A bunch of guys were sitting in a semi-circle. Well, they weren't sitting so much as they were float sitting. All were on inner-tubes float sitting in a flooded field that had served as our campground the day before. We were supposed to go tubing until Poseidon unleashed his fury and canceled the tubing trip. Unperturbed, we took the inner-tubes and floated in the quagmire that was our campground.
The water was shallow enough that our butts drug the ground, raking over the occasional ashes of last nights fire. Some of the guys gave up any pretense of floating and were just sitting in the somewhat acrid water like it was a giant bathtub. Give them a rubber ducky and a loufa and they were all set. Which is good because none of us had had a shower in some time. I felt as if the stink could actually be peeled right off me and my massive guns.
I was with Papa Scrum's rugby buddies on his man weekend. I never turn down the opportunity of a good man weekend like I never turn down the opportunity for a good cheese cake. I discovered on this trip that rugby guys tend not to care much about what people think of them. For "retired" rugby players, this goes double, which explains the semi-circle. It was a much better method of for observing the University of Iowa coeds that shared the campground with us. If we were all in a circle, then how could we watch the sexy sexy Olympics going on right in front of us. Who liked who, which college dude had struck out and which girl was most likely to vomit off of jello shots. It was like watching the nature channel during mating season of the gibbon monkey.
We weren't subtle about it but I don't think that this group of guys is subtle about anything that they do. The night before, during the massive monsoon, we retreated to a local bar in the town of Eldora Iowa, population corn. It was the kind of bar that kept every beer that they had in a large cooler. If anything was on tap, I didn't see it. Within an hour our own guy was behind the bar serving the drinks and the rugby songs were in full swing, complete with a 10 man harmonized chorus. Songs with lyrics that would shock Marylin Manson. When the lyric "pussy Parmesan" was yelled my mouth hung open as I prepared to get sucker punched by a local. Finally the bar owner barred us from drinking the very last Bud Light, we decided to leave. I don't know if this speaks to the rugby guys' ability to drink or the quality of the bar we were in. Somehow a golf club that was part of the bar's decor ended up in my possession, courtesy of a source who shall remain nameless. This appears to also be tradition of the rugby crowd. Should I ever invite them over for dinner I will not be using the fine silverware. Yup, these guys are about as subtle as a punch in the face.
So it should be no surprise that the semi-circle was formed. With names like Bird and Debow it was pretty much you get what you get and you should be thankful for the part that you got.
Looking at the IU student pre-fondle was like looking at our own past as I am sure that looking at us was a vision of their future. It was a mirror for both sides, a view into what was and what would be.
We saw them playing the splash me/splash me games that would eventually lead to some clumsy tent sex. The pompous stances where every hair was in place and every lean body showed just the right amount of skin. Their enthusiasm in this game was unmatched as each group floated to other different groups to see who was up for an offer of tent congress.
In us they saw what the end result of the game would be, if played long enough and well enough. Muscle shirts and mortgages, where a weekend like this takes a year to coordinate. Where childcare has to be found and significant others notified. And where you sat in a semi-circle, unashamed at your blatant people watching, like it was a drive in movie designed for our entertainment while we consumed crappy beer.
That was actually a rule of this man weekend. Everyone had to bring crappy beer. To this day, I still don't know what this means. It was explained that crappy beer meant "blue collar" beer such as Pabst and Miller High Life. And if it's in a toll boy, even better. But there were also literalists that translated this rule to actually mean truly crappy beer. One guy showed up with a beer called Mountain West and explained that he had to blow the dust off the cans when he bought it at the store. This should tell you the quality of the beer. Honestly, I have no idea what the crappy beer rule was or is.
Which could be dangerous because anyone in violation was immediately brought up on charges. Tthey actually had a court, complete with a tribunal. The punishment was most likely to be named the beer bitch, the lowest caste on the guy social ladder. I noticed that charges were most frequently called when someone was out of beer and couldn't seem to lift themselves from their tube or was currently peeing in said water. For me, I just tried to keep my mouth shut. It would be like being tried in China, where I didn't know the language and I'm pretty sure the outcome was already decided.
"I feel like I'm getting the clap just by looking at you!"
The entertainment just went up a notch. This must be the climax.
It appears that one of the sexy sexy games had taken an interesting turn. We immediately perked up. And to give credit, that was a pretty original put down, defiantly high marks from the German judge.
"You have an Icky Dick!" the girl screamed back. Man, I love me some white trash floating smack talk. However, I do have to give low scores for the comeback. My 4 year old says icky, surely she could up the game a little bit with something a little better. But she didn't. The boy and the girl continued with their original insults and I began blaming poor writing on behalf of the studio execs.
We sat back with our crappy beer and enjoyed the show. We laughed, a few shed tears, someone was named the beer bitch, and then we all gave a rousing chorus of applause at the end as we screamed for an encore.
Eventually the girl would come to us and violently argue her case against the clap boy. I suppose that she saw us as her elders and thus our wisdom should be sought. We were just hoping that her top would pop off.
This would continue for most of the day. Eventually we would leave the semen and beer filled field and head back to camp. Later that night we would enjoy a band at the campground that played it's fair share of Stevie Ray and Leonard while our own requests for Convoy got ignored. It must be a union thing. We would drink to much and we would eat meat. And at the end we would all, college kids and rugby players, head back to the real world.
There is something to envy in both groups. The college kids still had their freedom and little responsibility. The could just take off one weekend without any though whatsoever. They had the ignorance of youth combined with it's possibilities
We had confidence, the kind that is derived from maturity and shared experiences of the exact kind that the college kids were trying to create. The kind that allows you to sit in a semi-circle and unabashedly people watch, not caring if anyone knows or not.
In the end we all left with something different. We had sore backs and old war stories shared. The college got new stories and I'm pretty sure herpes. Seriously, that water was filthy. And I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one that left with a golf club from a podunk bar in Eldora Iowa.