Sometime before I left the comfort of my parents’ home, the safety of my childhood church, and the sanity of an era before piercings, I believed that old people were good. There was nothing a person could say to convince me otherwise. They were pure, holy. I believed, among other things, that the old person should be protected, much like a child. To offer anything other than a smile and a hand was negligent. To cuss in front of an old person was a reprehensible act. Playing rock music within earshot was downright disrespectful. It was as if the very existence of white down upon that wrinkly crown gave them wings.

At some point in my 20s, I began to realize, of course, that old people aren’t necessarily so pure or fragile. Most of my dealings with the older set had been through my church, so once I started to get out into the world a bit, I was sort of jolted into reality. Literally.

It all started when I came back from Hong Kong. While living on a small backpacker island for a couple of years while I finished my grad work, I had become a student of wing chun kung fu. Wanting to continue my practice, I joined up with the closest thing I could find in Denver at the time – a school that called itself “Progressive Martial Arts”. It wasn’t pure wing chun, but the school did boast that it taught jeet kune do, Bruce Lee’s contribution to the martial arts world. Since Bruce Lee got his start with wing chun and since my teacher in Hong Kong was Bruce Lee’s teacher’s son’s student, I reasoned that jeet kune do was a natural progression for me.

For the uninitiated, jeet kune do basically comes down to one thing: street fighting. Sure, we practiced all manner of arts ranging from jiu jitsu to eskrima to kenpo, but the thing our school taught best was a little thing they liked to call “Two-Rule Fighting”.

Two-Rule Fighting: The first rule was that there were no rules. The second rule was that you could not change the first rule.

And in case you’re still not catching on, yes. I belonged to a fight club.

In this class, we were groomed as fighters. We ran endless laps. We were made to lie on our backs with our hands pinned under our butts so that we could have medicine balls thrown at our stomachs. We would line up against a wall to be punched repeatedly in the face until we learned to tuck under our chins instinctively. Sometimes, we would lie down on the floor in a circle while the children’s class played stepping stones on us, jumping from stomach to stomach as fast and as recklessly as they could.

It was awesome.

When it was time to begin our Two-Rule Fighting part of the class, we were already drenched in sweat. First blood had usually already been drawn. We sucked on our mouthguards – the only gear we were allowed – and waited to be called out into the center.

The first time I did it, I was thoroughly and intentionally humiliated. My opponent was a teacher who had heard whom I had studied under and took it upon himself to put me in my place. He had at least six inches and close to 50 pounds on me and didn’t give a crap that I was new to jeet kune do or to the school. I held my own for a while, able to parry most of his advances. I believed I was playing a game of tag, so I did not hit him full force when I was able to get through to his face or neck. Not long into the fight, however, he found my weakness: I hadn’t learned how to fight with my legs yet. Twice, he dropped me to the floor gasping for air with a knee to the solar plexus. When I got back up the third time, he finished me off neatly with a hit to the mouth and ended by slamming me to the ground landing full force on top of me with his arms around my neck. I barely had the strength to tap out before I lost consciousness from his strangle hold.

I went back.

After almost a year and a half of studying there, I was nearly at the top of my game. I wasn’t the best fighter in the class, but I wasn’t the worst. I could hold my own in the ring or on the ground with men or women of assorted size. Until one day, she walked in.

She was a tall, solid structured woman with cheekbones like a pair of loosely veiled Nike swooshes. Her short hair was curled into gentle waves the color of modeling clay. Having recently undergone open-heart surgery, she wore protective chest armor, a black square-shaped athletic breastplate. She was 74.

I didn’t want to hit her. I never ever wanted to hit her. She had that gray old lady hair and armor over her chest where they had tinkered under the hood and she even had an old lady smell: talcum powder mixed with lilacs or lavender, I’m not sure which. Feeble she was not, but there were enough sensory cues to turn me into an upright citizen. I wanted to help her across the street, not practice my elbow strikes and roundhouse kicks on her.

When we were working out, the gym often played some loud kind of driving bloodlust music along the lines of Rob Zombie. I wanted to make them shut it off. Surely it was giving her a headache. I cringed for her every time they made us run laps. What if she was incontinent? Or worse – what if somebody jostled her too hard and her chest split back open? What if her heart popped out like in the game Operation? It was too much to bear.

I was hopelessly distracted. I would be on the floor in the middle of practicing a jiu jitsu side sweep when I would accidentally look over and see some young man she was practicing with on top of her and ready to choke her out and all I could think was that I wanted to grab her purse and beat the living crap out of him with it.

On the day they paired us up for two-rule fighting, I wanted to cry. I already decided that I would let her win. She was bigger than me anyway, so it would look legitimate. I just couldn’t do it – actually fight her. It’s wrong to hit old ladies, isn’t it? There’s some kind of special circle of hell for that. I’m sure of it. It is kept even warmer than the rest of hell and smells like ammonia and mothballs. They serve liver and onions there. Every night.

We bowed to each other, and began a slow circling. I didn’t want to look like I was throwing the fight, but where was I supposed to hit her? Her face? Her arm? Her Milton Bradley chest? From the corner of my eye, I could see my teacher watching me with his arms crossed over his chest. I loved my teacher. I wanted to make him proud. He was the US kickboxing champion in 1976 and I had a great deal of respect for him. Sensing his disapproval, I knew I had to make a move. I flicked her. She threw a punch. I parried.

“Come on, Erika, you’re not afraid of an old woman,” he taunted from the sidelines over Cradle of Filth playing in the background.

She smiled—an undeniable evil glint to it. Suddenly, without warning, she charged me with a jab-left-right combo. Only she didn’t stop there. She followed with another, which was in turn followed by some full on chain punches. Taken off guard and without the safety of a breastplate, I was getting pummeled. Something inside of me clicked and I began to defend myself. And then it all fell into place. I crossed over from “I’m beating up an old woman” to “I’m being beaten up by an old woman” and when that happened, well.

