The Art of the Ruckus

Josh Harmon

I was recently enjoying myself at Happy Hour when an intelligent young man from India called me a lying scoundrel and a sloth. We were talking about activism. If I wished not for my talents to rust, he said, I would take the initiative to inspire at least some kind of small-scale social change. Had the threat of international incident not loomed so menacingly over my shoulder, I’d have sweep-kicked the legs out from under his chair.

He was right, of course, and that’s what was so insulting. It’s just so easy to be lazy.

Consider that sentence and you’ll see what I mean. I was faced with an existential pisser, and so, with the nose hairs of Immanuel Kant buzzing at the back of my neck, I thought about which of my manifold talents would be best suited to serve humanity. Which gift, which God-given faculty might I share with my fellow brothers and sisters to reach a higher good?

Is it the overflowing reserve of love that I have for my enemy(s)? No. the only gift that I can offer wholeheartedly is my champion ability to offend.

With that thought in mind, we proceed to the nine tenets of what I call “The Art of the Ruckus.”

When I was 10 I went to my father with a very important question. “Daddy,” I asked, “how can I score with chicks?” He responded instantly, as though he didn’t even have to think about the answer, “Well, makin’ an ass of myself always worked for me.”

He’d become rather narcissistic since the divorce. Anyway, having apprenticed for years under one of the true and accepted masters of the public spectacle, here is what I’ve learned:

1) Tequila

Few true ruckuses have ever been achieved under the yoke of sobriety. Nothing puts distance between “action” and “consequence” like a bottle of Cuervo Gold. This is particularly true when the authorities are involved.

Note: When preparing to go out in public, take, but do not bring, any illicit substances. Possession fines only add insult to injury.

2) Quote the Bible

“Where there are two or more gathered in the name of Ruckus, so too will there be Christ.”– Gideon’s Bible.

Reciting scripture helps on a number of different levels, both temporal and spiritual. If the Authorities come for you (again), the Holy Spirit can be your best defense. One may say an awful lot if his audience believes that he was chosen as a tool of the Lord, and was blessed with the ability to speak in tongues.

Never raise a ruckus on your own. Remember that it is important to have witnesses. There is likewise a false sense of security in numbers. If one practices ruckus on his own, others will likely look upon him as insane. It is easier to act out with an audience and, if done properly, witnesses will be needed to report your antics. Nobody likes a braggart.

3) There is No Fight Club

To achieve Ruckus, do not physically attack others unless they are part of your group of marauding ruffians and are privy to the joke. There is a fine line between “ruckus” and charges of disorderly conduct and assault. Anyone can be a prick, but it takes cleverness, as well as obscenity, to be a ruckus rouser proper.

4) Public Urination is Always Funny

Mark your territory, particularly from high places. Cf. Dogwood, Christian. “The Art of Public Urination.”

5) The World is Your Smoking Section

We all know that this hippie Clean-Air craze has gone a little too far. Strike back. Light up where you damn well please and feel the sweet liberation of flavor country.

Libraries are a good mark, as are buses and elevators. The more cramped and poorly ventilated the environment, the better. If you don’t smoke, start.

7) Racist Jokes are Inside Jokes

Relax; it was a joke. See how easy this is?

8) Yell… They’re Only Pretending to Ignore You

The author recommends Indian war whoops, Irish drinking songs, yips, grunts, barbaric yawps, and the unbridled shrieks of la Mexican federalize. In a pinch, try ASL.

9) No Prisoners

That is, keep your ass out of jail. See #2.

In sum, the ruckus rouser does not discriminate against any specific individual or group. He is insulting to everyone, particularly himself. The world is full of countless wimps and psychos, but one should never call an asshole an “asshole” to his face.

No, there should be at least three arm lengths and, ideally, a cushion of innocent bystanders between you and his fist or her swing.

If you do proceed blindly, however, just remember that fistfights are an unavoidable part of life.

Go forth, be fruitful, and multiply.

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