The Alpha Male: Drunken Idiot
A good friend of mine, who also happens to be the guy responsible for printing all my promotional materials, recommended my services to his niece who was getting married in a large Victorian House in 2013.
I had been hired by her to perform at her wedding reception in a Mix & Mingle capacity. I don’t usually agree to take gigs from relatives of people I am close to, but he asked me to do it as a favour. That, mixed with all his hard work over the years, and I felt obliged to accept the booking, especially after he had pretty much told her I was available on the date and got her all excited with embellished stories of my mind reading.
The build up to the performance went as smooth as most gigs go, the deposit was paid on time and all the relevant paperwork was completed promptly. A few days before the wedding, I sent a final courtesy email to ensure all the details were correct and to discuss any last minute changes from the client's end.
I arrived in plenty of time at the venue and met the DJ, who was setting up in the main hall. He was polite and courteous and allowed me to leave my bag near his equipment so that it would be safe throughout the evening. The estimated timeline for the wedding, like the vast majority of them, was off and the photographs were still being taken over an hour later than scheduled.
The guests began to spill into the hall nearly 90 minutes late. I had been booked for a 2-hour performance, arrived on time, and was ready to begin at the time stated on the paperwork. In accordance to my contract, I had just 30 minutes left before I was scheduled to leave. In situations like these, I would usually have spoken with the event coordinator or wedding planner, however, this particular wedding didn’t have one and as a result I found myself in somewhat of a predicament. I waited for a few dozen people to enter the hall and take their seats before making my way to one of the tables and introducing myself. I performed my dice routine (explained later) and was half way through a drawing duplication routine when the DJ announced to the guests that there was a special performance and asked everyone to stand up and give them a warm welcome.
Within a few seconds, the guests parted like the red sea as a group of about 25 girls and young women danced their way into the centre of the hall. The dance troupe had arrived. I was forced to take a step back from my performance as the guests clapped and whooped their way through their demonstration. I glanced at my watch and I had 15 minutes of my performance remaining. I had performed one effect for one table, and there was no way I would be leaving at my contracted time. I wanted to make sure I performed for as many guests as possible and once the dance troupe skipped off through the curtains, I immediately carried on performing with the table I was previously at.
At the conclusion of the drawing duplication, the table were in good spirits and wanted to see more. One member of the group called to the table next to me and asked if they had seen what I was doing? The next table over turned and faced me and I continued performing for both tables at the same time.
There was an empty seat in between both tables and I asked if I could sit there and give another demonstration. They pulled the seat out from under the table and invited me to sit as I pulled out a deck of cards. The deck was shuffled and no sooner than it was placed back into my hands, I felt a hand on top of my head abruptly ‘ruffling’ my hair. I turned to look at the person and half expected my printer friend to be stood there. Instead, it was a rather drunken guy in his 40’s stood rubbing his hand into my face.
I stood and faced him, expecting him to either realise he had mistaken me for someone else or at least remove his hand from my now confused face. He did neither, opting instead to ask the rest of the group who this ‘F***ing C**t' was.
Now put yourself in my position, what would you do?
As I asked myself that same question, the guy grabbed me around my throat and stared at me.
It’s well known that I was one of the country’s youngest Shodans in Shotokan Karate. I was trained by Master Enoeda and achieved my first ‘Black Belt’ two weeks after my 10th birthday. Every fibre of my being wanted to wrap this guy up like a Christmas present, but I didn’t. I was there as a paid professional entertainer and was representing my own company, a company I had set up and was extremely proud of.
I politely asked the guy to remove his hand from my throat. He looked at me for a second before the rest of the group began to get on his case and reprimand him for his uncouth caveman style behaviour. I turned to the group and politely thanked them for their time, headed straight for the DJ booth, grabbed my bag and left.
The journey home I played back the event and I wondered what, if anything, I had done wrong.
To this day, I have no idea and have put it down to an inebriated, alpha male who had most probably took a severe dislike to me for having the audacity to sit in what he perceived to be ‘his’ chair.