Sunday, October 30, 2016

Another Spades Tournament/Halloween Event

About a month ago, our fellowship's Activities and Events committee announced plans for another Halloween event/ spades tournament. In an added twist, they added a fundraising raffle, in which certain members agreed to have pies smashed in the face for donations. I'm not totally sure why I agreed at the time to both play in the tournament and agree to be one of the people pied; I think I thought I would be off night shift by now. When it became clear I was still going to have to work Friday and Saturday nights this weekend, I briefly reconsidered the wisdom of doing both.
But only briefly. The guy I won the spades tournament with three years ago has long relapsed, and it took me a while to find a reliable partner--but after my friend Wilfredo moved back to the area a couple of springs ago, that little issue was resolved. Long ago, in early recovery, Wil was part of the old Friday night home group I was a part of, and a big part of the social gatherings that we used to have every week at Danny and Tammy's house. We used to play spades there all the time, all night, and while Mark M. and I almost always won, Wilfredo was certainly good enough to stay at the table a long time, and so he has proved to be again (note to Mark; wherever you have gotten off to, come home. The guy you went out the door with is finally back home, too, after almost a decade gone. And I'd like to think we'd short work of all these teams in these tournaments). Wil and I played together in the last spades tournament, and had some success, and I was actually looking forward to playing today.
And I got hit with a major deja vu as soon as the tournament started. In 2013, when we won, we lost the first game to a team with Roman on it, and today, we lost the first game to Roman's team, as well. I really thought our day was going to be over when we drew a team with two former champions for out next game--but we beat them. And then beat the next group, and then the next game, too. By now, it was into the early evening, and the entire tournament got interrupted for the speaker break. I'm not going to say that cost us the ultimate success--but it did cost us our momentum. Our journey came to an end in a very close and hard-fought game to two young bucks that were still in high school three years ago; one of them has only been coming to meetings for a couple of weeks, and was playing Beat The Clock trying to get home before his curfew. But it turned out to be a lot of fun, again. I like playing with Wil, and I like Wil's company, too; he's not overly obnoxious with the trash talk, but he does indulge just enough to make it interesting, much like I do. We're a good team.
The pie thing was pretty good, too; it was kind of fun, even if I did get whipped cream up my nose. There was one guy I could hear in the crowd running his mouth about how he wanted his ticket drawn, but his prayers weren't answered, and the three people that did pie me all did it in the way the spirit of the event was intended. I have a feeling this event is going to be repeated fairly often in months and years to come.
So we didn't win, but it still was a pretty good time. There were a lot of costumed people there, which is pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not. For one, I don't really have a lot of money to spend on costumes or makeup. For two, and this is just something that is peculiar to me, I went to three different costume parties in college and the years afterward that were so good and so clever that I really can't take this sort of stuff seriously. Two of them were specialty parties-- attendees had to come as a character from a Bob Dylan song. And the other was the Jones Hall Halloween Party at Geneseo in 1984. I came dressed as the Clint Eastwood "Blondie" character from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, collaborating with two of my friends to enter the party, each coming in one of the three doors to the room, recreating the famed three-way standoff scene in the cemetery from that movie, with the theme music--I owned the soundtrack LP; it was $2.99 at Buzzo's-- playing over the sound system. I dressed the part very well--clothes were exactly right, and the scruffy beard was enough to make the resemblance to the character passable (in fact, this was right around the time that a couple of us were starting the soon-to-be-infamous Drunks Against Mad Mothers (DAMM) quasi-fraternity, and Allen Case got hold of one of the pictures and made a "Wanted" poster for "Esteban Sommaniquez" that went the equivalent of viral at the time and place, and actually did go viral for a short time when he posted on Facebook on the 25th anniversary of the party in 2009). My beard is too grey now to pull that off, my face and body too fat, and I doubt ten people at the party tonight have seen the movie now.
But as good as our costumes were,  and staging of the scene was, that night, we didn't win the battle for the most memorable costume. That went to a guy--who swore me to silence that day and I have never given up his identity since--who not only dressed in an ape suit with a gigantic phallus attached to the front of it, but cut the ass out of the costume and painted his butt cheeks blue, like a gibbon you see in the zoo. He just walked into the party without making any kind of grand entrance, and it took about 45 seconds for people to start to notice him--but when they did, it went from normal party hum to bedlam in about three seconds. Half the people there were appalled, and half were crying and actually falling down with laughter. I don't think you need two guesses as to which group I was in...The school administration got uptight and made a half-ass search for who the culprit was (it was a different world in 1984; you still couldn't say "ass" and even "penis" on TV, so a King Dong costume, even without the alterations, wasn't exactly kosher as far as authority was concerned), but those of us in on the secret ( I knew he was going to wear the costume to the party. I did not know about cutting the ass out and painting his cheeks blue)  never told, and after a few days, the RD and the Dean's office went back to worrying about beer balls in the bathtub and ahem, unauthorized overnight visitors.
Anyway, that's why I never dress up anymore; maybe it's a character defect, but I've always figured that once greatness has been achieved in a given endeavor, you're obligated to chase it, and it's just too much time and effort to try to top that. But several people tonight did really well, I must say. A lot of us took pictures, and we'll all be looking at them on social media for a few days, secure in the memory of a fun event for everyone. I didn't stay for the end of it; I got about an hour of sleep after showering the pie stuff off before coming into work. But I'm taking it that all went well.

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