Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hooter's redux

You tweeted about me so I'm going to blog about you, Carlos!

Woke up Wednesday morning to a text message from the friendly Mexican.

Carlos: "Where you want to meet?"
Patriotic American: "Shipwreck?"
Carlos: "I would say Hooter's so we can watch both games."
PA: "Are they even open now?"
Carlos: "For sure. I was there yesterday."

My good friend, Stephen, did not answer my immediate invitation call. Probably because he was hung over from last night's bender at Hooter's.

The night before, I was thinking about sleeping with the American flag wrapped around me but the girlfriend vetoed and after a second thought, it would have been disrespectful to Old Glory. So I hung her with pride and it was the first thing I saw when I woke up.

It was the final game for the U.S. in group play of the World Cup and we had to beat Algeria. I'll give you 2 dollars if you can point out where Algeria is located on a map. Africa? The Middle East? Fort Lauderdale?

I didn't shower. I didn't even brush my teeth. If the Mexican contingent on St. Thomas was going to gather at Hooter's for a soccer battle then I felt smelly America should be represented, too.

I walked into the bar at 9 a.m. to an interesting sight. Someone had draped an American flag banner across the entire bar and there were American party hats scattered across the tables. Were we supposed to wear these things? None of this was mentioned in Stephen's day-time Hooter's story. That sonsofbitch lied to me.

I sat down and looked around. Carlos was right. It was a great place to catch a game. The bar was wallpapered with flat-screen TVs and they were running a $2 beer special on Bud and Bud Light.

"Why, because those are supposed to be American beers or something?" I asked the bartender.

"I don't know," she said. "Maybe just because we ordered too many and they're backed up in the walk-in cooler."

It was a rational thought but it also simmered my patriotic aspirations. I couldn't let this bartender dull my fire. So I did what every jackass does at a bar during a sports event.

"C'mon, boys! Let's do it!" I yelled for no particular reason while clapping.

No one reciprocated. The game hadn't even started yet.

Just then, Carlos walked in and grabbed a seat next to me. He ordered a bucket of beer -- remember, it's 9 a.m. -- and then we got started.

It was 90 and half minutes of tense, nerve-racking soccer. I couldn't eat. I could barely contain my frustrated profanity. Some yahoo behind me brought his entire family to the bar to watch the game. Check that, he brought his two young sons to Hooter's to learn the value of a decent American meal.

Those 3-Mile Island wings are killer. Carlos put back a dozen. In keeping with my America theme, I ordered a burger of course, 86 the french fries.

"Do you guys have any soup?" I asked the bartender.

She thought I was joking, laughed and scampered off to flirt with another patron.

After the U.S. victory, Carlos urged me to stay and watch the 2:30 p.m. game. It would determine who the Yanks would play in the next round. I had already planned to write a column about the American soccer bliss so...

"I guess it would be professional research," I said before Carlos high-fived me and ordered shots.

I left the bar at halftime of the second game and drove to work. I blasted the Rolling Stones the whole way and bobbed my head like only a stupid white boy could.

At a traffic light near my office, a St. Thomian (not sure if that is even a word) sat on a nearby bench and picked up the Mick Jagger tune. Now I have no idea if he even followed soccer or could figure out what had put this rowdy American into such a frenzy, but he started to bob his head too and then the light turned green.

I think it was the longest grin a human being has ever had while walking into an office.

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