"I went to the fights the other night...and a hockey game broke out."
Every hockey fan has heard of Todd Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi plays for the Vancouver Canucks. Make that "fights" for the Vancouver Canucks. Make that "fought" for the Vancouver Canucks -- he "might" not play again, after breaking fellow player Steve Moore's neck in a brutal attack from behind.
Imagine that happening in your workplace. You rush a fellow call center associate in the next cubicle and beat her senseless. And you "might" get fired.
Or you leap over the counter at the nurses station and tackle another nurse. You "might" get fired.
Or you pick up a fellow hot dog vendor and throw him into his cart, then stuff his mouth full of wieners. You could get fired. Possibly.
Would George Bush let Saddam Hussein rule Iraq again? No. Would the courts release the Unabomber to experiment with explosives? No. Would they fill all the vacant kindergarten teacher positions with surplus pedophiles? No? Would they let hockey goons keep beating up fellow hockey players? Of course.
Although necks don't break every day, thank goodness, fighting, slashing, and other brutalities occur several times in every single NHL game.
"It's part of the game," say many fans. Even those who genuinely feel sorry for Steve Moore. Hmm, last I looked, it was not "part of the game". In fact, there are rules against fighting, high-sticking, slashing and other attacks.
In the call center, this would be called "attempted murder". In the nurses station, this would be called "assault". In the hot dog vendor business, it's called "mergers and acquisitions."
These assaults broadcast live on national television before an audience that includes several thousand police officers. But nobody gets charged. Unless somebody is sent to hospital with a life threatening injury, nobody even pays notices. Much like in the hot dog vendor business.
In fact, it's just like walking down the street in New York City. Oops, they cleaned up New York City. People now turn their heads to look when somebody screams "Help!"
Hockey offers valuable lessons for players in other sports. For instance, if you are a baseball pitcher, aim for the batter's knees. Just don't hit any vital organs that might force the police to ask you embarrassing questions.
Basketball players also need a new strategy. Tripping. Tripping really is a very innocent thing. Just pretend it's not happening by looking in the other direction. It might not even be illegal.
Don't get me wrong, I know the police keep our streets safe, especially from the hot dog vendors. They keep the nurses stations safe. They keep the call centers safe. Should an assault be immune from prosecution just because there are cheering fans? If a nurse rounded up, say, a few thousand patients to cheer, could she legally deck another nurse?
What about the fans who egg on the players? Accomplices! There is a place to legally encourage gouging, maiming, bone snapping, impromptu facial makeovers, pain and dismemberment. It's called the WWF.
And there is a place for fighting. It's called "politics". It's OK to fight in a boxing ring, too, I suppose.
Is there a place for violence in hockey? Yes. There is a place for legal checking (body slams) as defined in the rules. A good hard hitting hockey game can be as exciting as, as, well, as exciting as two hostile nurses wielding razor sharp hot dog vendors in an all-out amphibious assault on a subversive call center in Iowa. No, wait Ė that was last night's movie.
But when the show gets stopped over and over to watch instant replays of live assaults in mockery of the justice system, one wonders if a hockey game will ever break out.
David Leonhardt writes the Happy Guy humor column:
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He also wrote Inspiration & Motivation To Go
and Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness: