POSTED ON JULY 23, 2008:
Love and Guns, But Without the Guns
All this guy's weekend was missing were the guns
I've shot maybe three guns in my life. Two were of the "BB" variety. When I was a kid, my father took a slingshot away from my brother for aiming at squirrels. Guns have never been a staple in my life, but for months now I've been planning to attend a gun show. I thought it would be enlightening, entertaining and possibly frightening to attend an event where guns were the central theme.
Guns have gone off at shows like this in the past, so it was on my mind. After all, guns don't kill people; people kill people. With guns. And, a show has plenty of both.
I researched gun events in Tulsa on the Web and found a show scheduled for July 12 and 13 at the Fairgrounds. Or, at least I thought I had. This would compliment the One Love festival perfectly, I thought. There'd be hippies, peace signs, Rastafarians, shotguns, knives, and lovers of the Second Amendment. What a weekend!
I'd throw on a little tie-dye on Saturday, camouflage on Sunday, and pick up my pen on Monday to write of my hilarious, stereotypical experiences. Surely I'd fit right in. The weekend was coming along perfectly, on paper, a week before.
Saturday went off without a hitch. One Love on the Jenks Riverwalk made a pretty Saturday into an irie Saturday. I expected more dreadlocks and use of the words "mon" and "man" and the phrase "legalize it," but the crowd was more diverse than Caribbean reggae festivals--my only reference point. While locks and buzzwords weren't representin' as they should, marijuana paraphernalia was.
That aside, the Riverwalk was a perfect location--outside of the drive, but I doubt the organizers are going to book the Reasor's parking lot on 15th and Lewis in order to accommodate me. I know you're probably not seriously considering it, organizers, but know this: I'll walk and bring my neighbors. We'll all walk. No carbon footprint, mon. And, I'll pay my neighbor to make large multi-colored signs that read: "Legalize It" and "It's 4:19. Gotta Minute?"
I hadn't planned to write about DJ Moody's birthday bash (Revolution Dance Party) that evening at the Soundpony, but my plans changed. Between One Love and the guns I had more than enough, so I wanted to relax and enjoy myself without any notes, but that was before the events of the evening and the apparently canceled gun show.
I immediately called an emergency meeting. "Okay, GI," my mind opened, "Isaac is going to be dancing tonight and that's that. We can negotiate on other details, but the dancing's off the table. Cool?"
My GI tract agreed, but countered with, "Okay, but no drinks. Total sobriety and we'll dance. I'll play nice. I promise."
An agreement had been reached in ample time. Off to meet friends and cut some rugs!
It's important for me to interject here that my friends have been conspiring to get mentioned in my column. I don't know what that means. Maybe that means a handstand on the bar. Maybe they'll shoot themselves in the foot. Do it. I'll include it, guys. I guess we'll see, in the future.
What I do know is no matter what they could have done this week it would have been overshadowed by one man: Speedbump. Easily the most annoying person I have crossed in Tulsa's public realm. Easily.
I'm not really sure which title I should attach to Speedbump. To me the only thing appropriate is distraction, but the flyer suggested he was the host. For clarity, host it is.
I'll set the scene: It's Saturday night in a jam-packed Soundpony. Allie, one of the bartenders, whom I didn't know until later, courtesy of speedbump, was pouring free shots into the mouths of customers while standing on the bar. The dance floor was ready for the birthday DJ, Moody. All were eagerly awaiting their dance track. As Moody began his set all was well.
Then out of the corner of my eye I see a man painted as The Joker. Ghost white face and neon red lips. It's not terribly flattering or deeply hip. Just weird. He takes the microphone and begins: "Where ya at Soundpony? Make some noise!"
We're all doing well. We're here! Yay! We're at our peak.
Four seconds later: "Happy Birthday, DJ Moody!"
Six seconds later: "Where ya at Soundpony? Make some noise!" We're here. Still here.
Now repeat this scene for 90 minutes. Add shout-outs to "tip your bartender, Allie" and other birthday well-wishes, "Happy Birthday, Moody," "Happy Birthday, Anna," Happy Birthday, Delia," to what had to be half the bar, mix in a healthy dash of inappropriate sexually suggestive screaming eerily reminiscent of a 13-year-old boy, and conclude with tone-deaf sing-a-longs.
My favorite: "If you dropped acid in the '90s, make some noise!"
This is not a joke, readers. Now consider this: the very evening I speak of was one of Soundpony's best evenings on record (amount of drinks served).
The crowd was resilient. Had I indulged in a single drop of beer, wine, or other I would have unplugged the mic and given myself the largest pat on the back ever recorded. My peers were polite and drunk. Mostly, drunk. Some had tuned out. Others had given up hope of listening to music without the distraction of Speedbump long before I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the dancing, the music and Soundpony, but come the August Revolution Dance Party I might consider an evening without a speedbump.
That night I went to bed worried about possible nightmares. "Where ya at, Isaac!" "Happy Birthday, Isaac!" "Isaac's gettin' laid tonight!"
No! No! No! I thought to myself. Don't do that to me tonight. I want a dream-free night.
I had my dreamless night and woke up the next morning refreshed and ready for guns. I carefully picked out a neutral t-shirt to go with my cut-off camo shorts. No, the Peace Corps shirt isn't right for today, I thought, going through my closet. I speak from experience when I say I could only imagine someone twice my size laughing and pointing at me, "Haha...Peace! Damn tree hugger."
As my girlfriend and I pulled into the Fairgrounds it was obvious there was no gun show planned for the day. At least not at these Fairgrounds. Maybe I misread something or maybe it was canceled. Either way things didn't turn out the way I planned. Cristi looked at me and said, "Well, what's next, tough guy?"
"How about bowling," she later suggested.
"But first I want to get out of these damn shorts," I responded.
Afterwards, at the bowling alley, I considered getting on the microphone and shouting, "Where ya at, Sheridan Lanes," but I thought better of it. I settled for my best, "Happy Birthday, Cristi" (sans the mic) and a couple of strikes.
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