Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Sauble Wobble

My fondest memories of the Victoria Day Weekend include the following:

1 Dave Gizzie; presumably in a bid for May two-four immortality; jumping from the top of a sandy knoll in an attempt to clear a flaming wooden out-house (the fact that there was a burning out-house tells you most of what you need to know about what kind of a night it was)as the crowd of two-hundred chanted: "GIZ-ZIE! GIZ-ZIE! GIZ-ZIE!"; making it halfway across the burning structure without incident like a soaring Pteromyini, only to catch his foot on a fiery board at the apex of his leap, which in turn alterred his trajectory just enough so that he was coming down completely off balance to a raucous ovation, landing awkwardly and snapping his ankle in two, his White-Oaks-approved rocker hair soaking up the mud like Stanley Spadowski's mop as the entire congregation of White Sands campground groaned, leaving Bear to carry the man out of the park on his broad shoulders, somehow transporting him to a nearby hospital.

2) Setting our tents up next to "Camp Milton", where they would paint a red "X" on your hand if you were single and ready to mingle (a nineties version of the "keys in the fishbowl" party), and Ronnie deciding to take the ambiguity out of the game by painting his brown Phat Pharm sweater with a gigantic red "X" and sporting it for the duration of the weekend, much to the delight of the single girls in attendance.

3) Having $300 worth of booze taken away by the police about 10 miles outside of Sauble because we were driving like idiots and when they pulled us over, they happily discovered that all of the beer and booze was in Sully's car which had exactly zero people of legal age within its confines, and then watching as they poured all $300 of our long weekend's fun out at the side of the road while Bear and Gizzie flew past in their ride, blaring their horn and laughing their 20-year-old asses off at us. This is the opposite of a "fond memory", for the record.

4) Filling pick-up trucks with couches and anything else that might burn, as Spring Cleaning Garbage Day benevolently coincided with the May long weekend, providing us with couches to sit and drink on all day and night until the last night, where we uncorked the biggest black chemical spewing bonfire this side of Belfast which inadvertantly led to someone stealing Doherty's cooler as I sat and watched from the bed of a pick-up in the wee hours of the morning, unable to move because I was so hungover.

5) Funnelling multiple beers from random philanthropic benfactors of beer as pick-up trucks and U-haul vans leisurely cruised the circuit in the sunset hour, stopping every ten feet to indulge, with tunes blaring from every window and campsite while people howled at the prospect of an entire summer set before them, in the prime of their youth.
Ahhhh yes, the Sauble Wobble.

It's been almost 10 years since I'd experienced the wobble of that White Sands ilk. But in an attempt to get some of that youthful feeling back, we hopped into our time machines, zipped up our forcefields, and headed on up to Sauble Beach for (what was for me, anyway) the last May 24 of our twenties.

And it started off just like old times. With complete antics. I planned on skipping out of work early, hoping to be on the road by 2pm. Of course, something came up just as I was about to sneak out, and the next thing I knew, it was after 5 and I was still sitting in front of my computer. By the way, if you think its frustrating being at work and not being able to escape, you should feel the tension when you're working from home and you can't even leave, to say nothing of your girlfriend and her friend sitting there patiently waiting for you to fuck off for more than three hours. But eventually I was able to put a sweet little Green Roof mini-spec together and get the hell out of Dodge. We hit the Beer Store (24 Sleeman's Original, 24 Lucky) and the Liquor Store (bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon), and were crawling along Queen Street in an attempt to get on the Gardiner... at 5:30. Great planning. Anyway, just as we were about to hit the on ramp, Sandra got the sinking feeling that she'd left the stove on... and I did all I could not to jam a lidless pen through my eyeballs. Of course, there is no way you can go away for four days while believing that you are responsible for your block burning down, so we had no choice but to turn around. Which ended up being not such a bad thing because I remembered to grab the CDs that I'd forgotten, while also checking on the stove. Not on, for the record.

The traffic wasn't so bad driving up 10 because most people had obviously gotten out of work early enough to beat us to it, but Sully and Santos still managed to beat us to Sandra's cottage by about an hour and a half. With the help of the hide-a-key, they let themselves in and began in on the festivities, with Rosco and Dev showing up about twenty minutes ahead of us. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the same cottage where, two years ago, the love of Hibbard and Vee first blossomed (much to the chagrin of some dude named Neil), and where Robbie Doon and Laurie... got acquainted with one another in a room whose wall ended a foot and a half before the ceiling, allowing Sully to get himself a birdseye view of the festivities. Just so we're on the same page.

