Tuesday, May 15, 2007

By The Light Of A Neon Moon

I have, on occasion, been known to drink alcohol.

This has, on occasion, resulted in grave risk of bodily harm.

This risk of bodily harm has been known to manifest itself either internally (in the form of cirrhosis of the liver) or externally (in the form of abrupt contact with bar tables, pool cues and/or bodies of water).

On a few notable occasions the integrity of my physical being has come into serious question at the behest of my closest friends.

The bachelor party thrown for my close friend C-Murdah was one such occasion.

This is C-Murdah...

A Preface:

As you are probably aware, the American bachelor party traditionally involves activities beyond the typical soiree. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, visiting a strip club or hiring a female stripper and/or escort. Pre-operation transsexuals are also for hire... err, so I'm told. In some cases, the activities may resemble hazing at the future groom's expense. The purpose of such behavior is to mark the passage from "adolescent bachelorhood" to "responsible marital life" with one last gasp of free air.

There is an interesting dynamic within the circle of friends I maintain from my days at Abilene Christian University. While we have been known to enjoy the effects of alcohol, we are not given to complete debauchery. This is due in large part to the fact that, in the past 4 and a half years, virtually every member of the circle has married far above himself. As such, our bachelor parties typically do not include activities that clearly jeopardize our friend's spousal windfall.

There is of course, one member of the association who does not have the Sword of Damocles precariously hanging over marital ties. Allow me to introduce you to the Lone Ranger:

(Feel free to insert your own "Tonto" joke here______________... Assholes.)

Given the collective desire of my closest friends to remain married to wonderful women with whom they have no business being wed, the role of "Bachelor-by-Proxy" has, on occasion, fallen upon my shoulders.

I can honestly say that I have not sought this role.

Conversely, I cannot honestly say that I have refused this role.

I will say however, that any acceptance of this role has been made not by me but by my drunken alter-ego known to my closest friends as "Damien BeWellsabub".

An Explanation:

My personality consists of several strong traits… "comprehensive thought", "desire for culture", "stubbornness"… as well as "compulsivity". "Compulsivity" can be useful in areas such as creative and janitorial arts. But you see, when mixed with large quantities of alcohol, my compulsive tendencies do not tend to be creative in the artistic sense.

Rather, that concoction tends to result in the playful punching of others, the jocular throwing of objects into unsuspecting crowds, the cheerful engagement in limb-threatening behavior and other generally destructive and socially unacceptable merriment.

These behaviors are clear indicators that Damien is present and should most certainly be accounted for. Over the years, it seems as though my friends have learned how to harness Damien's disruptive force and bridle him for their own amusement.

August 5, 2006 marked the confluence of begrudgingly mature husbands giving a responsible friend a bachelor party and my ingestion of not only my fair share of alcohol but the fare shares of 12 other individuals.

There were 8 of us.

3 came from Dallas.

Foster from Midland, TX

Pow-wow from Branson, MO

Me from Durant, OK

and C-Murdah from Boulder, CO

Never one to bore himself, Murdah decided not to fly the 1,100 miles from northern Colorado to central Texas. Murdah thought it would be prudent to drive the 1,100 miles... on his motorcycle... while taking a wholly unnecessary, but no doubt scenic, detour through southern New Mexico...

And just in case you were wondering...


Equals this...

Yeah, he's probably the only person on the planet to own a $270,000 house and a BMW touring motorcycle as his 3rd form of transportation but consistently refuse to pay for a hotel room unless absolutely necessary... and that's one of the reasons we love him.

Grrr is the anal-retentive one of the group and was naturally responsible for the planning.

This is Grrr...

But then again, so is this...

Grrr tried his best to guide the rest of us into making sound plans but we are an incorrigible lot when anticipating getting to see each other again.


Grrr: "We're contemplating the pros and cons of a houseboat bachelor party."

C-Murdah: "Pro: Peeing off the deck. Con: Drowning."

Foster: "But still - peeing outside is AWESOME."

Grrr decided he did not want to be the tenant-of-record for accomodations that could potentially lead to the death of one or more of his closest friends. Wisely, he rented a riverside house for the weekend. Nothing grand, just a simple 2 bedroom rental in various stages of disrepair... existing solely for the purposes of housing drunken river lovers and their beer.

In it was bedding for 8, a refrigerator, a bathroom and a broken DVD player that would not play the porn we did not bring. Outside there was a grill, ample lawn furniture and… with my hand to God… a billboard.

(Front Left to Right: Trav, Pow-wow, Greyhound, Grrr. Back Left to Right: Foster, Me, Tobias, C-Murdah)

Actually, technically, what we had in our backyard is known in the advertising industry as a "bulletin"… defined as such by its measurements of 14 feet high by 48 feet wide standing atop pedestal of at least 4 storeys (48 feet).

Please note, when I say "in the back yard" I do not mean to say "just outside the fence but still closer than I've ever been to a friggin' billboard" or "just across the street in an empty lot". No, no. I literally mean "in... the... back... yard." Anyhow, our's advertised a local, German-themed water park… Der Schlitterbahn… yeah, central Texas is funny.

