No best out of three. No deliberation about what number we're going to count to before throwing. No time to over-think things. This is drunken Rock Paper Scissors, and the loser has to pee in the sink.
But it's no big deal. In fact, it's my idea. As fourth in an eight-man line for a single-toilet bathroom, I see that things aren't looking good for me and my bladder, which is up to the gunwales in six-dollar beers. "Dudes, why aren't we doubling up and having one guy piss in the sink?" I shrewdly suggest to my new pals. Laughs. High-fives. Bones. But no takers, except for the guy behind me. "Reaux Sham Beaux for the toilet?" I not-so-deftly offer. This guy is behind me; why would he say no?
Thank God I win. And even though my victory doesn't get me into the bathroom any quicker, I've just bonded with some guy I'll never see again (and couldn't pick out of a lineup) in a way that feels really significant in the moment. We cheer each other with the necks of our bottles, spill on the floor, swig with great enthusiasm. I nearly finish my beer in the time it takes the three guys in front of me to get in and out. I've never loved beer more in my entire life, and I can't wait to return to the table and begin tearing through my backup. I have no idea whether my new pal is sullying the sink, because when I finally get myself in front of the toilet, all I can think about is just how many beers are in my belly and how badly I want them to get. the fuck. out.
Figuring out just how many beers I'd already drunk before arriving at the Dugout (1925 Blake Street) around 11 p.m. is tricky. I buried six sixteen-ouncers in the eight and a half innings it took the Rockies to sweep the Phillies, so that's 96 ounces; I'd downed four cans of PBR at home before going to the game, and one more on the ride to LoDo, which is sixty ounces; and I've just finished my first beer at the bar. I'm no mathematologist, but by the twelve-ounce system, that's fourteen beers. And a shot of So-Co and cran. I'm really very lucky to be standing on my own.
I'm also fortunate that my friends haven't left me here. I've been gone almost twenty minutes by the time I find my crew in a booth by the door. And judging by the look on Maggie's face when I finally wobble back over, the idea of leaving me to fend for myself in this sea of purple and puke face was discussed at some point in my extended absence. Someone asks where I've been this whole time, so I launch into a rousing retelling of my bathroom adventures — how I righted the wrongs of those assholes at Coors Field who budged the bathroom line by sneaking in the out door, how I led a rip-roaring revolution of baseball fans whose bladders just couldn't wait for one toilet, how I offered to let some guy use the sink while I peed. One friend is clearly amused. Another — the same one who will trip on a flight of concrete stairs later in the night and call seven times the next morning to ask why his thumb is broken — barely looks conscious. I have no idea what I look like. Doesn't matter.
Because I feel like a hero.
What's your favorite neighborhood bar? Spill it to Drew Bixby at [email protected], and if he meets you there for a drink, the first round's on him.