Chronicles of a Shit Magnet

By Johnny Apocalypse

So there I was at a clothing store, doing some Christmas shopping and minding my own business. I had just picked out a nice polo shirt for my dad when this random guy walks up to me and starts hassling me for eyeballing his girl. For once in the history of my life I hadn't actually eyeballed this woman (I typically take a glance at anything female and remotely attractive), and all I could think was "Seriously? Again?"

A shit magnet is, of course, something that magnetically attracts shit. I am one of these magnets. While I don't literally attract bodily waste, I do draw a heaping amount of people who are looking for trouble and want to give me a hard time. If this is karma's idea of retribution for something I did in a past life, I may have been Mussolini. I have more trouble with random people then any of my three friends combined.

So I'm listening to this guy rant and rave about looking at his woman's ass, trying to get a word in edgewise to advise him that I did not, in fact, let my vision cross the lady's behind, when he reaches his arms back to shove me. I deftly hop backwards (the only time I've done anything deftly), and walk away. Some people would say I was being the bigger man, but it was really a matter of not wanting to go to jail for strangling him to death with my father's Christmas present.

Over the last five years or so, I've wondered why the universe has picked me to be a shit magnet. I tend to think that it's my looks. I'm slightly overweight and I wear glasses. Pretty good poster child for being a dork. But this doesn't seem to pan out with the fact that other people who are a bit fat and wear glasses never seem to have as much trouble as me. Further more, I'm pretty tall, and I have wide shoulders and a muscular chest, giving me the illusion of strength, so you would think that at least a few less people would be apt to piss me off. This is not the case.

I've come to realize that I must be emanating some curious aura which tells people "go ahead, fuck with this guy".

So there I was, few years back, heading to the grocery store to grab some food. I was having a lousy day, and running late for meeting a friend hadn't done anything to improve my mood. A black SUV is in front of me, and we end up parking next to each other. But I'm hesitant to call what they did "parking", because it was about the worst attempt I'd ever seen at stopping a vehicle.

While I'm squeezing out of my car, the chick in the passenger seat rolls down her window and advises me that I parked too close, and then she calls me an asshole.

Pointing to the ground, I say "I'm inside the lines, you're not!"

Apparently this pissed her boyfriend off because as I start walking behind their vehicle he comes around and grabs me by the shirt. Already being in a shit mood, I decide to apply a move the Army taught me, called the "arm bar".

Now don't confuse this arm bar with the ju-jitsu arm bar, which takes place on the ground, with your opponent's arm between your legs, your legs across his chest, and his elbow positioned so that if you arch your back, you break his arm. If you want to see a good example, just watch some UFC matches. No shortage of ju-jitsu guys in there.

What I was taught as an arm bar takes place while standing. You grab the opponent's wrist, twist it towards their back, then by grabbing the back of the elbow you can pivot your enemy to the ground (I was in the Military Police, and getting the bad guys on the ground helps for handcuffing purposes). For this guy, I simply used his arm to shove him face-first into the back of his SUV. After a seconds pause, where I decided not to break his neck (another neat army move), I told him that I didn't have time for this shit, and walked away. He didn't bother me again, and may have thought I was a kung fu master.

Now don't let that story fool you, I'm not an incredible fighter. I have power, due to my size, and I can throw a solid punch, but I am severely lacking in speed. The last time I tried to hit a guy, he talked me out of it, did his taxes and read "The Great Gatsby" before my hand was halfway to his jaw. But something nifty like the arm bar can really take the random jackass by surprise.

I know several people who would gladly take my job as a shit magnet. They enjoy confrontation, practice some pretty harsh martial arts that they have yet to apply, and generally just enjoy lipping off to people. I am not one of these people. After my stint in the military police I decided not to be a cop because I hate confrontation, and a large part of being a cop is confronting mean people. I'm no fan of violence and I'm not too good at doing it. As for lipping off, I'm pretty good at it if I'm in a lousy mood, but I really prefer to be a nice guy instead of a jerk with a mouth.

So there I was, out at Fort Benning in Georgia. My time in the Army Reserves had ended, but the ol' back-door draft was trying to call me up and send me to the sandbox. Right from day one of the recall process, I start having trouble with this man-mountain (my term for people who are exceedingly tall and muscular), mostly because he's one of those macho-guys, and I'm anything but. Whenever he gives me hell for not trying to be the manliest man out there, I pretty much tell him that I have better things to do than worry about my machismo. After a few days of this, my mouth decides to spit out words before I can think them through, creating a bitter enemy. Here's basically how our daily conversations would go.

"Hey, Nancy," he would say in passing.

"Hey, retard."

"What? How can I be the retard when you're the one who doesn't care about his own masculinity?"

"Because you're the one who's dedicating their life to stupidity."

"Are you trying to get your ass kicked?"

So after a few days of dealing with this idiot and playing Army, a military doctor takes an x-ray of my knee and proclaims me unfit for duty (I've had a crappy left knee since I was 20). Word starts getting around that I'm an medical-reject and will be sent home, so Mr. Macho decides it's time to give me hell yet again.

"I heard that your pussy-ing out, fag. I should have figured that you'd suck some doc's dick to get out of here."

At this point he decides to shove me. Simply by reaction I employ another Military Police move, grab the back of his hand, torque the wrist and use it to guide him to the ground (Steven Segal does stuff like this in his movies, if you want a good example).

Right away I realize that I've made a mistake. This guy obviously lifts more weights than he breathes air, and he's learned the same fighting stuff in the Army that I'd learned, so I'm thinking that I'll have to kick him in the balls ten times in order to pull off a win. He's starting to get back up, and I'm debating whether or not to run for my life, when a Captain comes running over and jumps between us.

"Hold it!" he tells the muscley-moron, "now you've been giving this guy hell for nearly two weeks straight, and he just put you on the ground! I suggest you suck it up like the man you are and walk away, right now, unless you want a pay reduction!"

I later saw the jackass whining to one of the Sergeants about how I hurt his wrist. Some man he is.

What really irritates me about that whole situation was that I didn't do any whining on my own behalf to the Army doc about my knee. It was recorded in my medical records, the doctor did his job by looking it over, and decided that I wasn't fit for duty. And since I was between jobs, I figured that heading to the desert for a year or two would save me the hassle of having to look for work for a while, even if it came with the risk of being blown up.

So those are three of my more entertaining stories about my life as a shit magnet. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other stories, they just don't stand out quite as much as those ones. I've had people threaten my safety, other people pick arguments with me that they want to turn violent (like this one lady who was going the wrong way down a parking lot aisle, that was a brilliant one), and I've even had some guy ask me the time and then accuse me of lying about it after I answered him. Okay, that last one is a lie, but that argument can't be too far away.


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