17 September, 2004

A few hours among normal people

For the first time in my life, I have come home smelling of beer. It wasn't because I drank any; I can count the number of occasions that I have drunk alcohol on one hand, and tonight wouldn't add any fingers.

[Edit: a few corrections at the end.]

My roommate Rich plays trivia on Tuesday nights with a group of friends at Sammy's Tap and Grill. The team name is Hodge Podge, because they'll take anyone on the team. I can't list the name of the other teams I remember; they're just a little too vulgar.

I have joined them on two occasions. They usually win, if for no other reason than that one guy goes around and buys other customers' drinks if they tell him the answer. For each 1st place victory, the team wins a $50 gift certificate. (I think it's $50.) When the winnings accumulate to around $400, they hold a party and blow all the cash on a decadent meal.

I was sitting at one end of our assemblage of tables. Rich sat to my left. Across the table from Rich was the game's emcée, Bruce; next to Bruce and across the table from me was Bruce's apparent girlfriend. Since Sammy's is a sports bar, various players' jerseys hung about the room; baseball and football games played on several televisions, and a live band played in the main room. As is the rule with live bands, all conversation at a normal tone of voice was precluded, so no one spoke much, nor at length; rather, we shouted our staccatoed conversations. The women at the other end of the table managed somehow to hold their own, bursting into laughter from time to time. I found that odd, since the band's speakers were nearer to them.

I would have been content to watch the Red Sox play the Yankees, but the game suffered two rain delays, so I didn't get to watch much.

So how is it I came home smelling like beer? At one point, Bruce's girlfriend wanted to say something to Rich, and to punctuate her statement she swung her arm, toppling a beer bottle in the process. The half-full bottle fell to the table, and beer spurted out: onto the table, then onto me.

As my friends Mike and Laura say, it's always good to have me around, because I'm a food magnet: any food's that's going to be spilled, will gravitate towards me!

There were about 15 of us that evening, maybe 20. I had a $5 plate of two hot dogs and fries; I also asked for some cole slaw, but the waitress came back to me later and apologized: The kitchen tells me that we're out of cole slaw. Okay then, I answered; I'll take the hot dogs without cole slaw. Rich ordered a couple of pizzas that he shared with everyone. Other people ordered steak and cheese sandwiches, hamburgers... the usual bar food.

Some of those plates cost $10 or $15; but that still wouldn't end all the money. So the leaders of the group order several rounds of drinks to toast the university's football team in their game tomorrow against The Ohio State University. The first drink was the appropriately-named red snapper; the second, a jaeger bomb. (I might be spelling this latter one wrong.) Rich drank my red snapper, handing me his car keys in the process. The leaders gave my jaeger bomb to a gentleman at another table.

When the bill came, the leaders asked us to put in $5 each for a tip. I had no problem with that, although I was curious what other people ordered, so I asked to see the bill. I chuckled at three things.

First: The cost of my plate ($4.88) was less than what I paid for the tip ($5). So much for the prospect of a free dinner!

Second: Nearly $100 alone was spent on those two rounds of drinks.

Third: A $0.38 charge for cole slaw.

1. Rich points out that I also had a Sprite, and I ate a couple of cheese sticks, so technically part of my dinner was free.

2. Nevertheless, Rich felt bad about not warning me about the tip, & so he gave me $5. So I did, in fact, get a free meal. I need to write stuff like this more often :-)

3. I should also mention that one team member, Heather, brought a cake she had baked, & I had a piece. It was delicious.

4. According to Rich, the team name is because each team member has his (her) own specialty. Also, the name is a play on words, since Julius Hodge was (maybe still is?) a star of the university basketball team.

I think that's everything... :-)

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