David Rhoden

I got in a fight outside Pizza Caesar and spent the night in the hospital.

. Day .

I was out an a Friday night with money to spend, and I had bought an album, The Doors' Waiting For The Sun. I went to Pizza Caesar, probably walking from the mall to the Brainerd Village Shopping Center to get something to eat or maybe just see if anybody I knew was there or just to play pinball.

While I was there, standing outside on the sidewalk, certainly wishing for a beer, a big guy stepped out the door and said something like: This place sucks. This place is for those McCallie (somethings. Most likely "fags".) I guessed he went to Baylor, or maybe he had a jacket or something so I knew he went there.

Pizza Caesar ad, from a Central High School (Chattanooga) newspaper found online.

I don't know why but I had to say something. My dad always told me to stand up to bullies. It hadn't come up too often but this seemed like such an occasion. So I said, "Well, at least we didn't lose the football game thirty three to nothing."

The guy asked me to repeat what I had said, and I did. He pushed me in the chest, and after taking the time to set my record down, I shoved back. Then he punched me hard, a left to the jaw. I didn't feel my left jaw hinge snap off but it did. I ran back into Pizza Caeasar, becoming aware I was somwewhat injured, and sat at the table of a young couple who were enjoying a pizza in front of the big projection TV. They got up and moved to another table.

I remember some guy who said he was a doctor palpated my jaw and said it wasn't broken. I don't know who he was. Then Bev showed up with her friend Julie Johnston, and I believe Julie's mom drove us (me and Bev and Julie) to the hospital. My parents showed up shortly. I remember a lot of this, but none of it that clearly. It wasn't obvious that I should stay overnight but in the end I did. I think I was emotionally hard to control.

This was a hard event to assign to a date. But I remember waking up in the hospital the next morning, feeling guilty because I had cost my parents a bunch of money, and because I was just in a dumb fist fight, but I saw on the morning news that a lot of soldiers were killed in Beirut by a suicide bomber.

1984 United States embassy annex bombing in Beirut

1984 United States embassy annex bombing in Beirut

By Nancy Wong - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0