Hello, Readers. Welcome back to this week’s off season post. I’m always brutally honest with all of you and that’s even truer when I answer off line emails from the Readers. I’ll continue my honest trend by telling all of you that there is no possible way that I could be happier with myself for deciding not to recap The Bachelor Pad this season.
I really needed the break from the television and despite the 107 degree heat this week, I’ve been using my new found time to run and bike on various trails close to home. I also took some time tonight to touch up my summer haircut with my Wahl clippers in addition to cooking a lovely grilled salmon filet topped with a fancy black bean, tomato, and chili pepper sauce that I improvised. Hell, it’s getting late and I haven’t even popped my first Lone Star. I hope you’re all enjoying it, however, and I look forward to recapping the next Bachelor. Before we get started with this week’s entertainment, I need to provide some relevant background into my personal life and on how I reached the decision to write about these events.
This upcoming Friday morning Some Guy in Austin is going to hop on a plane and be Some Guy in Vegas for the weekend. Yes folks, it’s guys’ trip time of year and I’m so excited to go I could just pee all over myself. Gambling, drinking, debauchery, and a little pool time are all in my future and I’ve earned the days off of work. I’m certain I’ll have something worth writing about when I return but just in case you don’t hear from me on Tuesday, please do me the courtesy of calling the local Clark County jails and detention centers to see when I’ll be arraigned.
I was thinking about my upcoming trip in addition to reviewing some of the reader suggestions for DP Tells All 3 that didn’t make the cut. One of the big requests was for me to continue recapping funny stories from my much wilder younger days. Coincidentally, MH—who is now semi-famous as a major contributor to the comments section of this blog—called me to chat. I told him about my upcoming trip to Vegas and he reminded me of the story I’m about to recount. Granted, I don’t find it as funny as the My Big Sex Scandal post that also involved MH and me but I’ll let you be the judges. With that said, let’s get to it.
Many years ago my brother and I took some sort of aptitude test and scored high enough to get bumped ahead a year in school. Couple that with our December birthday and the result was that we graduated from high school at 17 and were well into our first year in college before our 18th birthday.
Growing up I played a ton of sports, had girlfriends, a job, mowed the lawn every weekend, and did the normal stuff kids do. Although I grew up around a lot of people who did, my family had little expendable money. My parents both made a lot of sacrifices so my siblings and I could grow up where we did and the lack of cash prevented us from eating out, traveling, or generally getting out of the house as a family.
While most of my friends’ parents put on a tie and drove their sedans South on Highway 59 into Downtown Houston, my dad put on jeans and work boots and drove his truck North to Cleveland, Texas where he climbed telephone poles for a living. Instead of going to Jazzercise in the morning and playing tennis at the club in the afternoon, my mom worked retail at the mall in the next town over and worked two nights a week and weekends at the local health club as the receptionist and events planner. I didn’t get a car at 16 and didn’t get to go traipse around Europe in order to find myself prior to getting an all expenses paid four year ticket to the University of my choice. I worked.
In hindsight, I never really wanted for anything as a kid, but the lack of experiences did leave me a bit sheltered from the rest of the world. I want to be clear that this is not my sob story. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, but that’s for another post. My point in telling you this is to illustrate the fact that my entire existence up until college took place within the confines of my home town. I didn’t get out much and neither did my family.
One of my favorite shows growing up was Jeopardy. As most of you are aware, I am a literal encyclopedia of useless information. My family would routinely play Trivial Pursuit for hours on end and my brother and I eventually reached a point where we could beat my dad—which wasn’t easy. I can’t really explain why I remember that stuff other than to say that I have the gift of retention and in addition to getting me through school that gift is responsible for most of the junk that inhabits my brain. Like pigeons in the park, those thoughts wander around my head pecking away in search of nourishment grateful when they finally get it.
While sitting on the couch watching Jeopardy one day I noticed an advertisement for College Jeopardy. After looking into it, I followed the instructions by putting my name, age, college, and some general information on a post card and mailing it to what I assumed was Alex Trebek’s house. Much to my delight, I received a packet in the mail several weeks later letting me know that I had been selected for a “regional tryout” involving a written test, oral interview, and—if I was lucky enough to pass the first two—some one-on-one with the show’s producers in order to get passed to a “final tryout” in Los Angeles.
