Ah, Kansas City. Where mullets go to find girlfriends and multiply. Over the weekend Nick and I travelled there to attend the wedding of one of his college friends, Heath. It's always an interesting time when I hang out with his college friends because even though they're all now in their mid-30s I can only identify them by the horrific college stories Nick has burned into my head.
So most of the night I follow him around whispering things in his ear like "is that the one that got expelled because he shit in the hallway?" and "is that the one who violated his girlfriend with a Miller Light bottle?"
We made a small detour on the way long enough to slow the car down and push the car seats out in front of my parents' house in Planet Ozark, which made our usually 4-hour trip an enjoyable little 7-hour trek.
Coincidentally, Nick's friend Heath happened to be marrying a girl also from Planet Ozark, and even more coincidentally lives in the house next door to my Grandma.
Please allow me to introduce you to Mimi.
Mimi only cares about three things in life:
1. Her dog
2. The television reception from her satellite dish
3. Cowgirl cigarettes
Coming in a close fourth is Zima. And by Zima I mean a Zima bottle that she fills up with straight vodka so people won't give her shit about drinking straight vodka all day.
Things Mimi does NOT care about are lung cancer, cirrhosis, wiping down her counter tops, changing clothes or any channel other than the Game Show Network.
Throughout her adult life she has had a revolving door of generic little fluffy dogs with an average life span of 3-5 years. If they don't die of lung cancer by that time that's about how long it takes for them to fashion a noose out of the dog leash she never walks them with to hang themselves in order to avoid watching one more episode of Card Sharks.
Anyhoo, road trips like this are what Nick lives for because he is able to have 7 hours of uninterrupted time to make sweet sweet love to his soda. As I've mentioned before, the man's farts smell like Diet Dr. Pepper. He is a daily regular at the 7-11 and offers medical advice to Jimmy, the Pakistani cashier, in exchange for free Double Gulps.
In fact, Nick's love for soda is so universally understood that when we got to K.C. his friend J.T. was excited to see him and ask if he'd had a chance to try Mr. Pibb Extreme.
J.T. then went on to describe this soda as "legit".
The last time I heard anyone describe anything as "legit" was in 1994 when two white dudes wearing Jamz were standing in front of a strip mall car stereo shop installing sub woofers and discussing the new Offspring album.
By the time we rolled into K.C., Snoop was bumping the bass of my Honda Accord and two cold beers cleverly hidden in brown bags jumped into our hands.
However, any enjoyment garnered from these sinful vices was squelched like a cockroach over the painful duration of the two-hour Catholic ceremony.
Conducted in Latin.
With every passing moment my Spanx passed almost as much judgement on me as the statue of Jesus up front giving me the stink eye.
Finally the ceremony was over and those who hadn't starved to death (only the Catholics were allowed to go forward for the snack) headed over to the reception.
We rode with Nick's friends Matt and Elisa in a nice three bedroom, one and a half bath SUV. Seriously, there was a camera in the back of this thing so the driver could watch as he rolled over homeless people with the TV monitor on the dash board.
On the way Elisa had to run in to Walgreens and grab a card and while walking out the wind caught her skirt and it went flying over her head, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.
But except instead of a feisty ole chap in a flannel suit and a fedora giving an amused and curious glance it was a gang of street urchins snacking on their toe nails ready to stab each other with an AIDS riddled kitchen knife for the opportunity to pluck out a strand of Elisa's hair. And instead of wearing white granny panties she was wearing dental floss.
Elisa is about 14 feet tall and weighs about 88 pounds, 86 of which are evenly dispersed between her boobs and her ass. So we quickly had to shift the boat into attack mode and engage the cannons.
We finally made it to the reception and I made a bee line for the bar to try to salvage any shred of a buzz I had before the ceremony. When I asked the bartender if they had any whiskey he told me my choices were Merlot (pronounced mer-LOT), or if I wanted something stronger they had chardonnay. And then he told me that if I wanted to tone down the chardonnay he could do half Sprite and half chardonnay.
I told him just to give me one of those cups of keg beer.
At that point my liver anticipated what was going to happen that night and stood at attention, gave a military salute to my spleen, pulled out a revolver and shot itself in the head.
The problem with getting drunk at these events is that the minute anyone catches a buzz they immediately violate Elisa. Men, women, men of the cloth... no one is immune to her spell. I started by pulling up her skirt every time she wasn't looking and at one point I saw the bride's mother trying to dry hump her leg.
By the end of the night Elisa was hiding in the bathroom straddling a frozen turkey while looking up the number for a safe house.
Much of the night is patchy but one thing I do remember is Nick leaning over to a newlywed couple we just met and explaining from a biological standpoint and Matt explaining from a romantic standpoint why it's called dining at the Y. It came complete with a pencil drawn diagram on a napkin, a very intrigued wife, and the rationale that you don't call it dining at the T because the only thing they serve there is salty nuts.
On the way home the next day we swung through my hometown of Sedalia and I was glad to see that nothing has changed with the industry.
And yes, of course we stopped.