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Conversations at a college football tailgate are never incredibly serious or full of substance. No one is discussing anything that could be considered controversial or enlightening in any way. Unless you’re arguing with an opposing teams fans or getting into a spirited debate about which one of your freshman quarterbacks has better throwing mechanics, there isn’t a whole lot that people are getting riled up about. A tailgate is a time to let your hair down. A time to go back to your most basic. There are only two certainties when you’re tailgating for a college football game. 1. You’re going to get drunk; and 2. You’re going to have to use the bathroom.
Where you choose to pee while tailgating says a lot more about you than you think. Me personally? I grew up watching adults get unreasonably drunk next to large football stadiums. They’d have a few too many and then decide that waiting in an impossibly long line for a port-a-potty was for the birds. I’ve seen too many people get arrested and/or ticketed for peeing in bushes. I’ve always been too big of a pansy to do it. I’ll wait in line for a port-a-potty because I like a little privacy but more so because I’m inherently afraid of getting in trouble.
So last Sunday, I was on my fifth or sixth Natural Light of the day when my bladder finally said it was time. I had been holding in a pee for upwards of twenty minutes, and my internal pipes had had enough already. So I walked the couple hundred feet to the nearest line of port-a-potties and got in a queue that would rival the ones we saw in cities all over the U.S. for Pablo pop-up shops. Unfortunately for me and you, two twenty-something girls in sun dresses and cowboy boots got in line directly behind me. What they were talking about in line was important, because it speaks to a larger, more confusing question that I’ve thought about frequently: why do we care about the things that we care about? Why aren’t we all just nihilists? I know for me, being a nihilist would be ideal. Girls, Lions football, whether or not my outfit for the day is fire – I wouldn’t care about any of that stupid shit because a nihilist believes that life is meaningless. But I have to imagine that being a nihilist would be exhausting.
It is no secret that women care about stupid shit. But so do men. You want to turn the judgmental microscope onto me or any other male on this planet and you can absolutely say the same thing. Sports, at their core, are fucking stupid. Why do I care so much? There isn’t really a good answer for that. I shouldn’t get so worked up about my teams losing games. It’s pointless, but that’s what I like to do in my free time, and I don’t know how to change that so I’m not going to. I had a girl come up to me and two of my friends last weekend while we were arguing Michigan-Michigan State. She was trying to ask one of my buddies what time they were planning on going to the bar, but in his frenzied state he didn’t really understand or care what she was talking about. She walked off in a huff about a minute later, and I could hear her say, “God, I fucking hate sports” under her breath.
And then this happened. So I’m standing in a line to go pee that is looking like it could take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to get to the front of, and my only entertainment is these two drunk girls who are commiserating about their pre-game which had either just ended or was wrapping up. My phone wasn’t getting any service so scrolling the usual Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat was out of the question.
“Okay, those two girls who said they knew Ben? They didn’t bring any alcohol. Remember how they just walked into our kitchen, grabbed two slices of lime and then took a shot of our tequila with him [Ben]?”
“Oh my god, I know. Alcohol isn’t free. Like, I know we had a ton of people over but it’s so ridiculous. I can’t afford to just be giving out free limes to people who I don’t know. And seriously, fuck Ben. He’s all over you and then the second ‘his friends’ show up to our apartment it’s like you don’t exist.”
“Well, what are we doing after the game? Ben was super annoying today but I still want to hang out with him later.”
“I don’t know, but seriously why won’t our phones work?”
The vitriol. The hatred. The jumping from topic to topic like two strung out crackheads. The real anger I could hear in these two girls was astonishing. And it went on like this for the duration of my wait to get inside a port-a-potty. I’ll spare you the super gritty details because honestly I can’t bear to look at the notes I took again. It’s a painfully stupid, banal conversation. It took all of my power to not turn around and say something like “What are we really talking about here? I’d very much like to know what the answer is.”
I couldn’t figure it out. And I was never so happy to step into a hot port-a-potty filled to the brim with vomit, feces, and urine as I was last Sunday. Was it the limes? Because last I checked, limes hover around a dollar a piece. And if you’re throwing a pre-game, you have to expect that your booze is going to get drunk. That’s just par for the course. You shouldn’t have thrown the party if you weren’t willing to accept that. As for Ben? Well, maybe Ben really was just talking to his friends. Or maybe that girl who showed up really was being aloof. And in that case, I think the best thing for the two of them to do would be to drop it. What’s the point in stressing over something so minuscule? Oh, wait. My favorite team nearly lost to an FCS school on Friday night, and I was ready to blow a gasket. What’s the point in stressing over that?
Men and women. Both human. Both incredibly stupid and petulant when they want to be. .
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