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Beer and loathing at the Preakness Stakes

We were somewhere among the back half of the crowd watching Macklemore when the girl in front of us, who had been screaming something and proudly holding her beer aloft while standing up on the wobbly, thin fabric center of one of those fold-up canvas deck chairs, went down like a brick.

The chair had buckled below her. A guy nearby, wearing a white tee that bore an American flag and the text “Back to back world war champs,” tapped his friend, pointed at the girl on her face in the grass, and said, “Sweet!”

Two days earlier I had been sitting in my office, clean and sober, dignity intact, when a buddy of mine emailed me to say we should go to the Preakness on Saturday. I told him it was pretty late notice to decide, on Thursday, to head to Baltimore on Friday night, and that I had basically promised someone I’d go to a graduation party in New Jersey on Saturday.

“That sounds pretty lame,” he wrote back. “I should remind you, there will be over 125k drunk people in the infield. That’s at least 50k booties in jean shorts. Beers are 2 bucks.”

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