The Bully He Despises

So there's this large dude and this little guy, and they're arguing about war on a mailing list of former coworkers. The smaller fellow, let's call him SF, is against it, not wanting to be responsible for far-off violence not involving him. The big guy, we'll refer to as BG, had been a soldier and is for military conflict on the grounds that it protects his country.

Well, they argue for a bit over the then-pending invasion of Iraq. Things go as you'd imagine, with neither side giving ground or acknowledging change in opinion. They part on the subject heatedly, tossing personal jibes about. Not a full day passes and they get to feuding over another subject, less visible but more personal to SF.

BG, sensing this connection, directs the conversation to his opponent's home in an attempt to cast him and his argument as completely irresponsible in one swift move. SF is angrily astonished and replies with a series of insults meant to match his adversary's vitriol.

The bigger fellow issues a physical challenge, using his sports prowess as justification of his position on the vaguely related topic. But you know where it's headed. We all know where it's headed. In no time, hints of direct engagement are dropped.

Did I mention these two guys live all the way across the country from one another? So real conflict would appear unlikely, further encouraging a nonchalant approach to the subject. Soon, BG is bragging about his undeniable ability to squash the little man, hands down.

"You seem to not understand what you are getting into here," writes the big guy. "I could literally stand still and let you hit me 10 times and THEN beat the shit out of you. I curl your bodyweight, and I'm not slow. You just don't get it."

But the smaller fellow has a not-so-small surprise: a business trip to the big guy's neck o' the woods in just a couple of weeks. He is already figuring out a way to squeeze in a street brawl... without losing his job.

"I bet it was really easy to make that threat with me three thousand miles away," responds the former peace advocate, now fully frothing with anger. "Well, guess what? I'll be in your area week after next. Care to get together and prove what you say? I may not be big, but I am hard as coffin nails."

For the first time, a delay follows his response. Then, eventually, the bigger guy replies that such a meeting would be fruitless, as his dominance is a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, he does not agree to a meeting but instead tells SF he will have to come find him at his home or work.

"I'm not dismissing it, although I find it is a direct result of your resounding depths of stupidity," writes BG. "If you really want to fight, sadly, you know where to find me."

The smaller fellow is dumbstruck. His bigger, boastful opponent is publicly walking away from the challenge. Excuses or no, it becomes obvious he's not up for a fight. A cooler person would have let the issue drop and allowed the virtual spectators to make up their own minds as to who won.

But cool SF isn't. Beyond consoling, he continues to taunt the larger guy, demanding he put his muscle where his mouth is. He launches a flurry of barbs aimed at goading his foe into fighting or fleeing shamefully.

"Was it not just yesterday that you were challenging me to a physical matchup? Offering to run me into the ground? That was before there was a chance of it though, I guess. And I don't seem to recall the caveat of it needing to take place at your work or in your yard.

"Just admit it, you don't have the balls to scrap with me. It's OK. Men should not be judged on their physical prowess alone. Still, if you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. Otherwise, you're just another would-be tormentor getting his bluff called by some little dude with a wicked temper and a deadly left hook.

"So step to me when you can, where you can. I promise I'll be ready. But this time, please be ready to fight. All this backtracking blathering of yours is a real letdown, and I won't have any patience in person. Until then, consider yourself in hiding."

As he awaits his enemy's response, he rereads his last posts. And then he reads them again. Finally, he realizes he's becoming the bully he despises...