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Letters from America
The Proper Etiquette for Street Fighting in Bath & Body Works
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters
I almost felt guilty watching it for free. Usually, you have to shell out $49.99 on pay-per-view to see even a mediocre MMA card. But unless you have been living under a rock over the past week, you heard of the fracas that took place at the hillbilly honky-tonk chain, Bath & Body Works, that was so appallingly middle America, that it became national news. I felt like I was watching Roadhouse and the patrons at the Double Deuce. A melee erupted, more than likely, over a king-size Snicker bar.

Am I alone here in my revulsion? Breaking news, “Angry mountain women duke it out, not in a hayloft, but a beauty products retail store!” As you can now see, Bath & Body Works is officially the redneck version of Bed, Bath & Beyond, essentially the Bush beer of the industry.

Nonsense like this would never occur in Itaewon-dong, Hongdae, Myeong-dong or anywhere in Seoul, instead, it went down in a place that very much resembles the moon. What is interesting is that it is so universal. How often have you been stuck in traffic or line at the metal detector at the airport and there was that person that you were convinced needed to be relieved of their driver’s license, right to fly, or license to be out in public without a muzzle? But you maintain composure because you are a civilized human being, nor are you fully convinced you could survive in the big house. Not everybody thinks like that though and they will go Randy Macho Man Savage on you. And just in case you ever find yourself “involved,” it’s best to adhere to the proper etiquette when in the grips of a serious retail store dust-up.

I grabbed my pad and pen and decided to analyze this spectacle like a Roman journalist on assignment at the coliseum; trying to rationalize what enjoyment can be gotten from brutes ripping each other limb by limb. As one might expect, the fight at the Arizona Bath & Body Works began in earnest with a couple of initial shoves. Such shoving is common in a “street” altercation. The bellicose rhinos have to test each other’s might and overall aggressiveness.

But as we learned during an Oklahoma Football players’ 3 a.m. bathroom scrum, shoving does little. It provides no advantage and gives the opponent insight into the fact that you aren’t as strong as you look, and that you are an amateur. Any seasoned veteran of the street scrabble, like Mike Tyson or Miley Cyrus, will always hit first, flush, and your consciousness will take a leave of absence as your face enjoys a floor sandwich or some gutter soup. Those scarred-knuckled, back-alley brawlers rarely talk, and they never shove; they simply attack. Rule number 1 is no shoving, a quick tase will do.

The video, filmed by a young girl with a smartphone, was humanity 101. Let’s break it down. The stout women went at each other with open palms, flailing, out of control, like yaks in a grain bin. The customer in black and white, the aggressor, unleashes Tolkien fury in the direction of somebody and is quickly pounced on by two employees. With the two-on-one tag team, it seemed that the altercation would be over quickly, but the fake blond was tougher than she looked, probably from Detroit. The two employees underestimated their opponent and weren’t strategic, both going in high, instead of the more effective chop block (one hit high, one hit low). Rule number 2 is never underestimating your opponent, use unorthodox techniques like the full nelson, the tombstone, the figure-four leglock, the lion tamer, or in desperation, the Frankensteiner.

As expected, the ruffians grabbed each other by the fistful of hair and then started swinging each other around, knocking over displays, young children, and expending large doses of aggression, negative energy, and whatever self-respect they may have had when they pulled into the parking lot that day. A few female employees tried to intercede and were effectively swallowed up by the undertow of the brouhaha.

After a poor lone male, who couldn’t take any more of the tumult, broke it up, enrolled in counseling, and then questioned the meaning of life, he screamed at the belligerent, the female in the black and white striped skirt, to get out of the store. It was at that moment that I noticed something. Moments earlier she had been tumbling around on the floor but was now looking unfazed. Not a wrinkle in her clothes. And what is more … she never even lost a flipflop. Her friend, the lady in black stretchy clothes with the belly like a Carolina Panthers lineman, would have been the one I put money on during the preliminary weigh-in, but it looked like she met her match with one of the store employees. That was a test of sheer strength, like two Gorillas fighting over a banana tree. There was a lot of tugging and grunting and then they were separated, no-contest decision.

Looking closely at their grabbling techniques, and judging by the wrist action of these women, and the attempted Gutwrench Powerbomb, it was apparent this wasn’t their first ruckus, but we could tell it had been a while for all parties involved.

After it was over, and gasping for air, the brutes stumbled out of the retailer no doubt with pending lawsuits on the way. This all could have been avoided had one or both simply walked away.

Rule number 3 is that nowadays everyone has a smartphone, always remember that, and they are primed, ready to record, and eager to post, stat.

Scottsdale, Arizona for years has tried to claim itself an upper-crust, high society, snobbish landscape of fancy homes and fancier personalities, but we all now know it is little more than a cleverly marketed trailer park.

Let us, the average viewer give our two cents. Is self-defense a plausible defense for either party here? Nope. Damage to the floor when they fell, $20,000. PTSD for those that were there who had to watch this debacle, $100,000 for 10 years of regular mental health visits. PTSD for those of us who had to watch this over our smartphones, millions. A lawsuit against smartphone manufacturers for providing us the vehicle to choose to watch something so horrible, millions. The fate of the Cholas involved in this gritty wrestling match, lifetime exile to Canada.

The message here is all-inclusive, when you feel the need to rip somebody’s hair extensions out, drop to the floor and start doing pushups, just keep doing them until all the rage is gone. The street fight, popular in the old west, is extinct now in terms of solving public disputes.



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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