This is from my first book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (book here) (audiobook here)
Sometimes even I need a night off, and after an intense Thursday and Friday hanging out with JoJo, I decided to spend a relaxing Saturday hanging out with a friend of mine from high school who happened to be in town that night. We’ll call him “Mark.”
He shows up at my place around 4pm with a 30-pack of Old Style, which we manage to polish off rather quickly. As I am trying to decide how to steal some more beer from my neighbors, a commercial comes on for a regional professional hockey team, which coincidentally has a game in two hours. Mark wants to go see hockey. He considers it the best idea of all time. I disagree. I want a relaxing night.
Somehow he manages to convince me that drinking 15 beers and then going to a hockey game can qualify as a “relaxing night.”
But not only does he want to go to the hockey game, he desperately wants to bring the CamelBak, having read about it in the UT Weekend Story. I pause and consider my options. I can:
A) refuse to go anywhere, knowing myself well enough to see that this night is obviously on course to become a catastrophic trainwreck.
B) agree to go to the hockey game, but refuse to bring along the CamelBak, because it will quite obviously result in my early demise.
C) say “fuck it,” throw all caution and temperance to the wind, go to the game with the CamelBak full of Tucker Death Mix, and dare the consequences of my actions to catch up with me.
You’ve probably read some of my other stories, what do you think I did?
I load up the CamelBak with Tucker Death Mix [Everclear, Red Bull and Gatorade], but this time, instead of Everclear, I use real Kentucky moonshine. My mother lives in Kentucky, and one of her neighbors makes moonshine in his barn. Seriously.
We arrive at the arena fully shit-housed. We don’t have tickets, and the only scalper we can find has got to be the dirtiest, poorest, shittiest looking crack addict in Chicago. He is trying to sell two ratty tickets. They look like he got them with a McDonald’s Super Value meal. This does not stop me from bargaining with him. I am a master negotiator, especially when drunk:
Tucker “How much for the tickets?”
Crack fiend “40 each.”
Tucker “Get the fuck outta here? Do we get a handjob too? Are you kidding? I’ll give 20. Total.”
Crack fiend “Awww, come’on man. Deez is good seaats, yo.”
Tucker “You know…scalping is illegal.”
Crack fiend “Man, don gimme dat shit. Deez is 8th row, at the co’na.”
Tucker “40 is steep. After all, you’re just going to spend the money on crack.”
Crack fiend “Man, fuck you.”
We settle on $40 total, find our seats right before the game starts, and much to my displeasure, there are about 10 women total in the entire arena. Not that we came to the game to pick up girls, but there is always that hope. I loudly say to Mark, “Jesus H Christ. What the fuck is this; Gay Hockey Night?” These two dorks on the left look at me horrified, while the old guys on the right start laughing. Fuck the idiots on the left.
We start talking to the old guys, bitching about women and whatnot. One of them starts telling us a story. “Yeah, I was with these two beautiful girls the other night. Wonderful girls. The night was going great until they started using all sorts of horrible four-letter words. Horrible, horrible four letter words, like “can’t”…”won’t”…”don’t”…”stop.” Horrible, horrible four letter words.” These old guys were cracking us up. Of course, we were quickly approaching Tucker Max Drunk; a dancing Tele-Tubby would probably have had us in tears.
Because I can see the entertainment value from miles away, I start talking to the low-rent Jude Law on my left. I immediately wanted to punch him in the face. He was one of those annoying psuedo-intellectuals; horn-rimmed glasses, drinks Pinot Grigio by the glass at bars, buys poetry books but never reads them, avoids red meat, shops at the Kiehls counter, acts indignantly offended by Howard Stern, like to drop names like “Foucault” and “Sartre” in normal conversation. We all know one or two. I kept laughing to myself, because he looked exactly like Chachi from Happy Days. He thought he was better than me because I was drunk and acting like an idiot, while he was composed and polite. Yeah, I got something for him.
He condescendingly asks me what I do, and I tell him I’m a writer. Then the fun began:
Him “Really? I used to be a writer, until I went to law school.” A fastball down the middle.
Me “Really? I never would have guessed. Where’d you go to law school?”
Him “The University of Texas.”
Me “Well, I guess not everyone can go to a good school. So what did you write?”
Him “Mostly freelance think-pieces for magazines and newspapers.”
Me “So you were an out-of-work copy editor?”
Him “Uh…no. My last piece was published in the Utne Reader.”
IS THIS GUY FUCKING SERIOUS?
Me “I bet you’re very proud.” I laughed, but he just ignored me. “So what do you do now?”
Him “Uh…well, I’m a lawyer. That’s why I went to law school.”
Me “Suuuper. So, Chachi, where are you from?”
Him “I’m from Texas.”
Me “I bet you were real popular there.”
He didn’t respond. Mark and I order a couple more beers. The game was boring, so I keep fucking with Chachi. His aggravation is growing visibly, but he’s the type that signs anti-sweatshop petitions, so I’m not concerned about any forthcoming violence. I continue:
Me “I’ve been to Texas. I liked it. But I’ve heard some strange things about the laws there. You’re a lawyer: Is it true that you can have open containers in the car, as long there is one less than the number of people in the car?”
