September 17, 2012 by Brian
We couldn’t have scripted this night more perfectly than the way it unfolded. By now all of the regulars in the group have gotten to know Leslie, our tireless bartender every Monday night. She is hard working, friendly, personable and has listened every week to 12 – 30 guys discuss and debate how to be better men. I have always wanted to ask her what she thinks of all these meetings, the topics we talk about, and our conclusions. Over the last few months, she has made us feel very welcome at Fletcher’s, and we have adopted her as one of our own. I don’t think any of us know her outside of our meetings on Monday night, still, we think of her as a friend.
So there we were, 20 of us, circled up in the lounge area reviewing if/how the 4-Circles philosophy had changed our behaviors the week prior. Guys were talking about using their time and resources in new and different ways (see post here), when all of a sudden there was a ruckus coming from the back door of the bar – the employee entrance. This guy comes in – a really BIG guy, mean looking, too – and starts yelling at Leslie. 6 foot tall, all tattooed up, torn up jeans and ready to beat the hell out of somebody – probably Leslie. He started accusing her of sleeping with some guy, calling her all sorts of names and told her to get outside, etc. He was her boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend or something. She was scared and told him he couldn’t come into her work and act like that. He told her to shut up and get outside, then asked her if she was sleeping with all of us, too. Even though there were a bunch of us, I don’t think this dude cared, or was the least bit concerned.
All the guys were just stunned that this was actually happening.
He told her once more to get outside, because he needed to deal with her. She headed for the back door. On the way out, this guy takes off his belt and wraps it around his hand – like he is going to beat her with it. And, as quickly as he came in, he (and she) were gone. Leslie was in trouble. We’d all seen what was likely to happen. Much to her surprise, guess what the guys of HolySmokes did in her time of need….
Once they were outside, one guy, then a couple more, tentatively headed for the back door, while another started to dial 911. By the time I got to the back door, maybe 6 or 7 guys had all crowded around behind me, peeking out to see if we could see/hear what was going on. I pushed the door open quickly and ran through, the crowd of guys spilling out behind me. I ran up to the BIG, scary guy, smiled, put my arm around him and in an unexpected turn of events, turned around and introduced everyone to my “friend” Jim.
It was all a set-up. No part of it was real. Jim was playing a role, and Leslie was in on the act, too. The whole purpose was to see how each of us would react if the time came where we were needed – physically. We couldn’t think our way out of this one. No sharing of emotions was going to solve this situation. No matter how much of the bible we had read, nor our perfect church attendance was going to help Leslie. No…if we were going to be part of the solution to this problem, it was going to be physical.
Jimmy came inside and spent the next 20 minutes talking about his life experience – he was a marine, expert in all sorts of martial arts, high security prison guard and personal body guard to the King of Saudi Arabia. He proposed that you never know how you are going to react to a situation until it happens. So, the best you can do is to mentally rehearse different scenarios, decide what you are going to do, and then make sure you are physically able to do whatever that is. A heartfelt thanks to Jim Arthur, for spending the evening with us and helping to tackle this important topic.
We spent the balance of the evening talking about the physical requirements of being a better man. Is there a physical requirement? If so, what is it? One guy recounted a time when he and his daughter were caught in a rip-current at the ocean. It took all his physical strength to get them out of it, and he wasn’t sure he was going to make it at the time. He was glad that he had the physical ability, because you never know when you will be called on to protect and defend your family. It isn’t always going to be a fistfight that requires you to be a better man.
The best phrase that summed up the motivation for being in better shape and more physically capable was “If your heart is willing to do a thing, but as a result of your choices your body is not able to keep up with your heart’s desires, it’s a problem. Because at the end of the day…the effects of taking a beating only last a couple days. The personal emotional damage of not coming through, when needed, lasts a lifetime.”
It was a good night. See you all in the gym tomorrow! PS – Here is a link to the Body Exchange, the personal training studio owned by our guest speaker/actor, Jim Arthur.