Reason #1 I could never own a cottage? Aside from the obvious, which is my complete lack of funding, is the fact that I am the least handy person on the planet. My Grandfather was a genius with all things mechanical; my dad fixed everything in the neighbourhood while we were growing up; Ronnie had his own business (albeit briefly) called "The Odd Job Company"; but hand me a wrench and Phillips Head and you might as well be giving Neil Patrick Harris a subscription to Hustler magazine... just mind-bogglingly useless. So I spent the next half hour on the phone with Sandra's dad, trying to turn the water on and making an incompetent ass out of myself in the process. I didn't even manage to get the hot water working because I didn't figure out that you have to actually turn the hot water valve to the on position to get any positive flow... I think I've sufficiently embarrassed myself for now.

In any event, the fire and the barbecue were already in full swing by the time I got the (cold) water running, so it was time to sit down and start imbibing in a serious way. Sandra cooked me up a feast of grilled salmon and cous-cous salad (I suggested hot dogs and mustard, but what are you gonna do), and eventually Ronnie and Amber, as well as Nate and Jen showed up. To be totally honest, I don't remember much else from that night, other than the fact that some random dudes from down the beach showed up when we played Steve Earle (the 19 year olds next door also showed an appreciation for what I consider to be one of the most underrated artists of our lifetime, leading me to believe that the man is long overdue for a renaissance at any minute), and some East Coasters showed up when we blasted Barrett's Privateers ("I wish I was in Sherbrooke now..."). The entire night consisted of drinking and smoking oursleves into oblivion around a perfect campfire on the beach. We were up until the birds were singing, but clearly this was only a prelude. Things were about to get ugly.

We woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good, so I decided to start the morning off by going for a ride on Sully's beach cruiser. For those of you that don't know, Sully has a little 50cc motor bike that's decked out like an Orange county chopper. It might be the coolest thing on the planet, and ripping up and down the beach on a sunny Saturday morning is almost more fun than should be allowed (as it turns out, it actually is more fun than is allowed, as evidenced by Santos going for a ride later that afternoon, only to be pulled over by the O.P.P., who informed him that he didn't have the requisite helmet or license for that particular chopper, which meant that he could either walk it all the way back to the cottage, or take the ticket the rookie cop was about to write him. Let me tell you, the only thing funnier than seeing big Santos {approx. 6'3, 270} riding a child's 50cc bike is watching him walk it back all the way from town). In any event, I cruised up and down the beach a few times, and on my final return, I thought it might be funny to pretend to be in a speed wobble. And in case you didn't know, mock-speed wobbles and sand don't exactly mix, which resulted in me dumping the bike in front of everyone at the cottage, ripping all holy hell out of my thumb and my ankle, and leaving me with a bruise on my chest that right now is the approximate colour of Gerber's pureed peas. I am an idiot.

By the way, this is a picture of Sully's beach cruiser with a representation of the combined approximate maturity level for the entire weekend sitting on it.

While still bleeding, Sully and I decided to venture into town because we needed ice for caesars and because Sully needed two packs of smokes and because we wanted to see what kind of a device we could obtain that would enable us to drink more, and faster than the night before. We saw some kid walking down the main street of town with a funnel and knew that it was our calling. We walked into the Home Hardware under the guise of needing a funnel to change our oil, but my Devo-approved cowboy hat must have been a dead giveaway because they weren't buying any of it. After securing a funnel and three feet of tubing, we were at the register all ready to pay when one of the kids working there told us, "Naw, you guys got it all wrong. You need a clip so the tube doesn't come out." Lord love'em. He even grabbed us the right size and tightened it for us. Bob's your uncle. Ronnie was either puking or not puking beside a tree while Amber shopped for clothes (she forgot to bring her bag of clothes - I offered her my gitch, but she said she was fine), and when we emerged with our new toy, he looked like he'd be awhile. The only thing left for Sully and I to do was to cruise up to White Sands for one final victory lap.

