Mama Said Knock You Out

I’m not much of a fighter. Like just about everyone else in the world, I don’t at all enjoy conflict.

When I was eight years old, my dad tried to teach me how to fight. In classic 50’s-dad fashion, he never paid any attention to me—and suddenly he wanted to turn me into Floyd Patterson.

With that in mind he took me into the backyard.

“C’mon, son,” he said. “Hold your fists up like this.” His fists in my face were so huge they blocked out my view of our house behind him.

My dad was six-foot four, and weighed about 240 pounds. (I say”was” because, old now, he’s shrunk.) I was three-foot nine, and weighed about .004 pounds. I was so skinny that, for Hide ‘n Seek, I’d squeeze into the space between a doorjamb and a closed door. (And lemme tell you: that’s no place you want to be when some moron starts trying to use the deadbolt.)

“Stand like this,” said my dad, doing something I couldn’t see behind his Volkswagon-sized fists. “Hunch up your front shoulder, see? You protect your face that way.”

I hunched up my shoulders, and almost blinded myself with a clavicle.

“You gotta get tough,” my dad said. “You gotta learn to defend yourself.” I had no idea what he was talking about. No one was trying to beat me up. Except him maybe, if things kept going the way they seemed to be. I held up my fists for him, though. They looked like olives on the ends of toothpicks.

“Now bob and weave!” I immediately thought of a guy named Bob, weaving a rug. I’d never known anyone who weaved rugs.

“See, like this,” said my dad. He bobbed and weaved. It wasn’t pretty.

He punched me on the shoulder. “See? See how I jabbed you there?”

So I clocked the bastard, and knocked him out. Who the fuck did he think he was playing with?

(See? Now that’s an example of exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in “I, the Comfortably Cursing Christian.”)

Speaking of me being a Christian, and fighting.

As you may know, lately, on my blog, I’ve become (again) The Christian Guy Who Writes About Gays and Christianity.

Many people like what I have to say on that issue. Many people don’t.

I got, like, six emails yesterday, from people wondering why I “keep” writing about that subject.

You know why I write about gays and Christians as often as I do? I mean, you know, besides the fact that it’s splitting the church in two? Because of my friends. That’s the whole reason. I have always had gay friends in my life. And they’ve always been … well … friends to me.

I’m not good at a lot of stuff in life. But I’m exceptional at being loyal to my friends. When it comes to that one particular personality characteristic, I’m … canine, basically.

I’m loyal to my friends, and I’m loyal to God. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anybody tell me, or anybody else as long as I’m within earshot, that those two don’t belong in the same room together.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • John,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  • jsmom2

    I’m still giggling at the visual of your dad laid out in the backyard…

    keep on, dude

  • Andrew

    Great blog, though I must admit I bristle at fat jokes. Big time.

  • Gary


  • I do, too. I apologize. Fixed.

  • Andrew

    Many thanks. You are a better man than me!

  • Kara

    Know that it doesn’t go unappreciated. (And that you’ve got some loyal friends standing ready in your corner, should you ever need the favor returned.)

  • That last paragraph is a real keeper.

  • I do happen to really like your fighting style, which is to calmly, eloquently, and consistently keep to your message. You state the obvious, you bring the humanity of the topic to the forefront, you disarm with humor, and you demonstrate passion for justice and respect.

    What makes you successful is that I have yet seen you resort to the methods of your sharpest critics, and you go one better at times, you simply refuse to acknowledge their vitriol as something worth taking personal and going on a name calling rampage.

    Its a “sneaky” fighting style, quite unlike what a lot of your fiercest opponents are used to. They are used to their style, take a bible, overwhelm with scripture verses, shout you down when you cry fowl, then condemn you as a reprobate. They are used to the standard defense methods, of “my scripture interpretation is better then yours”, name calling, and condemning them as holier-then-thou neanderthals.

  • So I clocked the bastard, and knocked him out. Who the fuck did he think he was playing with?

    This still makes me laugh. Keep fighting the good fight, friend.

  • Gary

    That explains it…must have already been gone. Kudos John.

