My entire life, I've always loved some good old-fashioned horseplay, and I assumed everyone else felt the same. So you can imagine my surprise when, out of nowhere, right in the middle of my youngest son's baptism, my wife asks me to please stop putting everybody in headlocks because, as she claims, "No one enjoys it and no one ever did." Honestly, I had absolutely no idea. I always thought that everyone really liked my headlocks.
I've been sneaking up behind people, grabbing them by the neck, and placing their heads under my arms for as long as I can remember, and never in my wildest dreams did I think my headlocks were anything but a lighthearted display of friendship. Everyone seemed to love it when I burst into a party and put the host under my armpit. After all, who doesn't like being suddenly immobilized and made to look weak in front of their peers? But now I'm hearing that all that time I was sneaking up on my friends, family, and coworkers and waiting until they were in the middle of a sentence, and then putting the full weight of my bicep around their sensitive necks and spines, I was the only one having fun? Come on.
I just don't know what to believe anymore.
Just last weekend I went to my sister's wedding and put the groom in a headlock, and I'm absolutely certain everyone was having a blast. I was all, "You think I'm letting you take my little sister, bozo?" and he was like, "Ah, Jesus! My neck. Get the fuck off of me." I love that little back-and-forth, faux-rage game we play. It's like he's part of the family already. So excuse me if I find it hard to believe that my new brother-in-law is among this alleged "everyone" who hates my headlocks. You can't tell me some part of him didn't love totally losing control in front of everybody like that.
Maybe people would have a greater appreciation for my patented "Dan Deadbolts" if they knew how many years it took me to perfect the hold. I used to be slow—much slower physically. I'll never forget the time I gave my first Deadbolt back in seventh grade, my friend almost got away before it started! The idea was there, though, and these days, when I nestle someone's helpless face just-so between my forearm and shoulder, it's "Someone call the locksmith!" Because there's no way you're getting out.
Look, I'm not so set in my ways that I can't greet my good friends, potential dates, and important clients with anything other than an incredibly powerful headlock. The alternatives are endless: ball-flicking, or pinching, or pantsing, or ear-blowing. Hell, I'd even give out some zerberts if it meant keeping my best buds happy.
Part of me just can't believe that everyone dislikes my brain-crushers. Whenever I snap a tight lock on someone, and the guy's yelling and his arms are flailing and he's trying to get his legs behind mine to trip me—even though I never fall for that anymore—and everybody's watching me be really strong and dominating him, it's then that I think to myself, "Wow, everyone here's having a great time." But to think I've been wrong all along!
If people don't like my headlocks, I find myself wondering, well, what do they really think about my bear hugs, or my jokey half nelsons, or my Christmas Eve flat-foots, or the thing I do where I hit someone's beer bottle with mine and they get foam all over themselves? What about when I tripped my son the other day? Jesus Christ, what about the time everyone said they liked my Rice Krispie treats? What the hell is wrong with my Rice Krispie treats?
Everything, absolutely everything has been tainted by this.
I pray that my wife has been mistaken. You know, there's a good chance people are saying they don't like my headlock, but they mean something different. Happens all the time. People whine and complain when it's happening, but they are just trying to trick you into letting them go so they can headlock you back. It's probably best not to make any rash decisions before we're absolutely sure people haven't been enjoying my headlocks the past 20 years.
You know, I think it would be best for everyone if I just go ahead and pretended this conversation never happened.