Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Six

On the sixth day of Gheorghemas
Big Gheorghe gave to me

Six Simpler Memories
Five shows to binge watch on TV
Four Random Thoughts
Three Punk Rock Playlists 
Two Digits Throughout History 
And the debut of Mac McFis-ty

It's a cliche to wish for simpler times, to lament the complexity that comes with prosperity, family, college savings, and increased responsibility. Cliche, but I'm feeling it this holiday season. 2016, in a final salvo of perfectly gratuitous knife-twisting, refuses to go quietly into that good night. On top of a year-end grind of planning and preparation for a significant organizational change on January 1, our largest prospect dropped a Request for Proposal (RFP) on December 14 with a due date of January 6. And don't bother asking for an extension, because we really need to make an award as soon as possible.

I can't tell which stress-induced discomfort is worse, the constant nausea or the headaches.

So I was happy to drift away for a minute or two earlier this week. Whitney's tribute to one of the Gheorghiest people of all-time took me back to a simpler era, when the Magnificent Seven seemed like a good idea - and not a recipe for a week-long hangover. I've got guffaw-inducing memories (and some hazy spots) from those events. And for the sixth day of Gheorghemas, here are a half-dozen other things from that era that still make me smile.

Dietary Roulette

As most of the audience knows, I spent much of my twenties living with Whitney, Clarence, and our friend Spoid, among a few others. We were young, dumb, relatively broke, and really lazy, and our diets testified (and contributed to the broke part). I don't have the exact figures, but I estimate that 43% of our meals consisted of delivery from Arlington's legendary Lost Dog Cafe. Another significant portion came from the 7-11 down the street. And when we tired of those things, there was always this:

That right there's a Hot Diggity Dogger, Clark. I think Whitney got that for Christmas, or maybe gave it to me as a gift. But I can still taste the perfectly toasted rolls and roasted hot dogs that genius invention delivered me on the regular.

Dumb & Dumber

Whitney and I saw the Farrelly Brothers' opus on a Tuesday evening one winter (last Friday was the 22nd anniversary of its release). To this day, I've never laughed harder in a theater. The fact that I was half-drunk certainly contributed to my enjoyment of the film, but never did a cinematic moment so fully align with my personal funnybone. Obviously, we bought it as soon as it was available on video. Over the roughly two more years we lived together, I estimate that we watched all or part of it 150 times. You may think that sounds preposterous. I think it might be low.

You da Man

If we didn't come home drunk and put on Lloyd and Harry, then we put on this video:

Little did we know that the producers would become some of our best internet friends. Poor Jim McIlvaine.

Wednesday Morning Coming Down

If 43% of our meals came from Lost Dog, then at least 14% of our dinners came from Cowboy Cafe. The one on Lee Highway. We're not jerks.

The reason Whitney and I were drunk on a Tuesday night while at the movies was because we started at Cowboy, where half-price burger night made us regulars, and being regulars begat no-price pitchers night. Again, estimating conservatively, I'd bet that I was still drunk at work on at least 20 Wednesday mornings in 1994. And the community that we developed at that little dive bar (which numbered close to 20 people at its zenith, complete with weekly e-magazine) was like a dipshit Cheers without the cameras. Whitney and I will be attending the wedding of one of our Cowboy compadres in Mexico this May, likely sans partners. I say we try to relive some of the good ol' days.

Chris Damon from the Damons

We saw a bunch of music during our salad days. (Ain't that a misnomer.) Some of it kinda runs together, if I'm being honest. Seeing Pearl Jam close out the second day of the Tibetan Freedom Festival at RFK doesn't, though. Nor does starting the conga line at a They Might Be Giants show so we could move from the back of the venue to the front. Bad form, that. Bygones.

It was a moment at a different TMBG show at the old Radio Music Hall (now the 9:30 Club) that makes me laugh to this day. Spoid drove us to the show, which gave Whitney and I ample opportunity to prepare ourselves, pharmaceutically speaking. We made it into the building, but weren't capable of doing much more than holding ourselves upright for the first few songs of the opening act. An act with which none of us was familiar. As Whit and I slowly regained focus, Spoid figured it out.

