By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
Many things cause guys to regress and act half their ages. Women, for example, can turn even accomplished hounds into virtual teenagers who will do anything -- including change their hairstyle, clothing and job -- to impress them. When a guy gets "sick" with the sniffles, he can put on an amazing act that makes the cold virus appear to be a virulent strain of Martian Death Flu, insist that he be waited on hand and foot and that the CDC be contacted (but he sure as hell won't go to the doctor, even if he really needs to -- and 90 percent of the time, he doesn't) all in the hopes that his significant other will take on a motherly role and let him sit on the couch sucking on banana Popsicles while he watches game shows all day like he did in grade school. And any gathering of a guy's high school or, worse, college buddies instantly transports him back to the age of 21, max.
The Head of Drinking Regrets, a few Professor Emeriti from my squadron at the Air Force Academy and I recently had a meeting of the minds at Kona Grill (3000 East First Avenue) on the north side of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. Despite being told on our arrival that the kitchen was about to close, and subsequently being subjected to whining by the waitstaff about how they'd put in a long day, we still managed to dumb down the general Cherry Creek area for a couple of hours.
At the Academy, since we couldn't lead a normal college life that consists of spending the week drinking in our dorms, skipping class and sleeping with anything that moves, we instead spent the weekends drinking ourselves silly and sleeping with anything that moved. To maintain our sanity during the week, we employed a particularly offensive brand of physical humor, slamming doors as loudly as possible, engaging in booger and water fights and committing actual assaults in the form of lethal tittie twisters.
Since we'd gotten a head start sucking down killer margaritas poolside at my place, we'd already reverted to this level long before we thought about taking our brand of juvenile slapstick comedy on the road. But as the Head of Drinking Regrets noted: "I'm not drunk, I'm just slurring. Give me a break -- I've had a cough touple of days!" So we headed straight for Kona Grill.
We parked ourselves on the patio, where the large fake fire was just begging one of us to jump over and/or into it -- as was one of our members, who sneered, "You won't do it!" Nobody can resist this sort of challenge. Peer pressure, along with gravity and Jessica Simpson, is one of the truly irresistible forces of nature.
And from there, our immaturity only grew. After I'd finished business in the facilities, I noticed a pile of extra toilet paper rolls in plain view inside a storage closet. Knowing that timing is everything, I ambushed Todd when he was otherwise indisposed. The impact of the high-grade industrial toilet paper (called "John Wayne paper" by my brother, because you have to be tougher than the Duke to use it) rocked him back on his heels. From that instant on, nobody in our group was safe. Hell, nobody in the entire restaurant was safe.
A simple attack in the can quickly escalated into an ice fight that caused significant collateral damage and civilian casualties at the surrounding tables. While obviously horrified, our neighbors didn't have the good sense to depart, so we moved on to hand-to-hand combat with half-nelsons and deadly purple nurples. At one point, despite being totally innocent, I was tackled into a chair and couldn't extricate myself for several minutes because a) I thought my wrist was broken and b) I was too busy trying to catch my next breath between howls of laughter.
As the night progressed, the decibel level from belly laughs and guffaws reached deafening, near-Who-concert levels. But in a testimony to American toughness, the patrons around us held their ground. In fact, an extremely inebriated young lady wanted to take on the winner of the wrestling match I entered into with the Head of Drinking Regrets. I think she was later escorted from the premises.
The evening almost ended in tragedy. After one of the guys foolishly went to the bathroom -- by now known as "the kill zone" -- the rest of us set up a major ambush. When the door opened, I jumped out and bellowed at the top of my lungs -- prepared to "stick" the victim in a fashion that would have made Dick Butkus proud. Fortunately, I was able to check myself in time once I realized this was a complete stranger. Other than cycling through a few non-fatal arrhythmias, he left unscathed. We, on the other hand, almost suffocated while rolling on the floor, laughing our fool heads off.
When I recounted this tale the next morning, one of my co-workers asked, "Do you guys live in the same frat house?" This is the most cogent analysis of guy relationships ever. Because despite our antics -- or perhaps because of them -- we managed to catch up and reconnect. We're already looking forward to our next reunion at the Kona Grill. The managers are very tolerant and the fire pit would make for a killer initiation rite.