Friday, May 2, 2014
Derby-Less. Sans Derby.
Well, here we are. In a spot I hoped never to be in.
Schne tried to get me to go to the Kentucky Derby for a couple of years right after he moved to Louisville, and I came up with a lame excuse both times. After I finally went in 2008 and had one of the most fun weekends of my life, I said "Welp, I'm coming every year until I either get married or have a kid." That joke ended up becoming fact, as I made the trek five years in a row, until my wedding last year precluded me from attending. At the time, we just thought it would be a one-year blip, and we'd be back at Churchill Downs in 2014. But after extensive discussions, Schne and I decided a couple months ago that we would not be getting our Derby on this year either.
On one hand, I'm very OK with taking different vacations and diversifying my bonds a little bit. We've done the damn thang about as well as it can be done, short of somebody in our crew winning the lottery and bringing us up to Millionaire's Row with all the rich people and celebrities...and Nick Lachey.
On the other hand....Derby Weekend was my favorite weekend of the year. I could handle missing out last year. Really, it wasn't near as difficult as I thought, but that's because I was on a fun road trip with my fiancee, on our way to New Orleans and ultimately to Florida to spend a week in a giant beach house with a ton of friends before we got married. But this year there is no such distraction. This year, I'm going to feel the full consequences of not being in Louisville on the first weekend of May. Tears may be involved.
Things I'll miss the most include, but are not limited to, the following:
Mint juleps. Back in '08, I was not a whiskey fan at all. I'd be lying if my first couple mint juleps tasted good that year, but hey, when in Rome. They quickly grew on me, and now just the smell of whiskey makes me want to get to a horse racing track as quickly as possible. So mint juleps turned out to be a gateway drink, and now I love whiskey. Though it doesn't always love me back, cough, Pendleton, cough.
Money Is No Object, or M.I.N.O. In the same vein as Wu Tang's slogan, C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), I liked to get drunk and say M.I.N.O. a million times throughout the course of Derby weekend. Your entire sense of value of money goes out the window, whether it's throwing down a triple-digit bet on a horse only because they have a cool name; spending $200 on drinks every day because the aforementioned mint juleps are like $12 apiece; or lighting a $20 bill on fire, then using that flaming bill to light up a cigar (I learned that move from Krusty the Clown, and trust me, it makes you feel BALLER AS SHIT.)
The Twig 'n' Leaf, the greatest little breakfast diner I've ever eaten at. There's nowhere else I'd rather go in order to put down a solid foundation for a day full o' boozin'.
Sneaking booze into Churchill Downs. It wasn't about bringing in a six dollar bottle of warm whiskey in order to save money....it was about jamming bottles in your dress socks, or duct-taping booze to your crotch, and defiantly strutting past security. It was about trying to stick it to the man, if only a little bit. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude. Across this line, YOU DO NOT.....it was just about seeing if you could get away with it. Also, dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian American, please.
Inside jokes on top of inside jokes: More kick for your punch; you're such a bro with your HAIR and your WATCH; nice faggot blanket, faggot!; Early Times!; On a scale of 1-10 I'm really drunk right now; Doyouwantacarrot? etc. etc. etc.
The Louisville crew. The kind of people that I only hang out with once a year, but feel like I've known forever.
So there are a few things I'll be a little bit bummed about if you see me at about 3pm on Saturday. However, thanks to the wonders of internet gaming, there is one thing I won't have to miss out on: betting on a horse. I'm going with Wildcat Red at 25-1, solely because I like yelling "W! I! L! D! CATS!" every single chance I can. It's my little cross to bear in life. And why change up my tried-and-true betting strategy just cause I'm not there? That would just be irresponsible.