I’m not proud of what happened next, but it was an important transition for how I would feel about the elderly for the rest of my life. Once I worked out that I couldn’t aim for her center line, I went for her legs, her arms, her old lady waddle. I had been forced to confront my bias. And that’s when it hit me. Old people aren’t children who need protecting. Old people are just young people with loose skin…that jiggles when hit.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ERIKA RAE is the author of Devangelical, a humor memoir about growing up Evangelical (Emergency Press, December, 2012). She is editor-in-chief at Scree Magazine and nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Erika earned her MA in Lit­er­a­ture and Lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong and to this day can ask where the bath­room is in Can­tonese, although it is likely that she will not under­stand the answer. In her dream world, she fan­cies her­self a kung fu mas­ter clev­erly dis­guised as a gen­tle moun­tain dweller, eagerly antic­i­pat­ing dan­ger at the bot­tom of every latte. When she is not whipping one of her 3 children and denying them bread with their broth, she runs an ISP with her husband from their home in the Colorado Rockies.

205 responses to “I Can (And Will) Beat Up Your Grandma”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Oh my God. Is it wrong for me to be laughing so hard at this?

    I am sitting in my office calling out ‘Sweep the leg, Erika! Sweep the leg!”

    You are now officially my one-and-only-ass-kicking hero.

    ‘Her Milton Bradley chest…’ Oh. Oh. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

  2. Erika Rae says:

    I would have been terrified to sweep her and drop her to the floor, though! Her heart! Her dentures! Aarrrrgh!

  3. Matt says:

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    I’m going to show this to all of my students who think I’m too harsh a teacher.

    Also, I’m going to have to come out for a Denver TNBLE. I’ll bring my gear, and you, me, and Uche can have ourselves a sparring session.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Wait, wait – did I just read that right??? Are you a martial arts teacher, Matt? I mean, I liked you before but – SWEET. How did I miss this?

      And oh man. I’m gonna have to get back into fighting shape. The two of you will have me on a platter these days, I’m afraid. I got kicked out of my dojo when they learned I was pregnant the first time. Something about a liability and blah-blah-blah.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t know–how DID you?!

        Here: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/mbaldwin/2010/02/victory-is-a-kick-in-the-head/

        Writer, dilettante naturalist, dinosaur nerd, raconteur, film buff, ardent admirer of women–and, yep, martial arts instructor. I’m actually one of the senior black belts at my dojo. It’s my responsibility to get the teenage advanced brown belts ready for their black belt exams. If my students don’t leave my class some combination of sweaty, sore, and exhausted, I haven’t done my job.

        • Erika Rae says:

          I will read this just as soon as I get the chance tonight. I’m so excited. I hate it when I miss cool posts.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Erika Rae,

          You have to be the ONLY one who didn’t know about Matt’s being a Martial Arts Instructor.
          (And I thought you were all-knowing before this….)

        • Matt says:

          She’s got kids. And a bucloic life up a mountain in Colorado. And genetalia-possessing vegetables. These things are distracting. The oversight’s forgiveable.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Nice try. As if we don’t know that mothers of the young are the most dangerous life form on the planet! Orcas? Hah! Teddy bears!

        • Erika Rae says:

          Uche! (Now, Uche is an example of the kind of person I would never tangle with. The verbal lashing alone! “Aaaack! Stop! Stop! I don’t speak Verlan!”) A mother fighter may be tough, but she is often (speaking personally here) just plain stupid. Hormonal protective rage. Yikes. It’s like a shotgun effect.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Yeah, shotguns work pretty darned well inside limited range. Just gotta – Oh. “Effect”. Gotcha.

  4. Irene Zion says:

    Erika Rae?
    Are you there?
    Why did you let them do this to you?
    Why were you in a fight club?
    Help me understand.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I understand Matt. I understand wanting to learn Martial Arts.
      I don’t understand letting people beat you up with your arms behind you or lying down while teaching kids it’s okay to run on adults’ stomachs, or fighting dirty when you don’t have to.
      I don’t.

      • Erika Rae says:

        Ah, but you see – they did actually teach us how to do it safely. It’s not like we were being hauled away to the hospital regularly. We worked up to being able to allow the children’s class to play Dance Dance Revolution on our tummies. The people in the martial arts world are – generally speaking – respectful and fun to be around. And if they’re not, I don’t want any part of their class. And the truth is, I loved every minute of it. Every one. I studied for 7 years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

        The only one I really don’t get was why that one teacher did that to me. It was not cool. There was no cause for that. It really was too far.

        My God, people – have I not mentioned I’m a gemini??? Allow me to introduce ourselves…

      • Andrew Nonadetti says:

        Hmm…. I obviously cannot speak for anyone else’s experiences or motivations but I have said that there is no great teacher than “Ow”. You have to learn to fight dirty if you want to do it well when you “have to” and there’s only so much you can learn without contact. Likewise, you have to learn to process pain and inflicting it on a stranger can be an issue for some people. I’ve seen “good fighters” fold the first time they get hit without restraint. Likewise, I once dropped a kid who had executed a tactic perfectly but held back – in a little bit of horror, from the look on his face – when he clipped my chin with an elbow (which was the whole point of the disarm). He just froze because he hadn’t really hit anyone before.

        *I am not a martial artist but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Holiday Inn will inspire even the meekest amongst us.

          And yes, I agree on the actual hitting. You kind of have to in order to learn. But you build with it, just as you do with the actual defensive maneuvers. It’s good to know what your limits actually are. I know who I could never take.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          I understand completely. As stated in my piece, Nurse Helga scares the shit out of me, too.

        • Matt says:

          The three years I spent as a nightclub bouncer were HUGELY informative to me as a fighter. I refer to that point in time as the “practical application” or “journeyman” stage of my training.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          That’s probably an important bit of experience, and also probably why I’ll probably never be a really top-notch martial artists. After all the fighting I got into in Secondary School, I’ve never been in a fight since then. I’ve studied martial arts since I was 10, seriously from 15 or so, and I’ve always been pretty good at sparring, whether in Jiu-Jutsu, Kenkokan, Shotokan, Aikido or Kenpo, but I know well enough to understand that nothing truly reproduces the conditions of a street fight. Then again I’ve almost always had bouncers, soldiers, policemen and such in my various classes, and I haven’t found them systematically better at applying the arts, from what dojo observation affords, so I don’t know what to make of that.

          But I do like not having had to apply all my long training. I think Ma Nature handed me my doses of testosterone in kind moderation.

        • Matt says:

          I’ve found that trained martial artists tend not to get into fights. Partially because I think we’re generally pretty good about recognizing the conditions that might lead to one and diffusing it before it gets there (this is part of my training curriculum) and partially because we have a better idea of what exactly we are capable of on a physical level than the average Joe.

