Friday, August 31, 2012

There is a nationwide shortage of stupid drunken fun

 and the lack of it is costing us an awful lot as a society.

The Do-Gooders of this world are creating a lot more problems than they are solving by working overtime at eliminating this. They think they are making the world a nice place by removing drunken stupidity but I seem to think that they are simply making the world a more drab and unsafe place to live.

Back when I lived in Alaska most towns had a couple of to-dos every year that involved the entire town going out and getting plastered under the guise of some sort of stupid contest.

My favorites were the Annual Buskin River Raft Race and the Pillar Mountain Open.

I have posted about the time I entered the Pillar Mountain Open as a member of the woman's team. Me and the girls had a fine time chippieing our way to the top. I got a bunch of good natured drubbings for that one over the next several weeks. I only got one nasty drubbing and that was by a woman that really did not belong in that particular town and I shut her up to the amusement of everyone present by simply saying, "You're just jealous because my tits had scotch in them!"

Anyway, I had been in the Buskin River Raft Race a few years before this but it really wasn't too memorable because I hadn't spent the entire winter in Kodiak and had just returned from a vacation where the weather was warmer and I didn't have the right amount of cabin fever pent up inside of me.

A few years later I HAD spent the year in Kodiak and in fact had been there for about two or three years without leaving once. I had a nice, pent up nasty parcel of Alaskan Cabin Fever raging on mm insides and it was definitely time to blow it out. A drunk in an Alaskan bar was useless, even a three day drunk because it wasn't the same as getting out and getting physical and stupid.

I spoke to one of the bar owners about an idea I had and the barkeep was game. I asked the owner if they could score a pallet full of factory sealed empty beer cans to make a raft out of and a few days later the barkeep told me that the Rainier brewing company was sending up a pallet with the next shipment, free as in for nothing.

I think the Vitaman R people knew advertising when they saw it and I suppose they figured that we would spend countless hours carefully and painstakingly building a raft out of the beer cans.

The truth is that I had not planned ahead and ordered the cans on impulse without a whole lot of time. They arrived a few days before the race so four of us carefully discussed how we could build a raft out of them.

The day the beer cans arrived we were at the bar when the truck showed up and I decided to give a show of strength so I simply slid the pallet to the end of the truck and summoned my strength, jammed the inside of the pallet against my gut and hoisted the entire pallet up off of the truck. The empties actually weighed nothing. The pallet was clumsy but still it looked pretty impressive. Someone snapped a picture and gave me a print which I managed to lose somewhere. I wish I still had it because there are not a whole lot of guys that have a picture of themselves lifting what appears to be an entire pallet of beer.

We had two days until race day so we simply scrounged a condemned piece of shrimp netting, cut it into a rough square and dumped all of the beer cans into it and put the 4 corners into the center and laced the seams up with seine twine. The whole process took about half an hour. Instant raft.

Race day we tossed the raft into the back of a pickup and a bunch of us, in defiance of all safety regulations and local laws, hopped into the back of the pickup with no safety belts or helmets and off we went to the race. Surprising everyone in this day and age, no one was injured. To add to this disgusting display, it should be carefully noted that we had been drinking since right after breakfast.

We arrived at the appointed chunk of the river three sheets to the wind. There were the various competitors with a number of different rafts, some of whick looked like they had taken weeks to build. Others looked like they were built the night before.

We took our places and the official race starter was a local police officer, who in contravention to all safety rules and regulations, started the race with his duty pistol. Bang! We were off.

There were about 30 or so rafts and the start was a hodgepodge of people with a myraid of different styles, about half of which didn't float. Doc, Dirty Donnie, Wrongway and I just threw the bag of beercans into the drink and she floated lightly in the river but having no skeleton, the only way to ride her was on our bellies clinging to the webbing.

A couple of the rafts were well constructed and thought out. One was made of construction foam and they glided straight into the lead. Another few well designed rafts followed. They, of course, would be disqualified for trying too hard.

The rest of us were a mass of flotsam and jetsam and we looked like the stuff you would see on the surface of the sea after a banana boat had been torpedoed. Of course, fighting broke out between everyone.

Then fighting broke out between us. Doc and I blew up with each other and started trying to beat each other silly which really drew no attention. We had nothing against each other, we were just venting pent up frustration of a winter's worth of cabin fever. We also fought because the water was so damned cold and we were trying to keep warm. In real life, Doc and I were the best of friends.

We pulled into the first beer stop and knocked back one and were off like a shot and reentered the fray.

Someone on a raft made of inner tubes passed us too closely and my knife came out and after a couple of slashes he was forced to abandon ship. He dragged the debris ashore and ran down and joined our crew.

Somewhere between beer stop 4 and 5 we had to pass under a bridge lined with race watchers. Doc spied a very attractive, well dressed woman on the bridge. She was holding a tall glass. Doc shouted up to her.

"If that has booze in it, gimme a snort!" Doc shouted. He looked up and held his mouth open.

What happened next was discussed among us for months. As we passed under the bridge the woman tipped her glass and poured out about four ounces of what Doc later said was gin and tonic.With pinpoint accuracy every single drop of it went straight into Doc's mouth and down his throat. I was maybe three feet away and will attest that not a single drop missed.

At the finish line we dragged the raft ashore and we all simply stuffed it into a dump truck supplied by a local contractor for the purpose of taking debris to the dump and the second that was done we headed straight to the bonfire to warm up.

Most of us were on the edges of hypothermia and were greeted warmly by most of the townspeople that were there to watch the chaos. One of the city councilmen I knew vaguely saw me shivering when I got to the fire and offered me a snort of blackberry brandy which I gratefully accepted. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the madam of the local whorehouse talking and laughing with the chief of police. There were a couple of guys wrestling on the ground and people were laughing and getting out of the way as the match moved around a bit.

The party lasted for hours and there was much laughter and one could see a lot of fences that had been damaged over the winter were being mended. It was also duly noted that none of the local do-gooders of a certain church were to be seen is such a den of iniquity and that was briefly discussed. While we were glad they were not to be seen, we cringed at what they were plotting to do with this annual event.

One guy there that had coped with winter by drinking himself into a coma all winter asked one of the cops what he had to do to get a few days in jail so he could dry out was told to drop by the station and they'd see what they could do. (He dried out and stayed sober until the following February when the winter demons got to him again.)

In short, just about everyone there was plastered and stupid and a good time was had by all.

I rode back to town illegally and unsafely in the bed of a pickup truck driven by a city councilman I had argued with several weeks beforehand.


For the next month the entire town was in pretty good spirits. There was the to be expected telling and retelling of the individual deeds and misdeeds and much laughter. People were not snappish anymore, at least without cause and the entire town except for the do-gooders were in fine spirits. For one small town a long winter was over.

Of course, the local preacher of the do-gooder church got on the pulpit and ranted and raved and bellyached about the sinfulness of it all. A couple of years later they end ran things and got both the state police and the national headquarters of the sponsering fraternal organization involved and things came to a screeching halt.

The world then became a little more of a drab place to live.
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