A CAUTIONARY TALE

To commemorate this Dear Rear Bottle Opener, I’d like to share a cautionary story that will hopefully inspire you to start your bad decisions off in style, which I’m sure this bottle opener can help you do, although it helps to have a partner in crime to lead you astray.

It was the tail end of the winter of 1998, and I was but(t) a young buck (trying to stick with the dear rear theme here), not yet through my first year of college at the University of Evansville.  I had the unique opportunity to live in a fraternity house as a freshman pledge, which led to some interesting times as it yielded both extra harassment and extra respect from my soon to be fellow fraternity members.

Just one quick example.  Our fraternity’s intramural soccer team had a late Friday night game and a party starting around the end of the game.  After returning to the house after the game, there was already a large gathering having a good time.  I desperately needed a shower, so I grabbed my toiletries and a change of clothes and headed into the communal bathroom in the middle of our upstairs hall.  Unbeknownst to me, while I was in the shower, one of the fraternity members came in and took my towel and change of clothes out of the bathroom, which I figured out as soon as I stepped out of the shower stall.  However, this didn’t really sink in until I heard the sounds of the revelers in the hallway outside the bathroom door.

I felt my fate arising in the back of my throat and deep in my gut.  Should I run?  Call for help?  Ask someone to bring me some clothes or at least some beer while I try to figure this out?

No.  Run, definitely run, that was the best I could come up with.  Just run to your room and we’ll all have a good laugh.  I yanked open the door and tried to sprint through the crowd down the hall.  It was a blur, but somehow it was clear to me in that moment that the crowd had been alerted to watch for the young streaking sober guy about to come out of the bathroom.  Doing my best to cover myself while I ran, I had made it all the way down the hall to my room, the very last door on the left.  Success!  Except when I turned the handle, the door had been locked.  Whoever did this was clever, and many, many steps ahead of me.

Well, nothing to do but face the crowd right?  I took a deep breath, stopped covering my manhood, turned around, faced the crowd, and calmly asked if someone could please bring me a beer and kindly unlock my door at their earliest convenience, thanks.  I will never forget that night, which was a blast, and I occasionally still think about it when stepping out of the shower in the locker room at work.

Something else happened that year.  My childhood friend, let’s call him Mike, who was attending another university a couple hours to the north called me on a whim and asked me if I wanted to go to Mardi Gras.  He had his mom’s car and was ready to go, so of course I said yes.

This was in the era of not having CD players in all cars and all we had was one tape of a Prodigy album, which became increasingly awful after multiple listens, but somehow that Firestarter song will always make me nostalgic.  It was a long winter, and I think the first time we saw the sun in about 30 days was when we crossed into Alabama.  We didn’t exactly have a place to stay, but we knew some people who knew some people who had a hardwood floor with room on it to sleep if needed.

We contemplated our plan of attack over some Jack Daniels and a card game on the back porch of a stranger’s house on Tulane University’s campus, then meandered down to The Boot for drinks and to grab a cab for Bourbon Street.  We didn’t exactly know where we were going and ended up wandering off the parade track and into a pretty seedy area away from the crowds.  I don’t know how we ended up there, but we found a tiny little restaurant that had corn dogs and those big oil can Foster’s beers, for which they were happy to take our underage money.  Two 19-year-old kids in the projects eating corn dogs and Foster’s.  We were elated.

We found our way back to the crowds and got swept up in the masses so tightly that we had no control over our movement.  In the thick of this, I had the unnerving sensation of someone else’s hands in and out of my pockets, apparently looking for my wallet, but the crowd was so tightly packed, I could barely move, let alone pull away someone else’s arms.  When I finally managed to do so and looked into the eyes of my would-be robber, he poured his bright red Hurricane drink over my head and promptly slithered away into the crowd.  I was sticky and dumbfounded at the absurdity of that 10-second exchange, but was just happy to still have my wallet.

Two things you get arrested for during Mardi Gras:  Fighting or urinating in the streets, although later that night we did see a woman in a side street alley who was engaged in a sex act while on her knees and urinating at the same time, which was odd.  Not sure if she got arrested though.

Not long after the hurricane incident, I noticed a young woman ahead of us in the crowd who kept looking back at me and smiling, so I did the same.  This went on for a few minutes until a torrential rainstorm started.  The crowd moved from the street to try to duck under awnings and inside bars and shops, but I stayed in the street, and so did she.  She walked towards me, took my hands, and asked me if she could kiss me, which I didn’t answer verbally.  I came back to my senses when what seemed like the entire Mardi Gras crowd erupted, enthusiastically cheering on two college kids making out in the pouring rain all alone in the middle of the street.  It felt like we were in a movie.  She wrote her email address down on the back of a receipt and gave it to me.  When I emptied my pockets the next day, the ink ran with the rain and all I had was this memory of a woman named Ann Marie.

Three days and about four hours of sleep later, it was time to go back to the semi-responsible life of a college student.  We got in the car, and I remember telling my friend, “if you feel like you’re going to fall asleep, just pull over.”  I fell asleep immediately.  I awoke a short while later to a loud metal scraping sound, which was the side of the car hitting the rail on the Interstate-10 bridge going over Lake Pontchartrain, blowing out the tires and scraping up the side of the car.  The rail did its job and kept the sleeping occupants from going over the bridge and into the water.  Before we had even fully inspected the damage, a tow truck slowed and asked if we were okay.  We were, and he towed the car and gave us a lift to a service station.  It was then that Mike told me he was planning on pulling over to sleep after we crossed the bridge.  Instead, we slept in a patch of grass outside the Burger King next to the service station until the car was fixed.

Not long after we were back on the road and safely across the bridge, we saw an overturned SUV laying at the base of a tree-lined median on the interstate.  We could hear sirens not far behind us coming to the scene.  We slowed to a crawl and saw several bodies scattered around the scene that had been partially covered by blankets.  It was clear they were no longer living.  There were two or three others walking around, their hands covering their mouths, in shock, crying.  I still wonder if they were the first to arrive or if they were friends with the ones under the blankets.  I’m not sure why, but I wish I knew.

We were young and dumb, but we were lucky.

This is going to seem callous, but I have to bring this back around for some levity and relevancy to your consumer needs.

If you are going to buy a Dear Rear or Army Man Bottle Opener and go to Mardi Gras, and be young and dumb, maybe it would be best to not tempt your fate and instead get this Keychain Breathalyzer and this Tasty Salmon Sushi Pillow.

Have fun, stay safe, and get some sleep.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *