We’re getting down to the wire on this tailgate bash, and Miller and I are in yelling mode, that pre-party stage where nothing is going as planned, so everyone starts yelling in hopes that the screaming will propel us toward some sort of last-second miracle.
By the way, this is also how major motion pictures get made. Lots of yelling. Lots of last-second miracles. It’s also a popular way to raise kids.
The tailgate dispute is pretty fundamental: Miller thinks we need more breakfast burritos. I don’t. He also doesn’t listen when I tell him I have 200 red Solo cups and keeps asking about more red Solo cups.
“I already told you…” are the words that begin most of our sentences.
As I overheard a neighbor telling her husband the other morning, “I HATE ALL THIS RAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I hear you, sista. I hate rage too. Hate, hate, hate it. Rage makes me so angry.
Thing is, I can kind of relate. Tailgates in melty weather put me on edge too. LA now seems down to two seasons: hot and hotter.
In fact, the heat might drive me outta here, the way it drove me out of Singapore and Miami, though to be honest, it was more the people of Miami who drove me out. They were either voodoo priestesses, Marxist exiles or vacationing Canadians, each group nuttier than the next.
Fun for a while, sure – the discos, the fried plantains (used to roll them in rum). But once we had children, we decided to move to a more sensible place.
Which is how we wound up in LA.
Look, I’m not going to complain. Seriously, I’m not a guy who sits around griping about every little disappointment. At least not anymore. Sure, maybe five minutes ago. Much wiser now. Besides, I hate rage.
Basically, we’re all about as happy as we want to be. I decide in that moment, during the fifth screamy pre-tailgate phone call, to be ruthlessly happy, to be happy beyond all reason, to be happy on behalf of those who are genetically incapable of happiness, no matter if they are rich or poor, gorgeous or rather knobby (like me).
In fact, I’m gonna be so giddy most people will think I’m day-drinking again.
“Do you float through your life?” a friend asked the other day. “I imagine you smiling and floating… and I think it is a lovely way to go.”
Me too! Though it sounds like I’m dying.
Hey, just wait till you see this tailgate, in the gauzy Brigadoon that surrounds the Rose Bowl, a pre-game party that is coming together like a Harold Pinter play.
“WE DON’T NEED 4,000 BURRITOS!” I yell.
Miller also ordered 100 loaves of Focaccia bread – huh? – and he rented this trippy Scooby-Doo van. His Mambo Cadillac. His Chariot of Fire.
“It’s a death trap,” Miller explains after he picks up the van.
“Who are you, Jerry Garcia?”
Kurt Vonnegut used to write about certain places in the universe where all truths fit together neatly. This is not one of those places.
This is a tailgate, flawed, eaten by moths, perfect. I love tailgate parties more than life itself — more than fistfights, more than Ferris wheels. I love staging them with my pals Miller, Bittner, Jeff, Gary, Liz, Suzanne, Billionaire Charlie, Verge, Delaney, Ortiz and all the other nuts.
It’s a group fiasco obviously. We tape the TV antenna to an oak tree, we cut the celery with first-aid scissors (yeah, forgot a knife).
Then the guests file in: The Chardonnay Moms are all amazing, the dads stout and strong. The kids? Well, we’ll see. Honestly? Love them, and the fact they till like hanging around with the moms and dads.
This is the social highlight of the season, obviously. Two kegs. Twenty-five little oil drums of vodka that Miller stole from the Russian Army. He’s got these supply chains, some nefarious. You don’t ask too many questions, in case it ever goes to court.
Guests have flown in from St. Louis for this tailgate. Rapunzel shows up with Marty and Lynn, her in-laws-in-waiting from Chicago. Smartacus, our tailgate intern, helps me tap a keg.
An hour before the game, I realize that this may be the only tailgate that needs a concussion tent.
Gawd, there will be so much stuff to clean up. Gawd, what are we going to do with all these burritos? Most of all, how will we get this wobbly hippie van back to Costa Mesa?
These are all questions for another day. For now, let’s get a group photo and call this a win. Let’s put our arms around someone sweaty and lick our salty lips for the camera.
Looking forward to a Happy Hour Hike soon. No RSVPs quite yet, but the cooling weather will lure us to the trails very soon. Till then, enjoy this beautiful weekend. Cheers.
9 thoughts on “Tap a Keg. Hug a Pal.”
I love your ruthless happiness beyond all reason. It is contagious. Thanks for reminding us it is always our choice, no matter life’s circumstances. Scream on, party on!
Wow that tailgate looks amazing! You had me at Scooby Doo van and 25 oil drums of vodka. You sure know how to throw a party. You just seem to grab fun by the lapels! I bestow you Minister of Fun. 😉
It sounds like rich and raucous fun. What a way to come undone. If it tastes as good, and the home team wins, going home as the gauzy light thins, a slight sense of dolor—in an autumn mood, who could ask for more?
I got tired just reading the tailgate party article. It’s a wonder you had the energy to write it. (Thank you for doing it.) And for no obvious reason, here’s a quote from Balzac you may like: “The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.” I had no idea he was watching me.
A tailgate that cannot be beat, wonder if anyone bothers to go to the game after such a great time.
Cold breakfast burritos are great on the way home
Now matter how much money SC spends on players , coaches , families ect they can not buy discipline !
Bunch of showboats, aren’t they? Reflects poorly on the good people of LA. Both of us — you and me.
You always delight me with your columns and fun!!