I Was Attacked By A Grammarian, By Eugene S. Robinson
Eugene S. Robinson
, January 15th, 2013 11:21
Oxbow front man Eugene S. Robinson is one of our favourite authors cum rock stars, not to mention an accomplished fucker, fighter and fine diner, so we invited him to write about his time in the UK for us. Chic picture by Kasia Meow, head shot by Tom Millea
“What country do you think you’re IN?” He had been drinking but in the space of those seven words he had grown drunk-guy sober. That is, sober enough to be lucid but drunk enough to be injudicious with that lucidity. “I’ll tell you what country you’re in. You’re in ENGLAND. ENGLAND. And in ENGLAND we speak ENGLISH. And have for as long as it’s been ENGLAND. Which is longer than anyone’s been speaking YOUR mongrel tongue...”
He stared. I smiled. He stared without smiling. And huge clown-y gales of laughter filled the club air around us, from my mouth to his face. God love the true believer. In this instance a true believer who had tried to explain in pronouncing what I had just asked for a glass of – water – that you actually should pronounce the letter T. A grammarian and a gin drinker. But the great part about being a vulgarian and a water drinker is that you don’t care. You just don’t care. All of the kid glove handling of belief systems and tender mercies meted out to those who feel they’re somehow worthy of coddled space makes me a worse human being, not a better one.
Case in point: a one Mr. Tim Runyon. Former U.S. Special Forces soldier, power lifter (a weightlifter whose progress is measured in pure tonnage) and self-proclaimed “red neck” from Kentucky. A little light badinage that always tended to get a little edgy on the periphery marked our interactions. Until one day...
“I bet you’re like one of those freaks I just saw up in Fagtown [San Francisco, US Ed]. Burning flags. Shit. I get my hands on one of those…”
“Yeah, boy. Burning flags!”
“Oh no. I don’t know WHAT those guys were thinking. I mean I, myself, what I do with my flag is this...” And I begin mimicking the male-stripper-towel-between-the-legs bit, complete with the hip thrusting. “…and I just drag it allllllll the way through so whatever loose pieces of shit I have hanging around my anus against which the flag is rubbing? Well, they just come right out on the flag. CLEAN AS A WHISTLE!”
And we were suddenly aswirl in a silence that enveloped the whole room despite the fact that it was a whole room. Had I not been a powerlifter myself (and 260 pounds, or 18 plus stone) as I was at that time and a fighter and maybe smiling like I was, ear to ear, I would have been murdered. And paralyzed with anger as he was he did manage to say exactly that through clenched teeth and eyes that were Dracula-red. “Boy. Whewwwww... you’re lucky I haven’t killed you.”
Take all of those entrenched beliefs and feelings about those beliefs and shove them up your ass. You believe in the sanctity of the crown, the language, the flag, The Bible, your mother’s funeral shroud? You believe it/them to be inviolable and eternal truths of some kind? That’s fine. I don’t. And so we have a divergence of opinion. A philosophical divide that causes me to want to wipe my ass with your flag.
“Mongrel tongue, eh?”
Cross-Atlantic insults are tricky. No one who is British really gives a fuck about being called a limey. And no one under 72 gives a crap about that whole “we saved your asses in WW2” bit. But it’s times like these when the pro-infuriators just go PRO. Which is to say “ad hominem.”
“And how are you pronouncing the 'T' sound in the word ‘fellatio’? Though I don’t imagine it’s a word you’d pronounce a lot what with all the time you spend with your mouth full of cock.” Now there’s nothing wrong with having a cock in your mouth and as an owner of a cock I’ve spent many a happy night with my cock in someone else’s mouth but it never fails to excite the touchy - the spectre and the possibility that they might give another some small measure of happiness in this way.
And excite, it did and excited he was, the response coming a bit more swiftly than I had imagined as he grabbed me (now a more svelte 14 stone) and the briefest of struggles ensued as he attempted to wrest out of me... what? American-ness? A confession? An admission of cultural inferiority? Unknown. Unknown and he was not telling what with now me having him all hemmed in, or wrapped up as the case may have been when you attempt to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but you, in fact, know no Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And I was really happier than I had ever been in recent memory and as happens with me often when I am in London, or anywhere in the UK, the bouncers rush over but immediately have to readjust (expectations?) when I open my mouth to explain that all I was doing, to quote LKJ, “was defendin’” and they realize that I am speaking... American? He is ushered out and I am invited to return to my cool drink of water.
I’d have hoped that he had learned a little something that night – how to relax, to designify all of the ways in which real or imagined slights impinge on our ability to understand ourselves as the hairless apes we are, maybe how to not attack someone smaller but much more dangerous than you, the attacker, anything really. But I know these guys. In every town, in every pub or club, they exist for one reason and one reason only: to amuse the rest of us.
So keep on shining on you crazy moons.
Next up: Male Prostitution - Harder Than It Looks
EUGENE S. ROBINSON is the author of Fight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ass Kicking But Were Afraid You’d Get Your Ass Kicked For Asking (which is technically BANNED in the UK by its publisher Harper Collins), as well as A Long Slow Screw, and numerous articles about everything from collections thugs to Dean Martin. He also sings for OXBOW.