Not only was Jirayr a talented artist but he was someone who had a lot of adventures and lived life in a fearless manner. He took umbrage that artists were stereotyped as passive, powerless people. Jirayr was Connecticut state wrestling champion in high school and liked to tell stories about his wrestling career. He was 5’-3” tall and people often underestimated him and thought they could push him around. This was always a big mistake on their part.
As such he had a lot of stories he used to tell.
Here are a few random stories that I will relate to the best of my recollection.
Once Jirayr was out at a bar in Pasadena (not an uncommon occurrence). I think this happened around 1955 when he was between marriages.
There had recently been an incident of police brutality in the news. As such, Jirayr made a comment to an acquaintance at the bar to the affect that he thought it to be outrageous that a cop should beat up on an innocent person. He felt a tap on his sholder and turned around to find a large, somewhat inebriated, menacing individual looming over him. “Listen” the man slurred, “ I happen to be a police officer and I don’t like what you just said!” “Well,” replied Jirayr with a smile, “I don’t give two cents that you don’t like what I just said”
Wham!!!! The menacing guy manifested his menace and punched Jirayr in the mouth as hard as he could. Jirayr stepped back rubbing the blood off his lips.
A row of people sitting at the bar, sat watching. Jirayr inquired of the first person at the bar if he had seen what the large man had just done and receiving an affirmative answer repeated the question to all the people at the bar. They all acknowledged having just watched the large man punch Jirayr in the mouth, Jirayr then went over to the man and grabbed him by his hair and slammed his face down onto his knee. (He was doing the flying knee many years before it became popular in MMA) Jirayr then picked the man up over his shoulders in a fireman’s carry position and spun him around such that he became dizzy and slammed him to the floor. He immediately jumped on the man’s back, grabbed his hair and slammed his face into the floor 4 or 5 times.
The man’s friends took him to the restroom and cleaned him up. When the man was carried out of the restroom, he swore revenge and that he would be coming to get Jirayr with some of his police friends.
The next day one of Jirayr’s neighbors called to tell Jirayr that there were three police officers waiting at the bottom of the road to the ranch. The road to the ranch is about a half mile long. Jirayr decided it was not the wisest decision to go down the road. The neighbor kept him informed that the police officers stayed all day and weren’t moving. Jirayr stayed put at the ranch all day. Apparently the police stayed at the bottom of his driveway for three days watching the driveway and for three days Jirayr stayed on his property not wanting to go down and confront the police.
Finally they came roaring up the driveway on the third day. Jirayr decided to walk out of his studio and face them, expecting to be arrested. One of the police officer’s addressed him. “Are you Jirayr Zorthian?” “Yes.” he replied. “Were you involved in an altercation with police officer John Martin 4 days ago?” “Well, yes.” He replied. The officer extended his hand. “We just came up to apologize for what happened. He has been a problem for awhile now and has been involved in many incidents and we wanted to do what we can to make this incident go away.”
Jirayr was of course willing to let bygones be bygones and invited the officers in to see the artwork he was working on and even got them to have a beer with him, which they were not supposed to do while they were on duty.