(the crowd cheers)
Three friends and I closed down the Raccoon Lodge on the upper west side last summer, and as usual we were twelve sheets to the wind.
It was myself, a friend named Trevor (tattoo artist), a guy named Jason (pasty/dessert chef at Serendipity) and Mat. You may remember Mat from the swimming the lake in Central Park story. He was the tough guy in the bikini briefs.
We’re weaving down the sidewalk going home when Mat starts with his usual tough guy thing. He starts telling us about the time he was in on a remote Indian reservation hunting coyotes with his bare hands when he ran into a buffalo stampede. He says he puffed out his chest and stood fast like a brick wall while hundreds of buffalo traveling at full speed bounced off him like rubber balls. Then a tribe of wild Indians in full attack mode came galloping in on horses and swinging hatchets and shooting arrows. Mat wiped out the whole tribe with nothing more than a cold stare. The Indian chief was spared and recognized Mat’s warrior instinct. The chief took Mat to the top of a sacred mesa and performed a secret ritual that inducted Mat into the tribe as a true blood warrior.
Well, not really, but you get the point.
In the middle of the story Mat stops himself, turns to Trevor and I and says,
“Hey, I bet I could take both of you at the same time in a wrestling match.”
Trevor and I share a glance. We both look back at Mat.
“You’re on. Twenty bucks a man.”, I reply.
Considering how you look at it, this is probably a bad bet for me and Trevor. If Mat wins, he’ll win forty bucks, twenty from me and twenty from Trevor. If Trevor and I win, we’ll only receive ten bucks each as we would split Mat’s twenty. Whether or not this is a good or bad bet depends on how you calculate the odds that either party will win.
For it to be a good bet, I have to be certain that Trevor and I are at least twice as likely to beat Mat as he is to beat us. Do the math.
I could get into more details about the odds, but I’ll spare you.
So we find a side street that doesn’t have a lot of traffic and we discuss the rules.
Very simple, if we can pin Mat’s shoulders for three seconds, we win. If Mat can pin either one of us for three seconds, he wins. Period.
We assign Jason, who’s looking a little green in the face, to be the referee. Jason sits down on the curb and leans back against the fire hydrant.
Mat, Trevor and I all walk out into the middle of the street.
In case I haven’t mentioned this, Mat is huge. Like, 6’4”, 220 pounds, and athletic.
Trevor and I are about the same size, 5’11”, 145 pounds.
This is not going to be easy, to say the absolute least.
Mat takes his shirt off and starts pumping himself up.
Trevor and I look at each other with an eyebrow-raising head-tilting “here goes nothin’” kind of look.
Jason, our referee mumbles “Go.”
Trevor and I start circling Mat. Mat has his arms straight out to the sides turning around slowly as we circle, trying to keep us both in sight.
I shoot in and wrap up Mat’s legs and yell at Trevor to push him over from the top. Mat kicked me off like a small dog trying to hump his leg.
Ah crap, this is gonna suck.
A few more attempts at the same strategy and Trevor and I get our timing perfect and get Mat down on the street.
Trevor and I both jump on top of Mat and try to get him pinned.
We were all rolling around in the middle of the street like one of those dust balls from the cartoons. You know, where an arm or leg can occasionally be seen emerging. We are all getting very tired.
Finally, I think I have Mat pinned and I yell for Jason to start the three-count.
I look down and I definitely have Mat pinned. The problem is that Mat has Trevor pinned at the same time.
We all struggle for a couple more minutes, but it’s not doing any good.
We agree to call a truce and let it go to a judge’s decision.
We slowly get to our feet while examining our bloody knees and elbows and foreheads and god knows what else. Mat’s shoulder blades looked like he’d been dragged by a car. I proudly take credit for that.
We take a moment to catch our breath.
Almost simultaneously we all look over to Jason to ask him who won.
Sure enough, Jason is passed out cold leaning up against the fire hydrant with his mouth hanging open and his eyes rolled back in his head.
Needless to say, as the three combatants, we were fairly pissed about this.
We made a deal and came to a reasonable agreement. We decided to call it a tie.
As such, Mat gave us each half of what he owed, and we each gave Mat half of what we owed. In the end, Mat was ten bucks richer. Funny thing is that ten bucks wasn’t going to come close to what he was going to have to spend to fix himself up.
Trevor and I didn’t look too pretty either. I had to wear long sleeves to work for a week in the middle of summer to cover my cuts and bruises.
Anyway, we slapped Jason in the face until he woke up and limped and hobbled home.
Wanna hang out with my friends and me this weekend?
*Aside: A rarity for me, I got through this whole post withough cursing once.