As you might surmise from the presence of a billboard, the backyard was no more than 150-200 feet from a major highway. How major? Interstate 35… linking Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota via San Antonio, Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Kansas City. Needless to say, Grrr rented this place sight-unseen.

The group spent the first night easing into each other's company...

... and making trips to the local emergency care clinic...

The following day was filled with various behavior of which, sadly, there is no photographic memorialization... being pelted with miniature plastic penises by river-floating bachelorette parties and hurling them back at hazardous velocities... urinating on the feet of those seated in front of us on the bus taking us back to the river's entrance... hitting on the seemingly of-age underaged daughter of a drunken family Pow-wow saw fit to invite back to our house for dinner... and that's just me.

Well, not me, but Damien... who had appeared in my stead some time between asking an officer of the law what constituted illegal public behavior on Texas waterways and giggling hysterically as my good friend Shad (a.k.a. "Tobias") recognized I was somehow peeing on his feet from 2 seats away.

But, there is behavior that was in fact memorialized.

That evening we sat in the backyard, digesting our BBQ, hydrating ourselves with Milwaukee's Best, enjoying our incredibly random and completely ghetto billboard. You see, backyard billboards make for great conversation.

While I cannot clearly recall the conversation that took place, I do know my friends well and know their need to be entertained. So, I can safely assume from past experience, conversation was most likely very similar to the following:

C-Murdah: [Looking at me, speaking to the others, pointing to the billboard] "You know, its good to see you guys... but I'm kinda disappointed..."

Foster: [Catching on to Murdah's intent] "Yeah man, we need something to make this special. Otherwise, it's just another weekend with Dave peeing everywhere."

Tobias: [Never one to pussy-foot around a subject] "Hey Dave... DAVE!... Betchya won't climb up that billboard..."

Me: [rousing from a bobble-headed stupor] "Huh... I'm gonna climb something?"

C-Murdah: [slow playing better than
Doyle Brunson] "Naw man... don't worry about it... the ladder is way too high... there's no way you could get up there."

Me: [turning 'round to assess the obstacle]

Pow-wow: [eager to see this happen] "I think if I drive my truck back here, Dave could climb on the top and reach the bottom rung."

The Group: [collectively] "Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe..."

Tobias: [again, never one for subtlety] "Bullshit, Dave's too drunk and doesn't have the balls."

Me: [incensed] "GO #$%& YOURSELF MR. GADDIS! Powie, get me your truck."

(Sidenote: Tobias is married to a very sweet and very fun woman whose maiden name was
Laura Gaddis. During their courtship Shad did not want to screw things up and focused heavily on their relationship to the near complete exclusion of any other social interaction. We give him hell about this as good friends should and do... like the time I sent them my law school graduation announcement addressed to "Mrs. and Mr. Gaddis")

Powie immediately obliges.

I am now becoming aware of my surroundings and determined to achieve my objective.

After several minutes of maneuvering, Pow-wow nestles his SUV inches away from the advert's pillar. I climb atop his vehicle. Annoyed, I realize I am still approximately a foot away from the lowest rung. Jumping to the lowest rung was out of the question for two reasons... 1) I would surely dent the hood of my friend's SUV and 2) I am incredibly white and cannot cover 12 inches in my vertical leap... assistance would be needed.

Like a drunken guardian angel, C-Murdah appears next to me. Murdah verbalizes some kind of enthused affirmation that most likely included the words "wicked" and "bro" then assumes the "wall-sit" position against the column, allowing me to reach the lowest rung thusly...

Now, I am focused.

I am an entertainer and I have an audience.

I cannot recall what was shouted by my friends below as their words were drowned by the cacophony of 80 mile-an-hour traffic some 50 yards away. But, evidently it made me happy and I noticed it enough to pause for a quick photo-op...

Several more moves and I was above earshot of any well-wishes or direction from my friends. Then, a buzz... a slight vibration in my left front pocket... a text message. In fact, it was a text message from my good friend Micah Foster simply stating the directive:

"Don't fall bitch."

Thanks, ass.

So there I was, left alone on my perch contemplating what to do next and somewhat shocked at the complete lack of safety precautions installed on the scaffolding of 48 foot tall roadside billboards.

Seriously folks, non-existent... as in vertical board, 2-foot wide catwalk, flood lights, air. No hand rails, no guy-lines... nada. Another intersting feature is the blindness caused by multiple million-candle-power flood lights illuminating directions to the board's sponsor.

I decide this is no time for half-measures.

I pull myself onto the catwalk.

There, I proudly walk to the center of the sign and pay my respects to the ulterior doubt cast by my friends...

I do not regret the fact that an untold number of families were subjected to the blinding glare of my ass.

I do not
regret the panic my friends endured as 2 police cruisers sped around our residential corner and off to parts unknown.

My only regret is that I had no tinkle left with which to christen those who would manipulate my drunken chutzpah for their own amusement.