Mr. and Mrs. Downer

I found out about a retirement home having a party on the beach in Oceanside. The idea of old guys on the beach didn't sound appealing, but the party was for the employees, not the residents. There weren't many people there, but it was fun. They tried to get a volleyball game going, but that never happened. There was a tug-o-war, which was fun to watch. I hadn't been in one of those since my boyhood neighbor, David Boyett, gave me rope burns. I tried throwing a Frisbee with someone. I hadn't thrown one in years. Most times it veered into the parking lot. (To the person with the silver Cadillac whose alarm went off -- sorry.) I got the last laugh when the "expert" ended up throwing it onto the roof of a gazebo. I watched him attempt to get it with a jump rope tied into a lasso.

One couple tried playing badminton, but it was so windy, the shuttlecock flew all over the place. A few guys were throwing a football, but we didn't have enough people to get a game going. I decided: screw the activities, I'm going to eat. I grabbed a hot dog and hamburger, and then a friend and I walked down the beach to get some ice cream.

We got back to the party in time to see a woman get a cooler of water poured on her by her kids. I had a flashback to the time in high school when my buddy and I tried to pour a cooler onto Paul Thurgood. The cooler slipped out of our hands and damn near broke my foot. To top it off, as everyone was laughing at us, Paul picked me up like a rag doll, carried me down to the water, and threw me in. (If you're reading this, Paul, I'm not through with you; you're going down.)

Later that same day, I went to a party in National City. When I showed up around 7:00 p.m., the police were breaking it up. I asked the guy throwing the party what happened. He went on about cops always harassing him and how his neighbors were a bunch of idiots. They decided to go to a club to drink and dance. I wondered what they would do with the three kegs that were left.

Since this party was cancelled, I decided to head to Carlsbad with a few friends. A woman was having her birthday party at Fidel's Mexican restaurant. I had met the woman once. She's a writer. She appeared to be in a bad mood, but one person at the party told me, "Oh, she's always like that." She didn't even smile when she was opening presents. (She did laugh at a few of the cards.)

The meal was the worst Mexican food I've ever eaten. But the waitresses were nice, and the drinks worked.

I was talking with the birthday girl's husband, who was a nice guy, but depressing. He reminded me of Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live, who only talks about depressing things. We talked for 10 minutes, and my friend invited him to join us at our table. He pulled up a chair and talked about how he hasn't been able to work because of his back pain. I asked how he got the back pain, and he told me about his car accident on the freeway. He was hit from behind, and the other driver left the scene. Every time he'd go into another misfortunate thing that happened to him, I'd kick my friend under the table.

The last party I went to that day was at the VFW hall in Pacific Beach. It was easy to park, since the VFW's in east PB, away from the clubs.

I got there as the band Split Finger was leaving. They gave me one of their CDs. A DJ was playing dance tunes, and half the crowd seemed to be drunk. The music was so loud I could barely hear the people I was talking to.

I found out this was a party for Richie's 35th birthday. I asked him how much it cost to rent the hall and was told it's $180 for nonmembers and $80 for veterans. All the people at this party were between the ages of 25 and 35. I doubt any of them were veterans.

I met a guy who works on the show Punk'd on MTV. He told me stories about the show, but because of confidentiality agreements, he told me that I couldn't write about any of them. (Ask me about them at a party sometime.)

Another thing I can't print are the photos one guy wanted me to take. He was drunk and would say, "Hey, party crasher dude, take a picture of this!" He'd have his penis out of his pants. I asked his friends if he always took it out at parties. I was told he did. I stayed away from the punch.

One drunk guy was dancing and fell against a trash can, both falling to the floor. He was laughing for a minute, and then he passed out.

There was a couple at the party who were engaged and planning to get married in Hawaii. I thought it was a great idea but wondered how many friends would fly there to attend a wedding. I believe etiquette dictates that when you invite somebody, you are supposed to offer to pay for them to fly out, which can get expensive.

There was a redhead at the party named Randi. She had a noticeable scar on her forearm. I said, "It looks like Zorro got to your arm." I asked her how she got it. "I walked through a glass window. A piece of glass got left in my arm. Almost four months later when I continued to complain about the pain, they took another X-ray. They saw the glass and took it out, but it left this scar." She also told me she can no longer use two fingers on that hand.

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