By six o’clock, I’ve finally found Greeno at Comfest, and we’re sitting on a blanket with big mugs of beer in our hands, smiling at the sky.
Greeno and I smile at the sky every single time we hang out, so let’s not act like it’s Comfest making us do that.
I mean, sure – it’s a lovely evening and I’m trying to get on board with Comfest and not be a drag, but there’s definitely something not quite right going on here – you can feel it in the air, like an oily film.
One thing I’m not crazy about are the signs all over the place which read, “Be a sponsor!” As in, don’t bring your own beer in and instead buy it from the tents.
I didn’t bring any beer in and don’t have any plans to, it’s just sort of juvenile to try tricking me into thinking that outside beer is for squares. None of the cool kids are bringing in outside beer, and if I brought some in, then I would so not be invited to their parties.
Hooray, I’m a sponsor. But the good news is I bought these tokens two years ago when they were three bucks. I think they’re four bucks now. I don’t know, cause I’ve got this giant pocketful from two years ago.
Really doesn’t sit well, these juvenile attempts at manipulation. How about a giant poster of Lindsay Lohan, saying “Be cool, don’t bring beer into Comfest.”
Not a good sign, when you enter the festival with bile rising in your throat.
So after a while I make Greeno and Sharon Naquin walk over with me to see Colin Gawel and the Lonely Bones. We arrive with confidence and determination, our hands on our hips, and find total strangers on the stage, playing instruments.
Sharon says, “Say, Tom, have you taken a look at a program?”
Why, no, I did not. I take a look at it and determine, we’re one hour late and at the wrong stage.
I think, well crap, I posted that wrong on my blog, too. Get this program out of here, it’s stinking up the whole night.
So we go back to the beer tent and sit back on the blanket, and then Greeno and I decide to go and get something to eat.
On the way we run into Jared Butler and Jason Courtney and Mike McDermott. They become the first people in history to recognize Greeno from the adventures of his fictional amalgam. If I had tee shirts, they would have won some.
Jason Courtney is the guy whose wife makes awesome fried chicken.
The last time she made it, I stole several pounds of it. Right now, as you’re reading this, Jason Courtney is sitting around stewing about it. But next time, I’m going to do it again.
And Mike McDermott says, hey, why don’t you write more stuff about me? I tell him, You got it, buddy – here you go.
But then we keep going, and we walk past dozens of places to buy food, all of them with unbelievably long lines, and then Greeno snaps and says that’s it we’re going to the Press Grill to get steaks.
That’s really the point when I realize that I’m simply getting old when it comes to Comfest – the moment when we exit Goodale Park entirely, and head to an air conditioned restaurant for beer in actual glasses and dinner served on a plate.
The cool thing is, Greeno’s from Chicago so he thinks everything is three times as expensive as it really is, so I trick him into paying the whole bill and then we scoot out of the place, and head back to the blankets.
We sit there for not much longer, put down one more giant mug of beer each, and then we lose it, and head to another bar. When we walk out of Comfest for the second time, I realize that I haven’t spent a dime in the place aside from tokens from two years ago.
I’m not a sponsor at all.
We go to Mac’s on High Street, and for some reason they give us a basket of tater tots with our beers. Not wanting to argue with them about it, I’m sure somebody asked for them – it’s just an odd thing to find in front of you.
I tell Greeno and Sharon and five other people whose names are all blurred together, you know, I understand that we didn’t make much of an effort at Comfest this year. We didn’t see one single band, we didn’t eat one single turkey leg, we didn’t bribe the bouncy-bounce tent dude into letting us get into the bouncy bounce tent – it’s like we didn’t even care.
But I’ll tell you what, that’s because we were imprisoned by the crowd. It was like being at Walmart except hardly anybody was wearing a shirt.
Have you ever been told to watch where you’re going? It seems like by the time you’re six, that’s something you should have down. You look in front of yourself as you walk, so you don’t accidentally drop into an open sewer or get hit by a bus or bump into Tom and spill beer on him.
Not at Comfest. I must have seen a thousand people with their heads pointed sideways, striding straight ahead. Let me just go ahead and get out of your way, tiger, I can see that you are super duper busy.
In the beer lines by the way, they got out a megaphone and screamed “EVERYONE MUST SHOW ID! THIS MEANS YOU!”
Then the dude would mix it up and yell at individual people – “THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO, SIR!”
Ha ha ha. I’ve been standing here in line for twenty minutes and you’re the wise ass from the 1986 Mister Microphone commercials. Say, how about insulting my mom with that thing, while we’re all dumping wheel barrows of money at your feet. You’re so funny!
Over and over. I was thinking, why not just scream “SCREW YOU, TOM! GIVE ME YOUR MONEY AND GO TO HELL!”
What did I expect? Standing in a line in the grass, waiting to get my six dollar draft beer?
Comfest, let me be clear. You suck. You really suck. I wish that you would take human form so that I could beat you like a grown man.
You know, when an army of people descend upon you and fork over approximately one million dollars for your beer, it’s considered nice to not carpet bomb them with megaphone insults. They weren’t even funny insults.
Next year, Comfest. Next year I’m going to get even with you. Ocean’s Eleven-style – I’m going to clean you out. You took my old friend and you made him into a monster, and now you’re making him dance around in a silly fashion, to calliope music. I’m going to get you for what you did to the Comfest I used to know.
You mark my words. Beware the Curse of Future Tom.