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54b's Tailgating Tales

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Last week I provided BON readers with my own unsolicited perspective from INSIDE the 2006 Rose Bowl I know you all loved it because at least 3 of you read it. So with all that positive consumer feedback, I felt more than incompetent to provide you with another unsolicited perspective from OUTSIDE the 2006 Rose Bowl.

First off, I don't give a shit how nice the weather is, how easy the women are, or what the song says, "I hate LA." Los Angeles is nothing more than a facade. It is completely fake, it takes five hours to move five feet in any direction, and 98% of the people living there can't afford to be - basically it's just like Neiman Marcus during the holidays except the guy dressed up as Santa and ringing a bell is actually an escaped mental patient/out of work B-Movie Star who thinks he's spreading good cheer when in reality he's pissing on your rental car.

Though none of that is news for the locals whose motto is "Life is painful and anyone who tries to tell you different is trying to sell you something." And for those of you playing at home that skipped the trip to La-La land for the Natty C, that is LA in an over-indulgent, exceedingly pretentious, self-aggrandizing, fake blonde bombshell-nutshell...that being said, the pseudo rock star, celebrity wannabe in me still paid double for atmosphere and shacked up right outside Beverly Hills at a little too-cool-for-school placed called The Grafton on Sunset Blvd (one of those hotels that puts 17 different kinds of soaps in your bathroom, all of which are too small to do any good unless you've got some time to kill and you're into butt bingo).

So why begin my tailgating tales with a rant about the stereotypically obvious and further indict myself as just another naive tourist who paid way too much for a hotel room that, if located anywhere else in the world, would only be frequented by hookers (and married guys who got kicked out of their homes for frequenting hookers)...well because I need you, the sophisticated reader, to suspend disbelief and enter my state of mind round about 7 am, Wednesday, January 4. That's right Game Day baby, Game Day. But not just any Game Day, National F'ing Championship Game Day.

54b with future porn stars Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart on Game Day.

Normally, I pride myself on being the consummate fan. We're talkin' first one at the tailgate, first one to get obnoxiously drunk and first one to pass out on the port-o-potty. But at this particular time, I wasn't living the dream; I was nursing a hangover (I beat the Viper Room, unlike River Phoenix) while waiting for the next Antonio Banderas to fetch my buddy's rental car so we could plow the road to Pasadena.

Oh, but not so fast, because over several drinks the night before, the group of us all staying at the same hotel decided that it would be "fun" if all us guys and our wives caravanned over to the Rose Bowl, instead of meeting there. Have you ever tried driving in LA, much less tried to coordinate a convoy of hung over, keyed up, Longhorns fans? Plus, I was doing it all from the behind the wheel of a PT Cruiser (International Males Car of the Year). Anyway, you know that scene in every MacGyver episode where Mac has three seconds left to prove he's not the ambiguously gay James Bond and diffuse a bomb made out of an old Nintendo console, but he can't decide whether to cut the green wire or the red wire? Well, right about now I'm voting to cut both wires, hit the replay button, and take our chances in syndication.

By the time we got to Pasadena, we parked so far away (Yellow Balloon #7 for those of you who were there and care) that the Rose Bowl was still a rumor. Fortunately, one of my friends who had yet to suffer this life of subservient connubial fusion the rest of us guys had bridled ourselves with, had indeed arrived early and secured a primo spot only a pitching wedge from the stadium. Continuing with the painful golf analogy, me and my cooler full of ice cold beer were a 587-yard dogleg left from his tailgate. How do I know it was 587 yards? Because the Rose Bowl is surrounded by a golf course, of all things, and apparently on this day I was parking from the tips while my friend's tailgate was next to the #9 putting green... Needless to say, by the time me and my disintegrating cooler made it to the tailgate, I was in no mood to observe the 90-degree rule or rake the sand trap after pissing in it.

Once we got to the tailgate though, I started drinking - and I mean drinkin'. For all you Aggies (excuse me, Agro-Americans) out there, "I weren't no T-Sipper, I were a T-Chugger." From about 11 am on, I was double fisting like I was Leaving Las Vegas. About 2 pm, I switched to guns and went for the Vodka. Looking back, that was probably a mistake, but when you're inebriated in a negative G stupor, you don't think. If you think, you're sober. Gutsiest move no one ever saw man, if I do say so my damn self. If I was in Columbus, I would have given myself a buckeye. It was that meaningless, but then again, it meant everything. Hey, it's the BCS, you got step up. There was no tomorrow, there was no "and 1" game. For Pete Carroll's sake, this was Southern Cal, the big game, the National F'ing Championship. You got to drink 120%, put it all in your liver so you can leave it all out on the field (or in the hole on the #9 green, yirp!).

Speaking of USC, we didn't mix with a lot of their fans (probably because they like to arrive halfway through the first half) but we did receive a visit from the fake Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush... Apparently these tools didn't get the memo that we were going helmets and shorts today because they were locked on, and I mean full tilt - helmets, uniforms, full-pads, eye black and my personal favorite, 3/4 inch cleats (well it had rained the night before, grass was wet, it was good move). Anyway, we exchanged beers for a photo op and despite being half in the bag, I still had managed to have a moment of clarity when I realized that there really was something a little odd about two grown men dressed up like football players this far away from Hollywood Blvd. So I ask them while we all had our arms on each other's shoulders: "Are you guys porn stars?" Fake Reggie's response: "Not yet." Just a classic moment all the way around. Truthfully, I bet those guys could pool all sorts of strange... well, if only they didn't live with their mothers.

About 3pm, I had tired of making the journey of a 1,000 steps to take a piss in the California emissions tested Port-o-cans set up by the Pasadena Po-Po, so I found a nice ravine next to some Trojan's mini-truck (License Plate: TOMMY). By the time I was done pissing, the Arroyo Seco had a new tributary. And speaking of the Arroyo Seco, what the hell is that. It looks like a drainage ditch and it runs through the middle of the valley next to the Rose Bowl, but USC fans tried to pass it off as a river because of all the rain they'd had lately. I told them in Texas, we call that a Slip'n Slide. Hell, all I needed was an inner tube, a pair of jorts (jean shorts to the lay person), and a Ziplock baggy with cigarettes and I'd have been in Mexico by moring. Anyway, not too long after that, I think I blacked out because the next thing I remember is entering the Rose Bowl and noticing that my wife was trying to force feed me a $10 Mad Cow Kabob while trying to explain to security personnel "that it was okay, I was born this way."

Well that about covers the lowlights. We won the game and I made it back to Tejas in one piece as soon as I could. If I did anything illegal, it hasn't been reported on my credit card yet. Though I have heard rumors that I morphed into Crazy Platonic Kissing Guy shortly after the Longhorns epic victory. Men, Women, Trojans, no one was safe from my wrath. Hey, it happens. Oh well, all was not lost, some guy named Ang invited me to an open casting call for some movie called "Brokeback Mountain 2: Temptation Crevasse."

Personally, I give my tailgating performance a 7 (it would have been higher, but I don't play in the Pac 10)... Looking back, I could have drank harder, lasted longer, and pissed less. Plus, no farm animals were involved, no one was seriously hurt or maimed, and any LA Story that doesn't begin or end in Vegas can't be considered for top honors. All and all, solid tailgate though. I still hate LA, but I wouldn't mind going back to the Rose Bowl. And who knows, someday maybe I'll even grow up, but chances are good my son will beat me to it.

Have a good weekend and Hook'em.

--54b--