The Boner Policy

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Before delving into the collapse of my freshman group of friends from college, I think it’s important to describe some of the adventures that we had together so that you can mourn the calamity of our feuds as much as I did back then.

As I’ve said before, our common interest was partying.  In many cases, there was no further connection binding us together.

The group’s demographic skewed female to Jurassic Park levels.  There were basically three dudes, counting me, hanging out with like a dozen girls.  I loved the proportions at the time, but future events would make me question whether or not females are truly capable of empathy towards each other, or if any semblance of girl friendship is just a long con style intricate murder plot.

Bobby is one of those friendships that came out of our group (we called ourselves “K.I.T.T.” – short for Keep In Touch Tuesday) that actually made the enormous headaches that most of these people caused me feel worthwhile in retrospect.

The other guy, well, he had an emotional issue or two (or seven thousand).  We’ll call him “Tommy” because of his ongoing need for anonymity when it comes to the stories I have to tell about him.  Tommy was a quirky stoner with a lot of money and friends that liked to throw parties in their shitty apartments.

One such celebration of alcohol was The Lingerie Party.  Now 19 year-old Brantley had heard legends of lingerie parties, but was skeptical of their existence.  The concept was too awesome and it always seemed to happen to someone else.  I guess skepticism is the wrong word.  19 year-old Brantley thought of Lingerie parties as “winning the lottery” or “seeing a super majestic bald eagle doing its thing” – he knew that those things did indeed happen, but that they didn’t happen to many people despite everyone’s longing for them.

Well this time around, I was invited and I looked forward to the event with both excitement and trepidation.  You see, I was still self-medicating a lot of social anxiety at the time and if I didn’t get the dosage strong enough, I had a tendency to sweat like someone with a serious medical condition.  Being in nothing but my underwear, there was a strong chance that I would be making it rain on the whole party unless I somehow managed to attach the keg directly to my face.

I coolly suggested to Bobby that we grab some robes or like Hugh Heffner smoking jackets.  I also jokingly, but actually totally seriously, asked him, “So what’s the boner policy at lingerie parties?”  “Don’t get one,” he replied tersely.  Then the robes were more important than ever.

Helping Girls Shop for Lingerie

For some reason, Bobby and I accompanied a ton of the girls to the fancy mall so that they could go shopping for lingerie.  I thought the idea of being on hand to provide a male perspective to girls looking for skimpy underwear was a dream come true.  In reality, however, there are few responses that a slack-jawed 19 year-old boy can give to a lingerie-consumer requesting feedback (and none of them are particularly respectful).

Now at that point in my life, I wasn’t articulate enough to say things like:  “Women shouldn’t be viewed or treated like sex objects that exist solely for men’s amusement and gratification,” but something along those lines was clicking deep down inside of me.  I realized that these were more than just half-naked girls that I would soon be getting drunk with.  They were friends that I respected.  It was almost as if they were human beings equal to myself, you know?

After a few awkward moments of babbled feedback, Bobby and I absconded to the food court and ate meatball subs from Firehouse.

Bobby’s Weird Lime Chicken

The night of the party, the plan was for the boys to prepare dinner for the girls and then we would all part ways to get dolled up and go to this sexy underwear kegger.  Bobby took head chef duty, and we made this weird lime chicken that most people pushed around their plates politely before tossing into the trash.  Out of stubborn loyalty, I opted for seconds.  In a lifetime full of mistakes, this decision still stands prominently within the regret regions of my brain.

Unsurprisingly, Bobby and I were stripped down and ready to go to the party within minutes and the girls took much longer.  To be honest, I don’t remember all that much of the actual event once we got there.  I remember puking in the bathroom after just a few beers and being a good enough friend not to immediately blame Bobby’s Weird Lime Chicken.  I remember different scantily-clad girls sitting in my lap on the balcony next to the keg.  There really wasn’t any intra-KITT drama at that point, so it was a pretty tame affair as far as shit shows go.

