Maybe due to my crafty lie (after all, BriTANick is responsible only for disease) or because she was glad to get me out of the house, my wife gave me the green light for a boy's night out and even set up a nice bed of pillows and comforters on the couch so I wouldn't wake her with 3 a.m. drunkenness.
Having cleared my night, I next had to pick my wardrobe. I struggled to find fashion that was capable of both accenting my international website columnist credentials and masking my "blogger's gut." I opted for the always safe button-down shirt and jeans combination, and caught my train into the big city. It had been so long since I'd been out on a Saturday night. All the young female receptionists and IT geeks from my work week had apparently spent the afternoon in emo chrysalises that allowed them to emerge as Saturday night goth princesses or steampunk divas or whatever the current terminology is for someone who wears black and makes me think about deviant sex. And the men, well, I'm sure there were men in the city, too. I didn't notice.
"Yes, fathers are a chronic, bitter disappointment, aren't they?"
The black-clad youth milled around outside the Bowery Ballroom smoking cigarettes and feigning sadness. That's when I realized I'd given the cabbie the wrong address, because I was actually supposed to be at the Mercury Lounge, blocks away. A second cab ride and moments later, I found a more earnest and Irish crowd filling the bar.
Unfortunately, the Azkaban Tormenter working the door told me the Bandits had failed to leave a guest list. I looked down at her crooked mouth of misery, wondering what to do, but just then I heard the door behind me open and I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Blindboy and the largest Chinese dude I've ever seen.
"Jaysus!" he said to the troll woman. "That's Gladstone! He's with me."
She quickly stamped my hand. "Sorry, I just assumed he was a narc."
No sooner was I in the venue than I was whisked downstairs to a private underground party area containing lots of PBR, some girls and more Chinese dudes.
"Sorry I was late," Blindboy said. "I was at the Statue of Liberty. Bit shit, isn't it? Tupac's not even buried there."
One of the large Chinese dudes handed me a PBR.
"Um, yeah. So are these guys your friends?" I asked.
"Ya, Triads," he said. Gas bastards altogether. We met in Chinatown and offered them a job doing security. Can't be too safe in the crazy world of gangsta rap."
Pictured above: One of the bodyguards posing with his 6-foot-5-inch wife.
"Is that why you wear those bags?" I asked.
"A bit. You saw the news, right? Jay-Z clearly had Whitney Houston assassinated to make room in the Illuminati for his baby with Beyonce!"
Just then, Blindboy's counterpart, Mr. Chrome, entered, reeking of ecstasy and good cheer and dragging some dude who'd driven seven hours from Rochester to see the show. But an even more impressive display of fandom was the man's "Spastic Hawk" tattoo -- an image from a
only a few months old.
Sign of true fandom or mental illness?
"Are you insane?" I asked him. "It's too soon for a tat. The song just came out. You need perspective. Some time to figure out if it's "Let It Be" or "Octopus' Garden."
There was a silence as the fan slunk away. Apparently, in one thought I'd managed to simultaneously insult both the performers by likening their song to a possible Ringo composition and the fan who had already committed his devotion to permanent ink.
"Who the fuck is this?" Chrome asked.
"I told you. It's Gladstone from Cracked.com." Blindboy answered.
Through the holes in his Tesco bag, I could tell that Chrome was not amused.
"Blindboy, Cracked's got an O'Brien, another O'Brien, a Reilly, a McGinley and a McKinney. Why the fuck are we drinking with the site's only Jew?"
"That really is a fair question," I said. "And here's another -- why are two Irish guys drinking PBRs?"
"In Ireland this stuff is an imported delicacy served in hipster bars for about 7 euros. I can't believe it flows cheaply on tap over here."
"That's because it's crap. That's the whole point. Hipsters drink it because it sucks."
"Well, then here ya go, Gladstone," Blindboy said, handing me the bottle of 12-year-old Jameson Irish Whiskey. "Maybe if you get a few shots of this into you you'll stop acting like a tight-arsed gowl."
Just then, a flash didn't go off because no one took a picture. (Fortunately, much later, we employed an acting technique I like to call "sucking" and recreated the moment.)
And it looked a lot like nothing resembling this.