Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Demolition and the Old Men

Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the first meeting between three online friends.

At Moksha Gren’s home — affectionately dubbed “the Grenstead,” we marveled at how we all looked in three dimensions. I was a bit surprised that we stood so close to the same height. Though I had more hair than either of them, my tall forehead helped even up the reflection score.

Popped Up to HeavenWe were treated to the presence of Moonshot and Norah, the ladies of the house, and Arlo the dog. Toddler Norah — a true cutie pie — entertained us by sliding around on the hardwood floor in her slippers and sporting the camouflage hat she picked from the store shelves. Moonshot entertained us by keeping Moksha in check. In his defense, it was unfair that Simon and I didn’t have our wives on hand to do the same.

The foosball table called to us from the sunroom. Moksha had the best answer, dispatching Simon and me like the rank amateurs we were. I learned that letting go of the grip to spin the players is not acceptable. Note to self: do not expect to win foosball against anyone who actually owns a table.

After lunch at a local microbrewery, we hung out at the house before heading out to play Demolition Ball. Have you ever seen this? Labeled “whirlyball” and probably other names around the USA, it is a combination of basketball, jai-alai, and bumper cars. Moreso than basketball, the goal resembles Pyramid in the new “Battlestar Galactica.” I probably lost some of you just then, but stay with me. There’s suprisingly little sci-fi content from here on out.

The first thing I noticed when stepping onto the electrified Demolition Ball court was a burnt electronics smell. I began to understand why the safety video had instructed us to avoid picking up the ball with our hands.

Several of Moksha and Moonshot’s friends showed up to make two teams of five. Simon and I joined Red while Moksha and Moonshot went Yellow.

In the ensuing hour we got bumped, harrassed, and harangued as we tried to master the game. Our team won once. After I complained about my “scoop” being defective, leading scorer Moksha swapped his for mine. His performance got worse while mine improved tenfold. I scored on two of my next two attempts and had much better luck passing to my teammates on fast breaks.

Fast being relative, of course. Click the play button (and give it a moment) on the video below to see the action.

Watching strangers to get the idea; Simon misses the buzzer-beater.
(if you can’t view this in the browser, then download it)

The fun over after what seemed woefully short of an hour, for a mere five bucks more we played Lazertag. And got destroyed.

Seven of us took on 10 little kids, none more than chest-high on me. Our biggest mistake was in letting them enter the battle arena first. Without any idea where they had gone, we burst through the doors a couple minutes later and proceeded to get the crap kicked out of us.

The kids had gained the higher ground by walking up a long, sharply curved ramp to an observation deck. The walls were high enough that only their shoulders and their phasers were available as targets (yes, the staff called them “phasers,” so stop giving me a hard time). Meanwhile, they had clear shots at our back and chest targets, too.

A few of us tried charging the high ground, but with the six-second recycle time on our phasers, we were helpless. Had we rushed them all at once we might have had a chance, but the onslaught was so merciless that we dispersed like desparate rats in a flooding ship’s hold.

One kid, I suppose feeling sorry for me, approached and said, “You can just hold down the trigger and it will keep firing.”

I swallowed my pride and said, “Thanks.”

Outside, after the 15 minutes of lopsided carnage, the kids talked with us as we compared our scoring printouts. A man perhaps five years my senior walked up and addressed them. “Are these the old men you said you beat?” he said.

The man and the boys then climbed into a stretch limousine SUV.

“Hey, do you think seven of us could tip over that limo?” said one of Moksha’s longtime friends.

We all laughed, fairly sure he was joking.

Friday had started out great, with three firsts for me in one day — meeting Simon, playing demolition ball, and playing lazertag. That night we joked and laughed and played a zombies card game. Just like old pals.

I truly had no idea what wonders awaited us.


8 Responses to Demolition and the Old Men

  1. I really do look forward to seeing you guys within the contexts of your own families during future get-togethers. Having Moonshot and Norah with us that first day probably gave you a clearer picture of the real Gren. Online it’s easy to paint yourself in the most flattering light…less so when your wife is standing beside you taking pot shots ;)

    Duke was probably just kidding about flipping the kids’ limo…but I’m pretty sure we could have talked him into chucking our beer cups at it as they drove past. It’s been a while since I’ve been that humiliated. It’s just a good thing it was so much fun…otherwise my self-esteem might have felt the burn.

    (stupid kids and their high ground)

    Also, thanks for taking that great video footage of Demo Ball. For one, it’s cool to see. And for another, it made it a whole lot easier to score on you guys while you drove around filming ;)

  2. Old men – ROTFLMFAO!!!

  3. I can’t wait to see what happens next, because it seems pretty hard to beat Demo ball. Lasertag sucks. Paintball…now that’s a different story.

    Does the next adventure include a trip to East St. Louis, some establishments that require $1 bills, and a person named Sunshine?

    Let me guess…it’s more about sci-fi, some totally different costumes, a pegged out geek-o-meter, and a dude named Poindexter. :-)

    With three of you, I think it’s OK. But anymore than 3, and I think you might need a buffer to try to keep the geekery from reaching epic levels. It sounds like Moonshot was trying to fill that role, and my hat is off to her for that effort.

    Sounds like you needed a few grenades for your Lasertag matches. So much for the “high ground” then. :-)

  4. Now THAT looked fun! (talking about Demo Ball)
    I’m with Charles… when does that special watering hole make it’s way into the blog? *LOL*

    Can’t wait for more….

  5. Charles – Paintball is great, don’t get me wrong….but it doesn’t lend itself quite as well to the “just set down your beer, pay an extra $5 and step this way for 15 minutes, gentlemen, before heading back to the house for a late dinner” thing the lazertag had going for it. Plus…black lights and techno music, dude….how can you beat that? And though I would have killed for a grenade during those 15 minutes, I have no delusions that it would have been just one more thing those little punks would have slaughtered us with.

    And Dave…you say you want a watering hole? Oh wait…no spoilers, sorry.

  6. The demo ball was a truly awesome time, and I didn’t even feel any of my jet lag for that entire half hour of play. Nor for the 15 minutes of lazer tag after that. (Not so much for the zombie card game afterwards though.)

    You lost me on the Pyramid, Mark. Just another reason for me to take up watching BSG on DVD sometime soon.

    You didn’t HAVE to mention the humiliation at the hands of the 10 year-olds, by the way. I was happy forgetting about that. But oh well; the ol’ ego can handle the drubbing I suppose.

    Amy’s already starting to look forward to hosting the geeky Americans up here. Especially with your weird accents. Because we all know that Canucks don’t have any accents of any kind. Which makes it all the more entertaining to listen to you guys talk all funny.

  7. Moksha….It does sound like the Lasertag was the best option in hindsight. Shooting any fake weapon and drinking beer is always a good time. In fact, — Insert activity here — and beer is always a good time. :-)

    I have to admit, I’m jealous. Besides, I’m sure it was just the fact that you guys were short two players that led to your defeat. That or they practice it like once a month, and it was your first time. Just as long as it had nothing to do with slowed reflexes, impaired vision, or sheer speed, then it’s fine to get beat by 10 year olds. :-)

    Besides…you said you were drinking beer, and that has to account for something. I bet you guys could have drank those kids under the table with no problem. Rest well knowing that. It took years to build up that tolerance, and you should be proud.

  8. You know, Laser (zer?) Tag and Whirlyball are two of the only fun memories I have from my (almost) former job.

    Of course, beer is essential.


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