Just so you know, growing up and being forced to grow up are not the same. Growing up is a natural process for women and some men that involves moving away from home, getting productive jobs, marrying and having kids, and stopping all of the immature nonsense you thought was so funny in school. Those of us who are forced to grow up also do many of these, but we often don't know how we got around to doing them. We just drift through life doing adult things because we know in the recesses of our minds that we should do these things so that we make our parents proud and don't go to hell. And occasionally, an event reminds us that we are of an age when we should probably spend less time throwing up in bars and more time contributing to society by plowing streets or curing cancer.
I recently had to sit through something that reminded me just how old yet immature I am. There are few words that strike more fear in the hearts of guys than "parent-teacher conference." As a kid, I remember sitting on pins and needles wondering what I hadn't been called out on in school but was about to get crucified for at home. Or maybe I knew what it was, because the teacher had already punished me -- but I'd neglected to tell my parents. I am proud and unsurprised to say that when I was the parent at the conference rather than the subject of it, everything went well -- but I desperately needed a beer after the experience.
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Serendipity intervened, and JP deigned to grace us with his presence after a long absence. It was a near thing, though. We'd touched base a few days earlier, but then he dropped back into his black hole. The night in question, he texted me -- then waited a full five rings before answering. With his history of not returning calls two seconds after sending a text message, my blood pressure was high. But I shouldn't have doubted JP: He quickly stepped back into his role as a major Institute agitator. Still, we do not recognize his lame excuse of expecting a daughter (there is some justice in this world) as absolution for his absence.
The Redneck Liaison was already at the Recovery Room (819 Colorado Boulevard) when we arrived, decompensating rapidly due to our absence. Since he'd been drinking since noon, we thought he wouldn't care that we were a little late -- but at the Rec Room, it's good to have company. This is a pro's bar. Sure, it's across from University Hospital, and some hospital staff, patients and families no doubt frequent the place, but the heavy-handed drinks they serve could send you back to the ER as a patient.
In addition to its powerful mixers, the bar offers a good selection of draft beer. (There's no food, but the bar keeps menus from nearby eateries handy.) Unfortunately, a young lady who'd also been drinking since noon had no ballast in her stomach and got into a violent phone altercation with her boyfriend that ended with her hurling her phone over our heads at the wall. Even worse, she decided to come over and pitch her tale of woe. We could not have been more disinterested, but she kept on even as the Redneck yelled at her to go find her phone.
She finally tired of us and stumbled into the bar, then fell on the floor. It really was a buzz kill. We'd been having an enjoyable evening telling lies, abusing JP for his absence and basically seeing who could spout more BS at the loudest volume, and the Recovery Room was the perfect spot to do this. In one fell swoop, though, that girl made us want to hang up our drinking shoes. But I know we'll bounce back. That's what you do when you grow up.