"It's Chris Damon. From the Damons."

"Oh. Do you mean Chris Stamey? From the dB's?"

The fact that that memory seared its way through the haze of that evening and sticks still nearly 25 years later is a testament to both the vagaries of the human memory and the number of times that Whitney and I repeated it in a stoned fit of giggles.

Odds, Ends, and Ephemera

Man, I've enjoyed this. I can feel my mood lifting. Thanks, Gheorghies!

I could go on for a while, too. There were epic Wiffle Ball games in the backyard of our nearly-perfect rental house in North Arlington. Bachelor parties at the same place, a few of which devolved in ways we didn't necessarily see coming. (It's not what you think. Unless you're thinking about 15 morons trying to crowd into a very small bathroom to watch a stripper take a shower.)

There were multiple Sunday night parties on the eve of Monday holidays, which paradoxically
endeared us to the older neighbors on either side of us. The lesson: tell your neighbors when you're planning to be assholes, and don't do it too often. House parties at Evan's place just a short drive away  I remember our 'bananas for everyone' rule when one of us hooked up. We didn't have bananas all that often. I recall not being able to use our indoor plumbing for a week during a wicked cold snap - we pissed outside and we took our other 'business' to the Wendy's up the road a bit. We boycotted that Wendy's for some reason that's been lost to time.

There were lazy Sundays with groups of friends watching sports, and the winning ways of the early Angry Men. Whitney got a concussion playing football on frozen tundra, then skipped the hospital to drink at a wedding. In retrospect, that might've had lasting consequences.

I took my then-girlfriend to the aforementioned 7-11 for ham and cheese rollups on our first Valentine's Day. And she still married me.

I'm lucky she did. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss that time in my life, when I was essentially responsibility-free, and my job was easy enough that I could fake my way through it - even when I was basically still drunk.

I wonder if that job's still open.


zman said...

Nice effort roberto. Along similar romantic dinner lines, I knew zwoman was the one for me when we ate hamburgers out of a paper bag in a White Castle parking lot on the Jericho Turnpike while sitting on the trunk of my car--it was a drive-through-only venue (which we didn't realize until we walked up to the storefront) so we had to eat outside. We wound up there because she saw the "restaurant" and enthusiastically demanded we stop for a sack. It was bliss.

Whitney said...

Wow. My little buddy hung some reminisceltoe. Love this.

I just laughed way too hard at Chris Damon from the Damons. He said it several times, emphatically, like we were morons. And the papal ballots were blinding, meaning that dumb exchange was the funniest thing we'd ever heard.

Shlara said...

Nice post Rob.

And I'm just catching up on the comments from the last post.
Yes, I saw the ambush interviews in Miami--the homeless guy was a legit ambush and hilarious

rob said...

to be fair, whit, at that time, we were clearly morons.

zman said...

Possibly the biggest Christmas bargain of 2016 is available in Allendale, NJ:

TR said...

That house sounds almost as wild as the joint me, Zman and Boner lived in from '97 to '98.

But with much less fun. And more pat downs for weapons when trying to enter the local strip club.

Whitney said...

That house was a moment in time. It's still a tiny rambler on a primo corner double-lot surrounded by tear-down/rebuilt beautiful houses in North Arlington. Excellent wiffle stadium.

One large party we were throwing horseshoes in the dark in the back yard. I got hit in the mouth with one, blood everywhere. They rushed me to the only bathroom in the house. Corcoran on the throne. Had to wait out his stint there while I lost quite a bit of O+. No stitches for me, since nobody could drive, so there's a scar for storytelling purposes.

Morons, you say?

zman said...

That was the first time I'd ever been frisked so I didn't know the etiquette.

Dave said...

i believe i was at that horseshoe-in-the-mouth party. loved that place.

what's college savings?

caveboy said...

It's definitely Chris Damon from the Damons. Pretty damn sure about that.

