Traveling Pt. 3 (or Traveling With a Vengeance)
I like to think the third installment of this trip is more like Return of the King than Return of the Jedi. We didn’t run into any Ewoks in Chicago, so already we’re off to a great start.
Have you ever noticed that low-end hotels only have like five TV channels, and that one of those channels always seems to be a special version of TBS that only shows programming written, directed, or starring Tyler Perry? Basically then you’re down to four channels because you can only hear a man in a floral nightgown shout “Oh my Lerd!” so many times before drinking whatever is under the kitchen sink.
Anyway, this Howard Johnson was no different and the only viable option for television was ESPN2 (ESPN was showing the Eastern Washington football game and their turf is the same hue of red that drives lions to kill their trainers, so that was out).
ESPN2 was showing the documentary “You Don’t Know Bo,” which is a very well done piece, but because I don’t have a career (but do have a TV) this was the third time I watched the biography of Bo Jackson. It’s amazing how much I did not know…about Bo.
We didn’t want to risk getting to the show late so Dan called down to the front desk for a cab. The woman at the front desk responded promptly with, “We no call cabs they come by all the time I see one now.” I don’t live in a city and this woman’s eloquent words reminded me that Chicago has more than three cabs, so we were fine.
When we finally hailed a cab we got one of those drivers that your parents warn you about. This guy totally scammed us. He refused to go through any yellow lights and I’m pretty sure he stopped at the greens “Just to be safe,” as well. For a mile and a half cab ride it was way more expensive than it should have been, so I called him a crook and didn’t tip him.
The Chicago Theater was atwitter with Trailer Park Boys fans. Dan, John, and I got not one, but two poorly lit pictures of the three of us in front of the marquee. Both pictures are so blurry that if you force yourself to focus on them you are just begging for aneurysm.
We showed the ticket takers our takers (wait, no, our tickets) and walked into the lobby. Those few seconds were really the only chance I got to take stock of the theater itself, in all its grandeur, and it was quite stunningly regal. Everything seemed to be brushed with gold. It was as if the decorator had just gotten back from eighteenth century France and couldn’t stop obsessing over it (like a fancier Thomas Jefferson).
After taking in the surroundings my next thought was, “Where is the bathroom?” except in my inebriated state I’m pretty sure I said something to the effect of, “Bathroom. I want.” Either way we found it. The bathroom was very crowded and everyone was quite gregarious. At the urinal I made a joke that I knew would work very well at this show and literally nowhere else in the world. I looked around and said, “Do you guys smell that?” Everyone looked perplexed. “It smells like the winds of shit.” Not only did everyone in the bathroom laugh, I overheard people telling their friends about it later. That may have been worth the trip all by itself. (Note: if you didn’t get that joke 1. You suck. 2. Here is the reference)
Naturally, after emptying the tank I needed something with which to fill it back up. Unsurprisingly, the line for the bar ran the length of the perimeter wall, but you have to persevere in situations like that. While waiting in line it dawned on me that I had yet to see any girls. If ever I was searching for a sweeping generalization of the Trailer Park Boys fan base, I found it amongst this sea of thirty-five-hundred twenty-something males, most of whom were wearing flannel. I imagine that this feeling of belonging was equal to that felt by nerds at Comic-Con or overly extroverted perverts at the Adult Entertainment Expo.
The alcohol selection at the Chicago Theater was limited to say the least. I could choose from cheap beer or cheap wine. Naturally wine is fancier than beer, and after all I was at a Trailer Park Boys show where (fancy is was created), so I chose wine. And let me tell you, there is nothing more posh than arguing with the bartender about why you can’t just take the two little plastic bottles of wine to your seat instead of her pouring them into plastic cups.
A good thing to keep in mind: when navigating through a dense crowd of drunks, it is not the best idea to have two full cups of red wine. The only excuse worse than “My bad” in that situation is the unapologetic “Your fault.”
We found our seats just in time for the show. Now, to be fair to “The Boys” and so I don’t commit some weird form of Canadian copyright infringement I won’t go into a specific breakdown of the show. Let’s just say it involved Ricky being upset with Santa-Jesus-God (who Ricky thinks are all the same person), the Green Bastard made an appearance, and Randy still refused to wear a shirt. To top it all off, Bubbles came out and sang Liquor and Whores, which happens to be the greatest song of all time. During the song I was the only person in the theater standing up and mumbling along. At one point I just broke down and, as Walt Whitman says, sounded my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
Seriously, nothing better has ever happened to me in my life. I have never had children, but I fully expect that my first words after the delivery will be, “Still not better than ‘Liquor and Whores’ live.” (Especially if it’s a girl. Let’s just say I’m very old-fashion Chinese in that respect)
After the show we waited outside of the theater to get autographs and pictures with the cast. They were all super nice and made sure to thank each one of us for coming out (we even got some more blurry pictures). I can now proudly say that I have been a groupie of something.
Riding high off the show I was set on hitting the town. Dan and John claimed they were tired, so we compromised and found a bar on the way home. It was almost completely empty, which I found unusual for a major city at 11:30 on a Saturday night, but they had 40 Oz’s for nine dollars a bottle so I didn’t worry. I knew a good deal when I saw one and I bought three. That was when John and Dan informed me that they were serious about being tired. I chugged my forty, stashed Dan’s in my coat pocket and snuck it out into the street. I took it back to the hotel room and there it sat, I imagine until the maid cleaned our room the next morning. Talk about partying.
That didn’t matter, though. So what I didn’t get to see the Chicago nightlife, so what it took three hours to get a pizza, so what I spent twenty hours on a train with a condescending attendant, I got to see Trailer Park Boys live. You can keep everything else, because I’ll always have that.