I don’t know that this story actually belongs in this series.  For one, it’s recent, two weeks ago.  Two, I wasn’t a jerk at all.  But there are some items here that I want to share.  I had my own sort of “Terry Dobson Moment.”  Anyways, I was at my favorite local place, Casbah.  It’s a hookah lounge and a restaurant.  This gentleman comes and sits at the bar, and he’s already irate about something.  I mean, this guy, he was just mad at the world or something.  He was swearing loudly, knocking over things, breaking stuff, the whole deal.  Really, they should have asked him to leave.  I think that the staff that was there was scared to ask him, because he was a big, angry guy.  Here I am, sitting two seats away from all of this.  I know that he’s not going to last much longer here in his current mood.  He’s for sure looking for someone to pick an argument with or something.  I decide that I have had enough of his rude behavior, because he was ruining my good time, and the good time of everyone else there.  So I stole a look at him so that I could somewhat assess him.  What I saw was scary.  The look in his eyes.  He looked like he was not just angry, but in a lot of pain.  I have seen that look before, in the mirror.  I immediately felt very sorry for the poor guy.  I didn’t know what his story was, but I’m sure it’s not a good one.  I knew what I had to do, and I acted fast, before things really got out of hand.

Me: (Extending my hand to him) I’m Autrelle.  What’s your name?

Him: (Defensive and suspicious, and not shaking my hand at all) Will.  What of it?

Me: It looks like you’re having a bad day.  Come with me next door, let me buy you a shot.

And that was it.  We went next door.  I bought two shots.  He warmed up a little bit, toasted with me and we had a shot together.  His eyes softened a little bit, and when we went back to Casbah, he was fine for the rest of the night.  I left before he did, and he stopped me, shook my hand, and we exchanged names again.  I think that the main ideas here are:

  • If possible, get all of the facts.  Who is this guy?  What is his problem?  What is the issue?
  • If possible use some empathy.  Can you see the situation from their side at all?  Does it make more sense from their perspective?

I think that in most cases like this, these two ideas must be considered before anything else.  It will give you a better idea of how to handle the situation tactically.  Ten years ago, I would have looked up and just told him the shut the f**k up, or else.  Then, I would have probably gotten into a fight with the guy, over nothing.  That was ten years ago.  I saw a little of “Ten years ago Autrelle” in this guy, and, ten years later, I knew a little better how to deal with it.



  1. Hookalova says:

    I loveeee a good ol
    hooka session w/ a bunch of friends!

  2. Alejandro Villanueva says:

    Thank you Autrelle for this post. Makes you wonder what you will do in this kind of situation…

  3. Branden says:

    Well played my friend. I remember the old Autrelle and how he would have handled this. I gotta say, this technique is probably one of your best yet. We could all stand to benefit from following those two bullet points.

  4. autrelle says:

    Reply to Branden:


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