Tomorrow the Usual Suspects, along with a couple dozen Honorary Usual Suspects, will gather on “The Deck” for the annual Fourth of July Bash. This year, the gate to the yard will bear the sign you see above, which was created by Mark, a young, but long-time friend of the Usual Suspects. Excellent job, methinks.
As in the past, the shindig will be hosted by Ken, the Anal Cruise Director, and his wife Kathy, the Deckmistress. There will be all sorts of things to eat that are bad for you, although there will also be a veggie platter for those so inclined. Naturally, we are hoping for good weather, but the Deck is a covered and lighted affair, much like an outdoor saloon in Key West. So, we go straight ahead, rain or shine. Also much like a Key West saloon, the place will be awash with booze and beer.
The music (quite varied, but absolutely no rap) will be loud and always serves as a constant source of banter and verbal jousting. It always has a familiar pattern:
Original Bill: “What the hell is that?”
Jimbo and Ken: “That’s Jimmy Buffet, the Live Album.”
Original Bill: (Makes an unpleasant face)
Ken to Jimbo: “He hates it.”
Original Bill: “I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it.”
Jimbo: “Oh yeah. So we should play some shitty Four Seasons songs?”
Original Bill: “Well, it’s better than this shit.”
Jimbo to Ken: “OK. It’s settled, for his next birthday Bill gets two tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert, and I’ll spring for a hat with a farookin’ parrot on it.”
Original Bill: “Screw you guys. I’m gonna get a drink. You need anything?”
Invariably later in the evening something like the following always takes place. Imagine, if you will, that Paul Simon is singing, “Call Me Al,” while everyone is sitting around a large table shooting the shit.
Jimbo: “Wait. Wait a minute. Listen…. Just listen for a minute. It’s coming up in about five seconds. This is an absolutely amazing bass lick. Ya gotta listen to this.”
Everyone: (ignoring Jimbo and continuing to talk)
Jimbo: “I can’t believe you’re not listening. Just listen to this amazing bass lick.”
Everyone: (Most quiet down, wondering what the hell I am talking about)
Jimbo: “OK. Listen….Here it comes…..One more second…..NOW!”
[Bass lick plays}
Jimbo: “Wasn’t that absolutely amazing?”
Everyone: “WHO GIVES A SHIT!!!!!” (talking resumes)
In addition to the music and the inevitable sideshow it spawns, there will be swimming. I must admit that it is a bit disingenuous to call it swimming, because it really is better described as standing around in the water, drinking, smoking and occasionally eating some Italian sausage or kielbasa that is being passed around by someone outside the pool. It’s not exactly a Mark Spitz swimming thing.
Throughout all this, the Never-Ending Horseshoe Competition proceeds. Ken and I are a regular team, and we are the reigning champs, although there are a couple guys who regularly insist otherwise. Ken, the Anal Cruise Director, has placed drink holders, ashtrays and towels at both ends of the pits. That is very civilized, even though the competition for bragging rights is anything but genteel. Gloating after a victory is an absolute must, as is insisting that the winning team just got lucky.
Bottom line: It is a great way to spend a day with good friends. I can’t wait.