At some point during a week-long vacation with friends, you start getting “Real World”-type moments. You’ve spent way too much time together, but yet you’re comfortable with each other and “you start being real” or whatever that cowboy Jon guy said during the intro in the 90s. On my week-long trek to Cancun in late-May, our group of men had what we called ‘revelations,’ a term that continues to this day. This is traditionally when one of us asks a stupid question/makes a dumb statement and we all reveal our own experiences on the matter. Afterward, we are all aghast at what we’ve learned, but yet we’re tighter than ever. Gotta love guys and our ability to degrade others and each other with complete disregard for others.
While I won’t go into any lurid details that would get my blog account shut off, I had my own set of personal revelations on the trip. Some of these I already knew about myself, but it was good to exercise them a bit and dig a bit deeper inside myself. The first of five in a series of Cancun Nights: The Book of Revelations is now:
1) You’re not young anymore. It was a clear, black night, a clear, white moon, Warren G was on the streets…oops, sorry. It was late, but still early in Cancun on Saturday night when a few of us hearty souls decided to head out from the resort and into the night life. If you’ve never been, the city itself is a lot of bright lights and giant clubs, extremely Americanized and touched with a pinch of underworld Mexican seediness. A playland for the college-age crowd, Cancun preys upon those with money and for good measure. Clubs routinely advertise ‘all you can drink’ for anywhere from $20-$40 USD, meaning you get to stand in crowded lines for watered-down crap, all while being face-fronted with tip jars from shark-like bartenders. They smell American blood and it reeks of green dollars. After my first visit, I swore I’d never subject myself to that again, yet I found myself walking the same piss-stained streets I stumbled on seven years prior.
Four of us (myself, Big Len, The Ak and Lil’ Z) walked a bit of the strip when we found a $15 cover to the Lucky Monkey, an open-air facility that looked pretty big and fun from the outside. Young people bouncing around, loud hip-hop music and all-you-can-drink? Surely, us older guys were much wiser than the others and could easily navigate the jungle toward a great time, right? Wrong. Upon walking in, we noticed the entire back wall was covered by mirrors, essentially visually doubling the size of the club. Then, there was a giant man who walked around with a microphone simply yelling, “Yeah!” and “What?” and then, “Yeah!” followed by a little bit more of “What?” Great stuff. What job title does he put on a resume? Yeller? Loud talker? Public annoyance?
Within 15 minutes, The Ak and Lil’ Z decided to take off, the latter doing so in a way befitting that of a classic white C-Span Republican stuck in a club of young MTV-generation Republicans without any easy exit. Big Len and I stuck around, because we’re hip, we’re young and we’re with it. But after experiencing a kid who didn’t look older than Fred Savage in The Wonder Years talk to me about what school I was from, seeing a girl getting kicked out for drunken behavior and literally dragging and clawing at everything in her path to avoid it to repeatedly catching myself ogling girls that were barely legal, I came to the realization that this simply wasn’t my scene anymore. Big Len had his moment of epiphany at the same time when he said, “I keep looking around and thinking I see my son.” We soon left and walked home, not dejected about the waste of time and money, but extremely happy about what had just happened to us.
You see, that moment happens to all of us at one point in our lives. It may not be in a shitty club in Cancun, but somewhere, we take the leap from young punk to adult. You realize that much as you developed during your formative years, others are developing their own set of values and experiences, making the same mistakes we all made when were that age. Maybe it was in a club like the Monkey, maybe it was when you realized that you remember the first time that mesh hats were cool or perhaps, it was in American Eagle when you looked around at the clientèle and just felt old. It just hit Big Len and I that we didn’t want to be those guys anymore, ironically at the same time. Thank God (and the Lucky Monkey) that we did.
Some additional comments before you roll out for the rest of your day:
> Look for a big announcement in the next few days regarding one word: podcast.
> Saw Transformers and absolutely loved it. Great pacing, just enough funny to balance the action, hot girls and f’n Optimus Prime. I could have used more traditional nods to Megatron and Starscream, but overall, it’s a hit.
> Other summer faves: the new Linkin Park disk, Family Guy reruns, catching up on The Office, continuing to simplify my life and looking forward to a fall without being stressed by hockey.
> A quick question to everyone who couldn’t believe I never watched “The Office” and tried to tell me how great it was: why didn’t you smack me in the face? I cannot remember being happier watching a show than this and am amazed at what a great cast it is. I just finished Season 2 and am ashamed to admit I am utterly drawn in and tied up in the fledgling romance that is Jim and Pam. How can they have this much on-camera drama and not be hooking up? Doesn’t everyone want to work in this type of office? I might move to Scranton.
> Still have not seen Knocked Up, but everyone I know that has seen it has already gone back to see it again. I did get excited for The 40-Year-Old Virgin only to be disappointed, so hopefully this’ll hit the comedy home run. (Yeah, I said that about Virgin. So what?)
> Another hip-hop influence on our culture: the flat-brim hat. Seriously, does anyone curve their hat anymore? A Big Len quote from the Cancun story above: “You’re the only guy in here with a curved brim. Let’s leave.”
> Speaking of caps, a great thing that happened in Mexico was the push to shave my head. Apparently, the group decided this was best for me and my follicles, so I finally acquiesced. I’ve always wanted to shave it once, but was too skittish to try it, afraid of the results. I’m happy to say that I love the new look and from what I’ve heard, others do too. You can’t beat that it’s easy to maintain, no more expensive haircuts and no more gel/cream/mousse. This is freakin’ sweet!
>You ever notice how musicians rarely smile in pictures? Seriously, try and find ’em. It doesn’t matter if it’s rock, rap, country, Moojambi Desert or classical, all musicians hate smiling for pictures. Jerks!
> As I type while watching the ESPY Awards, I jotted down a few questions/statements:
1) Hey, it’s Christian Slater sitting next to Peyton Manning. For once, it’s an actor Manning is actually better than.
3) Does Samuel L Jackson ever miss an award show? How many of those Kangol hats does he have?
4) The best quote of the night from a Irish duo honored for trying to bring together Catholic and Protestant kids through basketball: “If you try and build a friendship, you destroy an enemy.” And that single statement is more infinitely more important than “Who Is Now.”