The tryout would be held the week before Thanksgiving at a hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana—a city where I had never been. Excited, I called MH who was in his sophomore year at a college in Huntsville, Texas. He committed to making the trip since he’d never been to The Big Easy before and we agreed to book flights and to stay at the hotel where the tryout would take place because they offered a discounted rate. We could only afford one night in the hotel, but we decided to make the most of it.
With no more knowledge about New Orleans than the address of the hotel where we were going to stay and the 7:30 a.m. start time of the tryout a 19 year old Mike and a 17 year old Some Guy in Austin boarded a plane from Houston to New Orleans on Friday morning. This is where it gets interesting.
MH and I arrived in New Orleans at precisely 2:30 in the afternoon. I know this because we were drunk by 4:00, but more about that later. We grabbed a cab which took us to our hotel located fortuitously in the heart of the French Quarter (read: Bourbon Street).
For those of you who have never been to the French Quarter picture Las Vegas getting drunk and picking up an overweight, past her prime, chain smoking, whiskey soaked Branson, Missouri in a hotel bar around 2 a.m. for a one night stand. The product of that one night stand and all of the issues that it would have later in life is the French Quarter. It’s safe to say that Louisiana is literally its own country and nowhere is that more evident than in the French Quarter. Back to the story.
Realizing we were foreign men in a foreign country, MH and I agreed that we needed to find some local guides to show us the ropes. I pointed out that John Smith had Pocahontas and we agreed that guides of the female persuasion were preferable. As we went to the front desk in our hotel to check in, MH and I noticed that the two girls behind the desk were rather fetching.
Notwithstanding my use of the word “fetching,” I’ll let the readers know that at that time in our lives MH and I literally dripped pheromones and it wasn’t uncommon for us to find us in the company of some lovely ladies. Indeed it was like fishing with dynamite—or at least that’s what we told ourselves—and we immediately turned on the charm.
Much to our delight, the two girls were receptive to our beaming smiles and answered some general questions about the logistics of getting around and suggested we stop first at the French Quarter landmark, Pat O’Brien’s, for a hurricane. “Perfect, it’s early and I can drink in the afternoon. After all, I have to be in bed at a decent hour in order to get up for the tryout,” I thought.
At that time if a person was under 21 in Texas his ID picture was taken from the side and a large red stamp reading “UNDER 21” was emblazoned across the license. Upon being handed my ID and looking at it, one of the girls said, “That sucks. I wouldn’t even bring this with you to Bourbon Street. You can drink all you want but leave this in the room.” Smiling, I responded with something like, “Good idea, what time do the both of you get done working?”
After exchanging a giggle and a glance with her friend and MH nodding at me in order to signal dibs on the girl on the right, she responded, “Six o’clock, but we brought stuff to change into.”
“Perfect. Why don’t you grab your friend and meet us at, Pat O’Brien’s was it?, at 6:01,” I assertively responded grinning from ear to ear. Plan in place, MH and I high-rolled it up to our room and had a couple of whiskeys out of our minibar until MH found the inventory card and we figured out how much they cost. We musked up with enough cologne to repel an army of mosquitoes (and any woman over the age of 18), put on our best shirts, and headed out to greet the French Quarter. It was about 3:15 and I was excited because the way I saw it I had at least 9 hours of carousing to do before getting to bed in order to make the 7:30 a.m. tryout.
Now despite our testosterone induced bravado, I think it’s fair to say that both MH and I were a bit uneasy about walking underage around The Big Easy with pockets full of cash and no identification. We decided to test the waters a bit prior to actually entering any drinking establishment. Walking out of the hotel we followed our lovely guides’ directions and made it down to Bourbon Street. I broke out a five dollar bill and approached a street vendor who was selling hurricanes out of a cart. “I’ll take a hurricane,” I said with less confidence than I needed to appear over age. “Do you want the 24 or the 32 ounce?” was the response. You’ve gotta love Louisiana. God bless their revenue-hungry-look-the-other-way attitude.
With 32 ounces of illegally obtained booze in our hands, MH and I decided to take a stroll down Bourbon Street in order to get the lay of the land. We had a couple of hours to kill before meeting the ladies anyway.