Him “Uh…I’m not really sure. We didn’t really study that in law school.”
Me “Did you ever drink?”
Me “And you never drove afterwards?”
Me “You don’t believe all that Mothers Against Drunk Driving propaganda do you?” He ignored me, so I continued, “Is it true that in Texas you can shoot someone if you find them sleeping with your wife?”
Him “No, that’s not true. It’s a myth.”
Me “I don’t know Chachi, I think it’s true. What about if you come home, and you find a guy on your porch, nosing around, and your wife is inside, and she’s naked. Can you shoot him then?”
Me “What about your wife, can you shoot her?” He didn’t answer. “What if there’s a guy in your yard, and he’s naked, and he’s looking at you funny. I bet you can shoot him then.”
Him “No, you can’t.”
Me “What if some guy is on your porch, and he’s dancing all funny, like a hippie, and your wife thinks he’s attractive? Can you shoot either of them? What is the self-defense standard in Texas–‘He needed killin’?'”
Him “What? Are you serious?”
Me “I’m just trying to figure out the law here buddy. You never know when you might have to come out blazing.”
He and his friend get up and leave, but he leaves his beer in the cup holder. As soon as he was out of sight, I pour half his beer into mine, finish it off, and head to the bathroom. When I get there, I see Chachi standing at the urinal, so I bust out in song:
“THE STARS AT NIGHT, ARE BIG AND BRIGHT [CLAP] [CLAP] [CLAP] [CLAP] DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS!!”
He looks over, not amused. I make a little gun with my thumb and index finger, point it at him, and go “POW!” He is even less amused. Fuck him if he can’t take a joke.
The second period comes around, and Chachi doesn’t return to his seat, so I finish his beer. He’s not going to need it. Mark is busy sucking on the CamelBak, and appears ready to slip into a coma. Then it happens, that defining moment that I wait for every time I go out drinking:
Right before the second intermission, some guy comes up and asks our section if anyone wants to go on the ice and shoot pucks against the mascot,
“OH ME ME ME!! I WANT TO DO IT!! ME ME ME!!”
The guy kinda stares at me hesitantly, but since no one else in the 1/4 full section dares get up and challenge my drunken enthusiasm, I become the chosen one. I get down to the staging area behind the penalty box, and the other two participants are a girl who was so skinny she looked like she spent three weeks on the Miami 48-hour Miracle Diet, and a fat guy who uncannily resembled the Comic Book Guy from The Simpson’s. I asked him if he owns a comic book store, and I guess this is a joke he’s heard often, because he got kinda mad at me. Unsure of how to react to his visible anger, I say “Worst. Reaction. Ever.” This didn’t help.
The waifish usher explains the rules to us: We get a hockey stick and a puck, and are allowed to take one shot against the mascot, this big, furry, dog looking thing. Anyone who scores gets tickets to the next game. I chime in,
Tucker “I don’t want to go to the next game. This place sucks.”
Usher [stares at me with contempt for a minute] “You can’t take your beer on the ice with you.”
Once on the ice I flip off the crowd, and start my advance on the mascot. Right before I am about to shoot the puck, genius strikes me.
I hurl my stick at the mascot to confuse him, kick the puck into the goal, tackle the mascot into the net, pull his jersey over his head, and start delivering directed body shots into his ribs.
Raise your hand up if you’ve ever heard a professional team mascot say “What the fuck are you doing, you asshole?”
I’m not sure if I have ever laughed so hard as when this big fuzzy brown head let loose with a rapid fire barrage of curse words. I am so in tears laughing at him, that I can barely keep up giving him body shots. Of course, my laughter only makes him madder, and I eventually lose the upper hand. He gets me rolled over and ends up on top of me. He is now completely engrossed in the fight, and starts hitting me back, all while I am laughing hysterically.
The crowd went nuts. I mean honestly–picture this scene in your head.
The entire time, the announcer is standing 10 feet away, completely dumbfounded. He had no idea what to do or say, until the mascot got on top, when he finally comes over and pulls the mascot off of me. It actually took him a few minutes to get the mascot composed. The mascot had completely lost his shit; he wanted to keep fighting me, especially after I got up and threw my hands in the air, receiving boisterous cheers from the crowd.
I was escorted off the ice, to continued cheers, when someone who appeared to be in charge started throwing around a lot of words like “assault” and “battery.” I paused, staring at him while I composed my thoughts, and said,
Tucker “I’m sorry, but I stand by my decision. I am now a member of the elite club of people that have fought a professional team mascot. You sir, are not in that club.”
He stared at me, completely silent, for what seemed like three or four minutes, and then just turned and walked away. I was kicked out of the area, and told not to ever come back.
I had to wait by the car for a good hour and a half until dumbass Mark came stumbling out. When I asked him why he was so late, and didn’t leave when I was kicked out, he looked at me strangely and said,
“You got kicked out? What did you do?”