Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bram The Man

For 20 plus years now I have been blessed to have the best friend a guy could ever ask for.  I wish I got to spend more time with him but given our distance we do as well as we can.  He is as selfless as he is adventurous and as fun as he is humble.  Guys don't come any better than Jared Bramwell.  For his birthday I am sharing one of my favorite stories of the Brammer.

Both of us being adventure seekers at heart, we spent many high school and college nights looking for trouble and usual finding it, but on this specific occasion it found us, and we were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I swear.

It was Christmas break at BYU and the roads were a snowy mess.  I was only recently dating Sara.   She had gone home for the break and I had been left with the charge of her beloved 86 Jetta.

I had taken Bram, my other two roommates, and Roman to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. We were returning on the snowy roads to our house near UVU.  To get to our place you had to go down a steep road and make a left hand turn from that steep road onto our street.  When it was snowing, navigating that turn could be tricky and sometimes you would end up having to go all the way down the road and turn around at the bottom and head back up.

When I got to the hill in question, I tried to slowly creep down it hoping I could make the left hand turn and avoid going to the bottom and back up.   There was a car behind me that for whatever reason found my slow driving too conservative, and as a result was driving very close to me.

The order of the following events isn't known exactly by either Bram or myself, but at some point either the car behind us started to honk and that inspired the middle finger from our back seat passengers or the middle finger from our back seat passengers came out and that inspired the honking from the car behind us.  Bram and I will never know what came first.  It doesn't really matter.  What is to be noted, is that regardless of when the flipping off happened, it wasn't done by me or Bram and therefore we maintain our innocence.

I heard the honking and was a little perturbed but not to the point of blinding road rage, however the  driver behind me saw the finger and was perturbed to the point of blinding road rage.  I got to the bottom of the hill and started to pull off the road so I could flip a u-turn and head back up.  Until this point I had no idea that someone in my vehicle had flipped anyone off, but I should have caught a hint because as the guy behind us drove by he yelled some belittling words and left us with an open challenge.  I will still claim that I am not a guy who went around starting fights and I really am not much of hot head, but I rarely walked away from a fight either.

As he drove his teal Saturn coupe past us, I made a quick assessment of the situation.  It was difficult to see through the snowy windows but he appeared to only have a girl riding shot gun with him.  There were five guys in my car, granted they were not the first five guys I would pick if I was going in to a street fight, but still five beats one every time.  (In Roman's defense he was only 14 at the time.)

His car pulled off the road about 100 feet in front of ours.  I didn't have time to consult with Bram, he was already getting out of the car.  I jumped out pretty confident. First of all we had the numbers heavily in our favor but second of all we were fighting a guy in a teal Saturn.  Again I liked our chances.   We parked right next to an elementary school and we moved into the parking lot to await our challenger.
Maybe the car was his girlfriends but it was not very intimidating that's for sure. 

When the guy jumped out of the car I was greatly surprised by what I saw.  He was a monster!  He was at least 6' 4" and had to weigh 250 or more and he was ripped!  How could I know he was ripped?  Because despite it being a blizzard he was honestly wearing a neon green Gold's Gym tank top!  Picture Brian Bosworth but with a better mullet.

 The guy had a style that said "the teal Saturn is mine" and a body that said "I pull over for fights even if I am out numbered 5 to 1."

I was just thinking to myself, 'I glad we outnumber him 5 to 1' when I realized that Bram and I were the only ones who had gotten out of the car.  The Boz approached us in a very fast walk and the look on his face was one of uncontrollable rage, my confidence was dwindling fast.  

Some people believe that when you spend enough time with someone you can sometimes communicate to the other one without even talking, almost like mental telepathy.  It turns out this is BS, because I called on this power and flashed Bram a look that said, 'Maybe we should see if we can talk ourselves out of this.'  Bram either didn't catch my message or his manliness just chose to ignore it.
When The Boz had closed about half of the distance between us and him, he yelled, "Do you guys have a problem with me?!"

I thought to myself, "No Mr. Bozworth." I was ready to jump back into the car with the other 3 of our fearsome 5. 

