Bar Brawls and Bucket Lists


So I kicked a guy in a honky tonk on Saturday night and it made me think about my bucket list.

Perhaps I should back up a little bit and explain.

Thanks to a good friend, I fulfilled a long-held desire Saturday night; I got see the incomparable Willie Nelson in concert at Billy Bob’s. It was actually my first visit to Billy Bob’s as well. Hard to believe that I’ve lived in the DFW area for a quarter century without setting foot in the iconic bar, but alas it is the truth. I chock that up to not being a fan of most country music.

Before I go on, I must take a minute to rave about Mr. Wilson. The concert was incredible. At the ripe old age of 84, he is still selling out shows, playing late into the night and wowing crowds. I have always admired his talent and the years have seemingly done nothing to diminish them. The speed at which he continues to play and the energy he brings to the stage are admirable. He fed off the exuberance of the crowd and had us all singing along with him. There’s a reason he’s a legend.  (On a side note, I think someone needs to look into his ability to escape the rigors of aging. Willie seems to have found the fountain of youth in a hot boxed tour bus.)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled story.

We had general admission tickets to Willie’s show on Saturday. Knowing we didn’t have seats, we made sure to be in the showroom early to secure a good view. We managed to find a decent spot, and were pleasantly surprised to find the people in front of us very friendly and community minded. We took turns holding each other’s spots as people made runs to the bathroom and the bar, etc.

Just a few minutes before Willie went on is when the trouble started. A group of college aged dude bros arrived and stood behind us. All would have been well if they had been happy with their spot, but they were not. Slowly they began pushing their way up into the crowd. As they approached our domain, I decided to hold my ground. I firmly planted my feet, in a wide stance that would have made any manspreader proud, and did not move. The tallest of the bunch seemed to view my positioning as a challenge. The first time he pushed up against me, I just gave him the evil eye and then returned my attention to the stage. This only emboldened him. Over the course of the next half an hour, he moved closer and closer to me until there was no daylight between the left side of my body and his right side. The final straw came when he tried to push my foot over. So I kicked him. A few times. I may be old, but I was fast enough to get my foot back in place before he could invade my territory. He eventually gave up and moved his foot away from mine. In short, I won.

The behavior of that guy and his friends is one of the rudest things I’ve ever witnessed. And it had my blood boiling. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve been more tempted in my life to take a punch at somebody as I was then. My friends had to talk me down a couple of times, but in the end, I didn’t want to miss my chance to see Willie. And, even in Texas, if you start a bar brawl, you get kicked out. Alas, it was that desire to fight someone that inspired me to add an item to my already full bucket list – Get in a bar fight. (But only if I can be like a hero in a Hollywood movie that starts the fight, but suffers no real consequences. Maybe a baby shiner or bruised cheek. Nothing permanent and no jail time, of course.)

In the end, I was able to both check off a Bucket List item, and expand said list. I view that as a win-win, because the moment we stop trying to enjoy life and expand our horizons, is the moment life becomes meaningless.




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