Tuxedo Justice  

Saturday night at around midnight, I lazily slumped across two seats on the westbound train home. My legs were heavy and tired in comparison to the twitchy, overcaffeinated impulses shooting through my brain. Six hours of standing at a charity event followed by another hour on my feet waiting for the train (thanks Occupy Portland) might not have been so bad if it weren't for the ill-fitting shoes I had been wearing. The only upside was how damn good I apparently looked in them.

From halfway up the train car someone called out to me "Nice shoes man". He was a younger guy, probably still in high school, with a group of his friends. I could tell he wasn't just fucking with me because, for starters, I am the supreme overlord of sarcasm and able to spot even its most unrefined forms. He was also pretty sharply-dressed, a complement to my own attire for the evening.

Before I had a chance to respond, the kid looked me up and down. "Damn, dude's wearing a tux -- nice tux!" I told him thanks and went back to avoiding eye contact. Not that he said it in a creepy way or anything. I did, after all, look as the kids say nowadays, "balls deep in swag":

James Bond's outfit, James Cagney's crappy camera phone
As the train approached its next stop a few minutes later, a young woman in front of me began to shake her passed out companion. "Reuben, wake up. Time to go." She does this a couple more times with increasing intensity as the train slows to a stop. "Reuben, come on, get up!!" The doors open and Reuben slowly rouses. She stops the door from closing with her hand. "Reuben -- COME ON!!" He makes it to the door of the train before she stops it from closing a second time. She points back to his seat, "Reuben, grab your shirt!" Reuben stares at her blankly, obviously too drunk to process such complicated instructions. She stops the door from closing a third time, rushing back into the train to grab his shirt.

At this point she's standing on the platform, trying to coax him off the train. Reuben is right in front of the door but refuses to exit for some reason that I'm sure makes perfect sense in his pickled mind. He's just leaning against the inside panel with this wry half smile on his face. The woman is screaming now, "REUBEN -- GET OFF THE TRAIN!!" The door tries closing for a fourth time, and it looks like she's going to let it go, so I reach out with my umbrella and stop the door from closing. More screaming, "REUBEN, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!"

This time, however, the door closes almost immediately and right in Reuben's face. The conductor comes over the intercom, "Can I help you folks back there?" Nobody responds, so he asks again. I feel somewhat responsible so I yell back "Can you open the door one more time for this guy? He's having a bit of trouble," to which the conductor obliges. This is pretty much Reuben's last chance.

The woman reaches through the open door to try and yank him out by his sleeve. He pulls away and smiles, his stupid contorted drunk face mocking her. She yells at him again as the door starts closing. She stops it again, but instead of pleading further with Reuben she looks in my direction. "CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?!"

Now, I was already way more involved in this than I wanted to be. I haven't had much luck with random interactions on public transportation in the past so I usually do what I can to avoid them. I also felt kind of sorry for Reuben, because hey, we've all been an insufferable drunken ass at one point in our lives. Some of us on a weekly basis.

But this had gone too far. The woman was crying and yelling at me to help. The conductor came back over the intercom shouting "WHAT'S GOING ON BACK THERE?" It was late. My feet hurt. I wanted to go home and it didn't look like that was going to happen until this drunken asshole made a move.

Then it happened. Reuben looked over and pointed that dumb smile right at me. It was probably just booze-induced lazy eye, but I swear that motherfucker winked at me too. That was officially enough. I stood up and said "Reuben, get the FUCK off the train!" and shoved his drunk ass out the door. Reuben crumpled into a pile on the platform as I yelled into the intercom "He's out the door, let's go." The woman looked up at me as she was crouching over him and said "Oh my God! That's not what I meant!!" I looked back at her and said "You're welcome" right as the doors closed.

As the train started moving I turned around to take my seat and noticed that the group of guys from earlier were all staring at me, a shocked look on many of their faces. It took me a second to recognize that they had just witnessed a 6'7" red-bearded dude in a full tuxedo possibly kill someone. I reasoned that they had no experience dealing with drunken idiots and that I had been too harsh on poor Reuben. I thought maybe I should explain to them that there are only two ways to deal with someone that housed; the nice way and aggressive way, and that there had been no time to employ the former tactic. At that moment the same guy who had complimented my shoes spoke up. "Hoooolyyyy shit, man. That was fucking awesome!" One of the other guys might have drawn a parallel between me and some sort of Chuck Norris/James Bond hybrid; I don't recall exactly, as things got a little excited in the ensuing flurry of high fives.

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9 Reasons to Live

  • E  
    November 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    I think you should test out how people's reactions to your actions change if you are wearing a tuxedo. I bet you could get away with a lot more.

  • Miss Yvonne  
    November 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    I'm seeing a blog series here...

    Tuxedo Ma To The Rescue

  • Consciously Sedated  
    November 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I thought this story was going to end up in some tragic accident involving Reuben and the train. Phew!

    It's amazing what a snazzy, albeit uncomfortable, pair of shoes can do for your ego and ass-kicking abilities.
    But then again, it can't really be considered an "ass-kicking," right? He was, after all, drunk as shit;)

  • Ed  
    November 15, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    "Reuben, get the FUCK off the train."

    I LOVE IT!

    My only criticism...What the fuck took you so long? I would have done that after the second or third door closing on him.

  • Pearl  
    November 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Holy shit that WAS fucking awesome. Takes a lot to make me LOL, as all the kids are saying these day, and I did: "Oh my God! That's not what I meant!"

    No worries. Rueben's black and blue today, but he's got no idea why.


  • Anonymous  
    November 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    This was an awesome post. You are seriously Chuck Norris in a tux. I bet those kids talk about you for weeks.

  • The Grunt  
    November 15, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    I think you need to continue with the tuxedo-wearing, ass-kicking persona, Jay. Hollywood is bound to come a-knockin'.

  • Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point  
    November 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    You live in Portland? Weird so do I. Assuming you are talking about the one in Oregon. Because really there is no other one. The rest are just lame. Unless of course you are from one of the others. In which case those are great too*.

    *Not really.

  • Lizzle  
    November 20, 2011 at 1:40 AM

    I love that you inserted the infamous Jack Donaghy tuxedo line.

    Furthermore, I love that you ended up having to literally kick Reuben off the train while in full formal attire... You're just keeping your superhero persona under wraps, Bruce Wayne style.

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