Friday, June 15, 2012

Nurse the Hate: It Was Me... It was me

I have a terrible story to tell you.  It has been a burden that I have carried for many years.  I feel now is the time for me to cleanse my conscience and move on from this horrible experience and begin anew…

Around 2002 The Cowslingers were playing a show in Charleston IL.  This was one of our favorite towns to play because of an odd collection of people that partied like bikers on a speed binge and also had impeccable taste in music.  These people turned every show into a descent into madness.  “The Twenty”, as they were known in the van, turned every show into a careen off the road car wreck of a good time.  The one show we played at the Dungeon with El Vez was memorable not because the entire crowd was baked on mushrooms and gallons of beer, but when a subgroup of The Twenty carried off an “Elvette” (one of El Vez’s female backup singers) off into the night like a Viking taking their loot.

We used to play this wild multi band bill that Friends and Company, the tavern side of the Dungeon, used to put on called The Turkey Testicle Festival.  For those of you wondering what a turkey testicle tastes like, think of a very dense deep fried mushroom.  I had never really thought of a turkey having testicles, but clearly these birds need to make more little birds, so it makes sense.  The bar would send someone to a slaughterhouse to buy gigantic containers of testicles at some mammoth discount.  They would then spend the night before breading the little lumps of flesh and get them ready for the deep fryer.  You do what you have to do to have fun in the Midwest.

We were pretty popular in town, so we would usually play late on the bill.  The particular festival I am thinking about now had the bands performances split into early shows in Friends, and then a big three band bill next store in The Dungeon.  The bars were actually all the same building, and had the office and storage area acting as a buffer between them.  The bar at Friends was really crazy that afternoon.  Most of The Twenty had commenced drinking that morning, and the rest of the townsfolk must have followed suit.  It was like being at Clancy O’Toole’s on St Patrick’s Day.  You could see eyes starting to roll back into heads, and conversations that went nowhere surrounded you no matter where you stood.

When you are the only sober person in a room that is like 3:25 AM New Year’s Eve, you hit a breaking point.  I remember hanging out in the office area with some of the staff while the party raged on in the growing dusk.  I had a couple beers so I had to go to the men’s room.  I didn’t want to have to go back to the bar and wait in line, so I went through to the Dungeon side, which would remained closed until 8 pm.  The plan went haywire when I couldn’t find a light switch to find and use the men’s room over there.  I was out of options.  I went back to the crazy Friend’s side and waited in line.

Things started to mellow out.  You could tell that a good portion of the crowd was just plain out of gas.  We took over a few seats at the bar.  Bobby and Leo were to my left.  We ordered some beers, and got down to what any good indie rock band does…  Wait around.  I saw Charlie Watts in a Rolling Stones 25th Anniversary documentary give this great line.  The interviewer says “Charlie?  What’s it been like being a Rolling Stone for 25 years?”   Charlie is milling around backstage and says, “It’s really only been five years.  The other twenty was just standing around.” 

While we were sitting there, a bar back comes walking from the office/Dungeon area to the bar cursing up a storm.  “Where’s the fucking mop?  Some asshole shit all over the floor in there!”  Everyone in the area looked over at the now mounting scene with wide eyes.  The guy was understandably upset.  That’s when I noticed Leo put his head down and whisper to Bob.  Bob then starts laughing.  Leo?  What is it?  He turns to me and whispers, “It was me!  It was me!”

At some point Leo must have gone through the same assessment of the situation that I did.  The men’s room in Friend’s was not a safe haven for a man needing to have a bowel movement.  It was like a men’s room at Mardi Gras.  He then made the logical decision to head over to the nice private Dungeon bathroom and take care of business there.  Like me, he discovered that the light switch was not immediately available.  This is where out tales differ…

Leo decided to work his way in the complete darkness and try to feel his way to the men’s.  He had played the club before, so he had a pretty good idea where the toilets were.  After slowly feeling and backing into what he thought was the men’s toilet, he let loose with a monstrous movement that exploded over the general area.  Because he wasn’t positive on where he was, and instead of confirming his proximity to the toilet, he decided he was probably in the right location and just let it rip.  I don’t know how he figured out he had made a mistake.  It was probably from the sound of the fecal matter hitting floor and wall instead of ceramic encased water.

There are many questions swirling from that incident.  If he wasn’t at the toilet, how did he wipe?  How exactly did he feel his way to the area, and what did he touch on his way there?  How did he decide that the risk was worth the reward?  How could he just walk away from such a horrific offense to Man?  Leo, in the moment, had descended into beast.  He was no different than something you keep in a stall in a barn.  The Dungeon employees must have thought a feral hog had broken into the bar.

I suppose I can understand why he didn’t ask the bar personnel for cleaning supplies.  “Hey, I just shit all over the floor and walls.  Do you have a mop and a bucket?  How about a hose?”  That really opens you up to a lot of very uncomfortable questions.  Still, I think if you make a mistake of that magnitude, you have to man up and get that mop.  Then again, it was a swirling pit of humanity with bellies filled with whiskey, beer, and turkey testicles.  Many bad decisions were made that day.  Leo’s was just one of many.

You will probably look a Leo differently now.  Well, I guess you probably won’t.  However, I think we can all agree it is for the best to just move on from that ugly little incident. 


At June 15, 2012 at 6:10:00 PM EDT , Blogger Unknown said...

That story was fan-tucking-tastic Greg. Also, by coincidence I happened to read it while on the can.

At June 17, 2012 at 7:13:00 PM EDT , Blogger j said...

yea that was a cool story please don't stop writing on this blog i love reading what you write.

At June 20, 2012 at 10:49:00 AM EDT , Blogger roscoe said...

Oh my goodness

At June 22, 2012 at 12:35:00 AM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Another Leo moment.

At June 29, 2012 at 12:32:00 PM EDT , Blogger ScottyJ said...



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