A Contest, of Sorts

“What did you say?”

“Well, what I said precisely is not so important as that you understood I was in disagreement.”

“Repeat it,”

“Repeat what?”

“What you said to me.”

“What would that accomplish?”

“Do we need to take this outside?”

“I suppose we could, but to what end? Violence perhaps? What would that prove? Which of us is stronger? Or which landed a lucky blow in the dimmed light, but what would be the purpose of such a contest?”

“I couldn’t care less for purposes. Step outside.”

“I think I won’t.”




“In what way?”

“You scared?”

“Oh yes, of many things, but how does that make a me a coward? You are measuring me by willingness to engage in physical violence. And while such a contest may certainly have its merits, they are discriminatory in the sense that they overlook and diminish prowess in other categories.”

“Step outside.”

“I would, but doing so would result in a failed contest.”

“You’re afraid you’d lose?”

“Oh I don’t know about that, but by doing so I would be losing another contest.”

“What contest?”

“Why the one we are having right now. You see, while there is something to be said for physical altercations, they are not the only method of contest between two rivals–far from it! In fact, while some mete their worth, value, skill, social-standing, and other such measures, on their ability to pummel one another, others make the same such measure on other skill-sets entirely.”

“Such as?”

“Well, I, for one, measure my place within social hierarchies based not on my performance in physical altercations, but, instead, by my ability to avoid them.”

“I don’t follow.”

“Well, for whatever reason–probably our mammalian and tribal past–humans often measure social-standing by ability and willingness to engage in a violent physical contest. I whole heartedly–and headedly I might add–reject such a notion and instead measure the opposite. Thus the question becomes not, “How capable are you of physical violence?” but, “How capable are you at avoiding physical altercations?” I must say, by such a measure I place quite highly. And, you, by such a measure, well, I am afraid you fall at the bottom of such a social structure because you seem incapable of avoiding physical altercation at all and instead–to the woe of rationality!–seek it. By such a measure, well, in short: I am winning the contest.”

The blow caught him on the jaw, cracking the bone it in three places, and wheeled him through the shallow window and into the open night air.

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