Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ball and Biscuit

Here's another Fest story halfway shrouded in booze and memory.

I was headed back to my room at the Hampton Inn the second night of Fest. As a middle aged man who had spent the day drinking and listening to loud music I was very glad Hampton Inn was within walking distance of everything.

I was feeling good. My ears were ringing and I was tired, but I was nice and drunkhappy. I was thinking about the last full Fest I had attended five years or so ago and how I felt like a completely different person. While I had an awesome time both times, there was a desperation last time - sort of a yearning need to blow out my system and ...I dunno, feel something, some sort of connection with people again or something. This time I was a little older and more centered, and was just focused on catching up with friends and bands and getting drunk.

I was holding on to that feeling as I settled into the Hampton Inn's elevator, an elevator so slow that I'm pretty sure it is powered by a Donkey Kong-like gorilla pulling the cable up and down.

I wasn't alone in my reveries. A group of British Fest goers was in the other corner. They didn't pay attention to me, as they were engaged in culinary conversation.

"Oi mate, that wasn't really gravy was it?"

"Blimey, and what they called biscuits was bleedin' huge and doughy. Nobody could eat that for breakfast, guv'nor."

It took a while to cut through all the gin and tinnitus and sleepy, but it slowly registered that these limeys were dissing biscuits and gravy, here in central Florida.

The nerve of these foreigners. Gainesville had put on an amazing music festival for them and they were gonna malign biscuits and gravy? You didn't hear me disparaging British cuisine when I was over there - no, I kept my comments stateside out of respect for their ...Queen or whatever. Plus, those people riot over soccer games, who knows what would happen if they heard my irreverent take on spotted dick, which I'm sure they had never heard before.

They might have well been bad-mouthing Steve Spurrier or Tom Petty (As a side note, I can think of at least three houses in Gainesville that I was assured were Tom Petty's old house. Dude got around).

I wasn't going to take this lying down. As a Southern gentleman, I was considering challenging them to a duel, but I think the limeys invented that game, so instead I just burst out with a incredulous "Whaaaaaat?"

That broke the ice. "What kind of gravy did you expect? And your biscuits are cookies. Why would you expect cookies for breakfast?" (I hoped they hadn't heard about Cookie Crisp cereal, or my argument would be invalid).

I actually meant my remarks to be in the nature of good-minded fun, but I did notice they visibly recoiled from my outburst. Then again, if I were trapped in an elevator with a dude twice my age ranting about cookies and gravy, I'm not sure if I'd be able to discern the feeling behind the words either.

We soon patched things up and hurled a few good-natured insults back and forth, all of which are lost in time, unless they've got the internet over in England and they happen to read this and can get back to me.

A week later, my country elected a TV con man to be President of the United States, so I guess they really showed me up, after all.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

There's Something Wrong With My Toast; or Stories I Like, Yet Am Not Entirely Convinced They Are True, Part Six

I went to Fest again this year. It was awesome. For those who don't know, Fest is a yearly celebration of punk rock and ugly beards in Gainesivlle, Florida. It's also a Gainesville family reunion, all full of laffs and day drinking and cookouts and catching up and thinking, "Hey, that band I thought was just OK in college sounds like the greatest thing ever right about now."

While catching up with people, I was sufficiently liquored up to tell the following story to a friend.

"You know, that speech at your wedding was the greatest speech I've ever heard. Like Gettysburg Address level."

"What speech?"

How could she not remember the speech? To set the scene, dear reader, two friends were getting married. It seemed a bit tense. Family (mostly her side, I believe) was on one side, friends were on the other side. There was no mixing. They said their vows and all that, then it was reception time.

"So your mom gets up to give a speech and gathers like, your brothers and your new husband."

"I don't have any brothers."

"Yeah, but she gathered them all together and ...wait? No brothers? Are you sure?"

"I'm pretty sure I don't have any brothers."

"But that was the whole point of the toast. Your mom gathered (Name Redacted) and your brothers -"

"I don't have any brothers. Not one."

"WELL ANYWAY, she gathered like, three fake sons and said, 'You know, after this weekend, I feel I now have four sons. Then (Name Redacted) grabs the mic and goes, 'yeah, sons of bitches,' meaning, like, 'we're all crazy, fun-loving guys.' But it came out like he called your mom a bitch. Then there was this total silence and people started whispering like, 'did he just call her a bitch?' Then the whole place started cracking up. Well, except for your relatives. They didn't think it was that funny."

"I don't really remember that, and again, don't have any brothers. But that's a pretty good story."

I've given a few speeches in my life. Whether in front of library board members, weddings, or nursing home residents, one thought kept me calm before starting to speak. "Well, it can't go over any worse that that wedding reception speech where (Name Redacted) accidentally called his future mother-in-law a bitch.

Now I see that I had the power inside me all the time.

As you know, The Goo Goo Muck is tirelessly dedicated to pursuing the truth, at least until it seems like a whole big deal and I've gotta do something other than a half-assed Google search. In this spirit, I sort of thought about asking people who were at that wedding if they remembered the toast, but then thought, well, if the bride said it didn't happen that way, I guess I'll have to accept it. Which sucks, because I've used that story for years as a funny anecdote whenever someone would bring up disastrous speeches or weddings or toasts, but I have to regretfully rate this story as Mostly False. He did totally accidentally call his mother-in-law a bitch, I mean, I was there! But I suppose the execution was different from what I remembered.

If anyone has another failing speech story I can use to psych myself up before speaking, I guess I'm in the market now.