I never had the pleasure of taking a class on rhetoric. I picked up everything I know about debating from the street. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, because, rather than flowing words, the street tends to prefer pounding fists. Not to say that's not instructive. You learn a lot when life and limb are at stake. For example, did I ever tell you about the time I stopped I street fight.

This is a true story.

A few years after graduation (i.e., we were adults), we happened to be visiting our favorite watering hole next to our alma mater. In a splash of spilt beer, a stewing argument spilled out into the open street and down a dark alley. There were three of them squared off against three of us. And dozens of spectators, most of whom were on our side. Why they didn't intervene to stop the impending fisticuffs, I'll never know. After all, we were short-handed – one of our three lost an eye playing in the International League (you know that one, it's the one they made the movie Slapshot about).

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