The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery

Most importantly, however, I remember The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery ever to draw breath within our douche bag infested world.  He strutted around the small apartment with his chest puffed out and his arms held away from his sides like some kind of monkey with vertigo.  “I go to the gym a lot!” his body language shouted.  His hair was thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly gelled into spikes.  He wore sunglasses.  Inside.  At night.  Indoors.  At this nocturnal event.  Where there was no sun.  His heart boxers were cute but cliche.  But here’s the best part:  He wore about a half dozen Magnum condoms around his constantly-flexed bicep as a kind of arm band.  I wish I was a talented enough writer to make this up.

Naturally, I played him in beer pong.  Occasionally in a long-tenured beer pong career, you will encounter complaints that the cups don’t have enough beer in them.  The result is that they move around when the ball hits the side and the movement prevents the shot from going in.  It’s a real complaint, albeit an insulting one to make to someone far more interested in beer than pong.  The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery claimed that under filled cups were the cause of his beer pong mediocrity.  Every time.  After every shot that bounced off the cups and didn’t go in:  “Is there even any beer in that cup?”  I’m certain that if he acted this way at every party he attended, it was only a matter of time before someone’s fist decided that he had too many teeth in his mouth.

I don’t remember who won that game.  It doesn’t matter.  Pong is just a game.  Beer is a form of enlightenment.

I do remember my partner from the beer pong game sitting in my lap on the balcony later that evening.  The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery, who had been hitting on her and being brutally rebuffed throughout our entire game, strutted stupidly out to where we sat and asked her to grab him a beer.  She laughed in his face.  He grabbed his own beer and dumped it on her (and on me by proxy).  Everyone was on their feet and I don’t remember how I talked this girl out of altering some of his facial features.  I think I was standing in between the two of them and lightly shepherding the douche bag into the apartment, but I’m a pretty non-confrontational guy who totally panics in situations like that, so defusing this bomb was most likely entirely accidental.

The douche left eventually and we all kept partying and having a great time, despite Bobby’s weird lime chicken.

When Fate Graces You with an Apology

A few months later, The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery landed the task of going door to door in college apartment complexes for some reason or other.  I was hanging out with the girl that he dumped beer on when the douche knocked on the door.  He said his piece on whatever it was that he was doing and then awkwardly apologized for that night.  I laughed at it at the time, but now I know how rare it is to hear apologies from random shitheads that you cross paths with in life.  The potential divinity of the moment completely eluded me in that moment, but really, what are the odds of him knocking on that door in that apartment complex precisely at that moment when I was hanging out over there?

I wouldn’t be enlightened enough to see it this way for hundreds more beers.

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The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done

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Disclaimer:  I actually didn’t do any of the illegal things described below because those illegal things are illegal and I’m a law abiding guy.  This isn’t a confession to crimes committed, just an entertaining story that totally never actually happened, okay?

Freshman year of college, I was walking home from a 6pm-9pm class one night.  The sun had already set and being the invincible still-teenager that I was, I made sure to take all of the darkest, sketchiest alleyways to get back to my dorm.  This was, after all, nearly a full year before I was robbed at gun point.

Lurking in the shadow of the Counseling building that was just yards away from my dorm community were two figures, a guy and a girl.  Rather than assuming they were up to no good, I decided I would ask them what they were trying to accomplish in such a poorly lit spot.  When they both nearly jumped out of their skin, well, then I assumed they were up to no good.

He was a typical fratty guy in a polo with too much gel in his hair.

Busty doesn’t adequately describe her.  I think I vaguely remember that she had a pretty face, but it wasn’t something that I noticed until we became Facebook friends.  It’s a miracle I didn’t keel over from a boob overdose right then and there.  When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration runs through the entire alphabet when naming hurricanes in one season, they resort to the greek alphabet.  I suppose she had Omega cups.

I’m not the type of guy who goes on and on about this stuff anymore, but I was back then and this story takes place in the past, so humor me when I detail how enamored I was with her knockers.  Guys of a certain age just aren’t that smart, okay?