We strolled down Bourbon Street swilling our hurricanes anxiously awaiting the buzz that would soon follow. Neither of us was a liquor drinker so the booze took a hold of reason very quickly. At one point, I accidentally slipped into a large crack in the sidewalk and the heel on my boot (and only pair of shoes I brought) became loose. Frustrated, I ended up finding a hardware store of all places on Bourbon and St. Ann right outside of what we would soon learn was the gay section of the street. I purchased a small bottle of quick drying all purpose glue before walking out and continuing to sip my hurricane.
MH and I decided we needed a snack and ended up at a restaurant called Port Orleans where we ate shrimp by the pound and drank dollar beers for an hour. At this point, the bread and shrimp had slowed down our inevitable ascent into inebriation and along with the booze came the confidence we lacked when we got there. Our stomachs were full, we were buzzing, and we were ready to meet the ladies. Life was good and we knew it. We both relaxed and simply enjoyed being there.
As I mentioned earlier, I purchased a bottle of glue for my boot heel at the only hardware store on Bourbon Street. Incidentally, how do you think that guy decided to open a hardware store amidst a bevy of strip joints, porn shops, and bars? I suppose stripper poles need to be maintained and sex toys need batteries. Annnnyyhooo . . .
As MH looked at his watch and noted that we had about 20 minutes to kill before heading down to Pat O’s to meet the girls, I simultaneously noted that the quick drying glue took—you guessed it—20 minutes to dry. This information was followed by a warning not to glue anything you didn’t want separated again to anything else—forever. Needless to say, in addition to my boot heel, we decided to glue our plates and pint glasses to the table.
We ordered a final round and sat there patiently applying even pressure to the tops of our plates and glasses before quickly but definitively making our way to the door. Like Lot’s wife, I was overcome with the temptation to look back and when I did I was delighted to see the waitress and what I assumed was a manager staring at the now permanently affixed plates and glasses on the table in utter confusion. Immature? Maybe. Funny? Without question.
MH and I giggled like school girls on our way over to Pat O’s and when we arrived were happy to see the out-of-uniform, newly make-uped young ladies anxiously awaiting our arrival at the back bar. After some awkward getting to know you conversation we noticed that it had begun to drizzle. The ladies suggested an alternative location and perhaps some dinner to which MH—who was as in the bag as I was—responded, “F*ck dinner.” The girls agreed to f*cking dinner and we gladly followed like Labradors down the street to a very quaint, very French bar that we learned was haunted by French ghosts or something. I believe I commented that they should just find some German ghosts to run them out of town, but that joke fell on deaf ears.
MH and I regaled the ladies with tales of our post-check in adventures and we continued to drink. It was 6:30 now and I had a solid 6 hours of drinking left. If I factored in a few glasses of water before bed, that tryout was mine. I’d be telling Alex Trebek the story of how I glued my plate to a New Orleans’ table prior to getting on the show when he interviewed me between single and double jeopardy. Hell, when I won I could tell him another story on the following show.
After a few minutes of being charming I noticed that the bar we were in had a wooden Indian in the corner. Now to most people a wooden Indian is of little consequence; however, I had always wanted a wooden Indian. Being my best friend, MH was well aware of my passion for wooden Indians and laughed heartily when I pointed it out to him. Oddly enough, our interest in the girls took a back seat to my passionate insistence that we attempt to steal the wooden Indian and get it back to our room. Frankly, I had no time to waste. I had five and a half hours of drinking left and that wooden Indian would serve as the perfect good luck charm. “Get that back to the room and you’re sure to ace the tryout,” I told myself. We quickly hatched a plan.
Ignoring two perfectly lovely girls with pulses, MH and I headed for the wooden Indian. The bar was small and crowded and—we reasoned through the haze of hurricanes and beers—the dim lighting and abundance of moving patrons would provide sufficient cover for us to surreptitiously move the Indian to the doorway before picking it up and running it out of the bar.
I chose the words in the prior sentence carefully, because beyond inching it up to the door slowly and then picking up the four foot tall, bottom heavy, 75 pound piece of carved wood we had no plan. If I’m not mistaken, we didn’t even agree on which way we should run with it. Details.
MH and I carefully inched the Indian from his location in the corner closer and closer toward the doorway. Because I was a gentleman, I insisted on continually checking with the girls for approval. Their responses ranged from tepid nods of the head to sarcastic thumbs up and I was certain that I could recharm my way back into their good graces once my mission was complete. Unfortunately, I would never get the chance.
