8.07.2010

10 Minutes - Life's Simple Pleasures

Hi. It's Joe.

Do you take pleasure in the simple things?

This weekend I played bass guitar with PEOPLE BROTHERS BAND at a hippie fest called "Chicken Town." It was a fun time, notwithstanding a long-arsed drive to get there. It even paid.

But that is not the simple pleasure to which I make reference. Indeed, the hippie fest was a rather complicated pleasure, involving upwards of six (6) vehicles to get the band to the fest.

The simple pleasure was when I MapQuested the directions to get to the fest and used the classy business stationary from my former employer to print off the directions. It wasn't the pleasure of disrespecting my former employer, because I really have no hard feelings toward them (only my loser boss). It was the pleasure of knowing that their business stationary was actually being put to some useful application for once, which would bring joy (my bass playing) to others.

The hippie fest was an intriguing event. As far as I can tell, it's main focus was to get people as wasted on booze as humanly possible, using various drinking games as the media. As a non-drinker, the activities themselves were lost on me, but it was with considerable fascination that I observed from the sidelines.

The games were quite elaborate, far beyond your simple "tippy cup" or "beer pong."

The first game I watched in awe was one called the "Boot Race." In this game, a gallon of beer is put into a German-style "boot" shaped glass. Teams of four (4) people each then race to see who can polish off the gallon of beer. Each individual drinks as much as they can without vomiting (disqualification), then passes the boot to the next person. The fourth person in line is called the "anchor" and that person must finish whatever the other three team members could not.

If you do the math, even if every team member drank the same amount of beer, that is a full quart of beer per person consumed in a very short time. I think I was more amazed that the contestants remained standing after the match, especially the anchor, who from my perspective usually had the challenge of consuming almost half of the beer remaining in the boot.

But most amazing of all is that there were actually quarter-finals and finals of the game, involving the same people from the earlier rounds' "winning" teams. Amazing stomachs for beer...

The following day, the drinkers engaged in a game called "Big Base." This is essentially kickball, but with at least two (2) alterations of high entertainment value. The main rule is that everyone must have a full beer in their hands at all times when on the field. They have to kick the kickball, run the bases, and (for outfielders) catch the kickball, handicapped by a full beer in one hand.

The second alteration was the addition of a "slip-n-slide" between first and second base. Although a kicker could run directly to second base without sliding on the slip-n-slide, the slide provided a notable strategic advantage. ANY attempt to slide on the slip-n-slide was considered an automatic "safe" on second base. Thus, when running to second looked like a perilous bet, people would dive onto the slip-n-slide to be "safe."

Keep in mind, they still had to do this with a beer in hand. Second base was also adorned with a full keg of beer, because as you can imagine, it was often necessary to refill one's beer upon reaching second base.

I left the hippie fest after "Big Base," because I had a lot of stuff to do at home, where I am now, such as write this blog post. If I was a beer drinker, I might have wholeheartedly thrown myself into the debauchery of "Chicken Town," but sadly my addiction is the written word, and if you are still reading this, then you know I'm quite talented at this particular indulgence.

Don't forget Wisconsin's best bike ride, "Bike With Melinda," is Labor Day weekend up at my folks' cabin in NW Wisconsin. I hope you can come to the party.

My time is up.

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