It’s a miracle they didn’t throw the Earth off its axis and send us spiraling into the sun.

The teenage male's mind devotes an inordinate amount of memory to encounters with boobs.

Seriously, I’m done talking about this girl’s breasts now.

As I said, the guy seemed to be a Fraternity-type so with his fake swagger cranked up to eleven, he emerged from between two maintenance golf carts in the darkness to share with me an intriguing fact that was whispered to him.  He didn’t say by whom.

Our tiny, dorm-community mailbox keys were rumored to be capable of cranking up the maintenance golf carts.

I asked him if he had any luck and he said that he hadn’t tried before I came up on him and started asking questions.  I laughed at how ridiculous this all sounded and went on my merry way.

A few beers into the post-LOST festivities that night, I recounted the bizarre encounter to my compatriots.  The consensus was universal.  We had to test this theory.  It probably wasn’t true, but we had to know.  “No, no,” I told them.  They handed me another beer, then another, then another.  After I emptied the bottles into my belly, the conversation returned to this topic.  “No, no,” I repeated, but by now the dissent was laced with drunken chuckles.  More beers were handed to me and I consumed them.

The next time this rumor came up, the conversation was different:

“How many beers do you need to drink before you are willing to try this, Brantley?”

“At least ten.”

The Empty Bottle (EB) is the international measurement of bad ideas.

It wasn’t long before ten of the empty bottles that crowded every open surface in my dorm were accounted for by me.

Without much fuss leading up to my ruling this time, I informed them:  “Maybe like two more.”

After a dozen beers, I found myself standing back as I watched a handful of friends no more sober than myself fumbling with the golf cart ignitions in the dark.  Somehow, someway, my liver manned up enough that I was still the most prudent of the group.

This is how I ended up in the rear-facing back seat instead of driving, because

IT.

FREAKING.

WORKED.

Drunken courage and disregard for rules doesn’t equal coordination or control of your body, so two golf carts swerved all freaking over campus that night.  At one point, our driver took a turn as tight as he could.  The blonde, burnout girl sitting next to me on the back seat of the cart quit being on the back seat of the cart after succumbing to inertia.  She tumbled through the grass as she was thrown off.  It was almost the hardest I’ve ever laughed in my entire life.

Drunken courage plus disregard for rules does not equal hand-eye coordination or basic motor function.

But then she was crying.  She scraped her hands and hurt her ankle.  Or knee.  I don’t remember because I was twelve beers into the night so my retention reserved itself for the inebriated joy of the wind in my hair as we tore through the night air in those stolen vehicles.  Regardless of which joint she hurt, it killed the night and we brought the golf carts back to where we stole them from and went back up to my room to hang out for a bit more before parting ways to sleep it all off.

It wasn’t an isolated occurrence and it wasn’t a secret that we kept very well.  It required boasting.  A lot of it.

We stole those golf carts probably two or three more times.  Each theft required a prerequisite game of “How many beers does Brantley need before this becomes a good idea?”  There was a bit of a sliding scale, but usually the magic number fell between 10 EB and 12 EB.

One night, we didn’t exactly return them in one piece.  A FedEx drop off mailbox leaped into the path of our cart and we couldn’t swerve (or stop swerving probably) in time to avoid it.  We crashed into that big metal box and knocked it about five feet from where it was bolted into the freaking cement.  We were cautious enough to only allow ourselves about 45 seconds of uninhibited laughter before we got the hell out of there before we found out exactly what the consequences of all of this would be.

Eventually we did find out exactly what the consequences of all of this would be.  It’s a total miracle that it wasn’t the hard way.  The rumors that circled the community took on a new tone.

The Fraternity-type and his enormously chesty girlfriend were caught on a stolen golf cart.  Campus police threw the book at them.  Both were hit with Grand Theft Auto.  Fratty-Polo guy was driving, so he got a complimentary DUI with it.

