Acid Heroes

January 6, 2016

A Top Dog story


I don’t know if it’s the two days of rain that’s put people in bad moods.  But I just had a weird scene.

I just went to Top Dog near Shattuck Ave. to buy a hot dog (Calabrese, 3 bucks, loaded with sauerkraut).  So I order my dog at the cash register and take a seat at the front window, putting my backpack on the counter right in front of me.  Five minutes later the clerk calls out my order, so I trot up to get it, load it up with mustard, relish and kraut.

But when I return to my seat I notice some guy has taken my seat.

“Excuse me, you’re in my seat,” I said.

“Oh,” he said. And then he went back to looking at his cellphone.

“That’s my seat,” I said.  “That’s my backpack right there on the table in front of my chair.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize the seat was taken,” he said.  And  goes back to looking at his cellphone.

“Give me my seat back,” I said.

He continues to ignore me.

So now I’m standing there, sizing him up.  It’s obvious I’m dealing with a Grade A Asshole. He looks about 30.  About my size.  A little on the burly side.  Beard.  Just a bland, generic white guy.  The kind of guy you’d see hanging out at Starbucks.  So I’m considering my options as to how to handle the situation.

Now in my younger years, I would have pulled the chair out from under him, watched his fat ass plummet to the floor, and then, as they say, IT’S ON.  (you have to improvise from that point on, things happen quickly)

But I’m nearly 60 years old now.  And it’s not so much that I’ve matured. But there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says:  “Is this really worth it?”  Plus. I’m more tired nowadays.

So I just rather sternly, and trembling slightly from rage, say to him:  “SOME PEOPLE HAVE VERY POOR MANNERS!”

“And some people think they own the place,” he says.

The other Top Dog patrons are now fidgeting nervously in their seats, like the scene in the Western movies where two cowboys in a saloon are getting ready for a shoot-out, so everybody is ducking for cover.

I decide to take the path of least resistance.  I grab my backpack and walk over to another seat.  Eat my hot dog in sullen silence.

But then I’m thinking:  “OK.  When he gets up to get his hot dog I’ll take my seat back. See how he likes a taste of his own medicine.  See how he reacts to that.”

But by this time, I’ve finished my hot dog and I’m ready to leave.  So I’d just be doing it out of spite and to get cheap revenge (and there’s a lot to be said for spite and cheap revenge but . . .)

So instead I just walk by him, giving him a very stern look as I pass (he’s not ignoring me now).  And walk out of the place and head down the street.

Part of me is pissed at how I handled it.  Because I ALWAYS want to get in the last word.

But if you want to know the truth.  The main reason I didn’t escalate the situation and risk getting into a fight is because I’m wearing these very dorky looking black plastic bags on my feet.  I still haven’t gotten around to buying decent shoes, and this is the only way I can keep my shoes and socks dry.  But I look ridiculous.

If you’re going to get into a fight, it’s always important that you look your best.



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