Friday, July 31, 2009

Over The Line pt. 2 (2003)

FROM THE ARCHIVES, JULY 31 - You can read part one of this piece here.

We walked to a VIP liquor tent. Andy had gotten gravely tanked at the 48th OTL and was showing restraint this year. I ordered a free soda with my wristband and made a sour face on tasting Rum and Coke, flat and on tap. We sat in the shade. At some point people started gaping skyward. Here’s where my notes get a little fuzzy. A group of Navy SEALs descended by parachute (a normally $30,000 demonstration given free, in exchange for a recruiting tent by the bracketboard). As I peered towards the blazing sun, trying to catch the silhouetted squiggles, the half a cup of spirits in my gut worked its magic. This was maybe a quarter of all the alcohol I’ve ever consumed, and I learned an important lesson; don’t drink in the hot sun. In my momentary stupor, I missed the SEALs landing their parachutes, a quick citizen’s arrest of the Saddamn Hussein impersonator, the presentation of Saddamn Hussein to the US Navy, the awarding of a giant cardboard check for $25 million to Andy’s dad, the SEALs being given free drink wristbands and eventually forming their own team, which quickly lost. But what was the Navy SEAL team called? And did anyone join their cause at the recruiting booth?

At the port-o-johns, more revelations. There were toilets for Men, Women, OMBAC members, OMBAC members with lapdancer, People Of Color, Muslims, and Jews. I took a nice photo of the Jews bathroom. We walked along the southern track. Every 40 feet or so we were stopped by men on the far side of middle age, Andy’s “uncles”, and I was repeatedly made to show off my classic 1980 OTL “Announcer Stand Stupidos” shirt, a gift from Don. “Jesus Christ, Andy,” the men would say, jabbing stout fingers into my back, trying to figure out which cartoon figure represented their younger self. “I haven’t seen this shirt in years.”

Theoretically this was a sports event, and I made several attempts to watch the game itself. I understood that each team had only three players, that the bats were aluminum, that the foul lines in the OTL geometric softball field extend to infinity. I understood, from hearing their name repeatedly announced, that Time Out My Balls Hurt must’ve had some competent players. And yet it was hard to concentrate. Have I mentioned the penises? I’m hard pressed to recall the last time I've seen so much cock. Representational, of course – there were 6 foot inflatable dicks, cloth dongs hanging out of shorts, rubber dick noses disguises, limp foam schlongs on hats that obviously saw action precisely one time a year. Several times we were passed by the “weenie wagon”, a golf cart rigged with a squirting erection, driven, as busy work, by some forgotten old man of OMBAC.

The sun intensified. Every fifty feet, women in bikinis were implored by drunk men to doff their tops. It’s not fair or accurate to imply that all women on the island were harassed. But as soon as any lady made it clear she would be revealing her secrets, men descended in packs, like seagulls fighting over bread rolls. We completed our 3 hour circuit of the playing fields, sun stroked and dehydrated, moving slower and slower through a congealing sea of drunks, of burnt lobster flesh. A sense of menace crept into the proceedings. Back at the bracketboard, Andy’s dad wearily told us that they’d sold 12,000 shirts by midday, an all time record.

We trudged back to the parking spot. I will have melanomas ten years from now to remember the day by. Although it was easy to view OTL as a precursor to all of civilization hurling itself down the toilet, it was even easier to picture the exact opposite. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry may very well have felt at home on the sands of Fiesta Island, tanked, shrieking, waving their aluminum bats at Saddam, Fidel and Osama, locked in man’s eternal struggle against fellow man, rising to meet Time Out My Balls Hurt on a field yet to come.