Friday, July 01, 2011

A Guys Night Out

I recently went to a peanut-floored establishment with my brother-in-law and soon-to-be-brother-in-law (I had my punctuation supplier on speed dial in case I ran out during the course of the night). We told our wives and soon-to-be-wife that we were going there to get to know each other better as people, connect on a deeper level as brothers, and enjoy some manly fellowship. In reality, those things were all convenient side-effects created by the main purpose of drinking adult beverages (coffee, Pepto-Bismol, prune juice) by the pitcher-full.

In between chugging and quaffing, we also played some games that are of an appropriate skill level for the people who frequent the location. Namely, hitting balls into holes with the ends of sticks, and sliding metal pucks from one side of a table to the other. In other words, games that require absolutely no coordination to play (a small amount is required to play well, but not much). We opted for the shuffleboard for most of the night since the pool table didn't give us its balls unless we gave it money, and our religion does not condone pool prostitution, or whoreballing.

I had never played shuffleboard before, so it took me a few seconds to master it. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't make a fool of myself by trying to eat the substance on the table that looks invitingly like salt. They are actually silicon beads that help to reduce friction (I'll take Wikipedia's word on that one).

It's a great game for the coordination impaired, as even the most inebriated fellow can lean against a table, pass out, and have his head hit the puck, probably giving it enough momentum to reach the other side for at least one point. However, old drunk people should not try this, as it voids their AARP warranty.

Really, the hardest part of the game is focusing on and adjusting the strength of your slide as you become more and more perfect in every way (at least that's what the alcohol tells me). I suppose this is good in more ways than one. It allows for the sort of deep male conversation you hear routinely at fine bars worldwide, like "You guys done with the pool table?", "Where's the bathroom?", and "That's not my vomit, officer!"

The sweet hoppy nectar does more than just loosen the tongue, but it also greases the axles of the rusty male brain that is perpetually driving in first gear if not sitting idle. Conversations happen that are normally restricted (by choice) to the female gender, with topics like birthplace choices, marriage, and personal hygiene. But after a while (read: a few pitchers of beer), these and other topics suddenly are as riveting as playing sports or grilling meat on a BBQ or playing sports while grilling meat on a BBQ (also known as the best day a man can possibly have).

Of course, these topics could also have surfaced out of necessity brought on by the shuffleboard table being used by two couples who were, shall we say, definitely not thirsty. They were chucking the pucks as hard as they could and laughing at the inevitable "PLUNK" as they (the pucks) smacked into the wood on the other side. I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to have only one shuffleboard table at a bar. That's like expecting a roomful of unsupervised two year olds to play nicely and share the one toy in the room. How every night doesn't end in tear-streaked bruises and scrapes and everyone calling for their mommy is a miracle in my eyes.

No comments: