Vital Signs

Is This America, or What?

A Defense of Dwarf-Tossing

We don't weigh much: maybe 40, 50 pounds. We're light compared to you. And that's how it all got started. Some big guy got mad at Joey LaRoy down at MacNab's Bar and Grill. He picked him up—to shake him, that's all; but Joey bit him on the nose, and the guy threw him clear across the room— the way you would a cat. Joey bounced off the wall, which was 20 feet away, on the opposite side of two tables (fortunately unoccupied at the time). He got up and shook himself and started back for more. But another big mick named O'Malley grabbed him, yelled out, "Here ya go, Paddy," and threw him back toward the bar; right away everybody's grabbing us dwarfs and throwing us around. Considering that MacNab's is a favorite hangout of ours, it's actually amazing this never happened before.

It didn't last long. Maybe five minutes. MaeNab brought it to a halt by setting everybody up with free beers, but it couldn't have lasted much longer anyway. Even stevedores can't throw us around forever. The thing is, we all were just having a good time, all but Joey. And so we knew, right away, that we were on to something big. And we were. The whole dwarf-throwing thing started that night at MacNab's Bar and Grill on Water Street: May 8, 1987. Three years it lasted, a little more. Most of us got rich.

First thing we did was join the Teamsters. That was my work. I was the rep....

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