Tag Archives: fighting

I’ve Been Shattered

I’ve made no secret at all about my dislike of mixed martial arts.  As far as I’m concerned, MMA is nothing more than human cockfighting.

Do I hold such disdain for boxing?  No.  Am I a fan?  Oh God, no.  But to me, it seems different in some way.  A lot of boxers – seemingly more and more these days – die as a result of their injuries in the ring, and this is hideously awful and depressing, but the substance of the competition itself still somehow seems different.  I wouldn’t want anyone close to me to take part in either of them, that’s for sure.

Now that I think about it, I think part of the difference for me is the fan reaction.  MMA fans seem to have more of a bloodlust than boxing fans.  That brings me to the point of this post: Anderson Silva’s now ubiquitous broken leg from last night’s UFC 8429 (or whatever).

I haven’t seen footage of the injury, and I won’t.  I have no desire to.  What I did see was everyone’s reaction to it, at least via social media: shock and surprise, followed by lamenting over the possible end of Silva’s career.

Last thing first: hey, it sucks when one of your favorite athletes hangs them up, especially when it’s not on his terms.  I get that, but, well, here’s the thing about that first thing…you’re shocked and surprised that a guy engaged in a fight got seriously injured.

HELLO.  THAT’S THE POINT.

Nobody gets into “The Octagon” thinking, “hey, I’d like to just roll around and hope the judges call it a draw.”  No!  They want to win, and the best way to do that is to knock your opponent out cold, or put him or her in such excruciating pain that they beg for the fight to end.  Hurting the other guy is the main objective of professional televised mixed martial arts.

Moreover, whether you’ll admit it or not…that’s why you watch.  People watch auto racing for the crashes.  They watch someone walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon because the guy might fall.  And they watch MMA to see if one of the guys will grotesquely injure or disfigure the other.

It’s sick, and I don’t like it.  And part of me doesn’t even understand why anyone else would.

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Thy Leaves Are So Unchanging

One of my family’s rather unique traditions is that we have always put our Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve.  This may not be all that unique – to hear my mother tell it, back in the old days everyone used to do it – but I also don’t know anyone else who does it.  The whole Christmas tree thing is really important to my mom, so I don’t question it.

Doing it so late allows us to wait to pick out a tree in the first place.  This is not conducive to having a wide selection of trees, but hey, it was nice back when I was in college because I could still go with the family to pick it out.  My sister lives in Boston, so the trip now gets put on hold until she gets home.

The three of us usually go out without my dad, because it’s not something he ever really concerned himself with; his family always had an artificial tree and put it up much earlier, so it wasn’t a big deal to him.  However, with him being in and out of the hospital three times in the last two-plus months, and twice in December, he’s been doing a whole lot of nothing all day, and I told him he was coming this year.

My sister arrived the other morning, as I already wrote about.  We had planned to go tree shopping yesterday, but I refused to do so when it was 68 degrees and raining.  There was literally no way I was going to buy a Christmas tree in early May-type weather.

It was a little colder today, but still raining, so we pushed the trip back as long as we could.  We finally had to bite the bullet and go; my mom had to be at work at 4:00, so it was now or never, raining or not.

Now, lots of families have hot-button topics or sore subjects that always lead to screaming and yelling.  Sometimes it’s that someone doesn’t like someone else’s spouse.  Sometimes there’s a relative’s arrest or a history of alcohol and drug abuse that ruins the atmosphere as soon as it comes up.  For my family, it’s Christmas tree shopping.

It boils down to a simple fact: every year, I walk around the lot(s) and identify suitable Christmas trees.  My sister, on the other hand, identifies Christmas bushes.  I’m right around six feet tall, and I always pick trees taller than me.  She has never once in her life picked out a tree taller than her; considering she currently stands at a little over five feet tall and stopped growing like 12 years ago, this is a problem.

A Christmas tree is supposed to be, among other things, majestic.  In your entire life, have you ever walked around a garden and thought, “my, what a majestic shrub?”  No, you haven’t.  My sister sucks at picking out trees.

I think it stretches back to when we were super young and the biggest fight was over who got to put the star on top of the tree.  I don’t ever recall doing it, and I feel like my mother always did it, but I do know it used to make my sister upset when she didn’t do it.  My best guess is that she got it into her head that if the tree was small, like her, she could put the star on it and reach the upper branches when hanging lights and ornaments on it.  Ever since the invention of the step-stool back in like 1594 (don’t quote me on that), however, this has been a stupid reason to pick a tree.

Every year she goes right to a four-foot high shrub, and immediately I begin mocking both her and the “tree.”  You’d think she would know by now, but she never learns.  She also never gets her tree picked, but at the same time, neither do I.  I’m always told that my choices are too tall, or the wrong kind, or some other nonsense my mother makes up to keep me from being able to gloat.

Well, this year, I came prepared.  I found a good tree that I liked, and presented it to the family.  I immediately pointed out that while it looked too tall now, we could cut six inches off the bottom, where there were no branches anyway, and maybe pare down a couple of the branches at the top to make sure they didn’t scrap the ceiling and left room for the star.

Maybe it was the quality of the tree.  Maybe it was the unassailable logic.  Maybe it was the rain.  Regardless, we drove away not long after with the tree tied to the roof of my car.  I won.

It might seem like small potatoes, and it might sound incredibly stupid.  It is, and it is.  But at the same time, we’ll actually have a Christmas tree, with actual room underneath for gifts and decorations.  You just don’t have that with a Christmas bush.

That makes us all winners, really.