          We learn to fight so that we don’t have to.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Matt, this is an excellent point. I’ve previously mentioned my excessive manners, even when confronted with kamikaze Prii. Part of it is, well, just good manners (; but a good part is that, for a variety of reasons, I’m almost always armed (yes, legally). Ego does not come into play. I will go to great lengths to avoid “interpersonal issues” and a good part of the training I provide echoes one of my instructors – avoid stupid places full of stupid people doing stupid things and you’ll reduce your likelihood of killing someone by 98%.

          My standard joke among those “in the know” is that you can tell how many pistols I’ve got on me by how polite I’m being to a group of completely belligerent assholes. (:

        • Erika Rae says:

          My fighting experience (outside the ring) has mostly been limited to breaking up drunken fights between one of my girlfriends (always the same one) and some random dude who cannot figure out how to keep his hands to himself. Beyond that, I find that my defensive maneuvers are best played on my children as they try to a) wrestle b) grab chocolate from me, or c) stick their fingers in my nose (this from the 10-month-old).

        • Erika Rae says:

          @Anon – Excuse me, but did you just use “Prii” as the plural of “Prius”?

          That is so awesome.

        • Matt says:

          Exactly.

          In my life I’ve had to use near-lethal or crippling force three times, each case against someone who was trying, unprovoked, to do me grievous harm. But those were muggings; I haven’t been provoked into a fight with someone in a looooooooooooong time.

          While working as a bouncer, I found that just maintaining a civil tone with people looking for a reason to loose their cool usually did the trick. It’s really embarrassing, especially in open social situations, to be the dickwad blowing his top at someone going out of their way to be polite to you.

          Though the knowledge that I could cripple said asshole with minimal risk to myself if it came down to it was pretty handy, too.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          AGH! I hate the brain-scratching-finger-of-death move! My son is big on that. My daughter… um… may have picked up a few things from, like, the street or Little Einsteins or something but thankfully has quit using that particular tool. Delivers a wicked headbutt and chin jab but I’ll take that, thanks.

          And, yes, I said “Prii”. I’ll say it again, too, dammit: Prii!

        • Erika Rae says:

          That’s going to be my new ki-ai.

          Aaawww – Pri-i! (As my stomach ripples with chi)

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          That’s cool – it’ll be, like, an eco-friendly ass-kicking. Did you say you’re from Boulder? Because suddenly that makes a lot of sensei. (:

          I know, I know – that last one was hara-ble…!

        • Erika Rae says:

          Hitting the HPJ over there?

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Ha. No, which is probably part of my problem. The entire clan is sleeping now and I’m desperately trying to put the last touches on my book. Broke the 72K mark just about ten minutes ago and am trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to stretch it to 75 without doing some sort of mass-replace cheesiness.

          “Okay, let’s see… Ctrl + H… replace ‘many’ with ‘many, many’… aaaand [click]….”

        • Erika Rae says:

          Oh, just leave it and call it good. Any publisher will take that and realize they are going to edit it anyway. 72k is fine. I think.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Edit it? What? But… but it’s perfect! (:

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          @Matt

          “We learn to fight so that we don’t have to.”

          Amen to that, bro

          “It’s really embarrassing, especially in open social situations, to be the dickwad blowing his top at someone going out of their way to be polite to you.”

          More amen. Unfailing politeness can be a more potent weapon than an axe kick.

          @Erika

          Yeah, Gerber-fu is the ultimate art, because you only think Jet Li has some fast hands if you’ve never tried to drink a colorful beverage while holding a baby.

          @Andrew Nonadetti

          You’re on a right hootenanny, pardner 🙂

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Heh. Much obliged, friend, and right back at you.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Gerber-fu! Haha – that is so awesome. He keeps me sharp, that’s fo’ sho!

    • Erika Rae says:

      I blame my mother. Let me explain. My mother is afraid of everything. I refuse to be afraid of everything. Therefore, I needed to learn to fight.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Erika Rae,

        That I can relate to.
        I used to be afraid of everything.
        My Sara has been pushing me over the years to do things I’m afraid of.
        She shames me into it.
        It works, and I’m grateful to her.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Good for her – and good for you! I firmly believe we have to confront our fears. This is probably why you’re still my favorite adopted mommy ever.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Erika Rae,

          Just for instance, recently she had me climb all the way to the top of a rock-climbing structure that was 6 stories tall.
          (Just to emphasize: It was really scary hard!)
          I kept saying to myself, I’ll just go to the next level and then quit.
          But when I finally finagled myself up there, I figured, okay,
          just one more.
          And I did that all the way to the top!
          I have never before climbed anything before, besides stairs.
          Didn’t really think I could do it.
          But Sara doesn’t give up and she doesn’t give in, for herself or for me or for her kids.
          She’s something else, my Sara.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Good for you, Irene! WOOHOO!

  5. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    Okay, first of all, I think I love you. Second, “[w]hat if her heart popped out like in the game Operation?” Oh. My. Fucking. God.

    There has been much family drama this evening. My daughter went full-bitchtard (many people might not think a five-year-old girl can do this but you’re a mom – you know what I’m saying) at my wife around dinner time. She is sulking and refusing to fall asleep in her bed. My son, picking up on the tension, is likewise getting up repeatedly. My wife is steam-out-the-ears livid and ready to pounce at any sudden movement or noise. And here I am, almost peeing myself trying to hold in the laughter. Which isn’t helping, as I already had a headache and the internal pressure is just making things worse.

    I’d say you’re killing me but it sounds like you know exactly how to do that already! Reason #825 why I’m a fan of suppressive fire. Fantastic piece, Erika Rae.

    Hey. I typoed your name as “Erika Raw” just now. I corrected it above but I think I may use it from now on. Assuming, you know, you don’t mind. Ma’am. Ms. Rae. Whatever you’d like to be called. *gulp*

  6. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Susan in my Kenpo class is probably in her late 60s. A black belt in Chinese Kenpo, who decided to take on a new challenge. And she’s good at smacking the shit outta other students. That’s a good thing in a martial arts class. What the hell are you there for if not to get out-the-shit-smacked? Susan gets her licks into me harder than any of the other students, but I fear I probably don’t reciprocate as much as I should. The couple of times we’ve been paired sparring, I have made it a game of tag, and she’s not really a threat to land much of a blow in that situation, so that’s alright. I usually get it instead when I’m her dummy for self-defense techniques, and not really supposed to defend myself (I’m to rely on her own control).

