I think it's fair to say my upbringing carried with it very few real virtues. Truth is it lent me nothing but a trashy mouth, a shitty attitude and a near non-existent work ethic. I've spent much of my adult life overcoming those problems. Or, more accurately, building non-traditional work-arounds to reduce the trouble they cause me.
The one thing I took away from my upbringing was an absolute gift for handling awful situations. It's not possible to effectively threaten me because I know the art of sorting out the truly violent motherfuckers from the shit talkers. Even within the subset of truly violent motherfuckers, I can separate the guys who would do something if they had you outnumbered, isolated and fucked versus the truly scary fuckers who will break your face even if a cop is standing right there.
The other night I was standing outside a convenience store chatting up some of the other guys who had struck out. I had struck out because I let a friend who needed it A LOT take the one girl. She was hanging on my arm and I slowly nudged her toward him until he could take her arm. The other girl was a cokehead -- not usually my bag unless I'm really stressed and want to have some fun.
The losers' row conversation was going well enough until a college age black kid decided he was going to start shit with me. Here's the thing: I don't believe you ever have to take a black guy who made it to college seriously. Ever. Why, ya say? Because if he hasn't done enough to get himself jailed by now, he ain't got it in him.
My first mistake was sitting in one of my big, open, arms spread, legs spread power stances that I usually reserve for sitting around women. You actually have to be careful with that shit, because guys who are looking to challenge an AMOG will take a verbal run at you to test if you're legit. Likewise, a lot of black college guys with low self-esteem like to play the "oh shit! here comes a crazy black dude!" game with white guys. A lot of white guys have been raised around senseless fear of black people. Consequently, a lot of them fall for that bullshit.
Understand, I've never had any trouble in any predominantly poor and black neighborhood in my life. Not anywhere in Detroit. Not in DC (before it was swallowed by white real estate developers selling to hipsters). Not in Baltimore. Destitute black people get along fine with me. Punk ass college age black kids, OTOH, are sometimes problematic. As are pretty much all punk ass college kids.
I can smell killer on another man. I've known a couple killers in my lifetime. In fact, I threatened to kill one once (added LOL value: he called the cops on me). This kid -- all 6'4" and maybe 210 pounds of him -- was not a killer.
First thing I will tell you about truly violent men: they're not talkers. They break up into two groups. There are the scary fucking alpha males who go dead silent. And there are the scared ass killers who will do chickenshit stuff when you least expect it who you can hear the trembling fear and cowardice in their voices. My brother was the scary alpha male who would go silent. I'm the same way. If we stop talking, you need to leave. Right away. Shit is about to go down. The trembling cowards are different, but they still have a clear tell: you can hear in their voice the uncertainty and fear that is driving them toward something awful.
This black kid was all boast. All "gonna crack your skull if you keep talking". So, I kept talking. And he moved away to a spot about 20 feet away from me. And then he's boasting "your friends can't save you". I told him none of these people were my friends and none of them could save anyone if they wanted to. You get the idea.
My basic belief about violence is that you should neither escalate nor back down. I'm not going to threaten this shithead. I'm also not going to run. Fuck him. Mouthy fucker, anyhow. Finally, when I do get up, I make sure to walk right toward him. I get about three feet away and tell him, "If I offended you in any way, I apologize." He replies: "Your apology's no good here." I scoffed loudly, said, "Fuckin uncivilized college town", turned my back to him and walked away.
The thing you have to understand is that no one who has been exposed to real violence ever says anything like "I'll crack your skull" unless the other party has already taken real action to merit it. People who know violence do not court it, least of all with strangers. The guy who is trying to seem unfazed and cool while overtly threatening you is a fuckin pansies who will fold in a real fight. He'll throw a big haymakers that misses, because he's never been socked in the gut or punched in the face, so he doesn't appreciate that no one in their right mind tries for a knockout punch on the first blow. I was already planning to deflect his big right, punch him in the head and then stomp his fucking ankle til broke. This kid can be thankful he didn't take a swing, because he'd have to get that nifty card they give you so they can pass you through a metal detector with all those pins in your leg.
The worst part? There was a chick sitting in her car who was giving me the sexy eyes as I walked back to my car. Damn. I shoulda stuck around and really infuriated that guy by getting some ass! (I've never seen a woman who didn't get aroused by me after one of these little showdowns.) But, I was raised around real violence. And the first thing you learn from real violence is collect your winnings and get the fuck away from the table before shit goes sour.