Saturday, August 11, 2007

Take Me To The River

When my friends and I were about 15-17 years old, we were a bunch of complete nerds. We all played rock n' roll music, but we were considered complete outcasts.

It was actually very funny to us.

We basically just sat around and laughed at how stupid everyone else was for not "getting us."

I know that sounds arrogant, but what the fuck.

Anyway, we had this one friend named Shane who was one of the most incredible guitar players I have ever heard in my life. Shane was a genius (which is a word it may sound like I throw around too casually, but whatever ... - I'm telling you the guy could play like Randy Rhoades meets Vinnie Campbell meets Robert Fripp meets Lightning Hopkins, when he was only fifteen years old).

So, here was perhaps the funniest thing about Shane. He was a desperate caffeine addict.

Because he was so young, he was an addict who had no access to a car. So here's what would happen. Shane would drink the largest Cokes he could find. And, he would drink them constantly, and anywhere he could find them.

He drank so much Coca Cola (it had to be Coca Cola, not Pepsi) that he we constantly had to stop whatever we were doing so he could take a piss.

He pissed like a River.

So, we decided that we were going to call large Cokes, "Rivers."

(I bet that when you read the title of this post you never had any idea that that was coming, did you?)


Now, here's the thing. Shane was such a connoisseur of Coca Cola that he had determined which fast food outlets made "good" Coca Cola mixes, and which one's did not.

I know, I know, this story is too hard to be believed, isn't it?

Shane would call us up early in the morning (Imagine this, I'm sixteen with my piece of shit station wagon - that got like nine fucking miles a gallon - that I had bought because I had to hall around my band equipment - and I'm fucking insane tired because I played a gig the night before) and he would say to me, "Uhm, could you take me to get a "River"?)

So, here's a guy asking me to drive the five fucking miles over to his house, because he doesn't have a car, and it's 7:00 in the fucking morning, and he's in the throes of a sad and desperate caffeine addiction, and he needs me to take him to get a "River."

So, I would have mercy on him and do it.

Now, sometimes, I had other shit to do too. By "other shit", I mean stuff like, you know, go to school, go to work, go to the library to study, etc.

So, in other words, I wasn't just going to take Shane to his favorite fast food outlet to get his favorite Coca Cola mix ...


I was going to take him to the fast food outlet that was on the way to wherever I had to go.

Now, Shane's least favorite fast food outlet for Coca Cola mix was Del Taco. I can't say I blamed him. Truthfully, back in the seventies, Del Taco's Coca Cola Mix tasted like someone had imbued it with strychnine or something. It would hurt my stomach.

However, if Del Taco was the only option, well then, it was the only option.

But, if I were to take Shane to Del Taco to get him his "River" then he would get very, very upset with me, and he would sit in the back seat of my car, sucking on his straw, and getting ever more pissed off with every swallow of that acrid liquid.

He would eventually start complaining and cursing at me for having subjected him to such a shitty Coca Cola fix.

Now, understand, I was not the only person he would do this to. As I said, Shane was a genius guitar player, so there were an awful lot of young guys like me who were willing to put up with his strange behavior and abuse.

However, one can only take such a level of absolutely ridiculous and stupid abuse for just so long.
We had to get back at him somehow. So, here's what we did:

We had another friend (another guy who was considered an incredible nerd), who was a computer programming guy. His name was Randy.

So, we called up Randy and we told him we wanted to design a video game about Shane called "Take Me To The River."

The object of the game was to get enough money for gas, so you could go pick up Shane in your car, and take him to get a "River."

However, that was not the end of it.

Once, you got the money for gas, you then had to drive over to Shane's house, pick him up, get him into the car (while in the throes of his caffeine addiction and resultant crankiness - with him in the back going, "Uhm, god damn it, I hate this ... I hate that ...), and take him to buy a "River."

In the game we designed, one would win points for whether they were able to accomplish the feat of pleasing Shane by taking him to a fast food outlet which he considered to produce a decent Coca Cola mix.

The highest number of points you could get were for if you were able to find a 7-11. The second highest number of points would be rewarded for McDonald's.

However, and this was the death blow of the video game, if you happened to only be able to find a Del Taco, and if that is where you took Shane for his desperately needed "River", then you would, likely, have to pull the car over to the side of the road several minutes later for him to throw up in the gutter.

If that happened, you were dead.

Game Over!