My oldest kid's fucking BRAND NEW (used) car is in the shop because he is even worse than me at avoiding giant razor-sharp potholes in Hackensack, so I drove him to an AAU game over the weekend.
I actually drove him to two games: One was at a lovely facility on the campus of Ramapo Community College on Sunday while the Saturday game was in some DUMP of a gym in Paterson, NJ.
When I got him to Paterson, the gym was pretty tight quarters with spectators and other teams waiting around to play, so my son changed into his sneakers next to a group of 3 men who were sitting near the entrance on folding chairs... Three black guys around my age or older.
Since the gym was so packed and the entrance was in such disarray, I assume they were just dads shooting the shit.
----- By the way, I am trying to build a TikTok page while not taking the platform too seriously... So every time I take a dump, I record a different random historical fact while naked on the toilet. I call it "Shootin' the Sh!t" and it's moderately terrible, so I expect it will blow up with the rest of the mediocrity within that fucking social media pit of despair. -----
Anyhoo... When my son got on his sneakers, the game before his had just ended, so he ran onto the court to join his team for warm-ups while I proceeded into the sweaty and pungent gym to find a spot on their filthy bleachers.
As I walked in, one of the gents on the folding chairs put his hand in front of me... But he did it with his fingers spread apart... Almost like a confused wave.
I didn't know what was going on, so I waved back at him.
And he gruffly said, "No, it's five."
So I thought for a second and I asked him a question, "Do you mean 'Excuse me sir, but it is $5 admission for parents and spectators?'"
And he said back (even more gruffly), "It's five."
Now, I don't know about you… But I think I am just done with people being dicks.
I surveyed the scene and there was a table behind the trio that had an open lockbox on it that I did not see originally. That would've been a major clue that he was charging admission, BUT they weren't sitting at it.
Also, a handwritten sign simply stating that spectators would have to pay to watch mediocre basketball in a filthy gym was nowhere to be found but would've been a huge help.
Instead, I get some fucking guy who clearly sees I do not know what the fuck he is asking me for, and he offered no sense of humanity nor class.
So I said back to him, "Got change of a hundred?"
And he said, "No."
"Then let me know when you do."… As I walked by him and his little coffee klatsch into this grimy-ass gym.
Let me ask you something- Am I the asshole here?
Maybe the guy was having a terrible day… Maybe he was distracted… Maybe he had a limited vocabulary.
But maybe I don't give a fuck.
I wasn't having a great day either… I was flat on my back on the side of a road in Hackensack at 1 AM the night before helping my kid change a tire, and I just got hit with a sizable bill to fix the damage the pothole did to his car.
So I was having a terrible day, I was distracted, but I still have a HUGE vocabulary… Some might even say it is prodigious (but probably not the neanderthal asking me for a five).
My point here is that I pushed back.
Not like Michael Douglass in Falling Down, but simply like Michael McCarthy (me) in a high school gym… And it felt good.
With 2 minutes left in the game, my nemesis made his way towards me holding what seemed to be nineteen individual $5 bills… I saw the lockbox had a couple of twenties in it, so perhaps this funny-man thought he would have the last laugh by paying me with an inordinate amount of fives and perhaps some singles.
It's the equivalent of paying a terrible employee their last paycheck in pennies before you fire them, I suppose.
So, as he's making his way towards me in the bleachers with one comical handful of cash and the other hand outstretched with five fingers up, he says to me for the third time, "It's five."
So I reached into my pocket and handed him a crisp five-dollar bill from a wallet that hasn't held a hundred in ages.
Take a report.
I assume some incredibly interesting person will hit this with an "I don't care." in the comments, while some other mouth-breather will inevitably hit it with a "Never happened.", but I think I am going to do this type of shit more often nonetheless.
I am going to push back when it seems like I will not be punched in the mouth… It started last month when I clogged the aisle in a flight that just landed so some douchebag from 32C couldn't jump ahead of me in 29C when I was trying to deplane, and it has kept up through this weekend.
I invite you all to do the same or at least continue to read about it when I do.