by Fox Doucette
Vivian Harris and what’s left of Vivian Harris’ increasingly zombie-like squishy brains are in action Saturday night on the undercard of the Argenis Mendez-Martin Honorio 130-pound sideshow. His opponent will be traveling practically walking distance from his home, since the fight is in Ed Paredes’ adopted hometown of Hollywood, Florida, at the Seminole Hard Rock hotel and casino. Now, your columnist could write a treatise on how Vivian Harris is a shot fighter and has no reflexes and might get himself killed in there, blah blah blippity blah, but not this week.
See, Ed Paredes is originally from a city called Lawrence, Massachusetts. I lived there for a year and change nicely bookending my nineteenth and twentieth birthdays 15-16 years ago. Since writing about what’s wrong with the sport of boxing, stuff like how commissions continue to license fighters like Vivian Harris against all common sense, stuff like how casinos exploit those guys and would sooner watch them die in the ring than have to fill the dead space on fight night with something of actual redeeming value, and the like accomplishes nothing for me professionally besides having pissant boxing writers sending me nastygrams by email because they Googled their name and got butthurt that I wasn’t writing fawning praise of them…well, think of the following array of dick jokes and cheap fuck stories as a gift from your friends in the boxing media who clearly want me to write about something besides Vivian Harris and Ed Paredes in a joke of a fight.
Lawrence is an interesting city, and I mean that the way someone from Minnesota means it when they say you’re “different”. The very short version of the city’s character is a sort of Balkan War-esque ethnic conflict where you have immigrants from the Dominican Republic on one side of the Merrimack River, folks from Puerto Rico on the other side, and these fellows have formed gangs and been shooting across the river at each other since 1978. It’s a safe place the way Liberty City when you have five wanted stars in Grand Theft Auto is a safe place. Hell, it’s a safe place the way Liberty City is a safe place for bystanders who get within collateral damage range of the main character when a sociopath is playing Grand Theft Auto. It is against this backdrop (and with a dirt-cheap rent and all utilities included) that I found myself, out on my own after high school in my lily-white hometown ten miles to the south, about to turn 19.
Like any good teenage kid who suddenly finds himself no longer living with his parents, my MO with girls was to say “hey, you know I’ve got my own place?” For some reason, being in Lawrence was no deterrent (if anything, it was a boon to the kinds of stoner chicks who would now have to travel no more than another mile or two after scoring drugs.) So I got myself a girlfriend (of a sort; it would be closer to the mark to say I got a girl who I thought was a girlfriend but who in reality was spreading her legs for half of Greater Boston whenever I turned my back on her. But more on that later.)
I had her over one night, and in the morning we found ourselves on the floor after breakfast, going at it the way teenagers do, me grinding away with the dutifully brutish utilitarian purpose of the young man, her enduring this assault on her delicate innards with the similarly utilitarian love shown to the craft by your typical teenage slutty girl opening her legs for attention.
It is at this point I should point out that the apartment in which I lived did not have a “front door” in the typical sense of the term from the visitor’s point of view. I could get into the place myself by first unlocking a main door to the building then unlocking my apartment door at the top of the stairs, but visitors had to climb the fire escape and knock on my window in a manner akin to how the Sweathogs would drop in unannounced on their teacher on Welcome Back, Kotter.
I probably don’t need to tell you what happened next; my social worker (long story, youth, drugs, court-ordered psychiatrist, I had a social worker, you don’t need to know how it happened) picked that moment to drop by and see how I was doing and how well the rigors of my newfound independence were treating me. Now walking up to the window of your charge and finding him balls-deep in his girlfriend may send a variety of interesting messages to a social worker; either the kid’s healthy enough and charismatic enough to get himself laid or else he’s such a clueless yutz that he forgot he was supposed to meet with his social worker.
Either way, the girl and I had found our way under the table at which we’d eaten breakfast, so when the knock came on the window, startling me just as I was reaching the point of orgasm and beginning to release the hounds (so to speak), my head jerks up and WHAM…hits a cross-support beam of said table with the force of a hundred angry rabbit punches. I’m knocked for the mother of all loops, have to navigate trying to stay conscious with discreetly getting a blanket on the girl before she realizes what is going on, pulling out of said girl, and speaking coherently to someone with the power to have me dragged into the dark and angry corners of the supervision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Let’s just say it may be difficult to pull off a successful conversation with someone when your dick’s glistening even in the best of times, but as it turned out, that was the last of my scheduled mandatory meetings with the social worker and served as suitable denouement to what had, over the course of the prior few months, been an increasingly fruitful effort on my part to wrest control of my own newly-minted adult life. I argued correctly that I was more than capable of being a law-abiding citizen and would the state please stop keeping an eye on me; the social worker never came around again after that.
So thank you Ed Paredes, for being from Lawrence and giving me an excuse to tell a cheap fuck story that is probably better suited for Deadspin’s Drunken Hookup Failure (except for the part about me being sober.) And thank you for being from a city that reminds me of the single scariest day of my life—the day I found out the extent to which that girl had been cheating on me and had to go get myself tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Everything came back negative. To this day I’m still not entirely sure how, but even as a teenage atheist I turned into a God-fearing revival tent evangelical in hopes of contacting the divine. Lesson learned (OK, not really. Only lesson I learned was not to fuck under that table anymore.)
We will return you to stories about actual boxers in actual fights next week. If boxing writers want to send me nastygrams about how I’m not doing anything to fix the sport, just standing here prattling on, might as well earn the fucking criticism.
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. He’s writing about Hank Lundy and John Molina next week, this was basically an answer of sorts to those days on ESPN2 when you can tell they shot their wad budget-wise on a few great fights and needed a filler card. Besides, dick jokes. Fan mail, hate mail, and stories of the village bicycle can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.