New York Challenged: Manly in Montreal: Drinking, Fighting and Public Urination


Sonny, Rico and J.D. prepare to take on the marvels of Montreal—Motown nights and all. (Mario Weddell/The Observer)

Disclaimer to future potential employers: The following events may or may not be factual. They are by no means meant to be offensive. This is merely a documentation of events.

A few days before the semester started, three friends and I jumped in a car and drove to Montreal. We trudged through the snowy streets, ate gooey poutine (it’s not as vulgar as it sounds, I swear. Fries, cheese and gravy.) and checked out the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. It was nice, in the way that a box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day is nice. But it lacked the passion of a mariachi serenade in a moonlit garden, or some lacy lingerie. So we hit the bars at night. Probably due to some wonderfully odd sense of Canadian humor, it was “Motown night” every night at a different bar, and it was perfect.

One particular night we drank to make Hemingway proud, and decided to start a fight club on the sidewalk. It began as a sober joke, with us giggling on the way to the bar and whispering, “Hey, let’s fight those guys over there.” We were also fairly tame at the bar. But as our dance moves became more embarrassing and our wallets became lighter, our intentions became more Tyler Durden and we stepped outside.

We left the bar much warmer than we had arrived, and decided to box each other in the driveway of a parking lot. I was supposed to fight my friend “Sonny” first. Sonny has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That’s a good thing to have, especially when you want to hurt someone. On the other hand, I had once played Whack-a-Mole at Chuck E. Cheese’s. That is the extent of my violent abilities and is only good if you want to win enough tickets to get you a ladybug-shaped eraser. Someone said, “Round One, fight!” and we put our fists up.

I hit Sonny first, on the shoulder. He said, “I’ve been hit much harder by much larger men than you.” Immediately emasculated, I could do nothing but accept the barrage of fists that followed. I lost that round by unanimous decision, panting with laughter. A security guard appeared in the snow. He was not impressed by our manliness, but he was definitely confused by our stupidity. He asked us to leave, because he had called the police. It was an unconvincing lie, but we moved ten feet down the block, out of sight, yelling, “Je suis désolé, eh!” even though he had spoken to us in English. He disappeared into the stormy darkness, much like our sound judgment.

My friend “Rico” wanted to fight Sonny next. Rico is roughly half a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than Sonny. He is also more romantic. Ideally, he would have fought “J.D.,” the philosopher of our group, but J.D. had considered the conceivability argument of injury and came to the conclusion that fighting was indeed dumb. So Rico fought me instead, since I was half a foot taller than him but only 40 pounds (18 kilos at the time) heavier.

We started Round Two. I hit Rico right away in the stomach, before he could say something poetic to make me feel wimpy, like Sonny had done. Rico put his hands in the air, said, “Okay. I’m done,” then walked down the block. He took five steps before he fell and hit his face on the wall. The combination of icy sidewalks, cold air, whiskey and getting the wind knocked out of him probably had something to do with it. When he stood up, blood was streaming down his face. He wiped it with his hand, then said, “Why’d you punch me in the nose?!” That worried us, so we summoned a cab, dropped J.D. off and went to the hospital.

The hospital was empty, but the lights were on and the doors were open. After wandering through three floors of deserted hospital, we realized that Canadian healthcare was cheap because patients were expected to treat themselves. Then we found the emergency room waiting area, where patients wearing SARS masks were wheezing and clutching at their hearts.

There was a nurse in the reception office, but she refused to acknowledge us. An ambulance crew brought in a man on a stretcher. She refused to acknowledge him, too. At some point I noticed that my watch was broken. Bits of glass were tangled in my arm hair. Rico and Sonny both had bloody knuckles, so one of them probably owes me a new watch.

When the nurse finally spoke to Rico, we were informed that it would cost $525 just to put him in the system, let alone examine his possibly broken nose or concussion. Only Canadian citizens reap the benefits of Canadian medicine. We realized that Canadian healthcare is cheap because they trick Americans into punching each other and then paying huge emergency room fees.

A security guard told us that we’d be better off going to a clinic in the morning. Rico mistook him for a paramedic, so he showed him his wounds and asked him what to do. The guard told us a strange story about some scars on his own back, then gave us directions to the clinic. I couldn’t breathe; Sonny had hit me pretty hard in the sternum, and I hadn’t noticed until then. I went blind and wandered over to the bathroom, where I woke up with Sonny supporting my weight on his shoulder and Rico curled up on the floor, asleep.

We left the emergency room, walked through the ghost-pital once more and found the entrance. There was a copy machine in the corner. No one was watching. Sonny made a bee-line for it, unbuckling his pants. I was upset; now was not the time for rear-end Xeroxing. Rico had a concussion, and I could hardly breathe. Where was Sonny’s reason? Could he truly be so reckless and immature? He was acting like the kind of guy who would fight his friends in the street. We begged him to leave.

“Hold on guys, I’m dying here. I really just need to do this, I meant to do it earlier and I can’t take it,” Sonny said. He approached the copy machine. Then he walked past it. He peed in the corner.

I slapped myself on the forehead. Sonny let out a relieved sigh. Rico whispered to himself, “Peeing On A Hospital In Canada. What a great band name.”

Everyone is healthy now, and Sonny regrets the urination, among other things.