Today’s Drinking Story:
Here we see Patrick Wensink overcome by the magic of binge drinking with a polka band while being hypnotized by Seigfried and Roy.
Once, Keith Moon, the drummer for the Who, took so many horse tranquilizers he fell off the drumset during the first song of a concert. They couldn’t get him to blink, let alone hammer out My Generation. So the band announced to the crowd if anyone thinks they could handle playing with them, he or she could give it a shot. Turned out, one guy in the audience was a huge Keith Moon fan. So huge that he’d learned the beats to his favorite songs. That guy got to rock out with the Who for one night and became an urban legend.
My story isn’t that exciting. But then again, that one didn’t involve magic spells from Siegfried and Roy.
Beer is served in a giant stein the size of a small gas tank. Pretty much everything on the menu involves sausage and there is a pretzel wench (a sexy woman going table to table selling fresh pretzels).So I spent the weekend in Las Vegas for my bachelor party. Sunday night we eat dinner at the Haufbrau House, a German beer hall-style restaurant. It’s a massive Bavarian barn with long picnic tables, waitresses dressed in traditional Heidi-type yodeling dresses, and massive beer steins. Also there is a live polka band with a shitcan-drunk drummer who makes everyone toast at least once every ten minutes.
So the ooompa music is stomping and we’re drinking until our eyes start to cross when the lovely singer in the band taps me on the shoulder and tells me to come with her.
If you and I were sitting down, sharing ice cream, you might ask me at this point: “How did she know it was your special party?”.
Then I’d reply, “Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention the hat.”
Since it was my bachelor party, my friends decided to torture me by forcing me to wear a three-foot tall dunce cap. So, it was pretty obvious something was going on. And our waiter asked about it, who I assume parlayed the info to the band.
I stagger up on stage and the entire band kicks into a tuba-filled version of some song that roughly means, “We Lift You up with Our Song,” with two hundred people staring at some drunk in a dunce cap.
They finished and, relieved that was it, I hop off the stage.
“No, no, no,” the drunk drummer says. He’s blonde and pudgy and has intense eyes. “It is traditional for the bachelor to play an instrument. Here, you play my drums.” He says in a slurred German accent.
“Here,” he says tugging at his green shoulder strap. “You wear my lederhosen?”
It was pretty clear I didn’t want to find out what was under those shorts, so I declined. In retrospect, I wish I had, though.
There were no horse tranquilizers involved, but this was starting to look like the Who-thing.
Doctor Dunce Caps sits down and I’m guessing 99% of the people there expect me to bomb. But I had a secret. My fiancé, Leah, taught me how to play the drums. I can stumble through a few beats in emergency situations such as this.
So the accordion and the tuba start to go and the woman singer lays into something German and I give ’em the old Boom-Thwack-Boom.
Needless to say, some drunk kid in a dunce cap, beating the drums with a polka band gets people clapping and yelling. I was some retarded German kid-brother of Keith Moon for a couple minutes.
So that ditty ends and I feel pretty good that this is the most crazy thing that’ll happen to me for a long time.
The drummer wanders back up all google-eyed, “You drink beer?”
“Yeah, I love beer.”
“Good, bring it up on stage.”
So I scurry back and get my huge mug, which is a little under half full, I estimate that’s about one-to-two regular beers. And I’m told I have five seconds to drink it all.
The drummer stands on his stool and starts beating on the drums and counting.
I nearly vomit.
People go nuts.
I nearly vomit.
This is now officially the coolest dinner of my life.
I nearly vomit.
I rejoin the table and we all order another round of beers, which is about ten gallons worth between four guys.
We think about desert and drink more beer and the band is kicking out some more polka hits. At one point they bust out a giant Ricola-style horn that takes two people to carry. They parade it around the room tooting a mountain song or something.
Things are pretty awesome at this point, but still not as awesome as the guy with the Who.
Fortunately, the schnitzel gods smile upon me and things get interesting.
Now, commercials make us believe that Vegas is this crazy city where people win a ton of money and make love to strippers every night and Wayne Newton stops by your room to see if you’d like to grab a Martini later. But most people who’ve been there know that you only leave poor. The town is dirty and crowded. Men are passing out hookers’ business cards every seven feet on the sidewalk.
But Vegas waved its magic wand over the Haufbrau House.
The band stopped playing and people started standing and clapping. We turned around and there’s a man in a wheelchair.
“Oh, shit, that’s Roy,” my buddy Ben says.
Sure enough. One half of the white tiger-loving magic team, Siegfried and Roy, was here.
“You know,” our waiter says. “Siegfried is here too.”
I nearly vomit.
Shining like the million dollars of plastic surgery he is, Siegfried walked in, waved and posed for a quick shot with the band.
We got up so I could bum rush him and get a picture taken with him. Suddenly, this bachelor party wouldn’t be complete without me and Siggy shaking hands in a photo. Maybe…just maybe…with him pulling a tiger kitten out of my dunce cap.
Here’s something you might not know about a man who made a living making tigers disappear: He is exceptionally quick and agile.
Especially when a half-drunk man in a dunce cap is stalking him.
I was close enough to smell the tiger sweat on his neck. But something stopped me from grabbing his shoulder and asking him to pose for a picture with me and my two-foot tall hat.
Somehow, in my drunken buzz, I regained what is known to doctors as “Common Sense.”
Suddenly, I didn’t want to force this man to take a shot with me. Suddenly, I didn’t want to get in his way as he was trying to find the door.
In retrospect, all I can think of is that he used some sort of White Tiger ESP on me. The same brain magic he uses when he wants a 2,000 pound jungle cat to magically pull a bouquet of roses from his pants pocket.
So, no, the house polka band isn’t exactly the Who. So maybe I won’t go down in urban legend history. But that guy didn’t have a magic spell cast on him by a homosexual magician, did he?
Patrick Wensink is the Captain of the Good Ship Broken Piano. He is the author of that novel, along with “Black Hole Blues” and “Sex Dungeon for Sale!”. Discover all things Wentastic here.