Mr. Jones and Me
Contributed by: Joe
I have most weekends off now, the first time since working construction in the
And down the rabbit hole I went.
I’ve been on some three-day benders in my time, although the exact details are blurry and indistinct – kind of like the late ’70s were for Aerosmith. Without the fashionably glamorous heroin addiction. Or the groupies.
“Jones” needed drinking partners because he had been assigned to write a story about the best bar in
“I need spotters,” his first post read. “Please submit your resumes via PM. Benefits include some drinks on me.”
Single and without responsibilities, a 467-mile trip up Interstate 35 sounded like the perfect adventure.
So I sent him a personal message with my bonafides: I’ve drunk from
Reading through the call-and-response thread, I learned who “Jones” was. Who he was, was Chris Jones, “Esquire” magazine writer. Hell, I’d just gotten done reading his story on the LPGA: Not Just for Lesbians Anymore! (OK, not that exactly. But the story was about the LPGA.)
So we started sending messages back and forth. From his smart-ass attitude, I figured we’d get along just fine. After taking a look at my SJ.com profile and reading some of the stories on my Web site, including the one about my Worst Job Ever, he thought the same thing.
I told him I was a redneck, but not the Jeff Foxworthy kind. He wrote back and said he’d pay exactly $67 to kick Jeff Foxworthy square in the nuts. I upped the ante to $68, and then we started offering incentives. Before I left for
He had a room at the Marriott Courtyard, which was within walking distance of Nye’s Polonaise Room, the official “Esquire”-approved best bar in
Seven hours later, I was at the Marriott.
An hour later, I walked into Nye’s. Near the far end of the bar, Jones was bending the ears of two seventy-something women, Lois and Jenny. Jonesy, you cocksucker, how the fuck are you? I said. And away we went.
Unshaven (for, like, a while), wearing a god-awful purple shirt with white flowers on it, cargo shorts and some sort of fucked-up footgear, Jones was a rock star in Nye’s. Having “Esquire” name your bar the best in
And as soon as I showed up, everyone there thought I was with “Esquire,” too. Lois and Jenny, Michelle the manager, Joe the leader of the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band – everybody (well, maybe not Chicago Joe the bartender. He looked like he didn’t give a flying fuck about anything, but he was awful attentive with the pints. So that was nice.). When I told them I wasn’t with “Esquire,” they asked how long I had known Jones. When I told them, oh, about five minutes, they looked at me like I was crazy. When they learned I had driven 467 miles to drink with someone I had never met before, that confirmed it.
I immediately started drinking beer on tap, a pint at a time and keep ’em coming. I had a lot of catching up to do. Jones twisted my arm: Hey, you need to try one of their jumbo martinis and tell me how it is. They’re supposed to be their specialty. (The last time I had a martini, it was 1999 in some dive in D.C., and a guy and girl there wanted to do a little swinging with me and the girl I was with – but I’m not much into sharing and neither was she, so we declined. The last time I had a martini, I learned conclusively that mixing gin and wine and beer and vodka and scotch and bourbon was a guaranteed recipe for disaster.) So of course I said, Sure, I’ll have a martini. It was pretty good. I think. Maybe.
Sometime that evening, “amk” from sportsjournalists.com showed up. Not knowing who “amk” was, and figuring it was a guy, Jones and I had taken to referring to a particularly large or nasty shit as an “amk.”
“Amk” wasn’t a guy.
“Amk” was an exceedingly cute girl who brought along another cute girl and that girl’s husband. We almost felt bad.
Jones and I shot the shit all night, falling into easy conversation like we’d known each other all our lives. Considering that we went to different high schools together (one of my dad’s favorite sayings ever), it made sense.
I don’t remember the walk back to the Marriott. I remember getting the hiccups when we got to the room. I dimly remember regretting drinking that martini and only having half a bag of Big Grab Fritos and a couple peanut butter cups to eat. All day. And I remember sitting on the side of my bed and puking right on the floor between the beds. I puked twice, clear as water. Jones grabbed a trash can and a towel.
Time ceased to exist.
At some point, I went to the bathroom to continue. At some point, Jones came in and said, Dude, are you OK? With my head leaning over the stool, I had a one-word answer: Noooooooo. At some later point, Jones came in and said something about me sleeping on the bathroom floor all night. Yeah, but whadda ya gonna do? I said in a spit-bubble voice. At some point, I finished and crawled to bed.
Surprisingly, I felt pretty good the next morning. But there were puke stains in the toilet. And Jones had a fine time making fun of me all day.
We walked to some bar, had lunch and slinked back to the Marriott to escape the early summer sun and heat of a
We had grand plans of maybe dropping the top on the Cobra and cruising up to Brainerd to, as Jones put it, touch Paul Bunyan’s cock lump. Instead, we turned Fox to a baseball game and promptly fell asleep.
