It is Friday of a thankfully short work week.
Your lips are still chapped from 4 days of drinking only shitty American Lagers and peppermint infused whiskeys, your voice still hoarse from unnecessarily yelling greetings at people within hugging distance.
Your hair hurts.
Your lungs burn.
You find yourself alone at your desk, laughing and crying……. still.
You dog! You’ve been to Punk Rock Bowling!
The weekend starts innocently enough.
We report to our beloved Long Beach Airport on Saturday morning, fresh and clean, to marvel at the new swanky terminal!
Oh sure, it was a laugh to huddle at the porta-bars of the old double wide trailers, swilling twelve dollar Sam Adams and reassembling our outfits after the traumatic rape of the TSA….. but this place is alright!
It’s a short flight, a brief respite of calm before being plunged into the Punk Rock universe.
We brace ourselves, take a breath, and then it’s down the escalators of Sam’s Town…..and this shit is on!
We’ve kept the team alive long enough to be mercifully handicapped, but this year it’s just not enough to advance.
The crashing pins and blaring music, the shouted Hellos to people seen but once a year.
Between nips of smuggled half pints and countless lukewarm Dos Equis, we slog through a grueling tournament….
Perhaps it was too much, to bowl the tournament and then jet across town for an early Festival slot, but this a Bowling event, is it not?
Oh, I hear ya: It’s become so much more than a collection of drunken music types, huddled around the laser bar on a chilly January weekend.
It is a proper Punk Rock extravaganza now, with the audacity to take over the holiday weekend plans for a generation of people worldwide!
Hell, I would think that the majority of attendants don’t even bother to visit the steamy basement alleys of the tournament any more, but to hell with that brother!
And so we bowl on!
Miraculously, we bowl all 3 games, survive the abuse of the collected hecklers, and get across town for 5:30 downbeat, Festival Stage:
It is a balmy 99 degrees up there, and though Anthony is working on 55 minutes of REM sleep and Alf has plowed through 13 ounces of moonshine, we do alright!
And as fast as that—god love these festival thirty minute sets!-—–we are done!
It is time to haunt the backstage tents: we pay our respects to the galaxy of stars and swipe their beers and Redbulls while they are onstage…suckers!
Then it’s time for the true essence of Punk Rock Bowling.
It is time to spend the rest of the night chatting up old pals, and, most importantly, taking silly photos that will surely haunt us until next year’s batch!
And thank you, goddamn Facebook, which bursts with breathless updates for 4 days before and 6 days after this soiree.
I was there and I’m sick of seeing it–I imagine how you poor fuckers who were stuck in Ikea all Memorial weekend must feel!
The photos come dribbling in as the days pass, someone coughing up yet another photo of a band member displaying chin #3, a punker prostrate and beshat in the Plaza hallway….do your own homework people!
The club shows? The afterparties?
The crazy pool parties that left people coughing up chlorine and urine for days?
Didn’t make ’em.
No, PR Bowling has became, in a word, vast.
There is surely no way to see it all, Thank God!
For even our little slice has left nerves shattered and mortgages teetering on default, and we experience but a slice of the madness.
We arrive home, shell-shocked and sore, and close the blinds tight———–enough.
But finally, after hydrating for the past week and avoiding all incoming calls from strange area codes, you allow yourself a breath.
You dare to finally scroll through the photos clogging that smartphone, and as you see the silly grin on a chum from your past, you allow a smile at the memory.
And, hell, maybe a chance that you might just do it again next year.