Learning from someone else's mistakes trumps felonies every time.

Looking back on all of this, these rumors were probably living up to the reputation of rumors.  Legendary things become legends pretty easily when drunken coeds are involved.  Stories that are passed around orally by people who only half-remember them evolve over time and truth  fades away into obscurity as the tales morph into outright lies.

Half-remembered stories orally passed around evolve over time, and truth fades away into obscurity as tales morph into outright lies.

The basis of this particular gossip seems believable enough though, even now.  We never stole golf carts again after that.

Moments of terrible judgement form the core of many great stories.

Oh yeah, like I said, this never happened.  I didn’t do any of this.  It’s illegal.

Democracy and the Greatest Drinking Game I’ve Ever Played

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One fateful day in late October, I was offered a life-changing opportunity in one of my Political Science classes.  

A public official was passing around a sign-up sheet for a paid opportunity to help work the polls on election day.  It was easy money for just a few hours of work, plus I would get the added intellectual bonus of peering behind the curtain to see the mechanisms of our great democracy!

Pole Dancing

Also, working the polls is exactly this glamorous.
Photo Credit: BoiseWeekly.com

I was available, so I put my name down on the list and was contacted a few days later with information on when/where to show up on that fateful night.

I apologize for how misleading this tale has been up to this point.  I don’t have any scintillating tales of what I saw when I peaked up our republic’s skirt.  Truthfully, it was an extraordinarily forgettable night.  Surrounded by many people my own age and many people at least triple my own age, we sat on folding chairs in a circle being very inefficiently managed.

Every so often we would be called for, just a few people at a time to move some boxes around.  Yes, this is how we elect the goobers that govern us.  We put stuff in boxes and then move the boxes around.  I just saved you a Civics course.  You’re welcome.

In the time in between rare bouts of labor I sat quietly, avoiding eye contact with these strangers and feeling very awkward in my own skin.  You see this election was a traumatic one for me.  Rick Scott was running against Alex Sink for Governor of Sex-Crazed Looney National Headline-Land (Florida for those who don’t realize the bizarre carnival that we risk our lives daily to inhabit).  It was the most transparent election that would ever be forced upon the public (hopefully).  A clear choice between the crook with a “(D)” next to her name or the crook with an “(R)” next to his name.  I couldn’t in good conscience contribute to the election of either.

Being a historically minded chap, I know that people have sacrificed so much for the right to vote.  Well, like, people other than white guys like me.  To not vote is to take a big pee on everything that those courageous individuals stood for.  The self-loathing made my skin crawl.  The feeling of my skin-crawling made my muscles crawl.  The ickiness of feeling my muscles crawl made my bones crawl.  I was spasming with contempt for myself.  Had someone thought to ask me which crook I voted for, I would have promptly thrown up on the floor, realizing that I had died a horrible death and was now sitting in my own personal hell.

Luckily, there were people my age in the room.  And like most people that age, they were talking about the important issues of the day (Tuesday, that is):  Getting drunk.  One fellow in particular was extremely bold and opinionated on the issue.

He was the Samuel Adams to our Constitutional Convention of strangers sitting on folding chairs in a dimly lit warehouse.  This analogy may or may not work.  I’m not sure whether or not Samuel Adams actually got the Facebook Invite to the Constitutional Convention.  As I understand it, he was a popular rabble-rouser in the bar who somehow drunkenly helped incite the American Revolution.  If this is incorrect, please don’t ever tell me because it makes my view of history at least 11x more awesome than the ones in the textbooks.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams – totally hammered and ready to revolt as usual.
Photo Credit: TheFederalistPapers.org

This enlightened individual bestowed upon our group a fruit from the tree of intoxication (you know, the one from Genesis).  That gift, ladies and gentlemen, was DRUNK MARIO KART.

Simple facts about childhood:

1.  At a certain age (generally 105 years old), you begin to rant and rave to younger people that your childhood was exponentially superior to theirs.  Your childhood took place in the Golden Age of Childhood, and the whole world has been steadily deteriorating since you stopped being a child.

