Monday, May 18, 2009
Sorry for being MIA, I was at BBQ fest all last week.
I go to a BBQ festival every year for fun and to meet up with some clients that are there.
Given the decreased turnout expected and with the ongoing recession, I did not know what to expect from Memphis this year. But any thoughts that the tone would be muted or tempered were quickly erased when, as soon as I walked into a kick-off event, an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse, an already inebriated friend, who I had not see in a long time, accosted me aggressively.
And before I knew what was going on, he had put his head under my shirt and buried his face in the loving nooks and crannies of my greasy belly. I may have enjoyed this welcome a bit too much as it went on for a couple of minutes with others staring on awkwardly and (probably) burning with envy. Eventually, this old friend re-appeared from under my polo shirt with a shinier face and fashionably dishevelled hair (my skin oil properties are known to be like a soothing face salve and/or a stylistic hair gel/gravy) and I knew that Memphis 2009 had just begun. How could I have doubted that Memphis is and will forever be a fourth-dimension, bizzaro reality?
To add to this alternate reality, my body was breaking down as I was severely impaired by a head cold and a sea of delicious, mucous congestion that made me deaf and senile and into Mr. No-Depth Perception. During conversations, I was trying to read lips and body language and could see people, who were only a foot away, cringing as I shouted needlessly at them. But I apologize to anyone if you were trying to confess some deep, dark secret to me and I laughed randomly and inappropriately in your face. It's because I did not really hear what you said.
At night, the show did not stop. The highlight of the first night was a small army of us going to a local establishment that was hosting a karaoke night. Besides the rib fest that week, apparently there was a Harley Davidson gathering and the bars were filled with gruff, leather-chapped, tattooed dudes who looked fierce and could probably eat us Wall Street types for lunch. Shamelessly, WE would be the ones kicked out of the bar as we were disruptive to these grisly, American Idol motor hosses who wanted to sing neither Slayer nor Metallica but Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline'?!?!?! So good, so good, so good....
On another night, a crew of us played hours and hours of never-ending rounds of bowling until we all got carpal tunnel in our forearms. In the lane next to me, the combination of booze and bowling was a frightening thought as bowling bowls were shot putted and flung here and there ready to bludgeon a big-headed Asian like me. Before taking his turn, one gentle giant bowler in particular would ritualistically prance about the hardwood floors in a show-stopping, tribal mating dance that combined the dancing gifts of Elaine Benis and a maimed animal. It was visually spectacular and yet, curiously arousing.
Not to be undone, the annual barbecue fest by the riverfront where several teams from all over competed in what can be called the 'Super Bowl of Swine' was as strong as ever and we were fortunate to have the Killer Hogs team feed us silly. I literally think I ate a whole cow and a couple of pigs this weekend. I drank, bled, sweat meat so much so that as we baked in the sun, I felt my own flesh caramelizing the Budweiser marinade in which my pores had been stewing/swimming. And while it was a only one hour time difference from Memphis and NY, my body acted as if I had traveled internationally this weekend. Can one get jet lag from gluttony?