By: Ben Johnson
I have a friend who was very recently besieged by ravenous wild hell pigs. I’ll call the friend “Lexie,” because that is her name, and the hell pigs were a couple of improperly socialized and therefore quite rude American Bulldogs which had somehow gotten off-leash in our Baltimore neighborhood. Apparently they ran up to her while she was in the middle of a very unassuming regular walk down the block, barking and snarling and generally being very uncool indeed.
If you’re not familiar with the breed, the American Bulldog is one of those that qualifies as a potentially fatal attacker if its owner does not take special care to avoid raising a horrifying weaponized giant muscle with teeth. It is a fight-or-flight response dog in any case where it’s unrestrained and not making clear dopey “hey I like you and I want to be your friend” moves.
Lexie reverted to Discover Channel wild bear survival techniques such as screaming and acting like a crazy person and basically shitting herself, which confused the hell pigs sufficiently for her to escape unscathed. I’m not sure I can or should recommend Lexie’s wholly unplanned actions in the case of other potential maulings. Lexie’s initial “please be aware” post on Facebook is currently devolving into a very long, point-missing, and, to be honest, boring discussion about industry standard hell pig defense techniques. My plan is to get on the roof of the nearest car, but I don’t know, and I’d prefer continuing not to know, if that would be practical or effective. I think the simple truth of life is that sometimes people just get torn to shreds by deranged space beasts, and I’m glad that hasn’t happened to me and didn’t happen to Lexie.
Since this incident, Lexie has been obsessed with baseball bats. I’m not going to tell her not to be obsessed with baseball bats. That’s not my job. She got run up on by terrifying ghost hounds, she experienced that, and the emotional fallout is her burden to deal with as she sees fit. My job is to be the friend she knows who might perhaps best be equipped to assist in the purchase of baseball bats and in refining their theoretical optimum fear-deadening utilization. She runs with a very arty crowd, not many of whom will drive her to Play It Again Sports and then review various methods of hypothetical retributive dogsmashing justice in the parking lot.
For my money, you’d probably want to choke up about a third of the way from the base of the handle. Grip that sucker one-handed, so as to still have one good hand available if the primary one gets eaten. You’ll want, I’m guessing, to use several short back and forth downstrokes, while backing away in a fencing-like motion. Think of the bat as a downward-facing windshield wiper for keeping dogs off your legs. You’re not looking to square up a kill shot to the skull with a wide, majestically looping follow-through that’s going to leave you vulnerable if and when you miss. That’s the deadly sin of pride, friend, and it’s what causes people, and again I’m just spitballing here, to die of beast attacks while holding a baseball bat like they’re Gary Sheffield instead of somebody who knows and accepts their limitations. No, seriously, go ahead and look like a goon, and by all means sacrifice power in favor of making contact. The goal is to discourage by making the attacking beast think “ouch, wait, maybe this sucks” as the result of lunging after any random pedestrian who happens to currently be holding a Louisville Slugger.
I am of course not qualified to invent an anti-dog baseball bat maneuver, not by any direct application of experience nor by any theoretical mastery of the involved concepts. I’m just a guy who thought about this particular problem good and hard, and earnestly pretended, while holding a baseball bat, to be attacked by nonexistent dogs in a mini-mall parking lot for a solid twelve minutes. I did this not to come up with a perfect, repeatable solution to a life-threatening problem. I did this because Lexie, who is a cherished friend of mine, had a run-in with a pair of less than welcoming local demon pigs, and this caused her to want a bat, and because I like to think of myself as a good friend I am ready to participate in her healing process to the extent that it involves laughing until she can’t breathe at my taking idiotic dog-fighting test swings behind the Dunkin’ Donuts on Belair Road in Nottingham.
If you are some kind of an expert in fending off ghastly attack monsters with sports equipment, do me a favor: shut up. This isn’t about you. You can’t expect every little random person who happens to have stumbled on an interest in your chosen field to be seriously interested in your opinion. We’re dealing with very particular abstract theory, and very particular emotional responses, and very particular holy shit I thought those dogs were gonna kill mes. They do not apply to you. They do not apply to anybody, really, except to me and to Lexie and to the nonexistent dogs in the parking lot who totally just got their asses kicked. You know who you are.