Posts Tagged ‘lots of alcohol hopefully’

bumper 2 bumper.

31 January 2011

it’s always exciting when, after over twenty years of living in the southern united states, i discover a new manifestation of that area’s culture. this past weekend i learned that adults race matchbox cars for cash prizes. i was not able to find anything about this league, even though it was founded some ten years ago, on the internet. this fact boggles my mind, though maybe it’s due to another aspect of southern culture: for example, no room for cable modems inside the trailer park. anyway, i’m again charged with the duty of explaining our entertainment choices to the rest of the world.

the event begins with participants throwing dice in order to get their car’s position in qualifying. then the cars are moved to a track painted on plywood and take turns throwing the dice again, one when they are in pit row (you were forced to make a pit stop once a race) and two at other times. after four laps, they write down the top five finishers because points are awarded throughout the season. there are races at least four times a week: fridays and mondays at bars, wednesdays and sundays at people’s houses. cars can blow up if their driver rolls snake eyes and then rolls a six or an eight (i saw it happen twice).

you may be inclined to think that the game is all luck but there is strategy involved as sometimes people have to decide if they want to simply follow another’s lead and draft behind them or roll the dice themselves and hope for a better result. at other times, you have to choose in which of the three lanes to place your car. this seemed like a really important decision to the veteran drivers, much less for us rookies, who nodded our heads saying, yeah, there, there, okay, there then, that’s fine, whatever, whenever the choice was ours.

still, it was really amusing when a woman straight out of winter’s bone pushed by me, looked for her husband, then stopped, muttering, i’m not going to bother him when he’s racing, as if the man with tattooed script across his neck was behind the wheel of a vehicle nearing two hundred miles per hour while jimmie johnson tailgated.

at the grave’s portals.

26 January 2009

for years, friday has been date night for my parents. each week they go to dinner and see a movie or attend a concert. this past friday, a nurse brought flowers into my mom’s room in acknowledgement of the ritual.

this morning i returned home for a few hours of sleep because the recliner at beacon place doesn’t encourage restful nights, my dad relieving me at my mom’s side as he has for each of the last sixteen mornings. after tucking myself in, i received a phone call asking me to return. he told me not to speed.

it had been less than an hour since i’d seen her but things had changed drastically. she was the color of untrodden snow, of milk, of ghosts. she died within five minutes of my arrival, at twelve sixteen, with the three of us holding her. after waiting for over a minute until her next breath, someone said, i think… and someone else didn’t let that sentence run to completion, interrupting, yeah. someone said, what do we do now? wondering if we need to contact a nurse, but also meaning, how do we continue living after this?

look, i don’t want to think about the present or talk about the future, so i’m going to go back to december, to a hospital room where i was looking up songs with my mother’s name in them. the problem is the majority portray her namesake as being bibulous and/or loose. i explained this to her and, as a sort of apology, added, love hurts. i then looked up the words to the nazareth song.

after finding them, prepared to sing, i lifted my head from the screen. she was already mouthing the lyrics and gesturing, fist pumping.

do they know it’s chronnukah?

30 December 2008

my sister held her second annual chronnukah (a combination of christmas and hannukah, though you wouldn’t be wrong if you guessed chronic also factored into the naming). all involved acknowledged the first event would be hard to follow, if only because a bartender cut off part of his thumb slicing a lime and we had no volunteers eager to repeat. nonetheless we made a concerted effort at entering the record books.

luckily, my sister was in championship form, spending much of the day making penguin cupcakes from a book i gave her for christmas. the only downfall of her prestigious gifts is that people would rather stare at her baked creations in amazement than eat them (you’ll notice in the picture, and this was increasingly true as the night progressed, drunk people love stealing yellow starburst beaks off of penguins).

as evidence of the strength of our sibling bond, in turn i used a gift that she had gotten me for christmas, namely, an alcohol infuser, making this perhaps the first party ever where someone went on a fruit run. after reading the instructions on the box, nothing was safe from infusion. i began with crushed pineapples and vodka. next i tried tomato, basil, and oregano flavored vodka. arriving revelers had to answer one question — are you allergic to tomatoes? — before they were handed a shot. some hated it, some said it tasted like a meatball sub or slice of pizza, a few became acolytes, finishing what others refused. later we made infused tequilas, among the variations, lime/mint and tangerine/cinnamon (refried beans were continuously vetoed as an option). i felt unstoppable, like a king, perhaps, dispensing libations to his gathered subjects, and told everyone that i had infused a pregnant lady in attendance with a baby, in an act of benevolence. that joke must have been much funnier then because i repeated it numerous times, and now i just have the urge to erase that sentence.