    Anyway, that anecdote is not really going anywhere. Just a bit of waffle inspired by your experience. I do wonder about your sparring partner, though. If you outside parried a punch of hers with your right and simultaneously sent a reverse glancing back-knuckle to her bladder, below the Batman breastplate, I wonder if you could test that level of continence without doing any real damage. I think maybe I’ll try promoting that technique. I’ll call it “Draining the Crone”.

    • Andrew Nonadetti says:

      “I’ll call it ‘Draining the Crone’.”

      I’m glad I got to this before midnight so I’ll be able to say with all confidence that it’s the funniest thing I’ve read all damned day.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Can’t. Stop. Laughing. I mean, Uche! Not nice! HA

      So, when you’re Susan’s dummy, and she’s pecking at you without reciprocation, is that called “craning the drone”?

      Would you look at that – I just took that joke from best to worst in 5 seconds flat.

      The woman that was in my class was tough as nails, too. I want to be like her when I grow up. Seriously! I’ve been kidding around, but that woman really was amazing. She has my respect.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        LOL. Craning the Drone. Next time I’ll put on some good old Shaw Bothers vocal effects, all the while hopping from one crane stance to another, and countering her blows with crane-hand strikes. Should make for a fun class.

        And I certainly don’t doubt the amazingness of your subject, but did you check under that breastplate? Maybe she has an Iron Man ticker, yo! Did the music in to tojo switch to Ozzy Ozbourne every time someone hit her in the chest?

        • Erika Rae says:

          I just like thinking about you hopping from one crane stance to another. Hahaha! “Look! The tiger thinks he’s a crane! (giggle giggle)”

          And she totally has an iron man ticker. Ozzy! No! HA

  7. Simon Smithson says:

    Erika Rae, my siu nim tao could beat up your siu nim tao. And my chi sau is stickier than your chi sau.

    I kid, I kid. Please don’t hit me. I’d crumple like a house of cards.

    “I’m not proud of what happened next, but it was an important transition for how I would feel about the elderly for the rest of my life. ”

    Heh.

    Oh, snap.

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    :

    I will show you my Iron Claw Technique!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oops. That was supposed to be to anon. And have an (out of sync) proviso. But it ruined itself!

      • Andrew Nonadetti says:

        No worries. I’m mentally tying in your Iron Claw with my vasectomy bit and am suitably intimidated.

  9. Marni Grossman says:

    Erika, you are ridiculously bad-ass. You put the rest of us to shame…

  10. Erika Rae says:

    Oh, if only it were true, Marni. I’m so out of shape right now it’s not even funny. Besides. YOU can cross stitch the Golden Girls. I can’t hold a candle to that. Now who’s ridiculously bad-ass, hm?

  11. jmblaine says:

    When Erika Rae
    says “Kung fu”
    it’s really a metaphor
    for
    “crafting elegant poetry
    about menopause with my ladies’
    writing group from the Lutheran Church.”

    Use this to decode
    all her posts.

  12. 1159 says:

    now it can be told

    I was that old woman.

  13. Ryan Day says:

    HA! Hearty laughter from my direction, which is a southwesterly one… Where resides a certain geriatric that desperately needs an elder pummel… (Hint his first name’s John and his last starts with Mc).

    I like any piece that breaks down barriers, even if that barrier happens to be the one about not beating the snot out of grannys…

  14. Jordan Ancel says:

    “… but where was I supposed to hit her? Her face? Her arm? Her Milton Bradley chest?”

    Oh my God, that’s fucking hilarious!

    And I can’t believe you fell for the oldest trick in the book— the “Don’t hurt me, I’m just a little old lady” trick. They all do that.

    Great piece Erika. Funny as hell with a side of liver and onions.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Thanks, Jordan. And I did fall for it. But this one was different. She wanted to fight.

      Actually, after we fought, we sort of became friendly to one another. She was an amazing woman.

  15. Becky says:

    Holy shit.

    How fast are you? Like, on foot? Because I’m pretty fast, but if I can’t outrun you, I’m sure as shit not going to piss you off.

    Or old ladies either, for that matter. Who knows which ones are going to give me the five-finger death punch?

    Good God, this has been a traumatic week on TNB. Between Anon’s balls and the revelation that you are some kind of killing machine, I don’t even know what to think any more.

    • Andrew Nonadetti says:

      Thankfully, the two aren’t related. Oy vey.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Hahahaha – now I’m laughing my head off. Becky, I’d be TERRIFIED to go in the ring with you. You’d tear me apart! You wouldn’t even have to lift a finger – your wit alone!

      • Becky says:

        Preemptive intimidation via creative abuse is really my only defense.

        And a mean stink eye. A boyfriend once told me that my dirty look made his soul shrivel up and die. But against anyone with any kind of immunity to that, I’m pretty much helpless. (Shhh…don’t tell anybody. I’ve got a good thing going here.)

  16. I’m in awe of your super powers Erika Rae — and your wonderful Operation game metaphor!

  17. Mary says:

    Dude. I would not have guessed you were a fighter. That is awesome. Great piece.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Only one of the twins is. I generally keep her locked up down in the basement with duct tape over her mouth.

      Ah, the life of a gemini.

      Thanks, Mary.

  18. Lorna says:

    Oh my God, Erika! I love a girl that can kick ass, but I never thought I say that about a girl who would kick an old ladies ass… until now! Love this story. You rock.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Not proud, Lorna. Not proud.

      And anyway, she was asking for it.

      • Lorna says:

        I hope to be that Grandma someday. And I hope someone is brave enough to try and kick my ass. 😉

        • Erika Rae says:

          Oo – them’s fightin’ words. You fight, Lorna?

        • Lorna says:

          No, but I’ve always wanted to take some sort of martial arts and figure I won’t get around to it until my daughter is grown and out of the house. I’ll need a hobby. So, about four more years, maybe.