2.  There is no Golden Age of Childhood.  Shut up about it already.

3.  If you insist on continuing this argument, I will crush you with this all-important question:  Did you play Mario Kart on your Nintendo 64 when you were a kid?  If you answered, “No, Brantley.  I played with sticks and dirt like God intended,” then your childhood was rotten and your parents didn’t love you.  

Mario Kart 64 cartridge

I’d hit that. I’d blow it too. Anything that it takes to get these stupid cartridges to work these days.
Photo credit: The giant friggin watermark on the picture.

Mario Kart is a video game featuring popular Nintendo characters such as “Italian- stereotype (#1 and #2),” “Reminder-That-All-Women-Are-Just-Damsels-In-Distress,” “There’s-Something-Racist-About-This-Gorilla-You-Just-Can’t-Put-Your-Finger-On-It,” “Horrifying-Dinosaur,” “Adorable-Dinosaur,” and of course, everyone’s favorite:  “Jovial-Effeminate-Fungus.”  In the game, each of the above stated characters that probably make sense somehow in Japanese culture race each other in go karts.  They battle their way to the finish line using weapons such as turtle shells, heat-seeking turtle shells, presents that aren’t actually presents, electrocution as an enhanced interrogation technique, temporary invincibility, and banana peels.

I sincerely hope that banana peels don’t actually cause car accidents, because I chuck them out the window when I’m out driving all the time.  They’re biodegradable and you can’t make me feel bad about this.

Drunken Mario Kart is hands-down the Greatest Drinking Game ever conceived. 

The rules are simple:

1.  You must finish your beer before crossing the finish line.

2.  You cannot drink and drive.  Put your controller down to chug your beer. 

3.  Avoid cliche “Fight Club” references when listing out the rules of Drunk Mario Kart.

For those crunching the numbers, races only take around 3-4 minutes on average.  Even if you stop frequently to drink your beer, races still don’t exceed 5 minutes.  Power Hour is for sissies.

The key to avoiding alcohol poisoning is to make sure that you have more than 4 people playing.  I recommend at least 6-8.  After each round, the first and second place finishers get to play again, while the losers in third and fourth place surrender their spot to other people waiting in the wings.  This increases the amount of time before someone vomits on your rug.

Don’t be surprised that this becomes a game of varying strategies.

Some people choose to park at the starting line and chug as much of their beer as they can stomach.  Racers in third and fourth place get the best weapons from the randomized system, so starting off behind gives you the means and the time to catch up and take the lead.

Others throw down their controller every time they hit an obstacle.  In the first several rounds, most players don’t find enough chugging time to finish their beer before reaching the finish line using this technique.  Later on in the night, obstacles become much easier to hit and those moments when your kart is toppling through the air amount to enough time to finish that can.

A third approach is to park just before the finish line and then chug the entire beer before everyone else catches up.  It’s bold, it isn’t common, and it’s risky.  You are banking on draining that brew before your competitors can chew through the substantial lead that you’ve developed by not popping the top until those last inches before the checkered line.

If you haven’t finished your beer before crossing the finish line, you are disqualified and have to give up your controller.  It’s probably for the best anyways.  If you are no longer in a condition where you can casually chug a beer every 4 minutes, you should consider taking a break from your consumption.

As I stated above, the night was quite forgettable other than this particular nugget of wisdom.  Eventually, the ballots arrived in giant stacks of boxes piled high on wooden pallets and then shrink-wrapped into place.  My contribution to the unfortunate election of Governor Voldemort?  Moving those ballots from right here to over there.

Rick Scott Voldemort Comparison

But seriously, look at these two. They could be twins that take turns sharing a nose.
Photo Credit: Cheezburger.com

If you can top this drinking game, I will mail you a hand-made coupon for a six-pack.  It won’t be redeemable anywhere, but I will put like $10 in the envelope with it so we can just pretend that it is legit.