If you're me, it's not really "along those lines" as much as very specifically those lines, and the total stranger is someone you just played soccer with. And the thing you're coping with is the fact that life just sent you one fucking asshole too many and the last one in line truly ought to be grateful that you can't throw a punch because if you could, swear to Christ, bitch, you'da just thrown down on his ass and taught him exactly how fucking funny he is. But again that's if you're me. Because that, folks, was my Sunday evening.
Things started out well. I'm playing in a soccer tournament in a few weeks, and I've been trying to improve my game in this rec league I play in with my brother. This is important fact No. 1. A "rec league" generally means a co-ed league of players who are legitimately just out to get some exercise and maybe make friends or network with coworkers or justify that trip to Coldstone. There are some really great players in rec league, but mostly it's those of us who played back in high school or college and want to continue playing without enduring the pressure and strenuous demands of a competitive league. A lot of players show up for a game with their team and then stick around to play for somebody else, because team rankings don't mean shit, and almost everybody is out to have fun.
So yesterday I tra-la-la'ed onto the field, a little worse than usual because my left quad was sore. Not really a big deal. Unfortunately, as I ran I was favoring my left leg which quickly earned me a pulled glut on my right side. I was now no longer precisely having fun, but my team needed to have a certain number of girls on the field at all times, and we were already short, so I stayed in. But during the second half I switched to goal because, hey man, if you can't run, just stand in the box and wave your arms. That's when the humiliation began.
Now mind you, I don't like getting scored on, because who does? (Answer: no one) But it's not the end of the world when a ball goes in. Usually a score is done with class and dignity and respect. But the team we were playing did not embrace these things. To begin with, they were "sandbagging" aka joining a league way below their level of play so that they could beat up on rec teams with half their ability and feel really great about themselves. And they were hyper-aggressive and competitive. In the first half, not only did they routinely race down the field with more speed than our fastest player, but one of them also almost started a fight with my brother when he kicked the ball away as my brother was setting up a free kick. (translation: the ball was not in play at the time. My brother was just putting into the right position and someone decided, "fuck it, time to be a complete cock.")
In the second half I got stuck in one of those situations goalies absolutely hate. A guy broke away from all the defenders and barreled straight at me with the ball. I came out and slid to try to stop him, but the ball slipped through my hands and he jumped over me. Well, good for him. That's a success story for any offensive player, and one of those things goalies just have to deal with. But then, as I struggled back to my feet, I turned to see that he had not scored. Instead, he was slowly dragging the ball onto the goal line. He then got down on his hands and knees and pushed the ball into the goal with his nose, while I watched, jaw hanging open, so shocked that I had no idea what to do.
I will take to my grave my regret that I did not kick that smarmy mother fucker right in his goddamn fucking waste of an air passage. He thought it was funny. I was so humiliated I almost couldn't finish the game. Oh, and then I got scored on some more.
So after we finished what was almost certainly the worst game of my life, I exchanged some "good games," and "nice work" with other team, and walked past the asshole on my way to get my stuff. (He had subsequently earned himself a yellow card for being fuckhead.) As he stared up at me, I had the distinct and unequivocal pleasure of uttering a phrase that so many people deserve to hear but never do, "Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on, you goddamn cocksucker." Honestly, I regret the "cocksucker" comment. Sexual practices don't really make good insults unless you're saying something like "date rapist" or "pedophile" or, I don't know, "Way older dude that only hits on 16-19 year olds." (Personally I think "date rapist" really needs some more mileage, and I'm going to try to use it more often.)
Anyway, the moral of the story, kids, is that sometimes you don't realize that the joke that makes you feel good might actually be totally soul-crushing to somebody else. And if you do it to the wrong person, god knows they might be going through a rough divorce or a med adjustment and decide it's time to test drive a what its like to have a restraining order a la kicking you in your goddamn face.
And on the other hand, guys, I know we all try every day to be good, decent human beings who forgive and move on in the face of injustice. We should keep that up. But personally I will understand if once in a while you just have to cuss some bitch out. It doesn't make the world a better place, but, you know, we're none of us perfect.
Oh, and if you're curious as to what happened next, he said, "you can't be like that!" And I said "Oh, I can!" And then he jumped up and tried to run over to me but his team mate pulled him away. What would have happened if he wasn't dissuaded from further confrontation? I'd like to believe it would have been one of the most epic football brawls in the history of all football brawls. But probably I would have just called him a "cocksucker" again, and then I'd feel bad about myself.