The motivation behind this post comes from a Netflix documentary I stumbled upon about arm-wrestling legend John Brzenk called Pulling John. The story follows budding arm wrestlers Travis Bagent and Alexy Voyevoda as they trained to face off against one another in hopes to get a shot at arm-wrestling’s biggest and most famed peformer, John.
If you didn’t freak out when Reed Hastings totally screwed the pooch on the whole Quickster / Netflix deal and are still streaming or grabbing DVDs out of your mailbox then you should definitely check it out for two reasons… The first, you will be exponentially more manly after watching this documentary. The subject matter, the facial hair, the Russian training secrets, and the buckets of sweat exchanged in hot steamy match-ups are a sure fire way to give you a peak into how other men live around the world. Hint: if you’re not arm wrestling against four people at once while licking your ‘stache, you’re doing it wrong. Secondly, Travis Bagent might be one of the best and worst trash talkers in the history of verbal abuse. He is the best because he openly belittles his opponents while still respecting them (barely) in the arm wrestling ring. As a corollary he is the worst because nothing he says is original and he is oftentimes repetitive, sadly, because I was really rooting for him.
You can only say, “I’m the greatest” in someone’s face so many times before it gets old unless, of course, you’re Joey Chestnut then all bets are off. Now that you know why I’m rambling, let’s get down to brass tax and take a few minutes to learn how to trash talk from Uncle Gene himself.
2.) Take it to the next level
When you are in the safe confines of the trash talking arena (locker room, g chat, local bar, All-you-can-eat pancakes day at IHOP) you are welcome to throw a few put downs at your comrades in spite during a competition or jab an old pal just to remind him that you didn’t forget the incident with the peanut butter a few years back. After a few shared one-liners in good fun it is always hilarious to take it far beyond the accepted level of razzing and enter into a cage match-style brawl. This is a great time to pull out the “Jimmy once peed his pants twice in twelve hours when he visited you senior year” card.
There are times when you are obliged to step up your trash talking to the Stephen Hawking out-of-this-universe realms where you will not return unscathed. A special circumstance comes to mind when I entered this realm. This particular moment came during one of my only glorious moments in my high school basketball life. Cue the “One Shining Moment” I’m about to get teary eyed as we travel to the pinnacle of my athletic career.
As you know, I grew up in rural Indiana and I played basketball on the high school team where I didn’t box out, refused to play help-side defense during practice and consistently kept my warm up pants on while hanging on the bench. During my time in the Indiana high school basketball scene I ran into many current big name players who went on to make crazy amounts of money and be far more famous than anyone ever imagined. This particular memory comes from the time we played Connersville which was home to Matt Howard who went on to play for Butler and in two NCAA National Championship games a few years afterward.
The two big guys who played above me both got into early foul trouble and I had to come in and show everyone that I was actually paying attention during practice. The last thing I remember going into the game as I prepared in a half-assed manner was the coaches really wanted to get in Howard’s head to keep him from jamming on us more often than Grand Ma Ma in that old Converse commercial. So when I got into the game and was assigned the duty of guarding Howard I knew exactly how I was going to execute my duty, some SERIOUS shit talking.
A few seconds into our match-up I think I got one shot off and all I remember is being on the ground with Matt Howard clamoring to his feet next to me. My reaction: pop right up and get into his face, from there, my years of trash talking finally payed off…
“ALL NIGHT MOTHER F@(#ER” was all I could think to yell at his solemn and expressionless face. From there the refs charged in and started pushing us away from each other. I don’t really remember much of the game after that but I do remember that I put him in his place and really got the crowd riled up. That moment was the crown jewel of my athletic career, not because I played well against someone who played in TWO National Championship games, but because I clearly won the trash talk match up (and he didn’t dunk on me).
To conclude, always remember to go above and beyond when trying to get in the head of your opponent. Feelings be damned, you need to step it up!!
3.) Revel in the glory of the moment
One of the best parts of trash taking amongst your friends is knowing that below that rigid exterior of screaming at each other during an intense Call of Duty match up you probably really truly care about your pal and he cares about you too. That’s the beauty of trash talking, everyone who has ever given you a hard time has probably been there for you to lend a hand when you were in need and vice versa.
One of our pal’s known simply as “The Bulldog” is one of the most fierce and intense shit-talkers and my abilities are amatuerish and green compared to his tenured brand of put-downs and verbal assaults. Although The Bulldog (who stands at 5’ 10 and weighs in at 135 pounds) may not have the physical stature of those around him and his verbal abuse is second to none, I know that deep down, he truly wants to emotionally harm me. Which makes me appreciate our friendship that much more.
Take a few minutes during your next argument to really feel the emotion of telling someone, “Your girfriend looks like Princess Fiona” and revel in the glory of male-on-male verbal confrontation. And lets be honest, the majority of the people who give you a hard time are really your best friends and sending jabs back and forth is just the male way of showing our support and appreciation for one another.
In conclusion, we have learned to never assume the general public wants to hear a profanity ridden tirade, step up the intensity when the time is right and appreciate those around you who you can enjoy a little good hearted razzing with. My final piece of advice is to always keep the mothers out of it. Even though you may have taken Dorothy Mantooth on a nice seafood dinner and did NOT call her back, you don’t need to remind anyone of that, its probably best that you kept it to yourself.
Movember is almost over friends. Click above in the “Donate” tab and send a few bills towards the Movember foundation raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer. If you donate today, send us an email talking as much trash as you want about either of us and we’ll post it tomorrow on the Bro Journey. Get to donating, ya jabroney.