          On second thought, that might be a good activity for my daughter and I to learn together….hmmmmm.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Yes, seriously! You should do it with her! My favorite people in my classes were the parent-child pairs who showed up. It seemed to foster such a healthy relationship. I often became good friends with both, independently. Really cool. Also, I think teenage girls are the absolute best candidates for martial arts. They need to know their limits – and also the “what to do if” stuff. In my opinion, one of the most powerful things you can teach a young girl is grappling (jiu jitsu) – the fact that being on your back with someone in between your legs is actually a more powerful position to have than the person between your legs – IF you know how to use it to your advantage. I am definitely going to put all 3 of my kiddos through the martial arts. (The oldest is only 6, so I have a while)

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Excuse me, Erika Rae, but no you don’t! My daughter is five and is already interested – we’re probably going to enroll her in some basic traditional classes later this summer, if we find a teacher that meshes well. I’ve exposed her to a bit and it’s almost fun to come up with “kid concepts” to find their interests. She was given a choice of “hitty-kicky stuff” (hard styles, maybe some Okinawan), “trippy-throwy stuff” (standup jiu-jitsu, judo, maybe aikido but I’m not very fond of the locals) or “bendy-chokey stuff” (BJJ). She went with the first, much to my relief. She’s tall for her age but I don’t want her thinking she could submit a grownup.

          If I could find a decent danzan-ryu jj place, I’d go with her. Eventually, I’ll just work with her on combatives but that will wait until she’s older and has a little more self-control.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Sigh – you are so right. You called my bluff. The truth is I need money to make this martial arts thing work out for her, so I’m sort of waiting on it for a couple years. I’ve been giving her private lessons, though. She does a mean front ball and side blade! (AKA front and side kicky things-I am so proud.)

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Well, what do you need lessons for, then? Your kids are learning from a master!

          If you don’t mind the tangent, how have you approached the actual application? I have been very clear in distinguishing between “kid kicks” (because she just can’t reach some parts on an adult) and “grownup kicks” (because I don’t want her doing joint destructions on a kid and crippling them for life – my girl has some legs, let me tell you!).

        • Erika Rae says:

          Distinguish? Uh oh. I knew I was doing something wrong.

        • Matt says:

          I’ll just chime in here and say I feel kind of bad for any bully to decides to torment my future-kids on the playground.

        • Lorna says:

          “the fact that being on your back with someone in between your legs is actually a more powerful position to have than the person between your legs – IF you know how to use it to your advantage.”

          My brain went all x-rated on that one. hahaha

          My daughter informed me that she has no interest in martial arts. I guess I go this one alone. Maybe she will change her mind someday.

  19. Joe Daly says:

    >>“Come on, Erika, you’re not afraid of an old woman,” he taunted from the sidelines over Cradle of Filth playing in the background.<<

    I’ll bet that when you were 8 years old, you never could have pictured yourself in this situation.

    This was great! I was hoping you’d beat seven shades of shit out of her. Sorry, but I was. Glad you gave her what for.

    And thank you for the powerful reminder that engaging in any sort of street fight requires an undertaking of risk far greater than most people intend to assume. You might think you’re evenly matched, but for all you know, your nemesis just might be a king (or queen) of Two Rule Fighting.

    • Erika Rae says:

      No – no, it was not a moment I could have ever foreseen. It’s the frog in slow boiling water – you start out in martial arts thinking you’re going to get in shape. Develop your chi or some such bullshit like that. Before you know it you’re hiding behind dumpsters in the middle of the night and jumping little old ladies.

      I am not proud of what I’ve become.

  20. reno says:

    oh, this was fun. you know how to tell a story, PERIOD! this had me laughing. funny gal. and what’s all this stuff above me? punches and kicks and whatnot? it’s an alley fight, a gang fight, a war. see what you started. well, hell, good writing does this. thanks for the morning story. now off to the salt mines where i’m sure i’ll find something to fight about…

  21. “old people aren’t necessarily so pure”….so true. That would be a great T-shirt. And they also tend to “have waddle.” But I never really thought of it a weakness to target in close quarter brawling. Valuable information. Thank you for bringing light to this issue.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Ha! I dare you to wear that T-shirt into a Country Buffet. You’re likely to get jumped. Which, of course, would prove out the message of the T-shirt.

      Thanks, Sean.

  22. Erika Rae says:

    From the king of storytelling himself – what a compliment! Good to hear from you. Are you still in Cali – I seem to recall you moved back to the desert. Watch your back today, Reno. Old ladies are everywhere.

  23. Tom Hansen says:

    Ha! Cool. After meeting you in Denver I would have never guessed you’d been in a fight club. It’s true tho, some old people are just bitter old cranks, a reverse of “only the good die young,” “only the bad get to be really old.”

    • Andrew Nonadetti says:

      “…only the bad get to be really old.” This is something that’s worth repeating. Folks seem to forget Darwinism when dealing with the elderly – the weak and stupid tend to get killed off early, leaving the crafty, hearty and wise to survive. Old folks aren’t infants, they’re life’s combat veterans.

      • Erika Rae says:

        Life’s combat veterans. Sheesh. You two are ringing up the quotables today. Another good one, no doubt. It makes “tough old codger” sort of redundant, doesn’t it?

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          My maternal grandmother ran guns for the IRA before it was the IRA, right around WWI. She was also a lifelong alcoholic and, not surprisingly, diabetic. She eventually went blind from the diabetes but didn’t want to “admit weakness” to my visiting mother and was so familiar with her little apartment and neighborhood that she pulled it off. My mom only found out one morning when she was unable to sleep and was already in the kitchen. Her mom made no greeting when she shuffled into the room so Mom just watched, thinking she was drunk. Nanny picked up the empty teapot, walked to the sink, filled the pot with water, walked back to the stove, turned it on and then held her hand over the burner to make sure there was flame. That’s when my mom busted her and the truth came out.

          Be polite but don’t presume. (;

        • Erika Rae says:

          Oh man – was she sheepish about it? Or proud?

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          According to my mom, she was pretty confrontational and eventually turned it around (like any good parent should) into “How dare you sit around all sneaky-like in my kitchen! I’m your mother!” It’s a trait my mom picked up as well. When in doubt, busted and/or embarrassed, go on the offensive.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I like that! Only the bad get to be really old. Bravo!

