mercredi 27 août 2008

Guy's Denver Diary: "Drinking/Games," or "Sloshed Beyond Politics"

August 27: Denver, CO I found myself at a "keg party" just off the University of Denver campus at the Lambda Chi Alpha "frat house" where I drank Coors Light from a "keg," Coors being a watery version of German style American beer which is called in its advertising the "silver bullet" and "Rocky Mountain cold." I was puzzled by these names for beer, this "silver bullet" nickname, as if the beer were a firearm, and also this "light." When it was explained that light means, "yo', it means it don't make you fat, bro" I pointed out to my drunk host ("Kevin from Utah") the inherent contradiction between the calories of "beer" and the claim of "light." To which the "dude" "Kevin," replied, "You know sitting around thinking about words all day can make you fatter than beer does." I was ushered away from this line of inquiry by "Jason from Kansas" who was a history buff, who challenged me more than once to say whether I thought Napoleon's army failed in their Eastern campaigns not because of a poor military strategy but rather "because their uniform buttons made of tin were atomized by the cold of Russian winters." I evaded this acute Jasonian query but agreed with him to participate "par jeu" in "a drinking game" called "The Beer Hunter," an apparent reference to the Russian roulette scenes of a fictionalized POW camp in The Deer Hunter film. This involved shaking one can of beer out of a collection of seven. Then, the sudsy dangerous shaken "bullet" can was shuffled in among the "safe" cans. Each participant then held a can to his forehead in full knowledge that the soon-to-be opened can might be the "bullet" can which would "explode" onto his face. I confess genuine "heartland terror" as I held a Coors can to my head and slowly drew back the top. The "loser" was a "dude" named "Brad" who was then required to guzzle four beers de suite. Brad then proceeded to vomit the contents of his stomach ("hurl", also known as "the technicolor yawn" and "laughing at the carpet"). From there we were picked up in a taxi (our driver, "Sam," was an African-American former garbage collector from Louisville who, to my astonishment, claimed he'd once met Martin Luther King Jr "in a Tennessee dirty spoon, back in '65, that man liked to eat his B-B-Q, lemme tell you"). Sam dropped our frat-boy "posse" off at a local music-cabaret-bar called "The Thirsty Frog" where a "cover" band played songs by musicians with names like "Metallica," and "Slayer," among other grimly titled "metal" impresarios. The jet-engine amplification, the banners and countless television screens seemed to bleed into the manic energy level of my hosts whose serial "downings" of "brews" and "shots" and "depth-chargers," all the while so cleanly shaved and groomed, clad in Polo shirts and Levis, exchanging "fist bumps," displaying both a naive reckless belief in their immortality while in their taste of music, an oddly Thanatos-orientation. When I brought up the impending Democratic National Convention, "Eddie from Kentucky," said, "Hope they win, I mean FUCK George Bush, man, he screwed this country up worse than Saddam did to Iraq," to which Jason replied, "Bush was an idiot from Day One just that no one saw it." When I asked them whom they were voting for, they groaned, demurred and then raised their glasses and said simply, "Politicians are worse than child molesters, dude." Then they asked me who the President of France was. To my surprise, "Brad from Boston" chimed in that "That crazy Sarkozy guy" is the French prez, "the one who snagged Carla Bruni: total-fucking-cougar!" and, punching up an image of la dame de Sarko on his iPhone, as the boys were so libidinally engaged by Carla Bruni that they congratulated me "on just being born French, man you guys know how to get laid!" They insisted I "high five" them, and then, to my utter shock, ordered from the bar a bottle of Moet, which they put on "Gary from Detroit"'s "plastic." To which I had no choice, I was told but to "chug" the Champagne. I managed to drink down half the bottle at once which earned me even higher marks and, increasingly intoxicated by this American wolf-pack, I helped, later that morning, when we decided to "birthday suit," (ie shave the chest and arm hair off) a particularly drunk and comatose "Craig," a "psych and economics double major and total hick" from Oklahoma, who, I was informed, "is such a dick that he told the house captain we had a keg'orator installed and practically got us evicted."

I paid dearly for my frat-house équippé next day with an enormous gueule de bois. I was informed (by "Dave from Nebraska") that I had started "slurring in French the whole drive home, and, dude, you were going on about some chick named Celine. We thought you were talking about Celine Dion." I bid Dave adieu and ambled off the campus toward downtown. As I breathed deep the thin "mile high" air and gazed up at the "big sky," and the harsh, late summer sun, I began to sense a stripping away of my habitual European profoundeurs. Stopping in a local "sporting goods shop" called "Touchdown," I chatted amicably with "Russ," a tan, moon-faced "former kayaking champion" who explained his family's genealogy to me, Apache blood on his grandmother's side ("though she was raised in San Diego, her father was a former warrior chief named "Red Rock Eagle". After his glory days, he lived on a reservation outside Santa Fe and drank himself to death"). From Russ I purchased a "Colorado Rockies" baseball cap and, taking up his suggestion that I cure my "hangover" with "hair of the dog that bit ya," I emerged onto the Denver streets like a born again Tom Sawyer, at large in an America every bit as tribal and yet mobile as our pre-Roman ancients. Caught up in the American fascination with sports-- "beer pong" "Super Bowl," "the race to the White House," "battle for first," "World Series" "world champs," I felt gladitorial myself in my baseball cap, yet also innocent because that sportive air, as if Being itself were really a mere Game. I was briefly content to believe post-Rousseauian ideologies and post-Marxist inquiries were mere intellectual versions of that card game Solitaire, especially compared to my rugged, directionless sojourn through this light-filled Rocky Mountain city, a dude-flâneur, who secretly hoped he'd never find this "Pepsi Convention Center" where the "Race to the White House" awaited my passive reportage.

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