Oh, it’s so easy for you. You just sit there in your high perch thingy and make fun of us – the tough guys of the game – as if you even know what it feels like to do our job.
I’m one of the many unnamed (I guess you call it “anonymous”) “tough guys” in the NHL and my job is tough because I have to be tough all the time. It’s a really tough job.
Yeah, you just sit there in your office and bend paper clips and stuff for a living. What would you know about being tough?
When the coach taps me on the shoulder and tells me I need to take care of business, most times it means I have to punch, smack or spear somebody (OK, once it meant I had a runny nose and it was grossing out the trainer, but that was just once). And most times it’s an opponent I have to hit.
I don’t live in the same world you do. My decisions have to be made in an instant. I don’t have time to consider feelings, laws or human decency. If a guy needs to have his calf mangled or to be bolo punched from behind, I’m the guy who has to do it.
And do you know why they call me? Because I just do it. I don’t think about it. I just react, like a cheetah or something chasing a cheetah.
Sure it would be nice to score four goals a year like some of the stars of the game, but that’s not me.
I have to do what I’m told. And when I’m not told something I have to decide on my own – like a dog – what’s right and wrong out there. If I cross-check a guy in the face it’s because he had it coming. If I cross-check the guy a second time, it means I probably missed the first time.
I deliver messages out there. I’m like a mailman who gets to punch people.
And, sure I have feelings too. When I hit a guy in the neck with my stick, I don’t mean to hurt him. Well OK, I meant to hurt him at the time, but afterwards I feel bad about it.
And I really feel bad after I see the videotape and hear the people all talking about me and after I hear they want to suspend me for 40 games and how the lawyers say I will lose 200 grand in wages and probably have to sell my cottage and boat if I don’t show remorse.
And I do my apology thing because I didn’t know a stick blade in a guy’s eye could do that kind of damage and I feel bad that he’s sitting in the hospital and, yeah, because I love that boat. There, I said it.
But you wouldn’t get that. You’re not like me.
I heard a guy say once that you shouldn’t judge another guy until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Well, if you ever have that chance to walk in my shoes you might know what it feels like to be me.
You will feel a pain in your heart and a pain in your head. The pain in your heart will be the sympathy you feel for me because of the job I have to do. And the pain in your head will be from me punching you in the face.
I don’t it like when guys steal my shoes.
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.