I wish this were the part of the story where I tell you that the guy working the gate at White Sands let us in for twenty minutes because we were alumni and helped to make the place what it is today, and we spent the next hour parading around the circuit funnelling beers with 17 year olds with red "X''s painted across their chests, but unfortunately, the dude at the gate said that we had to pay $75 if we wanted in, just like everyone else. Even when we offered our licenses as collateral, he still was having none of it. We vowed to come back Sunday afternoon and sneak in, but to be honest, I completely forgot about that covenant until just now. In any event, we cruised back through town, and with the sun shining bright, the eleventeen year olds were out in full force, bikini tops and short-shorts galore. As Sully pointed out: "Only six hours 'till Vera gets here..." You can use your imagination to determine what he followed it up with.

When we got back to the cottage, we obviously had to break in the new device, which meant that Sully and I each funnelled two Lucky Lagers... did I mention that I was almost 30? Again, we were in a time warp this weekend, so all bets were off. Just as I was finishing my second beverage, the 19 year olds in the cottage next door challenged us to a football game, so it was obviously on. For those of you that haven't been, the beach at Sauble is pretty much the perfect place to play football/baseball/frisbee/horseshoes/bocce ball/Beirut, particularly where Sandra's cottage is, because there isn't all that much traffic (you're allowed to drive on the beach for $10 - sounds like a bad idea, but the natives who run the racket take damn good care of the beach, so it's a pretty decent trade off). So we made up some teams, and just as we were about to begin dominating, my parents showed up. I went off to welcome them, and my team dominated despite my absence (I'm pretty sure Santos, our star quarterback, fell in love with the 19 year old teammate of his in the pink bikini top, but I'm also pretty sure he wasn't alone in that sentiment). My parents came up huge by bringing a pick-up truck bed full of firewood scavenged from the wilds of Dornoch, and after unloading it, I rejoined the game just in time to realize that I'm a shell of my former atheltic self, as I did little more than complain about my groin and drop surefire touchdowns. Kill me. After the game ended, Santos and I went for a sweet dip in Lake Huron, and to tell you the truth, the water wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it would be (Sully and Anna had gone in earlier that morning, to be fair). Ian and Toffan showed up at one point, having made the two-and-a-half hour drive up together despite the fact that they had never met before. Honestly, I would have had a list of topics to discuss like George Costanza before the blind date phone call, but they seemed to get along just fine. I wish I could say the same of Toffan and Sully, but to say that they didn't exactly hit it off would be like saying that the SPCA's bid to hire Ron Mexico as their spokesperson didn't exactly pan out the way they'd hoped (that is a multi-layered joke that flew over the heads of 95% of my readers... and yes, that means that exactly one person got it).

We spent most of the rest of the afternoon sitting around the fire pit, sitting on the roof of the neighbours cottage with the eleventeen year olds, smoking ridiculously large doobies (I held steady to my rule of waiting until after midnight), and funnelling Lucky Lagers. The highlight was getting my dad to hammer one home (my mom might contend this statement), and after that happened, things pretty well began to degenerate. Robbie Doon, Dinner and B*Rad showed up with Tyson, the Rat Tooth's buzz-of-the-year golden lab, and I insisted that they immediately funnel upon their arrival. I had a hell of a time twisting their rubber arms. Tyson the dog had more energy than I thought possible, and the irony of my constantly reiterating "that dog is a fucking animal!" was entirely lost upon me at the time. It just kept chasing the ball over and over and over again. It was like... the complete opposite of us. At one point, my parents decided to go for a walk, and Davie decided to say hello to everyone by dropping his drawers and giving us an epic old man mooning, prompting someone to point out that they saw a squirrel crawling out of my dad's ass. Again, my family proudly puts the "fun" in dysfunction.

One other subplot from this May long weekend is that my parents had never previously met Sandra's parents before. Strange as it may seem, the four of them have never been in the same room together, despite the fact that we've been dating for almost three years. In any event, this very evening was panning out to be their first formal encounter, and by the time Sandra's parents actually arrived at their own cottage, it was mass carnage and debauchery everywhere you stepped... and my dad was taking a prolonged, funnel-induced nap in his truck. I'm not certain if Sandra's dad was more shocked or appalled that I suggested he funnel a beer upon his arrival, but needless to say, he graciously declined the offer. I think Robbie Doon filled in in his stead. By this point nobody was feeling even an ounce of pain, and the sun hadn't even begun to set yet. Somehow, somebody thought it might be a good idea that we get some food inside of us, so we began grilling burgers and dogs, and the ladies threw some salads together, and all was good and right in the world.