      My grandma was tough as nails and she died at 102. I have this memory of holding her for over an hour after she’d fallen into a corner and given herself a gushing head wound. She was bleeding everywhere and the ambulance was taking FOREVER to get there. She was 100. We all thought for sure she was a goner. None doing. She was back to wearing out the tennis balls on her walker in no time. Go Grandma!

      I like that you never would have guessed I love to fight when we met. It’s my secret ninja quality.

  24. admin says:

    This was one of the more unexpected pieces to be published on TNB in a while. I started reading, expecting it to end in an old folks’ home or something.

    It’s one of those stories that cries out for video. If only there were video of this brawl.

  25. This makes me want to get beat up. In other words, I love this.

  26. Don Mitchell says:

    Love it, Erika.

    I never fought an old lady but out in the Pacific I worked with enough of them to know how strong they can be (and usually are).

    It’s humbling to be in perfectly reasonable shape and to be walking along with a grandmother who’s carrying half again as many sweet potatoes as you are, and not even breaking a sweat.

    Rock on, old ladies!

    Also, like many, I was surprised, and pleased, to learn that you were into martial arts.

    Are there more TNB martial artists than long-distance runners? Could we have a combined club, do you think?

    We could call it the “TNB Fight or Flight” club.

    I know, I just know, that Brad will provide TNB logo clothing for all of us. Brad?

    • Erika Rae says:

      Oh, please Brad. Let’s! TNB Fight Club would be a thing to behold.

      Don, women in the Pacific – and Asian women in general – are SO strong as they age. It’s unbelievable, really. On the island I lived on in Hong Kong, the women were in charge of hauling all the trash trolleys around. They were enormous. Once, thinking I should lend a hand to a woman I was walking behind, I offered to push it up a hill. She nodded and handed me the bar to the cart. I BARELY made it up there without it toppling down on me. And she did this every day. Kryke!

      • Don Mitchell says:

        Two Fighters and one Flighter so far, then. I think Joe Daly will join the Flighters, so we’ll be even.

        “Flighters” doesn’t sound so good, though.

        A quick check shows that we could have our own website, too: fight-or-flight.net is available.
        Of course, having TNB, why would we want our own site? The email address, I guess.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Hell, I’m out – too chicken to fight, too lazy to run (;. If there’s a rhyming category for the guy who sprawls out on the grass, dozing in the sun, nursing a decent bottle of single-malt, give me a holler and I’ll be all over it.

        • Matt says:

          Fighters: Erika, Uche & myself, for sure. We might even be able to include Simon, since he’s got a bit of a kung fu background, and anyways, all Australian men box, or so I’m told.

          Flighters: Yourself, Joe, Stefan, Kristen Elde…I believe Slade Hamm was a bit of a runner, Rebecca Adler does marathons, and I’m pretty sure Lenore has been known to hit the pavement from time to time.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Hey – don’t forget JMB! The guy was practically a pro-wrestler, for crying out loud. Fought the Junkyard Dog!!!

          Megan, too. I don’t know that she’s actually ever trained, but the girl’s tough. JMB dubbed her Beggin’ Megan in one post, in which we all tag-teamed him, I recall.

          And you canNOT forget Rich Ferguson. The man’s a Bond girl, after all.

          I get to see SImon in a month. (mwahahahaha)

          And HELLO! Brin Friesen, anyone? That dude is the real deal.

        • Zara Potts says:

          What??? JMB fought the Junkyard Dog??
          Can I be a cheerleader for this kick ass team?

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Matt – A bit of a runner (when I’m not suffering from a ruptured Achilles as I am now), and I’m not functionless as a martial artist. I studied a bit of BJJ and muy thai when I was a much younger guy, and well before the hybrid became the thing of frat boys and Ed Hardy aficionados.

        • Matt says:

          I knew JMB was stacked, but I totally forgot about his wrestling background!

          And Megan’s tattoos alone should have told me she’s got a high threshold for pain. That alone is a valuable asset right there.

          He hasn’t been present here on the site for so long I’d actually completely forgotten about Brin.

        • Matt says:

          @Slade Fuck, yeah. This shit’s starting to get real.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Oh yes – JMB is awesome. I believe he used to wrestle in a cape. How can you beat that???

          And Brin’s around – posted a couple months ago, I think.

          Slade! You are a man of mystery. Why oh why did I not grapple you when I had the chance?

          Again…sounded kinda dirty. Sorry for that. It is what it is.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Grapple is a very funny word.

        • Matt says:

          You have seen the turnover on the front page, right? These days, it’s easy to forget about someone if they don’t make their presence felt in the comment boards on a regular basis.

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Erika – You would have taken advantage of me when I was so obviously fragile and unable to defend myself?

          Wait, that sounded wrong too…

          For the record, that was all years ago and I would hardly even consider sparring with anyone anymore. Maybe if it were just grappling. Actually, I’m almost certain I would. It’s been forever though.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Next time then. It’s a date. I’ll hold you to it. (And then down. Heheh)

        • Erika Rae says:

          And Matt – no doubt! It’s crazy out there! Over 200 of us on this site now. Good to have friends. Good to make new ones, too.

          Something tells me you would not be my friend in a fight, though. Woof. I’m scared of you, I think.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Oh – and Zara’s back! Grapple is a fantastic word. Except when confused with “Graple”, which is a disgusting kind of apple-grape hybrid with artificial flavor. No, grapple is much better.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Be careful, Erika. Where I come from, “I would hardly even consider sparring” is just another way of saying “Let’s see… bear spray, tasers, large friends waiting in wings – check!”….

        • Erika Rae says:

          No doubt. He’ll spar.

          Ok…we *might* agree to let his achilles heal first.

        • Slade Ham says:

          You, maybe. Matt on the other hand, he takes knives away from people. I’ll just watch.

          Or bring the bear spray and a taser…

        • Matt says:

          @Erika – I say, woman! I’ve never hurt anyone I wasn’t actively trying to hurt, and that’s very rarely. I’m the safest person in the dojo for my students to spar with. My control is well-developed. They’re still getting a handle on theirs.

          Best rule for when sparring with me: use whatever level of control you want coming back at you. Want to hit me full-force across the face? Fine. Just keep in mind I’ll do the same.

          Though it strikes me that it might be more entertaining to just watch you and Slade grappel.

          (Nothing about that sounds right AT ALL.)

