No, Not the Crock Pot!

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Sep 29th, 2006
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Many moons have passed since the completion of the 2006 World Drinking Tour and not one single post? Is it shame that keeps the faithful from imparting their tales? Perhaps … but as one without shame, allow me to cast the first stone.

It was rendezvous day. The day that our Belgium contingent would board their train and join Steve and myself in Amsterdam. The plan was to meet at 7:30 (pm) at the Café Belgique and then … game on.

Me and Steve? Well, we’d been in Amsterdam for a few days already and were starting to feel the effects of having done very bad things … lightly peppered with the pain that comes from knowing you still have bad things left to do. We had awakened – or better yet – “come to” at about 2pm and were walking to get some coffee. We were far too traumatized for a scone but secure in the knowledge that we’d bounce back by 7:30 and be ready to drink anew.

At roughly 2:15 we passed through the alley where the spectacular beer bar, In De Wildeman, is located. As fate would have it, I turned, looked, and saw Skippy walking into the Wildeman just as we passed. He hadn’t seen me yet. I turned to Steve and said,

“Hey, that was Skippy … they must be early … we should go have drink with him.”

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now Steve is not known for his Zen-like wisdom, in fact, given the right chemicals and the opportunity and he’ll drag you like a fool straight towards the most dangerous of dangers. But, on this day he morphed into the Yoda of organized bending and said:

“Now, you do know what it will mean if we meet up with Skippy now, don’t you?”

I did, in fact, know. And once you know … you can’t unknow. Still, we steeled ourselves and headed back to the bar.

As it turns out, Skippy and his brother had spent the entire train ride consuming the better portion of a fifth of home made lemincello. Lemincello, for those who don’t know, is a potent Italian liquor that looks like drug test urine and tastes like a combination of creamed corn and lemon furniture polish. It’s an acquired taste to be sure, and apparently Skippy had acquired it. He was already blasted.

Time passed, beer flowed, and Skippy fell further and further down the rabbit hole that is blind ass drunk. We met the rest of the crew at the Belgique shortly thereafter and well ahead of our original 7:30 time. A few beers at the Belgique, and then off to the Golum … another well oiled beer bar that will hurt you if you let it.

As we approached the Golum it was packed full of people. Skippy, in desperate need of a beer he desperately didn’t need, rushed into the fray while some of us hung outside. We were chatting away when … BAM! We heard a commotion behind us and noticed a Golum patron had completely passed out, fallen straight to the ground, and whacked his head solidly on the bricks for good measure. I mention this only because every member of our group had the exact same thought at the exact same second: “Is it one of ours?” (Translation: Skippy) Luckily it was not a member of our group, though the poor fellow had clearly hurt himself and did end up spending at least one night in Amsterdam at whatever passes for an Emergency Care facility. We wish him well.

More beers and then, as is always the case, Mr. Wilson suggested dinner. He is perpetually tired but driven to great feats of endurance by the fact that he is also perpetually starving. We agreed on Thai food, picked the locale, and made our way – stumbling Skippy in the lead – towards the real meat of this story.

It was shortly after ordering our meal at the Thai place that Skippy went quiet. We all saw the change and braced ourselves for the worst. First he stopped moving. Then he lost all the color in his face. Then he began the side to side sway that always means your having an internal dialog with yourself about NOT doing what you are thinking of doing next. Skippy’s bro leaned over to assist but Skippy waved him away quickly. His expression was now one of hopeless acceptance and, like the devil in that Charlie Daniels song; he knew that he’d been beat. What happened next will go down in history as one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

It was clear that Skippy was going to vomit. His eyes were watering and his cheeks puffed out mightily as his last drink, twelve previous drinks, and possibly drinks from trips past surged forth into the on deck circle. His lips made that pursed pucker that you see in grand and glorious fountains and he did the tell-all forward lean. Then, like an archer frog aiming for a fly on a leaf, one thin long stream of former cocktail arched forth and onto the floor as straight and precise as the dancing fountains at the Bellagio in Vegas. Ah, but that was it. One little warning shot across the bow and then nothing.

At this point the table was in quiet chaos. Some did the graveyard whistle as if to say “Um, he’s not with us”. Some mentally prepared for the impending horrid scene involving restaurant management and possibly local authorities. Skippy’s bro jumped instantly into “crisis solver” mode and scanned the immediate area for some vessel to place in the way of what would surely be a flood of beer, booze and bile. He and I both saw the potential salvation at the exact same instant … it was on a little ledge just above Skippy’s head … it was a crock pot. The pot was slightly above us so we could not tell if it was empty, plugged in, hot, cold or otherwise. Skippy’s bro threw caution to the wind and went for it, but I immediately shouted: “NO! Not the crock pot” … probably louder than I wanted to.

In my mind I had visions of a steaming hot crock pot full of some odd soup with fish eyes floating in it crashing down, burning “Kung Foo” tattoos into his arm, and showering Skippy in probably the only thing more foul than what was waiting for release in his stomach. My shout rang true, the attempt was halted, and Skippy, somehow, managed to pull it together. Oh, there would be more vomit … pounds of it I’m sure, but not here, and not in this restaurant.
Skippy went outside for some air as we finished our meal and paid the check. As we exited the restaurant we reunited with Skippy and his bro and headed back out into the night. As we passed his hotel, Skippy gave us a mournful look and said, “I’m done.” We nodded, for we knew he was done … only we knew at 3pm and it was now 9.

With a look that said, “Dammit! I want to keep drinking but I can’t because I’ve been drinking!” Skippy made his way inside and on to a long night of Technicolor yawning and false promises of sobriety. There would be another night and we knew he’d be there … ready to go. Even the world’s greatest homerun hitter needs to sit out an inning once in awhile.