When we woke up, it was too late to make the trip to Brainerd and still put in some serious drinking that night, so, without the Twins in town, we had a choice: the Mall of America or the falls at
We walked around, were suitably semi-impressed with the falls and climbed about 150 steps to get back to the top. Jones was damn near dead by the time he reached the top. Dairy Queen, he wheezed.
A brief interlude. Shit-your-pants funny.
Most guys have a story about nearly shitting their pants. Too much to drink one night, that third bowl of jalapeño-heavy chili, a chick with a spelunking finger – doesn’t matter exactly how it (almost) happened, every guy’s got one. Sometimes two or three.
Jones had one.
Being a person who grew up around the world because his visiting-professor parents had wanderlust, Jones spent time in many foreign locales. One such stop was in
And later that night, Chairman Mao’s revenge hit.
In bed with his dad, Jones awoke to an incredible gut pain and found out that he had, indeed, shit the bed, which turned out to be a bunch of watery nastiness. He crawled out of bed, took a shower and spent the rest of the night on the couch. His dad got up in the morning, none the wiser about the shit stain sleeping next to him. They checked out and went on their merry way.
Well, OK, maybe not merry. Not even jolly. More like, Jones had to see a doctor about his fucked-up stomach.
Without any natural immunity, the tap water fucked his gut up something horrible, so bad that he now has to take a daily regimen of horse pills to keep from, oh, I don’t know, keeling over and dying. I saw the pills on the counter when I got to our room that Friday night, and I was tempted to take one just to see what it would do (because, let’s face it, taking a pill without knowing the consequences is a righteous way to begin a lost weekend with someone you don’t know. Ah, but I wimped out. Told Jones I took one, though. He didn’t even blink.).
While we were walking to Nye’s on Saturday night, Jones asked if I wanted to see his impression of Joe on Friday night. Um, sure. He started lurching back and forth across the sidewalk, staggering like he had an inner ear infection. Yeah, fuck you, too, Jonesy.
That night we met Fran, longtime waitress at Nye’s, who fell in love telling Jones stories about her 18 years at the place and all the back history she knew. And we heard polka all fucking night long. But, you gotta love a menu that says in Polish “jedzcie pijcie i popuszczajcic pas,” which translates as “eat, drink and loosen your belt.” I had the cabbage rolls. About 15 minutes later, all the beer and gin from the day before and the bacon cheeseburger that day and the fecal plug that early afternoon and the cabbage rolls came back to bite me because I had to take a toxic amk. Truly hideous. Bless him, I was in there so long, Jones was nearly ready to send in a search party for me.
One of the best parts about Saturday night was the “Esquire” stories. What you didn’t learn in Jonesy’s story about Clinton Portis was how about half of the people at club Love that night called Jones “too short.” Too short? What the fuck? he thought. I’m the same height as Portis. Why are they calling me too short? Finally he asked
I also learned that Scarlett Johansson has the best tits imaginable, as in otherworldly they’re so great, as in worth a week’s pay just to take an unobstructed-view peek at. And maybe, you know, touch.
That Naomi Watts is a real sweetheart and her ass is to die for (and that Naomi nearly cost Jones his life when his wife read that).
That John McCain might have changed the course of history if he hadn’t been eviscerated by Dubbya and his minions during the 2000 presidential primaries. And that he was as genuine as he seems during the two weeks that Jones spent with the
That some of his fellow “Esquire” brethren are great writers but seriously fucked-up individuals and scary motherfuckers to boot.
That Tom Junod is a pussy magnet who is faithfully devoted to his wife, which makes you have hope for the human race.
Because Jones had to get up at 4 a.m. to catch his 6 a.m. flight, which I only heard about, like, 100 times that day, he didn’t hit it very hard Saturday night. I tried to pick up the slack but couldn’t drink fast enough to get a good drunk on. And, you know, fuck Jones and his 6 a.m. flight; I had to drive 467 miles the next day, and you didn’t hear me bitching about it. (Of course, I didn’t get to see the two cabbies get into a fistfight in front of the hotel like Jonesy did, but I got to sleep till 11 a.m., so it was a push.)
After the trip, we continued with the Jeff Foxworthy incentives, him offering a hard top for my Cobra and a Lynyrd Skynyrd LP, me countering with another ride in my Cobra and a Molly Hatchet concert shirt. He’s up to $140 now with a “freezeframe of Hurricane Opal and a copy of Norman Mailer’s THE FIGHT with a little bit of my puke on it, so you don’t feel so bad about your performance.” I made a counteroffer that kinda sucked, but at least I have the end of the story that “Esquire” wouldn’t let him write:
“When you start playing air accordion, it’s time to go the fuck home.”
Till next time,
Sept. 12, 2006