As night descended, things just began getting dumb. My dad eventually awoke from his slumber and joined my mom and Sandra's parents around the campfire, but by that point, the funnel had taken on a life of its own. Robbie Doon was in the process of setting a record for funnels in a night (he ended up in double digits), inventing the "Dooner-style" funnel, which essentially involves Ronnie pouring the beer for him from about two feet above the funnel in order to maximize foam content, followed by the empty can being dropped into the funnel so the beer is funnelled "can-in", so that when the tasty beverage is consumed three seconds later, all of the foam and empty can is blown out like from a sperm whale's blow hole, preferably aimed at someone so as to cause an immediate drunken homo-erotic play brawl. In one such skirmish, while Dinner and Ronnie and Dooner and I'm pretty sure Anna were rolling around in the sand near the cottage door with Rage Against The Machine blaring from the speakers, Sandra's dad looked up at his investment (the cottage, not his daughter) and officially disowned me as a potential son-in-law.

Dunner showed up at long last and realizing he had a great deal of catching up to do, decided to funnel an unheard-of five beers in twenty minutes, all of them Robbie Doon style, and some of which may or may not have been captured on film (again, if anyone knows how to convert a movie from a camera into a file that can be linked to from this blog, please, do the world a favour and pass the directions along. I promise you, it will be well worth your while). While Dunner and Robbie were going toe-to-toe, I can remember laughing so hard that I could barely hold the funnel upright. This was easily the best/worst $10 I'd ever spent. By the time the night was over, there must have been at least 70 funnelling incidents, with Sully and Nate posting the best sprint times (two seconds per funnel), Dunner dominating the middle distance race (5 bongs in 25 minutes), and Robbie Doon playing the role of Kenyan, murdering the marathon (an unfathomable 10 bongs over the course of the evening). Even Amber-is-the-color-of-your-energy got into the act, beating Ronnie to the tube (we eventually peer pressured him into doing just one). Anna also impressed the masses, funnelling, say it with me: multiple times.

Vera and her friend Charlene eventually showed up after complaining about my directions and going the wrong way down Route 21 (understandable, and I guess the whole "buy a map and find your way to Sauble" form of directions could have been more detailed, in retrospect), as did Sweet Nate, Jen, Paul (Nate's bro and all around class act) and Paul's girlfriend who is one of the coolest girls you'll ever meet, but for the life of me I can't remember her name. My parents and Sandra's parents eventually left at the same time, and my mom's last words to me (I had the beer bong wrapped around my shoulder the like the heavyweight title) were: "For our party on the 14th (of July), that thing is not welcome". She said this without the slightest hint of humour. She was not impressed with the way the civilized gathering had disintegrated into a tenth grade Lion's Valley bush party...Buuuuuut I think we can probably convince her to do one hit.

At some point, people began turning in, and when Sandra decided to go to bed I knew I was in for a long last few hours. Even though it isn't exactly my cottage, I knew that it would be completely irresponsible for me to just leave it to the wolves. We sat around the fire for awhile and Robbie Doon; while trying to convince us to let him drive home; proceeded to insult just about everyone in attendance (my eternal thanks goes out to Paul Hutchinson, who showed an incredible amount of restraint in light of some poorly chosen words on Dooner's part, and to the softspoken Ian for doing all he could to keep the peace. And to B*Rad for never giving in and giving him his keys). This is Robbie Doon, trying to get home on the beach cruiser.

