It was June of 2001 and a bunch of my friends and I were at the Bull Moose Pub. Some of us needed to leave and go over to a little theater space (Freaks Local) to put on an improv show. Chris Gethard and I needed to stop off at the bathroom first. Someone was already in it.
The Bull Moose Pub’s men’s room is pretty big, but it only contains one toilet and one urinal. And on top of that there is no stall around the toilet. Generally if the bar is crowded two people go in at once, and if its empty people wait. Being that it is late and I really needed to go, the presence of someone else didn’t slow me down. So I stepped into the bathroom and noticed that this guy wasn’t even using the bathroom. He was on his cell phone. He was making the bathroom appear occupied just to get some quiet.
Irritated I walked over to the toilet and started going to the bathroom. Chris had noticed that the urinal was still free and he stepped in and started going to the bathroom too. There we were – going to the bathroom – while some stranger stood behind both of us talking to a friend. Perhaps it was just because I had been drinking but this struck me as funny. And it definitely struck Chris as unusual because he had started giggling. Soon we were both giggling.
After a few moments Chris said, “Dude. Kevin. This guy’s on the phone. We’ve got to stop laughing.” Which just made me laugh louder. Which made Chris laugh louder. So we were both laughing – and then the lights went out.
“DO YOU TWO WANT TO BE MY BITCHES?!?”
I zipped up.
Chris responded. “No. No, we don’t want to be your bitches. Turn on the light.” and Chris reached over and turned on the light. The guy was glaring at us and had put away his phone. He demanded to know why we were laughing at him. I was dumbfounded. Chris tried to explain to the guy that we were not laughing at him. We were just laughing. “Look. I apologize. We’re sorry. I apologize profusely. We’re going now”
Chris noticed that I have not moved and sort of motioned for me to walk out. So I start walking out of the bathroom. I walk by Chris and then I am passing next to the stranger who looked at me and smirked.
He gestured towards Chris and said, “This guy apologizes pro-fuse-ly“. Time slowed down a bit as my brain processed what was going on. Is this guy – a jerk who was in the bathroom making a phone call instead of standing outside – is he really expecting me to laugh at a joke he made about my friend? This asshole who just threatened us and turned off the lights just because we were laughing.
I turn to him and give him the amazingly cool retort “What is your problem? You’re being weird” He shoved me back against the wall. As my back hits the bathroom wall time slowed down even more. I am going to fight this guy. I am going to beat this guy up. He has a sink right behind him! I can lunge forward and shove his head down towards that sink. He’ll be out before he can even react. Even if he can take that hit, or even if I can’t quite pull it off, I have a friend with me. Chris will jump right in. Hell, he’s probably itching to punch this guy. I am going to lunge at him and Chris will be on him before I even make contact. This guy just screwed with the two wrong guys! I start to move forward.
At this point Chris shoved me out of the bathroom where my girlfriend was waiting for us. “Get him out of here.” The moment was gone, and I felt no need to go back into the bathroom to fight this guy, but I still took the tough guy stance of walking out backwards as my girlfriend led me out of the bar by my arm. The jerk had stepped out of the bathroom and had locked eyes with me. Chris walked by him commenting one more time that we are sorry.
Moments later Chris is outside and says to me, “We almost got in a fight” After a long pause I look at Chris and say “I can’t believe you stopped it!” Chris is a lot more mellow these days, but back in the summer of 2001 he would show up in the city and tell me stories about some guy he had punched in line for a concert or some guy he had threatened that was twice his size. Why didn’t Chris want to fight this guy? He even – ludicrously enough – had some sort of ‘whomping stick’ in his bag for self-defense. Yet a guy who was armed with some weird martial arts club was the guy who had the cooler head that night.
After some time had passed Chris said to me “We should have fought that guy” and we kind of realized that just as this guy’s insult of Chris has set me off, Chris had avoided the fight because he was trying to protect me. So that is nice and all. Still I am sure we could have kicked his ass.