Fight March 3rd - 2004

Fight!Wednesday, 3rd March
College was an interesting time for me. I had a few good friends, but I also had just as many arch-enemies. One incident that sure didn’t help came late during my sophomore year.

I was going to class one February morning when a pretty Indian girl got into a crowded elevator with me. Anyway, she started talking to me, (* important detail!) Being the nice guy that I am, I reciprocated, and she ended up inviting me to a party on Saturday night. Amongst the people in the crowded elevator was a short, leather-jacket wearing grubby kid who shot me a dirty look on the way out. I smiled back.

Dinner is an important part of college social life. Every night between 5 and 7:30 pm kids flocked to the dining hall to have their pre-paid meals, which they paid thousands of dollars for at the beginning of the year. This particular dining hall that I frequented had two rooms. The larger one was more festive. Kids sat at tables based upon what group they fit into: basketball team, foreign kids, pretty girls, basically any quality that you shared with another.

The second room was reserved for people who wanted to study while they ate. Anyways, every night I would catch the last half-hour of dining hours, sit in the small room and work on my act. I enjoyed it. I used to work the door at a comedy club in Greenich Village so going over my notes at dinner was a pre-ritual.

One night as I crossed through the big room to my usual spot. I passed the Indian table and recognized the grubby kid from the elevator pointing me out to another kid seated beside him. Here’s the strange part. He looked exactly like me. Well, minus the greased hair, leather jacket and gold earring, but if I had an evil doppelganger on this planet it was that guy. I rolled my eyes and continued walking. I got about ten minutes into my dinner when the two kids from the table strolled into the room. They were carrying empty trays and wanted to speak with me before departing. My twin walked right up to my table and looked me right in my eyes. “What the f***?”

The English language can be especially tricky because of the different types of slang adopted into everyday use. I think this particular phrase is commonly used by people who are completely exasperated. I’m sure these words were uttered and started many gunfights in the old west. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if these were Napoleon’s last words before he was wiped out at Waterloo. I looked it up in Webster’s dictionary.

Websters defines “f***” as

v. fucked, f***•ing, fucks v. tr.
1.To have sexual intercourse with.
2.To take advantage of, betray, or cheat; victimize.
3.Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal. 

Obviously, this guy was using meaning number three. He began ranting about his girlfriend and how he has “issues” with people who flirt with his girlfriend. I put on my headphones and turned the volume up.

The next few moments took place very quickly, but I will recall each detail just as I later told the building’s residential assistant. I remember looking down at my notes and feeling coke splash against my face. I looked up. The Grub stood above me, holding an empty plastic glass. I got up and flipped his tray towards him, splattering leftover hamburger helper on his shirt and mistakenly onto the thugged one’s jacket. My doppelganger pushed me. I fell, but not before grabbing onto his jacket, bringing him down with me.

Soon we were rolling around the cafeteria floor as students filed into the overcrowded room to cheer us on. A minute later, two security guards broke through the commotion and pried us apart. As we were led through the dining hall, students broke into applause, making it one of my first positive responses from a mass crowd of strangers.

Nothing happened aside from a letter to my parents and a letter warning of suspension upon “further incident.” I’m not sure why I lost control that day. I’m usually very calm and am quite embarrassed about the whole incident. It may even be connected to why I don’t shut down audience hecklers quick enough. But I guess sometimes in life you have to stand up for yourself.

I told my brother this story and he reminded me of the 80’s TV show ‘Knight Rider’ when the lead character, Michael Knight, must take on his evil twin. Michael defeats him, but must have a final confrontation with him once more in a future episode. I don’t know when that day is. But if you’re out there and reading this doppelganger, you’re going down. 
Tarun ShettyComment