You know it's going to be a good night when less than an hour into the proceedings, the Head of Research says, "I'm not even hungry anymore." Since this came after not a seven-course meal, but two hot wings, two Coors Lights and three shots of something called "Tuaca" (Spanish translation: "Tu," meaning "flammable," and "-aca," meaning "liquor that makes you wish you had never been born or at least had a large-caliber weapon nearby"), I could predict not just a good night, but catastrophic cottonmouth the next morning.
In typical fashion, we drank beyond the barrier of sanity while watching the Avalanche take the first game in the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Blue Line Bar and Grill (5151 Leetsdale Drive). This fantastic sports bar was suggested by bleary-eyed reader Kimber McNatt, who was kind enough to meet us there (the district attorney is currently considering filing charges of entrapment) and give us a little history. Apparently the place has gone through several unsuccessful permutations, most recently as a Le Peep. I think the Blue Line will stick -- although it would be nice if the bar started serving Le Peep breakfasts around midnight.
I knew this was a good spot the minute I saw three old friends in the lobby: Moon Patrol, Donkey Kong and Frogger. Since drinking obviously took precedence over all other activities, we didn't get to the video games until the first intermission. With our reflexes slowed and hints of double vision coming on, we then made the rounds of each game. I'm proud to say I thrashed the Head of Research in both Frogger and Moon Patrol.
Fortunately, the Blue Line has TV sets hanging from the wall every two feet, so we could watch the game even after we'd had so many beers that our eyes no longer looked in the same direction. The outdoor patio is even equipped with outdoor TVs -- a great guy idea. So are the unbreaded chicken wings, which make it possible to stick to the Atkins diet while drinking low-carb beers and doing shots. And there's a crowd scene papered to the wall, giving you license to act like a maniac because you're lost among the rest of the fans at the Can -- at least in your own mind.
The Institute of Drinking Studies is not just about studying the effects of alcohol on its research associates, however. We also strive to improve gender relations by showing women everywhere how much better off they are with whatever buffoon they're with than one of us. So as part of our outreach program this evening, we included women in addition to my girlfriend (who had to go with us because she knew that the Head of Research, the Head of the Pathologic Drinking Division and I would find a way to start a conflagration on the scale of the Hayman fire, given half a chance and a box of used matches).
Amazingly, each of these women was able to pause in the middle of endless conversations about hair, makeup, babies and feminine-hygiene products (judging from TV commercials, women feel as free to talk about this stuff as guys feel to scratch themselves) to cheer or groan at the appropriate point of the game. I believe this was a display of the feminine ability to multi-task that I've heard so much about. So we had no recourse but to try to distract them by engaging in locker-room behavior: making suggestive comments, boasting of sexual prowess, doing everything short of snapping them with a towel. We even tried talking hockey with the women, but finally resorted to talking hockey around them.
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Alas, the night showed us that breaching the gap between men and women may be beyond the scope of the Institute. It will probably require divine intervention, in the form of Oprah or Hugh Hefner.
Until that happens, we'll be at the Blue Line, drinking beer and watching the game. But hold the Tuaca.
And now an update: I'm happy to report that since I announced my campaign to unseat the Hickenlooper administration in this space two weeks ago, the mayor's office has already found itself in disarray. In a recent communiqué, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, the mayor's spokeswoman, had the nerve to ask why I was "ordering a Jack and Coke in a brewpub" -- instead of issuing me a public apology and the lifetime of free Wynkoop Brewing Co. beer I deserve.
But I did receive a ringing endorsement on another matter from Governor Bill Owens, who recently signed the new "Stay Right" law -- no doubt because of all the bitching and moaning I've done over the years. As of July 1, you can be ticketed if you use the left lane of a highway for anything other than passing. I'd advocated tactical nuclear weapons rather than tickets, but I'll take what I can get.