Monday, January 26, 2015

Guy Blog: "Arm Wrestling"

As I mentioned before, I once wrote a "guy-blog" called STFU.  

What follows is an entry from that blog.  I repost it for two reasons.  One is that I'm amused by how different my writing style is now from then (this was eight years ago.)  The second is how I discussed meeting a transperson in London.  I'm not proud of what I wrote, but I know why I wrote it- to cover my own butt.

This entry has Violence and Profanity.

It was called Arm Wrestling and is a true story
**************************************************************

Many of you know that I used to work for Games Workshop.  I did that for nine years, and had a lot of fun.  Between me and my fellow GW people, a lot of strange things happened.    By request, I relate one of these stories, which I find embarrassing, but the requestor thinks is very funny.

For several years, GW would take the entire US Sales team over to the UK for the annual sales conference.  The time in question, the conference was held in a hotel in London, not far from White Chapel.  Several adventures ensued, like drinking with the Aussies all day, the fire, the old guy and the heart attack, a couple nasty cases of food poisoning (one of them me), the IRA bomb, water balloon fights between two double-decker buses, and others, but I’ll focus on the final dinner, on the final night.

                GW decided that we should go to a Mexican restaurant for this final night together.  Now there were better than forty of us, so we rented out the whole restaurant.  What does a Mexican restaurant in London England look like?  Every bad Western movie cliché you ever heard of.  The music was all country-western.  Not Mexican- Country WesternGarth Brooks, etc.  Huh?  I think I heard Achy Breaky Heart five times that night.  The servers were dressed in white shirts and tan pants.  Each table had several bottles of wine scattered atop the brown paper tablecloth.                  Right.  Dinner was serviceable, kinda bland, but that was to be expected in England.  During dinner, I sat next to Sunny, who was with GW Hong Kong and really fun to hang around.  He was bartending at the Hard Rock Café when GW recruited him.  He had a yellow Wally Cleaver haircut, years before it became fashionable.  Between us, we polished off four bottles of wine.
                Circulating during dinner was a woman in a tuxedo top, fishnet stockings.  She had long auburn hair, big breasts, and from a distance looked pretty hot.  She was doing magic tricks for tips.  Then when she came close, I noticed the Adam’s Apple.  Some illusionist!  Anyway, he/she was quite a talented magician. 

                Ok, dinner is over.  One of my American colleagues, I’ll call him Jim, had a crush on the magician and refused to believe that anyone that beautiful was anything but a woman.  Not just a woman, but a woman he MUST fuck that very night!  A bunch of people are out dancing a country version of the Electric Slide.  Sunny and I were out of wine and I wanted more.  I noticed that one of the Canadians still had an unopened bottle of cabernet sauvignon where he was sitting.  (He drew a Canadian Flag and his name on the tablecloth in front of his chair, that’s how I knew it was him.)  I thought about just swiping it, but that would not be good form.  I waited until they finished the dance.  The Canadian walked back to his table.  He was about my height, black hair, and had a cheesy moustache.  He thought he shit didn’t stink.  I didn’t like him.  Anyway, I asked him politely if I may have a glass of his wine.  “No!” he answered with a tone that said “I wouldn’t share anything with you, filthy American!”                “I’ll arm wrestle you for it!”  I said.  Now, I’d recently learned a few tips from a professional arm wrestler.  These tricks would work against anyone who is not incredibly stronger than me, so I was confident of victory.

                We sat at the table, had one of our British friends start us, and I swiftly crushed him- HARD.  I stood and claimed my prize.  I was about to grab a corkscrew when one of my very drunk comrades, Russ, challenged me.  I rolled my eyes, sat down, Russell to my left, and smashed him just as badly.  As we prepared, Mr. Harbour sat across from me.  He was waaaay up in the company.  He was also a third dan black belt or so in martial arts.   He smiled- he wanted to be next.  He had one of those smiles you didn’t want to see.  I really doubted I could beat him.  In fact, I figured the result would be painful.

                So I beat Russell, and was ready to take on Mr. H, when someone to my right spun me around.  His name was Andreas, and he was with GW Germany.  Andreas was big- maybe six foot four.  He was also still in the Kreigsmarine (German Navy) having not officially started with GW yet.  He wanted to play too.

                So I set up to my right, using my left arm as my right was a little tired.  A Brit started us, I got him three quarters down- and got stuck.  He was too strong.  Shit!  So we both struggled, luckily I had leverage, for a couple of minutes.  People were shouting encouragement in many languages.  Side bets were made. 
                I couldn’t move him, and he couldn’t move me.  Stalemate.  Then- the paper tablecloth, wet from all the drinks put on it this night, ripped.  We staggered, stood, and tried to throw the other over. 

                Then a coke bottle broke.

                That was the sound anyway.

                Andreas held his left arm close.  I knew what happened.  “Oh my God I broke his arm!”
                A Spaniard who was a combat medic came and between us (former paramedic) confirmed my initial fears.  An ambulance was called and I just stayed close.  Andreas didn’t peep, didn’t cry out, didn’t say anything.  Brave man. 

                Anyway, I was told to accompany him to the hospital, which I would’ve done anyway.  (the following bit was told to me later.)  As we were leaving, on of the waitresses went over to Mr. Stallard (highest ranking GW person there that night) and said about Andreas “He doesn’t look happy.”  Mr. Stallard turned to her and said “He’s German.”

                The trip to the hospital was very quick.  Andreas, one of his co-workers who spoke English, and I were deposited in the emergency room.  Now, the UK has Universal Health Care, which means the state pays for everything.  I’m very liberal, and I thought that was a good idea…
Until that night.

                The hospital was grimy.  Not just dirty- grimy.  I’ve seen cleaner fraternity houses.  We were alone in the emergency room.  No other patients, no nurses, doctors, nothing.  This was at around 11pm local on a Saturday night.  Andreas, translator, and I sat there for three hours, just the three of us.  Andreas spoke very little English, and I spoke very little German, and translator wasn’t in a talking mood.

                After three hours, a doctor showed up.  He listened to my description of the injury, read the chart, and took us all to X-Ray. 

                Where we waited ANOTHER hour- with no one in front of us.  This hospital was so deserted it was creepy.  I was no longer drunk, but hung over.  Andreas looked like he was in pain, but didn’t say anything.  So eventually the X-ray person showed up.  Her face was flushed; her hair a mess, her shirt was buttoned incorrectly.  Once there, she did a quick and efficient job.  Within minutes, we had the needed pictures.  Twenty minutes after that, the doctor looked at the
                “Spiral fracture of the distal humerous.  This will require surgery.  But not here.”  They put the arm in a sling, handed him an envelope with his x-rays, and sent him home.  They were going to let the Germans pay for the surgery.
                So we head out of the hospital and flag down a black London cab.  He has no idea where we’re going, but he’s going awfully fast.  As he hit speed bumps Andreas yells in pain.

Fallout:  The guy in charge of the German business at that time was this skinny little fuck with an over-large head who I’ll call Donnie.  Donnie is one of those people who think they know more than you, but is completely and utterly wrong 80% of the time.  He insists that I be fired for this “outrage.”  He apparently talked a lot of shit, but not to my face.  Whatever, asshole.  I kept my job.
                Andreas’ surgery was successful.  He had three pins and a plate inserted in his arm.  I sent him a letter of apology as well as a “care package” of stuff from America that he couldn’t get in Germany
                My colleagues had several interesting nicknames for me after that like “Crusher” and stuff, but eventually the story died out.
                Jim did not hook up with the magician.  Best news of the night.

                And I never got the chance to drink the wine I won from that asshole Canadian!

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