12th April 2012
Our mate, Tom, said to me recently, “Do you remember when you went to 21st parties and all the old fogies sat along the wall at the back – ha ha?”
Fast forward a couple of nights and Tom, Jen, Col, Brian and I are at a 21st party – sitting up the back. Against the wall. The speeches came along and Tom boasted that he had heard every word that the birthday boy had said. That was until we told Tom that there had been two speeches and he had missed the second one entirely. Old fogies.
Somewhere around 11pm that night some bright spark suggested it would be a good idea for the old blokes to challenge the young blokes in a boat race. For those of you whose memory of drinking games is somewhat hazy, let me refresh you. A boat race is a relay. In this case seven old blokes lined up along one side of a table opposite seven young blokes. All have glasses of beer in front of them and at the fall of the flag the first person from each team must scull their beer and upturn the empty glass on their head, and only then can the second person start drinking – got it?
As all the lads lined up you would have been forgiven for thinking the old fogies had half a chance. I mean there were seven reasonable beer bellies there. Tom, who half an hour earlier had been yawning and ready for bed, had perked up and was a member of the team, as was a determined looking Brian, the publican (this alone should have shortened their odds), the father of the birthday boy and a very reluctant Col who grumbled his way to the end of the line.
The flag fell and the young ‘uns were off to a flying start. The oldies however, were struggling with their first team member and lost all hope in the opening seconds. So badly were they beaten that a relieved Col was left sipping his beer as though it were Grange Hermitage. Imagine seven 21 year olds, already primed on spirits and now victorious in war and super charged on testosterone – happy was an understatement.
Tom was heard to complain that the young blokes could have cheated because if they hadn’t quite finished their beer when the glass was upturned on their head – well their hair could soak it up. The old blokes on the other hand, with thinning or no hair, were just left with tell-tale dribbles glistening on their foreheads.
So the party was in full swing before some bright spark suggested the old girls challenge the young girls to a boat race. There sure are some idiots in Coolatai. Two of those idiots are supposedly respectable editors of the Coolatai Bush Telegraph and Jen and I were the first to volunteer; but time of night and the sensibility that should come with age meant that we could only muster another two team members. The four of us sent out the challenge and it looked as though we would win on forfeit because apparently 21 year old girls drink vodka cruisers and, dumb as we were, we old girls were not sculling hard liquor.
With some encouragement from their testosterone-high mates, four eventually lined up and with beer in wine glasses for that classy touch, the flag fell. Now my generation is more of a beer drinking one than the young ‘uns and to us it was clear that we won but to the crowd it was too close to call. After calling unsuccessfully for the video referee, it was decided there must be a rematch. Jen and I and our two new boat buddies rolled our eyes, lodged an unsuccessful protest and then prepared for round two with four mighty belches. This time we performed as well as our old counterparts and were well beaten. We then shook hands with our admired opponents and retired to the fire.
Then some bright spark suggested it would be a good idea to have mixed sex boat races. There was an emphatic “NO”.
At least there must be a little sense setting in with age.