Read Part 1.
The human body is an amazing structure. You can stay out all night, throwing whatever substances you can find down your throat, hit the sack somewhere between 3:30 and 5 a.m., yet still manage to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Clockwork. So there I lied, naked and alone (thank God), wondering whether I lost a fight or fell out of a moving vehicle the night before.
I looked over to the other bed to see how my partner in debauchery was faring, but of course, he wasn’t there. “This should end well,” I thought to myself as I struggled to find a place on my pillow that wasn’t covered in my (her?) drool. I stood up and lumbered over to the other end of the bed where my boxers rested. If Joe was dead or kidnapped, it would totally ruin our weekend, so I needed to find him fast. I walked over to the side of his bed thinking he had rolled off into that little space between the wall and bed. Nope. “Come on, Joe,” I thought as I struggled to function as a human being.
I stumbled into the bathroom to clear out whatever miscellaneous substances were harbored in my tube. About midway through the stream, I heard a groan. Joe! Joe was alive, not well, and completely nude in the bathtub like a damn invalid. I flushed the toilet and reached into the shower and turned the cold water on. Seemed like the right thing to do. Joe didn’t think it was funny, but sometimes you have to just go with your gut.
The group assembled in the lobby for a 10 a.m. brunch. Everyone looked like dick, but that was to be expected. Our destination was a nice little spot downtown where we could watch Gameday and hammer greyhounds until it was time to lay siege to the tailgate. When we arrived, the cute little pseudo-hipster girl tried her best not to laugh in our faces. It didn’t bother me. You don’t just roll eight dudes deep to brunch with balding combovers and almost-matching Peter Millar button downs and not expect to steal the spotlight. The stage was set for us to be the most despised group of guys in town.
It didn’t take long. From the moment we sat down, we put out the vibe like we owned the place. We obnoxiously swapped stories from the night before despite the fact that there were multiple families with young children nearby. Nobody could remember how we all split up, but Joe and I definitely won the award for Friday night. Well deserved, in my opinion. We flirted with the waitress, dropping every pathetic conversation starter in the book — “You go to school here?”, “You going to the game?”, “What’s your plan tonight?” Is it still flirting if she hates you and everything you stand for? At least I tipped well.
That’s right. I tipped well. Not we. When she brought the check, the need for the group to give in to the collective urge to be degenerates overcame fiscal responsibility. I don’t remember who suggested credit card roulette, but that SOB has it coming to him. As the waitress dropped her hand into the Mike’s Patagonia hat, I could feel it coming. All those times I laughed in the face of a CC Roulette loser had put me on the wrong side of karma. And then she pulled it. I’m not exaggerating when I say the entire restaurant stopped stuffing their stupid faces full of Huevos Rancheros to laugh at my financial downfall. That’s part of the game, though. $358 later, and I didn’t even get to try the deviled eggs.
With our bellies dangerously full of booze, egg-based brunch foods, and Zantac, we made our way to the stadium. Operating at what I imagine was about 85 percent, I knew that I was dangerously close to reaching the point of no return. As I’d soon find out, I wasn’t the only one.
Our first stop was the Alumni Association tent. Never mind the fact that only one of us was a current member, we were there for the drinks and the brisket. Yeah, a few guys wanted to shake some hands and look like they were interested in the University still, but it was total bullshit. This was just a primer before we reverted to our true status as the boozed up codgers taking swings at every piece of undergrad ass that walked by.
There’s a switch inside every mid-twenties dude’s mind that flips on as soon as he steps foot at a tailgate. It doesn’t matter how late he stayed up, or how poor his decisions were the night before, because once he throws his shades on and gets a glimpse of the stadium, he’s back in the game. If a deal needs to be closed, he’ll close it. If there’s tension in the air, he’ll defuse it. If there’s a group of 19-year-olds in cut off denim shorts, he’ll approach them like he’s goddamn Freddy Couples.
Naturally, we wandered over to the old fraternity tailgate row because 1) We wanted to drink their beer; and 2) We wanted to talk to their women. I’m not ashamed to say it. We used to hate the old alumns who used to troll our tailgate for women and beer, and now we were those guys. Funny world we live in. So there we were, standing with the confidence of horse-mounted Dothraki warriors approaching an elderly fishing village. Our nearly identical driving loafers were a dead giveaway that we were outsiders. That, and our hairlines.
As was custom, we were greeted by the well-meaning young men we’d thrown down with the prior evening, which triggered flashbacks, anxiety, and thoughts of, “Oh, fuck. Did I offer this kid a job?” They offered us beers, asked about how are nights ended up, and even invited us to the house for the postgame party. We all knew we’d end up there, but we had to act non-committal. It was all fun and games, for the moment.
From behind the tailgate tent, I noticed a slight commotion unfolding. There stood a standard looking college slacker with a patchy beard and a backward rope hat gesturing wildly at an attractive looking blonde in a dress. “Awkward,” I thought to myself. As I reached in one of the many YETI coolers for another beer, their attention turned toward me. Were they really about to give me shit for getting a beer, I wondered. As I nonchalantly cracked it open, daring one of them to call me out, the young blonde girl shook her head and mouthed something to me. Then it hit me.
This was her. This was the drug-toting wildling that came out of nowhere last night to end my two-month slump, and that guy was her boyfriend. .
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