I promise to refrain from using the word “fisticuffs” anywhere in this post. It is without a doubt the most overused word of the week.
In what has become a national news story, two fools got into a knock-down drag-down fistfight in the balcony of Symphony Hall last night during the Pops' opening night concert. Both men were promptly escorted out to Mass Ave, one with his Oxford cloth shirt all bunched up around his neck.
Today, the city is in collective shock: This is the balcony at Symphony Hall, not the bleachers at Fenway. Aren’t the patrons of the Boston Pops supposed to be more cultured and dignified? The answer is "No." The BSO, maybe, but the Pops' crowd, in my experience, has always had its clusters of Grey Goose-swilling rowdies (present company sometimes included)
That said, I’m not at all astonished by this scene; I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
Growing up, my family would attend the Pops’ Christmas Extravaganza every year. One year, my father nearly got in the face of some drunks who were sitting behind us, speaking loudly, drowning out the Christmas medley with F bombs. During "O Little Town of Bethlehem," he stood up in the balcony and yelled “Knock it off!” My mother, horrified, whispered, “Great. You’re probably going to get jumped on the way out of here now.” See? Even 20 years ago you had to worry about getting “jumped” at the Pops.
Another year, we were shuffling our way to our seats and a skirmish broke out between two elderly gentlemen (both wasted). They were unceremoniously booted before the house lights went down. Their wives stayed, however. Apparently the two men were lifelong friends.
Still another year, an aggressive homeless person was ejected after sneaking into the lobby.
I’m sure the Fourth of July concert on the Esplanade has had its share of disorderlies over the years as well.
So why are we so appalled by this latest clash of the idiots?