I’ve never really been in a fight. Took a swing at a kid once in high school, but he’d already turned around and was walking away. Needless to say I missed – and he never even knew.
My freshman roommate and I wrestled once – over video games.
I was nearly involved in a melee at a Georgia Tech game, but luckily (for them is how I remember it) their frat boys walked away at the first sign of beer.
And then there is my run in with the small town of Jackson, South Carolina.
It’s bright and early on a September Saturday and I was feeling a little frisky – and rightfully so. My wife was pregnant and we were nomads living in a house with someone we didn’t know. As such, I decided to go “All In” for this adventure, which meant orange everything: shoes, socks, shorts, drawers, shirt, and hat.
My buddies not all that thrilled, but not surprised. But not embarrassed either.
The trip to Clemson starts off innocently. And then we realize no trip is complete without boiled peanuts. As we leave the Bomb Plant (just Google it), we decide the next place selling boiled peanuts is getting our business.
We came down a huge hill that leads into Jackson and we could see the sign from about a mile away. We ease into the right lane and make our stop.
As we pull up, the worker is watching college football by antenna on an old black and white tv. He looks at us, stares, sneers, and then says: “You boys are wearing the wrong colors!”
I don’t do well in discussions about my team. Especially when I don’t start it. Especially when the last time Clemson and Carolina played, Clemson won 63-17. Especially when I am with someone my size. Especially when speaking with someone who’s accent is more pronounced than mine.
Rather than let the comment slide, I ask: “What color should I be wearing?”
His answer: “Carolina”
Me: “I didn’t realize Carolina was a color.” And I follow with: “How did the color Carolina do against the color orange last time they played?” And then: “How does the color Carolina usually do against the color orange?”
He snorted. And sold us some boiled peanuts.
Then said: “My paw wants to talk to you”
Uh-oh. Serious uh-oh.
Paw comes around the corner standing less than 5′-6″ and weighing just under 150 pounds. All muscle. And he has two friends. And they’re all smiling a crooked smile.
Then the son fills his paw in on the story – his side.
They’re about ready to “do this”. Us? We’re more talkers than doers.
At this point, it’s time to go. But I’m still caught up in the moment.
My buddy turns to get the car. I start slowly walking to the car, backwards, saying something I’m glad I don’t remember. Paw and crew keep walking toward us.
My buddy runs to the car.
Paw, very calmly, asks: “Whachu runnin’ fer?”
My buddy yells: “Willy! Run!”
I do some quick math. I don’t like what I’m coming up with.
Paw: “Why you runnin’?”
About six hours, a bag of boiled peanuts, and an incredible story later, karma made her appearance and the world was introduced to Calvin Johnson.
My only regret, besides everything I said and did during that brief lapse of judgment, was that I never figured out the correct color.
So you tell me – what is the correct color?