Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Portrait of the Derelict as a Young Man Vol. 3

I believe there is a saying that goes that you can take the boy out of the city but you can't take the football team out of the boy, you see i was born and raised in Cleveland and no matter where i roam on the Earth i will always be a Browns fan, even living in the city that was once our biggest rival, a city where it might actually be dangerous to sport the colors of brown and orange i wear them with pride even though my team hasn't had much to be proud of in a long time, so it was on some windblown and gray fall sunday that i walked into Joe's Bar to watch the Browns play the Steelers for the last time in Three Rivers Stadium...

Now i will state that at this point and time i was a rather well known hood and this is the same bar that once appeared in a post called the Pizza Man, the one where i used to pick up pounds of weed off  Pizza John and walk down the street and back to my apt. with them in pizza boxes, of course by this time i had moved to a slightly swankier neighborhood right next to my beloved North Oakland, to a tiny place that might have been the cheapest place for rent in that neighborhood, hence why i now had to drive to Joe's Bar, but this is nothing more than background, the real reason one went to Joe's on sunday was for the cheapest booze and the free food, Pizza John was nothing if not a righteous motherfucker and his specials consisted of quarter drafts and $2 pitchers, dollar shots and free pizza, subs and wings at halftime, mind now that this was a fucking hole in the wall joint where the roaches roamed the bar and the rats hung right outside, had the smell of cigarettes and stale beer and piss ingrained into the very fabric of the building, it was a place where the hard core drunks drank in dusty daylight and the coke dealers all worked at night, it's what a select few of us would call paradise...

My beloved Browns had just been resurrected from the scrap heap after that scum sucking twat Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore and re-named them the Ravens and the Steelers weren't having the best year but were having a much better year than the Browns who i believe would finish this year at a pathetic 3-13 but let's not get to far ahead as there was this particular sunday when the stars would align and us hapless dreamers would obtain at least a brief moment of solace, and so i walked in and took off my jacket and openly sported my beaten up Browns t-shirt, of course everyone in the place knew me and i took my good-natured ribbing and began to drink and watch the game with the rest of the crowd, of course being a ranking hood has it's privileges and even though i tried like hell to pay for things the bartender, who was Pizza John's mother, wouldn't let me, i usually just left a twenty on the bar as a tip and of course this wasn't the type of place that took credit cards and on this day as the Brown's hung around and i gave my good natured ribbing back the drinks just kept piling up in front of me, like i said it was a friendly crowd who couldn't believe their team was tanking against the worst team in the league...

Well it finally got to the fourth quarter and the score was some god-awful thing like 21-19 in favor of the Steelers, the fact my Browns had hung around this long was cause for celebration and the beer and the horrible coconut rum that was the dollar shot special was flowing like water and as the rest of the bar looked nervous i sat there smiling, well on my way to being drunk as a fucking monkey, it was at this point that Pizza John offered to bet a day of free drinking up against a quarter of my finest weed, a bet that would cost me roughly a Benjamin and him roughly nothing cuz i drank in the place for free all the time anyway, of course earlier in the day i had tried to lay a Benjamin on the Browns to cover through Pizza John's bookie friend but apparently many people had the same idea and the book wasn't answering the phones, and so Pittsburgh was driving down the field and the clock was winding down but  Korky Kordell Stewart, the Steelers quarterback managed to make a few blunders that stalled the drive and gave the ball back to the Browns with a long field ahead of them and roughly 2 minutes on the clock...

I stood up as my boys managed a first down or two, in fact i believe it was on this drive that i did a shot every time they got a first down, it was also on this drive during a timeout that more than a few people came over and told me win or lose i was a most devoted fan and that was something they could respect, of course by this time i was ripping fucking drunk and was doling out the hugs like Barney the fucking purple dinosaur, a good three hours of  heavy drinking in and it was all coming down to this, they Browns got another first down and then another and before i knew what happened there were 3 seconds left and they were lining up to kick a 38 or 40 yard field goal, they line up and the Steelers call timeout and the whole place is holding their breath, a dozen and a half Steeler fans and one tall drunk boy from Cleveland, then the timeout is over and Phil Dawson trots out and at this point i'm thinking of all the fucked up things that have happened in the history of Cleveland sports and how if i had to bet now i was almost sure he would miss or they'd fuck up the snap or get it blocked but then the ball was snapped and the kick went straight through and the clock struck double zeroes and the fucking Browns had won 22-21...

At this point i donned my hat and bolted into the middle of S. Millvale Avenue and began singing There's only one Cleveland Brownies/ only one Clevleand Brownies/ walking along singing a song/ walking in a Cleveland wonderland... it was a takeoff on a soccer song that Gulfboot had taught me and all 6'4 of me, in the middle of Pittsburgh, in a Cleveland Browns shirt and stocking cap, was in the middle of the street stopping traffic and singing at the top of my lungs, so loud that a friend of mine who lived around the corner would call the next day and ask if i had been at the bar for the game, yes my team may be shite but we had just beat our biggest rival and now, even though i was already loaded it was time to celebrate, in fact i got carried back into the bar by a couple of Steelers fans who had watched the game with me, one asking if i was trying to get myself  killed pulling a stunt like that in the middle of the city, apparently Pizza John had basically said, go get that crazy fucker before he gets himself run over or shot...

