Brought to you this week by something completely different. With Arkansas absolutely, positively 100% incapable of losing, I took an opportunity to be a good spouse and jaunted up to Craighead County to take in my first Arkansas State game with my alumnus wife and some great friends. I was dubious at first, but upon verification that Jonesboro does indeed have bars I begrudgingly agreed to go.
The lovely wife and I leave North Little Rock around 9:00 Saturday morning, and BEFORE WE GET TO CABOT we are sideways over music selection. Kenny fricking Rogers, man. With Wynona. Singing a Christmas duet. My wife singing to the top of her lungs. I'm not that bad of a guy, so what did I do to be subjected to this? If she breaks into "Islands in the Stream" and expects me to join in, I will turn this car around. She doesn't, and we make it safely into town.
After stopping by the Hampton Inn to unsuccessfully attempt early check-in, the first stop is Lazzari Italian Kitchen. This is a favorite of the wife, and I can say that it's solid pasta for seven bucks a plate. No booze, though, and by the time we pay out it's officially the afternoon and I'm ready for a drink.
Unfortunately, it takes half an hour to check-in to the hotel. How difficult is it to assign four people to two rooms and make sure both of them are clean? Exceedingly difficult, apparently, because we end up dumping everything in the one clean room with the promise of a second clean room available upon our return. Still not drinking. This is becoming problematic.
The plan is to go to the bustling, revitalized downtown area and pregame, but first we stop at The Design Shop so my alumni cohorts can check out the Red Wolves apparel selection. As I wander through the store, I see this.
Framed, y'all. The enthralling tale of ASU's 2005 WNIT victory over the LadyBacks. With accompanying "How long will the Hogs run?" bumper sticker! Framed. I've sworn to be all-in Injun today, to the extent of learning the fight song and even buying a stAte t-shirt, but I have to talk a little trash (in fun) about this. Seriously adorable little brother complex they've got going on. Framed.
Still. Not. Drinking.
At long last, we make it downtown and settle in at Godsey's. They have margaritas on special so I'll take one frozen with salt and fuckyoudontjudgemeyoudontknow me, please. It's mediocre. I switch to cheap domestic draft and settle into a rhythm. Beer is good. Love beer. The ladies sit at one end of our eight-top and talk about whatever it is they talk about, and the guys sit at the other end watching the beginning of Dead Trees and Georgia. At some point a dapper young Jonesboroan comes in sporting jeans with a tan sportscoat and white pocket square to go with his gator skin boots. Karl Onterio would have a coronary, but I just make fun.
After a couple of hours at Godsey's we tab out and head down to Brickhouse for a couple more before the game. Fun. Uneventful. It's time to go get our howl on. Awhooooo!
So, yeah. The game. This is where things start getting a little hazy. David Oku (Edit: Actually, it was Michael Gordon. Bygones.) is pretty good. I am disappointed that Texas State is actually the Bobcats and not the Armadillos. They are without the services of Sinbad and Scott Bakula, but do have an Orakpo. I wonder if he's related to the former Longhorn. Texas State scores on a delayed throwback to the tight end. I think it was the Joe Dean Davenport fall down special. Somewhere in New Mexico, Houston Nutt takes credit for it. It's an exciting first half and I do everything I can to fully assimilate. This includes clapping and yelling, but also howling and hand gestures. At halftime it's 21-21. It's starting to rain. I'm ready to start drinking again. So long, Liberty Bank Stadium.
We head back downtown and pay $5 a head to listen to some acoustic three-piece cover band at a place called Skinny J's. It's packed. They have $13 buckets of domestics and 33 appetizers on the menu (I counted). I quickly return to and surpass pre-game saturation levels. Full on dronk now. A guy at the table behind me looks like the bastard child of Rascal Flatts and Guy Fieri. I cannot turn away as he sticks his tongue completely down the gullet of his female companion. I reenact for my table. I decide that I like this bar. I mention repeatedly that the band's song selection is fantastic. Nothing but fun stuff. It's deafening. I sing along to everything.
Then they manage to play a three minute version of Freebird. I am dumbfounded. Like, first verse into guitar solo. I cannot stop talking about this. At this point, I pretty much just cannot stop talking. The band plays Purple Rain. They skip the second verse. The singer doesn't do the oh-oh-oh-ohs. I am apoplectic in the bar. The giant tv on the wall flashes the miracle pass from the Dead Trees game. I scream "I fricking HATE Dead Trees" at nobody in particular. Rascal Flatts is now dancing with his partner. Did I mention there was no dance floor and the place is packed? I step outside for a cigarette and watch a gentleman manage to take up two parallel parking spaces IN A MINI COOPER. I return to our table and proclaim my love for Jonesboro. I think she loves me back. My wife, at the moment, on the other hand... maybe not so much. She tells me it's time to go.
As we leave, we make conversation with the hot dog cart guy. We discuss Hot Dog Mike. I cannot tell if he likes or dislikes him. But I'm pretty sure he likes him. He does not sell outrageously expensive hot dogs like Mike. I wish Hot Dog Cart Guy well and fall into the backseat of our vehicle. My wife asks if I'm going to sleep with one foot off the bed. Probably. I am shmammered and Kenny Rogers and Wynona seems like forever ago.
We make it back to the hotel and receive a room key to a second clean room without incident. My buddy and I walk downstairs to check out why a young dude is sitting in a minivan listening to gangster rap at midnight. That's just Travis, he's in town working at the construction site for the new hospital. Travis is from Tomball, Texas and has a three foot braid of hair draped over his shoulder. Kind of like a Dothraki pothead who had never lost a battle. We chitchat for a few minutes, and since we all know each other's name, my buddy and I are confident that Travis will not break into our car and steal our stuff.
My buddy and I return to our respective rooms, and within five minutes I am sound asleep. Both feet on the bed, almost certainly rattling the walls with snores.
Good times in J-Boogie. See y'all next week.
(Editor's note: Since this is 99% not Razorback related [other than the WNIT slam!] we decided to make this a fanpost. Not that it really matters to anything.)