        • Don Mitchell says:

          I’m surprised that Anon didn’t deliver something along the lines of “grappa.”

          I grappa wit you, you grappa wit me….

          or am I wrong that grappa is something Mediterranean people drink? Damn.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Oh, they do. I don’t, per se, but I’ve had it. I just wasn’t sure where this was going and sometimes, as Slade referenced, it’s just wise to hang back and watch. Besides, I don’t wish to annoy these very nice, very gentle people with my nonsense. *gulp*

          [backs away slowly]

        • Erika Rae says:

          @Matt – hee hee – I thought that might torque you. Of COURSE you would only hurt somebody you intended to. The scariest person in the dojo to fight is the newbie. I’d love to spar with you. I would learn a ton, no doubt.

          I once sparred with an albino ninja. I kid you not. I worked with him and he looked like he walked straight off the set of the Matrix. He asked me to meet him at a random gym after work – he taught ninjitsu somewhere and wanted to compare arts. Work out a bit. How could I say no? Oh. My. God. He had absolutely no concept of graded levels of strength. He was intense. I kept wanting to ask him to ease up, but, um, I was sort of ashamed to. Haha. Albino ninja kicked my ass. And then again, he wanted me to hit him full strength repeatedly, too. And kick. Whew. I’m getting all sweaty just thinking about it.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Simon and I bringing bear spray and tasers. Anyone want a fight?! Huh? Anyone? Anyone?

        • Erika Rae says:

          Um, actually I was just kiddin’ about all this. Never raised a hand in my life. It’s cool, Zara. It’s cool.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Oh.
          I was about to go and get a mouthguard fitted…

        • Erika Rae says:

          @ Matt – Hey – add Jeffrey Pillow in there! He beats up old people, too!

        • Matt says:

          @Erika – How dastardly of him! You’d think a guy named Pillow would be all soft–but no, he’s bringing it! Done and Done!

          @Zara – You’re on, brew.

        • Zara Potts says:

          You’re going down sucker.

  27. Once you mentioned martial arts, I couldn’t help but laugh. Something very, very similar happened to me about eight years ago while in karate class. I was new to this particular school. There was an older gentleman there, a brown belt. He was probably 63 or 64. A Hampden-Sydney professor. Mostly bald, a little soft in the mid section. Even a few liver spots on his arms and neck.

    At the end of class, we always sparred for about 20-30 minutes. I was almost always matched up with this Jamaican kid. He was a blue belt which was sort of misleading because he had actually attained his black belt in Taekwondo before coming to America. We were pretty evenly matched skill wise, even though he probably could have kicked my ass outside the building on the street. He was short and stocky. I was tall and lean. But he was super quick.

    If I didn’t spar with the Jamaican, I sparred with our instructor, or one of our instructor’s assistants, a 40-year-old Russian man who was supposedly in the CIA (which I guess explained why he’d miss class for 3 weeks and then reappear). One of his eyes was crossed. Name started with an “Or-.”

    One day my instructor matches me up with the professor. Yeah, he was a brown belt but I figured they were probably being nice and advanced him up because of his dedication. I always noticed during class he punched kind of soft and wasn’t very flexible so his kicks never really got up past his waist.

    We got on the mats, touch knuckles, and begin.

    I have no desire to hit him but I know I have to at least hit him some. I’ll do it lightly, I tell myself. I’m bouncing around, barely grazing his gut and chest. I kick him in the ribs barely connecting.

    I’m just waiting for our time to run out.

    Then I come in to tag him gently in the chest and he grabs my arm, wraps me up and throws me on the ground. I shake it off, sort of give a grin. As I’m getting up, he just comes running at me full force and tries to kick me square in the gut. I block his bare foot with my right hand and damn if he didn’t fracture a bone in my hand I would later learn (because my hand swoll up like a grapefruit). Then he hits me square in the nose and busts my lip.

    Unlike you, I didn’t get a chance to beat his old ass right then and there because my instructor looks at his stop watch and says, “Time’s up.” But I did get my revenge later and it was bitter sweet.

    P.S. I always wanted to do jeet kune do. I used to study up on all the books. Always thought it was the most practical martial art.

  28. Slade Ham says:

    I keep a copy of The Tao of Jeet Kun Do on my bookshelf. It’s one of only a few books that I keep taking with me when I move.

    You kicked the shit out of an old lady. If you weren’t my new favorite person before, you are now. Old people think they can get lippy just because they’ve been around a long time. I’m respectful of them too, but it doesn’t give you a free pass…

    Btw, did you see the video of the punk on the bus screwing with the war vet? If you haven’t, it’s incredible.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Slade – I remember that about you from a post long ago, actually. I LOVE the fact that you have that book and revere it so much. Why do you think we get along so well? We have compatible chi. ( : (And you thought it was all that con-fusion)

      And that video – kryke!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PwqRSDvCCg

      And for what it’s worth, I didn’t exactly kick the shit out of her. I mean, she wasn’t THAT incontinent.

      • Becky says:

        Um. I have it too.

        Can I be in the chi club?

        I also have the Tao of Pooh in case the Jeet Kun Do one doesn’t work out. And the Tao Te Ching in case all this new-fangled Tao turns out to be B.S. altogether.

        And the Worst Case Scenario Handbook, in case I ever need to escape from a sinking vehicle.

      • Slade Ham says:

        The current copy was given to me by one of my brothers, who years ago borrowed mine and lost it. I have a fuzzy memory of it coming up before too… maybe on my list of favorite things. If it wasn’t on there, it should have been.

        Poop jokes are funny. Poor old lady.

        Did I mention that the Operation line made me laugh? I meant to.

    • Matt says:

      My little home martial arts library: The Tao of Jeet Kun Do (currently on extended loan), The Life-Giving Sword, The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings, The Unfettered Sword, Hagakure, and Karate-Do: My Way of Life. All good reading material.

      • Slade Ham says:

        Of course you do. Like minded and what not. I have the first four within arms reach.

        The other three I do not. I need to go book shopping.

  29. Erika, you’re hired!

    Jesus woman, you are so funny and so bad ass all wrapped up in a cute little package of brains and smiles.

    Thanks, so much for kicking an old ladies ass.

  30. jmblaine says:

    We’re still using
    “fight”
    as a sort of metaphor
    for
    constructing
    delicate poetry
    about the complexity of
    our feelings
    right?