After about two beers and a whole bunch of inching, we positioned the Indian as close to the door as possible with MH’s 6’3” 225 pound frame in between the Indian and the bartender’s line of sight. Anxious to finish the task, I prepared myself for the big jump. However, prior to making our move, MH and I heard, “hey, you two” from behind the bar as we put on our best “who us?” faces and looked at the bartender who walked around the bar with a steel pipe in his hand and said, “put the Indian back and get the f*ck out of my bar.” So much for the wooden Indian.
After a feeble effort to “explain” that we were not, in fact, stealing the Indian, MH and I backed slowly out of the bar away from an angry, pipe wielding proprietor and quickly walked down the street praying the New Orleans Police Department wasn’t interested in speaking to us. We were, after all, drunk, underage, and had just been prevented from committing an intentional wooden Indian heist. Despite the liberal interpretation of the laws on the books within the confines of the French Quarter I was confident that “theft of an indigenous statue” would not be overlooked.
After gathering our wits, MH and I ended up in another bar and literally had another drink in hand before realizing that besides the wooden Indian we’d forgotten two things back at the other bar. The first one was the girls and the second was giving them the money we owed them for putting drinks on their tab. Ooops.
We briefly felt bad about it but I reminded MH that we couldn’t dwell on it because a.) there were plenty of other women on Bourbon Street and, b.) we had 4 hours left of drinking time before I needed to get to bed for my Jeopardy tryout. Worrying was a waste of valuable time and we’d be on a flight back to Texas before we knew it. Carpe Bourbon.
MH and I finished yet another drink and upon visiting the men’s room and attempting to stand still while emptying my bladder I realized just how drunk I was. Undeterred, I vowed to make it another 4 hours but made a note to drink extra water when I got back to the room. Ah, the folly of youth. Remember that I was 17 years old.
When I returned to the bar, MH looked as if he’d been doing some serious thinking during my absence. “Let’s go to a strip club,” he said. Normally, that request involves some planning; however, in the French Quarter strip clubs are as common as venereal diseases and I agreed. I’ve made no secret of my abhorrence of strip clubs, but I was in Rome and I figured I’d give it a go. To be honest, there was a practical side of me still functioning behind the sea of alcohol coursing through my head. “There’s no way we’ll get into a strip club. Bars and restaurants are one thing, but even this city has to draw the line somewhere,” I thought.
The “gentlemen’s club” that we chose was called Big Daddy’s. We chose it not because of its proximity to the bar, its sophisticated yet demure reputation for having New Orleans’ finest women, or its drink specials. Rather, we chose it because it had a moving set of fishnet covered women’s legs that opened and closed above the door. Subtle.
Much to my chagrin, we literally walked in unabated past a very large black door man who made even MH look tiny. Not one to shy away from the spotlight, I took my place in the chair at the front and center of the stage. I noticed the stench of stale beer and the absence of any gentlemen. After a glance at my watch I noted that I had a solid 3 hours of drinking time left. Frankly, I was ready to slow down and I’d be thankful drink the 8 dollar bottle of hotel water chilling in my minibar.
After a glass of stale beer I looked up to notice my first performer. She was as dirty and used as my beer glass and I was frankly so drunk that I couldn’t keep my head up long enough to enjoy whatever she was doing. About halfway through the first song I picked my head up long enough to notice the backs of two heels on the stage on either side of my elbows. I looked up and the naked women bent over and while upside down and looking between her legs said, “if you’re not going to tip, don’t sit front and center, asshole.”
Despite her unique presentation skills, in hindsight her “request” was fair. The last thing I’d want if I was a dirty New Orleans stripper was to entertain a drunken, broke 17 year old with an attitude. She was simply informing me about the rules of etiquette. She was like a slutty, upside down Emily Post. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it that way at the time. I simply smiled and raised my beer glass while MH clapped his hands and howled with laughter.
After two more “ladies” danced on the stage and essentially shared the same information with me, I began (for no good reason at all) to be offended. When the original stripper reappeared on stage she walked straight toward me and smacked me on the forehead before insinuating that I had a sexual relationship with my mother. As she turned around and walked down the stage I reached into my pocket and grabbed the handful of change I had and simultaneously hurled it down the stage.