At some point, Sully decided that the leaking sink needed to be fixed, but when he began taking it apart, the actual sink damn near fell clean off the wall, leading me to proclaim that not in a million years would I ever own a cottage. Some hot dogs got thrown on the BBQ for a late night snack, and then some hot dogs got thrown on the kitchen fl oor for Tyson to chow. There were a few rare cheeses courtesy of Sandra's trip to Kennsington Market, and you can be certain they got absolutely murdered. And the eleventeen year old neighbours had a pretty massive party, and some girl got thrown through a window (pretty funny to hear their Micheal Jackson music stop like the needle getting ripped off the record). And one of the said eleventeen year old girls thought she could help herself to our honour bar (Toff put her in her place - high comedy). And I vaguely remember going to bed with the sinking feeling that I needed to be up by 8 or so to clean the place before Sandra's parents showed up again. The word "Green" doesn't do it justice.

I woke up Sunday morning around ten and went outside to guage the damage. For lack of a better term, it was spectacular. How twenty-five people pushing thirty could make such a mess is beyond me, but there it was. Cans and bottles everywhere, chairs turned over, vomit, the beer bong lying in the sand... It was really quite something. I borrowed some garbage bags from the kids next door and went to work. It was about 4 degrees outside and the wind was howling, and pretty soon I couldn't feel my hands and had to pretty much pick up the cans with my writst because my digits were immobile. Good times. Robbie Doon apologized for his behaviour (par for the course, and oftentimes a highlight), and he, Dinner, and B*Rad effed off for home. The rest of us went out for breakfast and hit up the beer store once again, apologizing to our livers for what we were about to subject them to in the near future.

As green as we were that Sunday afternoon, it was clear that we needed an infusion of new blood. As if on cue, The Bomber pulled up in his new ride. Now, if you had to guess what a Metro Toronto firefighter and two-time charity calender standout ("Mr. March" this year, for the record) would be cruising up to Sauble in for the long weekend, what would you guess? Navigator? Harley? Camero? Where would Smart Car appear on that list? Never ceases to amaze. Perhaps the best picture of the weekend came in the form of Santos and Blake (who arrived shortly after The Bomber in his new Volvo Wagon, having traded in his truck - yes, this was the bizzaro Sauble) squeezed into the Bomber's Smart Car. The two of them combined have to be 12'8 and 525 pounds. Not sure what the car's weight limit is, but that had to be pushing it.

The shitty weather began to clear up, and after The Bomber got a sweet little fire going inside (Holy fuck, let me at that fuckin thing), the ladies engaged in a thrilling game of boggle. We blasted the tunes outside and started an outdoor fire, standing around in our parkas and trying to talk ourselves into commencing drinking once again. When the sun poked its meager rays through the breaking clouds, we figured that it was just about time. It must have been close to four, and when the ladies finally joined us, life was looking good all over again. By the time Ronnie and Amber got back from their little cruise down the Highway of Love (as the road to Southampton will now exclusively be known as), Blake was leading Ronnie in the amply hyped drinking competition 8-0.

When the clouds cleared completely, we were feeling fantastic. So good in fact, that it took zero convincing to begin the highly anticipated Sunday afternoon Beirut tournament. We moved the picnic table onto a flat part of the dune and immediately began pouring Lucky Lagers (by the way, all of the weekend's competitive drinking was apparently brought to you by yours truly). And hence began one of the great afternoons of Beirut that I have ever been a part of, narrowly edging out the Sheenboro festivities of 2001 where Flats and Husker broke Granny Sully's entire collection of porcelain mugs while running the table. This afternoon unquestionably belonged to Team Ramrod, the name that Sully and Blake gave themselves in the midst of their 9-0 run. They killed me and Dunner with a fist full of Sandy McSandersons (wet quarters covered in sand - sure, that's lovely roughage), tore through Ronnie and Santos twice despite some inspiring taunting dances, beat up on The Bomber and Ian, dismantled Vera and Amber, laid the smack down on Sandra and Toffan, and when Sandra's parents eventually showed up with Sandra's aunt and her boyfriend, Team Ramrod had the onions to knock off the duo of me and Sandra's dad (Yes, it turns out the man forgave me for the previous evening's debacle. It's impossible to hold a grudge against a guy after you've been his Beirut partner. And no, I can't believe that Sandra's dad joined me in a game of Beirut either). By the time they were into their 10th game, they were completely smashed, so it came as no surprise that they fell to the dynamic duo of Santos and The Bomber. Before nailing the winning shot, The Bomber vowed to run along the beach naked if they won. Sure enough, being a man of his word, two minutes after the victory, there was the Bomber, in all his glory, in the 7 degree dusk, sprinting down the beach for a sunset skinny, polar bear dip. And as if that weren't enough, on his way back to the house he decided to jump on Sully's beach cruiser and give us a couple of naked donuts. Vintage Bomber. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. All of the dudes were thoroughly impressed... the ladies? Not so much.

