The Night I Fought Petey Hacker

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I have been in only one serious fight in my life. By serious I don’t mean what my mother called “roughhousing,” where guys wrestle each other to the ground and either pin the  opponent or get him to give up by twisting a leg or an arm.

Boys like roughhousing for the same reason they like tackle football – it’s fun. I don’t think I can explain it further. It’s a guy thing.

Serious fights, on the other hand, are not fun, at least not for most guys I know. Serious fights, what we used to call “street fighting,” take place when the only rule is that there are no rules. Opponents strike in the face, kick, bite, throw dirt in one another’s eyes, even use weapons – baseball bats or knives – to win, meaning to hurt the other person, usually to hurt him badly. 

My fight took place on what should have been a pleasant summer evening in 1965. I was 16 years old, and Petey was – well, that was one of the problems with the Hackers – no one seemed to know their real ages, except, we were pretty sure, they were older than us.

Tomorrow, Part II: Meet the Hackers

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