Hearing the ruckus she quickly turned around and slipped on one of the coins landing hard on her bare rear end. Silence filled the room as the handful of patrons took their gaze off “Chastity” or whatever her name was and looked at me. MH and I, realizing that we were in a bit of trouble, looked knowingly at the very large black man at the door who sat there stoically with his arms crossed. He simply nodded his giant head toward the door and MH and I took the hint as we stood up and walked quickly to the door. After all, I had a Jeopardy tryout tomorrow morning.
We walked past him without making eye contact and I took two steps out off the sidewalk and into Bourbon Street. Just as I turned my back on the opening and closing legs above the door I heard, “YOU SON OF A B*TCH!” Before I could process what was happening I was tackled in the middle of Bourbon Street by what I was certain was a New Orleans Police Officer. Cautious about fighting back and drunk out of my gourd I rolled over only to realize that I was being beaten and scratched by the two strippers I had offended. I was literally on my back on Bourbon Street fending off two naked strippers intent on gouging out my eyes. “This is bad,” I thought.
MH acted quickly. He grabbed one of the women, picked her up, and deposited her back into the doorway of the bar. Simultaneously, the big bouncer gently grabbed the other woman and did the same thing as I willed myself back to my feet. The bouncer looked at us and said, “I suggest you get out of here.” Although we didn’t thank him for his advice, we followed it and MH and I ran as fast as we could for as long as we could before ending up breathless and exhausted in an alley behind our hotel laughing like hyenas oblivious to the fact that we had both come within inches of negatively changing our entire futures forever. Remember that part about the folly of youth?
Incredibly, MH suggested we go to another bar. After all, we had an hour left of drinking time. We committed to refrain from stealing any wooden Indians or inciting strippers or large black men and we returned to the only place we knew—Pat O’Briens.
We got back to Pat O’s and ran into our “dates” who we had long forgotten since the wooden Indian fiasco hours before. Frankly, that incident might as well have taken place months earlier at that point in the night. The girls looked me up and down and noticed my half untucked shirt, my oil, grease, and God knows what stained jeans, the scratches on my face, my tussled hair, giant pupils, and the gentle sway of my body as I tried to smile and look charming. “What the hell happened to you two?” one of them asked as they both broke out in laughter.
We had another drink (or two) and recounted the goings on and they must have been either impressed or felt sorry for us because neither of them brought up the unpaid bar tab. They were nice enough to walk us back to our hotel and we both got a kiss on the cheek and a smile. I walked into our room, noted that it was well North of 5 a.m. and passed out in my dirty clothes on top of the comforter. My 7 a.m. wake up call came early. Oh yea, I was in New Orleans to try out for some game show.
After less than two hours of sleep (and no water) I picked myself up from the bed and staggered still very drunk into the bathroom to throw some water on my face and fix my hair before heading downstairs to impress Alex Trebek. Before leaving, I took a moment to look at MH who was sleeping peacefully beneath his covers. Jealous, I left for the tryout.
I walked into the main ballroom and it was filled with college kids, many of whom were with a parent and all of whom were wearing their college sweatshirts. “Damnit, I forgot that part,” I thought as if that was the only thing wrong with me. I grabbed a water and an orange juice off the buffet table and sat down at a community table.
“Where are you from,” a voice asked before every person at the table smelled the stale alcohol and Bourbon Street grime emanating from my body and my clothes. “Texas,” I managed. “What did you do last night?” I asked hopeful that everyone around me would talk so that I could sip my orange juice and attempt to sober up in silence. The kid next to me said with a straight face, “Nothing. My mom and I went over a bunch of quiz questions so I could be ready for this.”
Needless to say, I didn’t make the show.
Well, there it is. My first trip to Bourbon Street. As eventful as that was, it still pales in comparison to some of the other trips I’ve taken there over the past few years. Just in case you’re curious, I haven’t made it back inside the famous Big Daddy’s since the incident, but I do fondly wave to whoever is guarding the door when I walk by now.
Next week’s post will be answers to all of the relationship advice questions that I got from the Readers over the past few weeks. If you have any you’d like me to take a crack at, send me an email or leave them in the comment section. As always, thank you so much for sticking with me in the off season. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be staying out of jail. DP