We plowed through some fantastic lasagna for dinner, and in the midst of it, some crazy 19 year old dude from California thought it would be a good idea (through much prodding from the Bomber) to try to jump the creek in his dad's BMW SUV. When the thing bottomed out and began smoking, he had obviously earned a certain level of credibility with us, so we invited him to join us for a few beers later that night. This ended up being one of the best decisions of the weekend. He walked back in nothing but a T-shirt, and we invited him into a game of Beirut. I have no idea who his partner was, but he obviously got shellacked. I can't remember what his real name was, but he told us to call him "The Moose". No problem. The kid was a total treat, and he had obviously just broken up with his girlfriend, who he affectionately referred to as "that cum-guzzling whore". This had nothing to do with Ronnie pushing him into it, I'm sure. Anyway, somebody rolled a massive cannon of a joint and decided to pass it around. It became obvious that the Moose hadn't smoked a great deal of marijuana in his short career, because he took the longest, deepest pull on this thing that I'd ever seen. You could actually see his face turning green over the course of the next ten minutes, and then before we knew what was happening, the Mooose was doubled over, puking up his mom's beefaroni on the sand. An epic performance.

We left him sound asleep in the sand for quite sometime before Sandra busted out the sparklers. You would have thought this kid had dropped some serious acid, because when we held the sparklers above his face, he began cawing at them like a newborn in a crib, looking up at the newly installed mobile just beyond his reach. Again, it was impossible to breathe whilst laughing so hard, but in the Moose's defense, if I just woke up and no idea where I was and ten people were holding sparlers over my head like a medieval mating ritual, I'd think it was pretty fucked up myself. In any event, after the sparkler trip, Ronnie got the bright idea to bring the Moose into the cottage. Thirty seconds later, the Moose was vomitting violently again. And if he hadn't made it outside the cottage, I would be a single man.

We eventually walked the Moose the half mile back to his cottage, and it honestly felt like we were on a tour of duty through Vietnam because there were blasts going off all over the place, and people were shooting Roman Candles at us, and screamers were blaring every ten seconds... Sully was running around screaming "CHARLIE! CHARLIE!", and poor Moose was wondering what the fuck went wrong. We eventually got back to his cottage, and he declined our invitation to walk him right to the front door, practically dying as we were to see the look on his parents face. Some other time, some other place, Moose. We'll miss you, and you can be sure, we'll never forget you.

On the walk back home it was just like 'Nam all over again because these random guys were lighting off one of those burning school houses.... easily the lamest excuse for pyrotechnics outside of hitting the + sign on some unsuspecting sap's lighter in high school. The rest of the night consisted of Blake putting on an absolutely epic drinking performance, polishing all 18 of his Buds, as well as an entire mini-keg of Bitburger that Amber had brought up. Sandra (undoubtedly the greatest host of all time for putting up with us) cooked up some serious pies, and we polished the bourbon, along with just about everything else we could get our hands on.

We awoke the next morning and cleaned. It was hell on earth.

Thanks to Sandra and her parents for having us up all weekend. I'm not sure how you do it. Thanks to Dunner for passing the pics along. And thanks to everyone who helped me feel like I was 18 all over again. Because really, aside from the beer-bonging and the Beirut tournaments and the irreversible liver damage, that's what the Sauble Wobble is all about. See you all next year.

By the way, until we get some actual video footage from this past weekend, here is an approximation of what went down. What these guys are doing is at the same basic intellectual level of what we were doing all weekend; when it was all said and done, there was probably the same number of beer cans scattered across the ground; and I'm pretty sure the guy without the shirt on is The Moose.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe I missed it. I was there in spirit, although I didn't even get a mention as the man that got you in to white sands... and no mention of our mcdonalds manager wipeout... but whatever... all star post nonetheless... keep truckin.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I didn't know about the trip to Sauble years ago.

Again - no funnels - no drinking games on the 14th.