SACRAMENTO, CA—Claiming that it is "something every man deserves to do once," local resident Carl Hilland, 32, told reporters Monday that, before he dies, he would like to throw a good, clean punch to somebody's face.
"I want to make a guy's head snap back like in the movies," Hilland said. "All I want is the satisfaction of knowing that at one point in my life, I threw a straight right hand with complete balance and didn't look foolish doing it, and in a situation where my actions were completely justified."
"Pow," he added, punching the air. "I honestly don't think that's too much to ask."
Hilland, who is right-handed, characterized the ideal punch as "quick and clean," adding that he has no interest in throwing a "crazy" punch, such as an uppercut or a left hook. The husband and father of three also insisted that he is realistic in his expectations for the punch, and does not want to cause permanent damage or knock the victim out immediately. All he wants, Hillard said, is to throw the punch at an age when he will at least be able to "stun the guy a little."
"This isn't about cowardice, hysteria, or blind rage," Hilland said. "It's about me, as a man, getting the chance to act like a man for once in my life."
Hilland, who works as a group benefits consultant and characterizes himself as "pretty reserved," said that the approximately five punches he has thrown through the years don't count because of their nonviolent nature and social context. In each case, he was either hitting a friend in response to seeing a car with a burnt-out headlight or testing how much force he could generate with only a two-inch windup.
"I did punch a wall once," said Hilland, who admitted that he took little satisfaction in it. "First off, I was just trying to make a scene, and everyone knew it. And secondly, a little scuff mark isn't the same as seeing blood stream out of a guy's nose, which is what I think will happen if I really get all my weight behind it."
Added Hilland, attempting another air swing: "Boom."
Hilland said the primary obstacle he faces is that he is seldom, if ever, in a position to punch anyone. He has not been in an angry physical altercation since the fourth grade, and even during those years was impeded by an unspoken "no-face" rule during fights. As a result, almost all schoolyard clashes consisted of one contestant wrestling the other to the ground while administering a headlock.
"There was some whaling on people's backs, but it was all pretty sloppy," he said."And besides, a punch isn't really a punch unless you hit a person, then immediately shake your hand because the impact was surprisingly painful. Right?"
The best-case scenario, which Hilland outlined at length, would include throwing the defining blow while defending his wife when "lots of people are watching." However, in order to carry the necessary psychological weight, the situation "has to happen organically," Hilland said.
"I'm just going to go on with my day-to-day routine and be patient," Hilland added, though sources at his workplace noted that lately he seems to be escalating verbal disputes rather than defusing them. "I would even settle for hitting someone in the stomach, but it would have to be one of those body shots where they fall to the ground after gasping for air for a few seconds."
"No, forget that," he continued. "It has to be to the face."