outside, near a fledgling fire, we played an incomprehensible game called werewolf. according to the leader, he would select two people to assume the guise of the title creature. then, once night fell on the village, the werewolves would choose someone to attack and tear apart with lupine savagery. upon daybreak, after being apprised of the mauling victim of the night before, the surviving villagers voted on whom amongst them was immersed in the lycanthropic arts; that person was subsequently lynched. later, a seer, a character who was permitted to view all the events with open eyes, was introduced. the werewolves focused their yellow ochre eyes, while the villagers sought the help of this omniscient being. in a likely example of art imitating life, i was the first to die, my supple flesh no match for claws and canines.

we began talking about werewolf movies. i started feeling left out of the discussion, so i made up my own, the ambivalent werewolf, about a guy who wasn’t sure if he wanted to kill. sure, he enjoyed the improved eyesight, the celerity, even the excessive hairiness to an extent, but he didn’t want to hurt anyone. he even felt remorse when he, at starvation’s brink, stole chicken eggs from a neighboring farm. one person hung on every word i said, believing all of them to be true, so i invented more details and surreptitiously glanced around the room to determine how it was possible that i possessed so much power. it was an art-school film, shot in black and white, very grainy; sometimes, for twenty seconds or so, the screen would be blank, saturated with pitch. i was using these terms to dissaude him from renting it. i described make-believe scenes for close to half an hour, realizing that while some people can take a box of mini doughnuts, black food coloring, and a few marshmallows and turn them into a cute little animal, i can string together some words, deliver them with a straight face, and capture someone’s attention.

when i returned back with eight copies of lyrics for billy joel’s we didn’t start the fire, i discovered that i’m also pretty good at inciting people. someone wisely suggested that we sing by a bedroom where people were sleeping, and all agreed to take part in the serenading. the song began hesitantly, as we tripped over unfamiliar references to prokofiev and dien bien phu falls, but we gained confidence quickly, feeding off of the group’s collected enthusiasm, so phrases like trouble in the suez echoed down the hallway. don’t even get me started on belgians in the congo, but the rumor is gorillas in virunga national park were heard joining our choral group.

the jewish contingent, lead by the master of the convoluted game (that’s trademarked, so hands off, parker brothers), encouraged us to play a drinking game involving a spinning dreidel. a hebrew letter decided whether you drank, forced all to drink, poured a drink into a communal glass, or drank from that glass. the last option, watching others drink a mixture of beer, wine, and liquor, was the only one with entertainment value.

a trio of guests arrived at six am, so we woke my sister, asleep on her bed and fully clothed down to her shoes, with a knife and pen beside her, to tell her she was being a bad host. the first drowsy words out of her mouth were, sure, i’ll take a shot with you.

she got the last infused drink, vodka mixed with penguin parts — their yellow starburst beaks, marshmallow stomachs — and limes. the dishwater color and the awful taste were improved considerably by the addition of pomegranate juice. she drank every drop, as if relishing life.

my sister is my chaperone.

3 September 2008

for most of the last month my sister has been trying to set me up with one of her friends, and, in turn, trying to set up one of her friends with me. we exchanged a few text messages that first day we became aware of each other’s existences and we’ve since added each other on myspace, but tonight we finally meet with, in an awkward but not unwelcome twist, my sister as chaperone.

via text message my sister insisted that we should go out because i’d make a good wingman. i told her straight out that i play second fiddle to no one but i would of course let all the attractive boys know that i am her brother and i will not interfere in their dalliances. she, for her part, told me that she would let all the attractive girls know that i’m not gay. although i do appreciate her watching out for me in that respect since it is a constant problem, i let her know that i’d be fine. after all, the girls would be aware of which way i lean, even if by lean i mean an almost imperceptibly slight shift to one side, when i was removing their panties later.

fast forward to tonight then when i meet a girl who previously has known of my family only through my sister. my sister has urged me to wear a shirt with a skull on it. when i pressed further as to why, she explained that her friend’s former boyfriend was a tattoo artist, then she changed her mind, perhaps realizing why this other guy was former, saying that i should just be myself.

at any rate, i’m going to let my parents know not to bother waking me up in the morning if there’s a bra hanging on the doorknob.


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