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(November 15, 2001, Gazette)

A night on the town

Jeffery PardyDisclaimer: names in this article have been changed to protect the innocent. This content of this article may not be suitable for the innocent minds of university professors and students. Viewer discretion is advised.

On Oct. 27, I had the privilege of being on George Street during one of the most time honoured and illustrious traditions known to the city: the Mardi Gras Festival. For those of you too young to sneak into the Mardi Gras, or too broke to attend, it is an event that one remembers for a while (at least until the next weekend). This hedonistic ritual of booze, debauchery, and wacky people dressed in costumes should be attended at least once during one’s life. If nothing else it shows our pride in being Newfoundlanders, and our amazing ability to get completely wrecked and not get thrown in jail. Join me, my friends, as I recall my night at the Mardi Gras Festival.

I head over to Chras’s house at around 9 o’clock to join the boys in a merry consumption of tasty lager beverages. Unfortunately, there weren’t many of these beverages left over from the night before, so the consumption wasn’t all that merry. We had absolutely no plans at this point, but I faintly remember promising to write an article on the Mardi Gras. We decide to finish the game of Risk that has gone on for four days. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Risk, it is a challenging board game of wits, luck, and unending insults between competitors. The phone rings. It is a telemarketer or something named Shend Hooley. She wants to know if we’re interested in a free trial use of the Master Super Gold Platinum card. Nope. We decide to meet her and her friends down at the Mardi Gras at midnight in front of “the new bar.” I have no idea how this happened, so please disregard this plot hole. I suggest we dress up as “famous people throughout history,” but everyone wants to be Brian Mulroney. We decide to root through Chras’s dad’s closet for costume, since it contains endless amounts of wacky clothing from his “hippie days.” Upon finding six sombreros and ponchos, we decide to go as Mexican Immigrants. This will also allow us to be mistaken as poor Mexican peasants by the telemarketing girls, and will keep us safe from their scheming moneymaking plans. In keeping with the spirit of the night, we buy a big ass bottle of tequila and get totally soused on tequila shots before we even make it downtown.

At around 12:15 we make it to the lineup. By this time the telemarketers have probably found another bunch of drunk and rowdy guys, since there seems to be no shortage of them in the cue, so we make other plans. We pacify our time in the line with German lessons from Grof. I can now say “Diena mutter ist eina schlampa,” but have no idea if it means anything. We hail a cab to drive Chras home because by this time he has curled up into a ball on the sidewalk and people are throwing change at him. He starts to mumble about giant lizards and Santa Claus as we lift him to his feet. Some crazy cab driver that looks like Jimmy Hendrix helps him into his cab and screeches off screaming “Viva Meheko!”

By the time we get to George Street, it is packed to the gills. Music is blaring from every bar, people in crazy costumes are smiling, laughing, and screaming, and there is a general feeling of electricity in the air. However, this may have been an optical illusion caused by the tequila kicking into high gear. Of course, the first thing I have to do is use the bathroom. Mrike comes with me to Green Sleeves because it looks a little less crowded than any of the other bars.

After relieving myself at the spectacular washroom facilities available to us there, Mrike and me sidle up to the bar. While waiting for a shot of tequila, I start talking to bizarro Alice Cooper standing next to me. It sounds like he has a French accent, so I start talking to him in unintelligible, broken French (yet another wonderful benefit of an arts degree). We hit it off, and he buys Mrike and me another shot. Then he buys us another shot. Then he buys us another shot. Mrike starts to get worried and suggests that we try to catch up with the b’ys. As we head towards the door he tells Mrike to, “remember that people from Denmark are nice.” Mrike turns to me and says, “I think that’s Ozzy Osbourne man!” I turn to nod to him, but run over Princess Leia by accident. Luke Skywalker grabs my shirt and breaks out his light saber. Mrike shoves me through the door just before old Luke has a chance to light saber my ass.

By this time I start to lose all control of motor skills. I would like to stop for a moment and remind the reader that tequila is the devil drink. Those of you who are tequila virgins cannot truly appreciate the absolute lunacy of my mind at this point. Those of you planning on drinking tequila after reading this story should only do so if three of four large and intimidating friends are on hand. Unfortunately for me, Mrike is about 4 foot nothing and weighs all of 100 pounds when soaking wet. Mrike has just enough time to grab me by the scruff of the poncho and run before Rocky Balboa has a chance to beat my sombrero in.

We end up at Christian’s. Al Capone and a flapper are getting it on in the corner, but nobody seems to care. If you’ve never been to Christian’s, you’d never know that is it the best place on George Street to get away from the dance crowds and have a quiet drink with friends. Not on this night. I decide to head to a dance bar with Fen and Moog since this is the only time of the year when I will be drunk enough to want to go to one. In order to continue my streak of carnage, I decide to begin a merry discourse with a bunch of guys with beer boxes on their heads. They don’t see me, so I tap the boxes over their eyes to get their attention. They don’t like this at all. Fen and Moog direct me towards Club Etomic, but the line stretches from the door to the Rob Roy. Peddlers is just as bad, and there’s a huge fight pit going on outside of Benders. We end up at the new bar, Konfusion, and spend the rest of the night there. I hook up with a mouse named Marie, and tell her my story of Mexican booze and bars that is Mardi Gras. And we all lived happily ever after. The end.

If you think this story is lame, or have a better Mardi Gras story, please write me at pardotree@yahoo.com. Web site of the week: www.philipharrington.com