Not sure why my name is caveboy.

Whitney said...

Spoid, that room you lived in at our house was like a cave. Glorified closet.

I was remembering the episodes where I intertwined stripper panties into your grad school binder so you'd see only them when you opened it in class. Uh, sorry about that.

caveboy said...

And replacing them on your windshield wipers and on your radio antenna as a patriotic stripper flag - at least until you ripped said antenna off your car.

Whitney said...

Ah yes. I slipped on the ice and reached for the closest thing to stabilize my falling frame... a thin piece of metal I brought with me to the ground. Big man fall hard.

rob said...

caveboy! thought about including the binder/undergarment incident. that was a good one.

Dave said...

good episode of the test up. apparently,the internet is wrong.

Dave said...

rob, you know of car seat headrest? pretty good stuff, hailing from leesburg

Mark said...

I'm officially on holiday vacation. Won't be back at work until January 4th. Sweeeet.

Whitney said...

Happy Birthday, Squeaky.

rob said...

so you've got time to knock out day seven, then, mark? it's a 50/50 proposition whether we get all 12 days in before the end of the calendar year.

dave, i am aware of leesburg's own carseat headrest. the kid graduated from a high school in town just a few years ago. i dig his stuff.

Whitney said...

Rob, was re-reading this post, and I think 150 times for Dumb & Dumber is fair -- in terms of pressing play at the beginning. Making it to the end? 6 or 7. We'd usually have an AM conversation that compared how far we made it before passing out. Hot peppers scene was a milestone.

Don't know what we watched more, D&D or B&B. Heh heh.

TR said...

FYI for you music fans - Maron's WTF podcast up this morning is an interview w/ Derek Trucks. Very cool interview. Derek talks about his influences, Col. Bruce Hampton, the Allmans, the blues, his new band, playing live as a 9 y/o, etc.

Slow day at the cracker factory, so I'm rocking the pods at my desk.

Dave said...

try car seat headrest-- echoes of clap your hands and say yeah, the strokes, of montreal, and neutral milk hotel.

it's definitely not hip-hop.

Danimal said...

Cracker factory du jour is in balmy Rochester NY. Great times.

TR said...

Rochvegas!!! If you're lucky, you'll get to visit Albany and Troylet as well.

T.J. said...

what awful, awful places

Shlara said...

um, Tiger Woods?

TR said...

He's feigning normalcy.

Shlara said...

I visited Lincoln's Cottage today--it's in the Petworth neighborhood of DC, on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home--a really cool site to see here in town.
And they have a great gift shop with some clever Lincoln t-shirts.
They also host a Bourbon + Bluegrass event in the spring--which I think would appeal to this crowd.

TR said...

In the last ten days in our town, a 45 y/o dad with an 8 y/o daughter and a 5 y/o son, and a 51 y/o dad with a kid in high school and a kid in college both passed. Brutal at any time, but doubly tragic right in front of Xmas. Sorry to be a bummer, but it's another reminder to seize the day.

Danimal said...

Yes. Yes. Remember my post some time ago about Flanagan's bar that my old man used to frequent with his cronies and their boys including me? Well I just finished a session with Pat, Pat Flanagan son of owner whose mom just suddenly past a few weeks ago. Granted she was almost 80 but in good health and alcohol free for a decade or so. Serious reminiscletoe, making this work trip during the holidays just about special and more than worth it. I wish all you beautiful people a wonderful Christmas, sincerely. Peace and love.

Danimal said...


Danimal said...

For one or a few of the best Manhattans you will ever consume, see Andy at the Woodcliff Inn.

Mark said...

I'm guessing it's not the same Flanagan's that is a south Florida institution (multiple locations). That place is the tits. Seriously. If you're ever in south Florida and need a drink. Find the nearest Flanagan's.

Shlara said...

This. Is. Awesome.
Take 2.5 minutes to watch the video

zman said...

If you're looking for a new bourbon to try you could do a lot worse than Noah's Mill.

rob said...

the gheorgemas fairy just dropped a new post.