genes would not be passed on. My brother, still dry, kept his sexual aurora as a cute redhead gave him THE look—I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

Back to the days of scarceness and hunger I realized my stained shirt held no ground of whether or not I had a mate. The limited restaurant would not require attire for selective habits. Food would be the currency to mating, to kids and love. I needed more than the plates I stole from the table, I needed to challenge the chap who caused this disorder. His personality, his cash would hold no value, the lack of food—nothing immediate to promise. His wife needed protection and food—both of which she couldn’t acquire herself or with a weak mate.

I would stand up and roar like the lion. My reach for his plate would be greeted by fists and waves. Inherently, I was strong, a desirable trait. Instinctively, I was wise, knew what to fight over. With grandeur and applause I would rise his plate—to the maiden whom once gave him her faith. Marriage would be disastrous, a suicide of sorts. She needed the most men, or at least one of the strongest. Either way, superficial ties would hold no lawful ground.

I quickly moved on as I noticed I was staring. The fights were mere over, they had kept me preoccupied. In a weird way I wanted to visit the paralleled restaurant. The one with limited food, no hope for tomorrow. I sat unoccupied by woman, a necessity of sorts. If only it were as easy as getting dirty, bruised and broke. I would fight to the death for my companion to live on, bear children, and speak of my name. I paid the bill, headed toward the door, as I waved her off.

Who is to say which restaurant is better? Surely you would insist of the present, but I chose the latter. It is much harder to know and love a mate, than a one night stand after a crumby date. I could have eaten and been pleased. I could have went to bed hungry—but I passed on my genes. If there is more to life than this cage of a restaurant, please, do tell. For food and survival of species is what I hold most valuable. Call it selfish, unnatural, whatever you will. It’s better than a synthetic world, addicted to pills.