Monday, March 24, 2014

Spending Time With My Fools

It's not really fair to call drinking a great Southern past time as it's pretty much been a relic of every culture in every country ever since mankind figured out how to ferment just about any organic substance. Hell, in Africa they tap the damn palm trees and make wine of out it. But in the South, I would argue we turn drinking into an art form. We, on the whole, are the least responsible with alcohol, and South Carolina remains one of the biggest drinking states per capita in the nation.

We Clemson fans and our in-state rival Gamecock fans likely have a little hand in those statistics. After all, when you order a Coke from the concession stand at a game (they now have payment plans so you can afford them), savvy soda pourmen know to leave a little off the top so the buyer can slip in a little bourbon. Or a lot of bourbon until your wife bans you from bringing a flask into games because your postgame behavior on the Atlanta MARTA was, shall we say, "poor".

As Hemingway said, "An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend times with his fools." I, however, enjoy surrounding myself with intelligent men who like to act like fools. And we plan to do our share of foolishness this weekend here.

Booze and the remnants of the Confederacy have always produced the best stories, and it is from those I worked a few details into my fiction writing. There is a light of truth in the old joke, "What's a redneck's last words? 'Here, hold my beer a sec.'" (Or sometimes just "Hey y'all, watch this!") Thus I share with you an adventure in Chicago that five Southern boys (one of them being yours truly) had a couple of years ago.

I'm not sure what led us to Streeter's Tavern, but it took us maybe an hour and three minutes to hit legendary status there. I would like to point out that two of our party were a former professional wrestler and a parole officer. I believe these to be somewhat important details. Streeter's had a beer pong table, although you had to use water due to Illinois health code standards. We ran it immediately, and we soon found ourselves surrounded by DePaul students fascinated with these rowdy Southern boys who had invaded their bourgeois abode. We sang boisterously and loudly to every song played, and we soon had the bartender pumping in country tunes.

A line formed at the beer pong table and people asked us if they could sign up to play. One member of our party made up a fake list and acted the role of the beer pong bouncer.

Needless to say, we shut the bar down at 4 a.m. (two hours later than South Carolina drinking times) and stumbled to the subway. There I snoozed all the way to the hotel, and when my comrades roused me at our stop, I discovered that my legs no longer worked and I collapsed to the ground.

I found the only words appropriate: "Help! My legs don't work!"

Those of you who have read Tallyo in the Squat might recognize a similar occurrence with Jimbo on the Atlanta MARTA. One of my buddies dragged me off the subway while the other absorbed the constant slamming of the subway doors against his sides so I could escape. A lone flight attendant witnessed the spectacle and hopefully had a story to tell as she departed across the country later that morning.

Perhaps my friends get drunk so they can spend time with me. Either way, those moments make the best stories.

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