    I will make you
    all cry
    “fight” club.

  31. Erika Rae says:

    Kind of gives “Literary Death Match” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

  32. Judy Prince says:

    Erika Rae, when we meet I promise I won’t put my fingers in your nose.

    Loved your church-sweetened demeanor turning to evil when your thinking went from “I’m beating up an old lady” to “I’m getting beat up by an old lady”!! HOOOO HAAAA!

    “Milton Bradley chest” More laff hits!

    • Erika Rae says:

      Judy, nothing pleases me more than to make you hoo-haa. HA! I love love love that. Is that wrong? Thanks so much for reading, you delightful lady, you. If we ever meet in person, I will keep an eye on your fingers at all times.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Oh, whew…..at first I thought you’d said you’d keep a finger in my eye at all times!

        I’ll be wearing full body armour when we meet—–nothing personal, I always wear full body armour when meeting TNBers from Colorado. I understand that you and Uche met whilst kick-boxing. And it was a stalemate. But it could be gossip I heard.

        A nother Uche caterpillar for you…… :P;;;;;;

        • Erika Rae says:

          HA – I can’t even imagine stalemating Uche. We’ve sparred, but not for competition. I can tell you, though, the boy is for real. He wouldn’t even break a sweat kicking my behind. (I actually used to work with Uche, which is how we met – his family and mine have become close friends. Special people, those.)

  33. You are so badass, my dear. I could listen to you talk about kung-fu, and kicking old people’s asses all day. When I meet you in person I’ll be sure to be wearing full body armor. Then again, maybe I’ll just go au natural. Might do me some good to get a royal ass-kicking by the one and only Erika Rae.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Just say you’ll join our little TNB Fight Club and all will be well. I’d love to spar you! How fun would that be? (Trust me…Ashtray Babyhead has made me a big ol’ softy) I’d be wary of you, though. I’m guessing you’ve got some mad skills with that whole Bond Girl thing and having won that Literary Death Match. Phew. Crazy mad skills.

  34. jmblaine says:

    the echo of boots is
    upon the hall.
    & a sound
    like many
    flags in the wind.

    “Pollo,” Lexi whispers.

    The begging one draws a quick breath.
    “Super Pollo,” she hisses. “Pollo Loco.”

    Under amber lamps
    the crimson mask
    bleeds black
    as they stare each other
    down…

    “Ah ladies,” the voice says
    in a slow Southern rasp.
    “So we meet, again.”

    • Erika Rae says:

      You’re so goin’ down, Pollo Loco. You may have brought the poetry, but nothing echoes truer than a Beggin’ and Lexi simultaneous box to the ears. Gonna ring that loco rubber chicken neck.

      (Are you above water over there?)

  35. Erika, uber-mom and martial arts chick, I just love you! I love it when one of my shortie, 115 pound bretheren can kick some serious ass. That is just tough, hot, and cute-as-pie all at once. You rule! Although I am from the ghetto, where I used to be called upon to have to, uh, fight in the streets (seriously) with some regularity as a kid, I have now devolved into a total pussy who doesn’t do much more strenuous than yoga. You are my hero. (Matt can be my hero too, but he’s a boy, so it’s not as unexpectedly cool on him–no offense Matt.)

    • Erika Rae says:

      Yoga is kick-ass! Besides, I’ve met you. I wouldn’t want to tangle with you in a dark alley. You’ve got serious presence, woman. Plus you’ve got that dark, ghetto fighting past thing going for you. I wouldn’t stand a chance. I want to hear about your street fighting days!

      • Yeah, well my ghetto street fighting days were when I was, like, 12, so I guess my post would have to read “I Can (and Will) Beat Up Your Little Sister.” Though I did once get my ass completely kicked by this 15 year old guy who had failed out of 8th grade twice and was in my class, when I tried to stand up to him for beating up a friend of mine (a guy.) So, uh, I’m going to have to go with the “serious presence” as my protection, because I apparently Cannot (and Will Not) Beat Up Your Little Brother. Especially since I am the same size I was when I was 12!

        • Erika Rae says:

          You are such a spitfire. Respect.

        • Andrew Nonadetti says:

          Gina, think back to Ghetto Streetfighter School – improvise with whatever is at hand. Sugar up your kids and then sic ’em on your opponent. Unless they’re parents as well, they won’t have the stamina to keep up with the interrupted trains of thought, constant demands, tantrums and bizarre questions. When they’re exhausted, befuddled and at the end of their rope, low-kick, chin jab and curb ’em. Then take the kids out for ice cream. 🙂

  36. Elizabeth says:

    HA!!! This is hilarious and terrifying. What exactly does happen when you go for the waddle? Needless to say, I will certainly run in terror now at the first scent of talcum powder. And Tussy deodorant.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Tussy. Hahaha. That’s funny.

      Thanks, Elizabeth. The waddle is a misleading thing. It looks delicate, but do not be fooled. The tougher the old lady, the thicker the waddle. It’s an evolutionary trick.

  37. Todd Zuniga says:

    Erika: You’re so, so going to destroy when you read at the Literary Death Match — once we roll back through Denver. Can’t wait!

    • Erika Rae says:

      HA – Is that an official invitation? I didn’t realize that there were little old ladies at the LDM! Sweet! Maybe I would stand a chance after all…

  38. Todd Zuniga says:

    It is an official invitation. Email me, and we’ll get you in the lineup when next we bzz by Denver…

  39. […] Read her work and themes emerge.  Grandmothers, for one.  Both her bikini-clad own, and others whose ass she’d totally kick. […]

  40. Markham Lee says:

    I was sparring with a buddy once, he seemed a touch out of breath so I jokingly said: “Am I tiring you out old man?”

    I’m not sure what happened next, I just know I was on the ground and he was laughing at me.

    I had forgotten rule zero: never underestimate the older folks in the Dojo, or call them old, or taunt them.

    All the Kung Fu movies I’ve watched where the baddest guy was the old guy, my first Sensei being in his 60s and I forgot.

    I deserved that whuppin 🙁

    • Erika Rae says:

      I can’t wait to be an old lady thug. I’m going to gather my knitting group together, go out late, and kick some ass. It’s like you say, Markham, never underestimate the older folks (and especially while also bearing knitting needles).

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