Burnt Orange Glasses: Synonyms for 'Drunk'

In his political and pop-culture infused off-beat commentary, Jeff Conner has a potential explanation for the Horns' premature exit from the Rice Regional.

It all started with a drunk guy on my lawn.

It wasn't as though I had never seen liquored-up people. Heck, there are usually a couple of people who get toasted every Longhorn home football game at the Inside Texas tailgate. I live in an area of Lubbock called Tech Terrace, and Red Raider students raising the wrist to the point of misdemeanor public intoxication in my presence is more frequent than Charlie Sheen being nominated for an Emmy, but less frequent than the times he gets caught with hookers.

But there are different levels of being snockered. There's the "I Love You Guy," who goes on and on about what a cold-hearted bastard his father is, puts his arm around your shoulders, looks you as directly in the eye as his liquid impairment allows, and calmly tells you, without nary a hint of gayness, those three little words we all long to hear from a male tanked on Jägermeister.

Next, there's "Intellectual Guy," whose inebriation miraculously allows him to spew all the details from long-forgotten lectures in his freshman philosophy course that managed to evade him during the final exam ten years ago. Although he barely drug himself out of "Great Ideas in Western Thought" with a solid C minus, he sees himself as clever and smart, and will get hammered on scotch or the most exotic, highfalutin brown drink at the party, mistakenly believing that Keystone Light is beneath him. This fellow is also sometimes referred to as "Quotation Guy," because his entire drunk rant is lifting ideas and phrases from great minds, such as, "You know, David Hume and Bob Dylan said almost the exact same thing on that subject…" The problem with "Intellectual Guy" is that if you have had any alcohol yourself, you may have to stop and think for half a second before discovering your buddy is completely and totally full of Aggie, and that is way too much work for a social situation.

The funniest drunk, for me at least, is "Suddenly Sexy Guy," whose self-perceived charm upon the fairer sex blossoms as his blood-alcohol content – usually from wine or some fruit-flavored chick drink – rises. Unfortunately, what actually happens in this drunk's pickled brain is that the normal inhibitions against boorish behavior slowly vanish, and the more subliminal, primitive, atavistic, club-them-and-drag-them-by-the-hair-because-I-am-Caveman behavior steps into the driver's seat. Think of "Suddenly Sexy Guy" as the Love Hulk. Most women will give this guy attention long enough to mock him behind his back, and "SSG" will succeed in his quest to find Ms. Right only if it is extremely late in the festivities, she is 30-50% more plastered than her suitor, and a little luck enters the picture.

O.K. Back to the drunk guy on my lawn. For months, our little neighborhood has waged an escalating war with the motorcycle house next door to me. These guys all drive Cadillac Escalades their daddies bought for them and ride high-performance motorcycles on the professional dirt bike circuit. Which is great when they are gone for months at a time, but is a real pain when they are around.

When they are home, motorcycle guys like to drink, keep odd hours, and ride their bikes into their driveway between two and four in the morning. If they were quietly coming and going, that would be one thing, but the revved engines on their cycles sound like 300 pound angry mosquitoes when one is coming out of a deep REM sleep. Motorized insects wake the dogs, which wake Mrs. Lubbock Horn, who in turn wakes me. After some of the neighbors complained and the cops were called, motorcycle guys began ratcheting up their actions, presumably for the sole purpose of annoying us more. Lubbock P.D. has been great, and shows up whenever we call to break up loud, early-morning, weekday front lawn parties, all the while regularly ticketing motorcycle guys for parking the Escalade on the lawn and the motorcycles on the sidewalk.

I thought things were calming down a bit until I met a new category of intoxicant: "Incoherent Guy." At two in the morning, "IG" bobbed and weaved, cursing at the top of his lungs (at least I think he was cursing), yammering unknown things in the negative: "You know you never barble grooner hofra snodder." I burst onto my lawn, screaming at the top of my lungs, "What the hell's going on here?" "IG's" less drunk buddy apologized profusely, told me his friend was really, really drunk (Thank you, Professor Obvious) and said that "IG" did not live there and was leaving.

The following morning, my doorbell rang almost exactly at 3:00 a.m. I made my way dazed and confused onto the front porch, all the while trying to put on a decent pair of shorts with one hand, hopping on one leg in the dark, with my wife screaming, "Be careful, Sweetie!" When I got to the porch, no one was there. The next day, I noticed my University of Texas flag (and accompanying flag pole) had been stolen. Mrs. Lubbock Horn and I received that flag as a wedding gift – it was flying the night of the 2005 football national championship – and now it has in all likelihood been destroyed.

But that's not the end of it. Have you tried buying a flagpole lately? They sell flag kits at K-Mart and Wal-Mart that have cheap American flags (I already own a nice one with stitched [instead of printed] stars), a pole, the bracket that attaches to your house, and ONE metal fastener. Why would they sell only one metal fastener when all flags have two holes on the left side to attach them to a flagpole? Evidently, these cheap American flags have a vertical sleeve next to the stars big enough to shove the pole inside, needing only one fastener to keep the top of the flag in place.

Eventually, I found a place selling just the flag pole (still with only ONE fastener), but the clever kid at the home improvement store helped me figure a way to secure the flag with a couple of brass spring clasps attached to the pole with some plastic zip ties. You know what they say: "Where there's a will, there's a probate attorney."

The new flag, purchased from a local sporting goods enterprise, is a darker, more brownish flavor of burnt orange, with the white longhorn head tastefully stitched on both sides. Since she cost me $45, I now take the flag in at night.

As a result, I blame the first St. John's loss on myself. I had no flag flying outside Casa de Lubbock Horn, and in my superstitious mind, it cost us a close game. Everything was in place and waving proudly in the breeze for the Sam Houston State game, which baptized the new flag with a blowout win. The flag helped our mojo in the second game against St. John's, and things were great until the top of the seventh inning against Rice, which blew a close game open with three runs against our much-used bullpen.

Like eating the very last potato chip in the bag, I am left with that empty, confused, hollow feeling now that my beloved, mighty, fighting Texas Longhorns are finished for the 2007-2008 athletic season. I can't fault our guys for not playing hard the last month of the season, and, if we are honest, we will probably need to admit that Rice has a better baseball team than us. As the Klingons on "Star Trek" noted, "There is no dishonor in falling before a superior force."

Now I have a brand new, snazzy flag, barely broken in, all dressed up with no place to go.

I wonder what's in the liquor cabinet? I'm so depressed I feel like reading some Nietzsche and listening to "Blood on the Tracks."

Hook ‘em.

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