It was a long weekend; I hit up many local faves, including Kats and Closing Soon Saloon. I even spent loads of dough on champagne for brunch at the Wrigley Mansion, and closed it down at a shitty pool/dart place called The OX on Monday night. I also had the joy of waking up each morning and frantically calling my friends in search of a ride back to the bar to get my car. This pattern of behavior is both cyclical and dangerous. Hmmm, I'm at the bar to get my car. May as well have another drink. This is reason number four why you should always have a clean shirt and an extra pair of drawers in your car, just in case you shit yourself (let a pig have his [dirty, smelly] fantasy).
Well, let me just tell you about my Monday night at the OX Sports Bar.
After drinking for three days in a row, there's nothing really left to do but blow it out for one more night. Hell. It's Monday afternoon, and I got pretty lit at brunch the day before, and passed out real early, so I figure I'm rested up and ready to go. Besides, I have a deadline and need to find a new horrible place to review and write up by Friday. Goddamn deadlines. Goddamn life.
I figure I should start at Shady's, one of my long-standing favorites, on Indian School Road. Hell, I need to go there anyway to get my car. So I get dropped off and enter to a warm welcome of at least 10 folks from the day before, most of whom are here for the same reason I am — get car, and get rid of hangover.
I decide the surest way to get through this day is by not being able to remember it later. I start off with two rounds of mind erasers. If you have never had one you should: a shot served in a drinking glass, 1/3 vodka, 1/3 Kahlúa, and 1/3 soda water. The proper way to consume a mind eraser is simple. You put in at least two straws and, without stirring the concoction, suck it down as quickly as you can. This drink never disappoints and often delivers on the promise of its name.
Mind, promises, priorities, guilt — something's gettin' erased. Which is why I call two of my die-hards pals, Sparkle and Jam-tron, to aid (read: drive) in my pig outing for the night. While I'm waiting, some guy asks me whether I had ever been to a dive called JT's, which pisses me off, so I respond loudly, "You mean that place where they all want to suck John McCain's cock? I'll never enter that place again."
Even though JT's has great food and is just up the road at 48th and East Indian School, it's also up yours with wealthy, visor-wearing Republicans. My voice sounds weird, almost hysterical. The liquor onslaught of these past days has started to unravel my soul, maybe. I'd better have another mind eraser and hope they get here quick.
Next thing I know (beyond my repeated love of mind erasers), I'm in some neighborhood yelling directions while Jam-tron and Sparkle tell me to shut my hole. We finally find the OX Sports Bar behind a Circle K just north of Thomas off of 32nd Street. I've heard that it's a great old dive and has been around forever. We walk in, and . . . and it's bright as hell and noise is cluttering up every corner of the empty space left in my brain.
First thing's first: I'm fuckin' plowed. I can't read the notes I'm trying to write so I hand over the napkins to the gals and I start ordering drinks. I'm not sure if they just pour super-strong drinks in this place or if I'm experiencing the Shampoo Effect. (When you wash your dirty hair, you need lots of shampoo to make it foam. But then, if you wash your hair again, a second time, just a smidgen of 'poo makes it foam like crazy! So, the Shampoo Effect — after going out and hitting it hard, you get drunk easily the next day because you're still kind of drunk from the night before. Add just a dollop — just a few drinks — and you're hammered. Lots of foam.)
My plowed pig-self stumbles through The OX. Half the folks are wearing black shirts with the OX logo on it. Most of them are gathered near the five dartboards — it's probably dart league night. The space opens up onto a long bar and a billiards area with four tables. The rafters above are patriotically decorated, red-white-and-blue streamer banners. Then I see a McCain poster and I'm about to go batshit. We're all doomed.
I try to shake off the liquor, try to get a gauge on this place. I'm surprised at how big it is, how bright. It doesn't have a homey, cozy feeling at all, but rather the feel of one big, harsh, sterile cell that's missing its padded walls. If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. I decide to just play it safe and keep ordering drinks, stay numb, stay quiet. Don't lose control.
I talk to several odd patrons. One guy is wearing bedroom slippers. Another, a real shifty-looking dude, is running the poker tourney in the corner. Both men have likely worn a straitjacket at one time or another.
I discover Jam-tron and Sparkle dancing up a storm and singing some pretty mean karaoke, and I get sucked in, laughing and drinking most of the night away. One hot old lady in a leather bra has me secretly, briefly wishing her to be a hooker, but then I imagine the sweaty, yellow stank on those titties and feel ill. It occurs to me that The OX is a close relative of the yak, which I did just after getting dropped at home.