Now at this point and time it may have been prudent for a man as inebriated as me to go home and bask in the glow of my team's victory but instead i headed back towards my neighborhood to another bar i worked out of and sold most of the staff weed, to torment the world's worst bartender, a short and stout lad who claimed to be from Trinidad but had lived his whole life in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, at this point i can barely remember going to this place and i then proceeded to start downing triple shots of Jack Daniels, a fact i learned a week later from the bartender on duty who was a top geezer, who then told me that i had the whole place roaring as i talked shit to everyone in the place as well as serenading them with my victory songs, when i asked why he didn't cut me off, he said i seemed quite lucid and that people were buying me drinks and telling him i was the best thing since peanut butter and jelly, now at this point i had lost all track of time and i kept on singing and finally the world's worst bartender showed up and admitted that he almost turned around and went home when from the street he could my rather raspy and booming voice singing my favorite song, from what i gather i harassed him a few minutes and then left...

Now let me tell you something about brown liquor and myself, i'm like that fucking Mogwai who suddenly gets fed after midnight and Stripe ain't got shit on me, i become and evil and mean motherfucker with a tongue that dispenses acid, and so i drove myself home and proceeded to eat my pizza on the floor and later that morning when i woke up on the couch i asked the lovely young lady who i lived with what had happened last night? her response was something like, what? can't you remember King Fucking Asshole, so being the smart fellow that i am i left it at that and began to try and get ready for work, of course i didn't realize how drunk i still was what with the raging pain in my head and body and i wondered if i hadn't fell down a flight of steps or something, i was attempting to make myself  lunch because at this point i was still entertaining the thought of going to work figuring it would ease the visual daggers i was receiving from my young lady when i suddenly just puked on the floor, looked at it and then kept right on making my sandwich, of course now she went ballistic and i told her i'd get to it and that could she please keep it down and i finished making my sandwich and cleaned up what had to be pure alcohol off the floor, got myself dressed and headed out to the car with her due to the fact i gave her a ride to work some mornings...

I began walking towards my car but it wasn't there and then i turned and said it must be over here and after a few minutes of looking for my $400 car i found it but the rather deep hole i had put myself in with the lady was now about the size of the Grand Canyon and she looked at me and asked if i should even be driving and i smiled and said sure and drove her the three blocks to work, the whole time being lectured about how i better go to work and blah blah fucking blah, i had already made up my mind what i was doing today and so i dropped her off and drove to the store and scored some Gatorade for later, a chocolate milk for now and bee-lined it back towards my bed, i set the alarm for about a half hour before she'd get home and i drank my milk and smoked some herb and passed out and when i awoke some hours later i hopped in my car, found a nice quiet parking lot, set the alarm on my phone for about the time i should be getting home from work and passed out curled up in the backseat, yeah it sure sounds like a lot of work but in the end it was worth it... the Browns had won.

6 comments:

Diary of Why said...

You had me until "football." Is there a Cliffs notes version of this post? :P

Glad you're back.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that old logo. My dad used to take me to the old Muni stadium for games. And I'm not talking Bernie Kosar. I go all the way back to Brian Sipe.

Didn't you transfer your allegiance to the Steelers? Do I remember that cowardly act correctly? I get the sense that Pittsburgh doesn't give a shit about the Browns anymore. Isn't it all about the Ravens now? The Browns will have their day. Until then, I've put them in my back pocket and hitched my wagon to a couple of New York teams.

sybil law said...

I have friends who are from Cleveland and are still die hard Browns fans to this day. Of course, I'm a Bengals fan, and thus far, they're doing damn well this year. This Sunday we're up against Shittsburgh, so it should be a fine day of drinking and whatnot around here. :)

Kono said...

UB- i was Pittsburgh for a day, that day being the AFC championship game agaisnt some crap team from Jersey called the Jets, the tickets were free and the decision was more one of self preservation. Besides, Steeler fans were great when Cleveland lost the Browns, as they said they lost something to that day, they'd buy me a drink and and we'd toast our respective teams. The Rust Belt sticks together.

daisyfae said...

i can recount - nearly play by play - two superbowls. 1981 and 1988. my team lost both. i might have gotten drunk. your tale, however, trumps ANY tales i could tell of those nights...

and thanks for the link to the music. needed a soundtrack tonight...

Rassles said...

I wish I were a football fan, but I've never been the biggest sports fanatic. This post, however, basically describes exactly how I handle Tuesdays.