Again Bram wasn't thinking what I was, Bram replied fearlessly and without hesitation, "Yeah I've got a problem with you!" That moment will always be one of my favorite memories of Bram.  It is to this day maybe the manliest thing I have ever witnessed in the flesh.  I knew right then at least Bram was fighting the Boz. 

Up until this point the Boz had been on a path split between the two of us, but now he headed directly towards Bram for which I was glad.  He walked fiercely up to Bram and just as he was arriving made a motion like he was going to push him in the chest.  Bram braced himself for the push but didn't raise his arms.  Just at the last second the Boz turned his open hands into closed fists and sunk both of them into Bram's unprotected face.  It was a cheap shop even if he was outnumbered.  My fear instantly left, replaced with my own rage.  

I am not sure exactly what happened next.  The ground was covered in snow and very slick, all three of us slipped around but soon I had the Boz in a front head lock.  The Boz and I were both on our feet but his head and arms were trapped below me where he could do nothing.  I held him incapacitated and Bram returned the initial cheap shot and then a few more.  I felt warm blood start to run down the front of my pants, but he seemed like he still had way too much fight in him to let him go.  

At this point the Boz was obviously losing the fight, and it wasn't going to get better for him.  He didn't feel like a real athlete just like a big guy who had spent a lot of time in the weight room.  Turned out he was no Brian Bosworth.  I could have held him in that front head lock forever and apparently his girlfriend realized this because she decided it was time to intervene.    

She jumped into the driver's side of the Saturn and threw it into reverse.  She pointed the car directly towards us and gassed it.  The car recklessly popped up a curb and she slid out a little.  She retargeted us and gassed it again.  
This time the car rolled over a concrete parking barrier that was hidden by the snow.  The left pair of tires went on one side of the barrier and the right side went on the other.  The result was the car's oil pan slamming into the barrier and sparks flying off the bottom of the teal machine.  The car slid towards us and I was forced to release the Boz and get out of the Saturn's path.

The car slid to a stop.  The Boz gathered himself.  He was bleeding from his nose and had a good cut under his lip.  I was surprised how much he had bled.  The whole front of my pants were covered in blood.  

Bram had weathered the Boz's best sucker punch and only had some redness on his face to show for it.  I was still unscathed.  Boz didn't look good.  He definitely needed stitches.  In my estimation the fight was over.  Boz did not feel the same way.

He started towards me this time.  I backed up in a circle keeping about 20 feet between us.  

Pointing to me he said, "I want you this time."

"You just got me.  If we do this again, it isn't going to go any better for you, there are two of us and one of you."

He still followed me in a circle, "I want you."

"Dude the fight is over.  You lost.  Look at yourself.  Look at us.  You're bleeding all over.  Neither of us are hurt.  If this keeps going you're just going to get beat up worse.  Plus we've got 3 more guys in the car who are just waiting for the signal." (wink, wink)

Up until now I don't think he even realized he was bleeding.  He felt the cut below his lip and saw the blood running down his chin.  I don't know if it was the thought of a scar marring his 1980's good looks or the blood ruining his neon green tank top but his demeanor changed almost immediately.  

He stopped following me and walked towards his girlfriend.  Luckily for him from the vantage point of the headlock he hadn't been able to see his girlfriend's display of driving skills and didn't know yet that he was likely going to need a new oil pan to go with his stitches.  

His girlfriend cleaned him up a bit and they got in the car to leave.  When they started to drive away his girlfriend gave a statement that put her in the same league of delusion as the girlfriend from Wayne's World.  She said, "Next time you boys better be careful who you flip off!"  

Bram wasn't going to let her get away with that, "Are you kidding? Your boyfriend just got beat up. He's bleeding all over, neither of us are even hurt.  He's on his way to get stitches, and then he's going to have to fix whatever damage you did to his car when you were rescuing him!  Be careful who you pull over to fight next time!"    

That quieted both of them and at the same time I'm sure gave them something to talk about on their drive to the hospital.  
Happy Birthday to the only guy I know who would look a charging Brian Bosworth in the eye and say "Yeah, I've got a problem with you!"


In case you forgot who I was referencing with the girlfreind.