  • Richard W. Fitch

    {sucks! everybody has already pretty much said it. So I’ll just second those emotions}

  • Katy Gillette-Glover via Facebook

    I was doing some research regarding ADHD, and one of the things I learned was that ADHD people have a propensity for extreme empathy regarding people who are being “wronged.” Perhaps that’s why I’m so vocal about gay rights, and why I married a black guy, and why I surround myself with so-called “misfits.” My 8-year old daughter saw a kid in the lunch line crying because he forgot his lunch money; she wanted to give him all $20 I’d given her for her lunch account… Just because she couldn’t bear to see him cry. The point is, the world needs more people who to stand up for the people who are discriminated against. We all have special abilities, and when we identify them, we can use them to change the world. Don’t stop being a voice, John. Sometimes the “broken record” isn’t so broken after all.

  • Thank you, Ric. It’s always so good to hear from you. I don’t know if I did, but I certainly MEANT to write you a quick note thanking you for the quality of one of your recent comment/s on one of my recent posts.

  • Wow. So … greatest post comment EVER. If you’re me. Which I am. So it is. Thank you, as ever, SD.

  • That means a great deal coming from you, legendary comic-book author Buzz Dixon. Thank you.

  • I might yet! Wonderful to know/remember. Thanks, Kara!

  • You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome. And thank YOU.

  • SheilaK

    Just discovered you, how have I made it this long without your thoughtful comments? Thanks for fighting the good fight and doing it so eloquently. Much appreciation~

  • thank you for loving your friends and God

  • Rebecca

    Oh John….so glad you were born. :))

  • Val P.

    John – me too with the friends that happen to be gay! I have one in particular who is kind, loving, caring, gentle, funny as a crutch, and would give you the shirt off his back – who just happens to be gay. This man walks with God every day – he is the daily devotional for everyone that comes into contact with him. And for some yayhoo to arbitrarily decide he is not a Christian and/or going to hell is the height of arrogance. Who died and made them God??

  • Thanks. And I’ll endeavor to spell my name correctly in the future.

  • Donald Rappe

    For what it’ss worth, your wings of a pig title is back on your blog header.

  • Is it really? I’m not showing that. Hmm. Mystery.

  • I like that you keep writing about gay stuff. I’ve never had the guts to really write what I think under my own name on facebook and other places with how religious my family and other are. It’s not that I’m intimidated by people knowing what I think – I just don’t think I can handle how people get so angry. I can’t take the fighting. Sorry to make you take all the negativity.

  • Ashton: I appreciate that, thank you very much. But the anger/hate/vitriol/bile/drive-by-snarking isn’t a concern, or anything: it doesn’t hurt me. And if I think someone is being too intense/ugly, I can always block them. (Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do that in real life? If someone got in your face, or was just being a complete dick about something, how cool would it be if you could just reach out and hit a “delete” button right on their forehead—and poof: they’re gone! Once again we see why online life is better than regular life. [Kidding. That was a joke.] )

  • @ Katy Gillette-Glover – people who are “Other” tend to seek out other Others. it’s possibly the only way we can survive but also it does tend to make us useful to each other in the solidarity sense.

  • The Christian community needs to hear what you have to say, John! Please don’t stop.

  • A thousand thank yous, John, for your loyalty and for not tiring of talking about “the gay issue.” As one in the crossfire, who has lost “Christian” friends because my life partner finally showed up in my life and just happened to be a woman, I get so tired of the topic (and the righteous shit) myself. I can’t get away from it, but you could choose to. Thank you for not. Discovering your blog was sublime timing (as well as a good friend who had suggested it before and didn’t hesitate to suggest again when it was clear that I needed it)…

    I so appreciate your voice, and humor and clarity. Looking forward to reading more. About everything.

  • mike moore

    John, I believe I have said this to you before, but it bears it repeating:

    Friends are people on whom you count for love, loyalty, and support.

    But a Best Friend is the guy you call when you need help disposing of the body.

    If you ever need me, just give a ring. I’ll bring the shovel.

  • Diana Avery

    Too funny!