I’m A Washed Up Has-Been

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Two hours into my fourth consecutive Austin City Limits music festival this past weekend, I, along with three friends from work, hit the bar line to reload on nine-dollar beers (or full bottles of wine, as the case may have been for a couple of us). After about a minute of waiting in line — the outermost of about 10 lines originating at the bar — a commotion drew our collective attention to the two individuals standing behind us.

There stood two young guys, about 17-ish years old. One of them was shielding his buddy as best he could from the festival goers while calmly, but assertively, telling us to “be cool, be cool.” Be cool about what, you high school shit? He was telling us to be cool, I’d soon figure out, because his buddy had his dick out and was pissing where he stood. He was pissing straight down, like a horse. Just dick out in broad daylight amongst tens of thousands of people. He was creating a puddle of urine that slowly engulfed his shoes and submerged his soles, and he did it calmly and seemingly routinely.

After a moment of disbelief, someone in my group asked, “What is wrong with you?” as he was shamelessly emptying his bladder on the plush Bermuda grass. After finishing his piss, some of which got on his pants and hands, he looked at my buddy while simultaneously stuffing his dick back in his pants and replied, “What’s wrong with me? Nothing, man.”

Nothing? Was he right? Was nothing wrong with this smug, obviously drunk high schooler? Are public, daylight bar line pissings the norm these days among the kids? A minute later, a herd of high school girls walked up to the day pisser and his friend. The pisser threw his post-piss, piss-covered hands over one of their shoulders in a pissy embrace. She was none the wiser. I was disgusted.

Then I thought about it. Would I have been disgusted with this back during my prime? I’m not so sure. Would college me have laughed this off as typical drunken behavior? Fuck. Maybe.

As I said previously, this was my fourth consecutive ACL — a three-day music festival. Each time, I have attended with the intention of going all three days, or at least two. At my age, two days straight of marathon day-drinking and walking miles in total from stage to stage is enough to put me on the shelf for a couple days. Three days in a row will put me in the ground. But I always wanted to try, if for no other reason than to prove to myself and my work friends that I could still hang, that I wasn’t washed up and on the descent of my youthful partying days.

As the sun fell toward the horizon, though, so had my will to fight the heat, the crowds, and my unrelenting weariness. The bands at ACL were off my mainstream radar, anyway. Foo Fighters was set to hit the main stage at 8:30, but “Learn to Fly” sucks and the beer line was taking too damn long.

“I’m going to grab a water. Anyone need anything?” I said while inching away from my group. I wasn’t bringing anyone back shit. I was dipping. I Irish-goodbyed the fuck out of that place. From 2:30 to 7:30 — that’s how long I lasted. Five hours. I was spent. I’d need the rest, though. The next night was Drake. I had to see Drake. Wouldn’t miss it for anything.

My body had other plans. With the arrival of fall, the allergies around Austin are borderline apocalyptic. They grabbed ahold of me early Saturday morning, later developed into an ear infection, and caused me extreme fatigue. These factors, combined with my beaten-down body and spirit from the previous day, led to a full day of watching college football and intermittent napping on my couch. Missing Drake still stings, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly enjoy having a legitimate excuse not to fight the elements of ACL again. Despite feeling like shit run over twice, I had a nice little Saturday. I enjoyed myself.

My first question is this: How do people my age do it? One of my coworkers, who is older than me and gave birth to a human child just two or three months ago, did all three days at ACL. The fuck? And she had a smile on her face this morning. What’s the secret? Teach me. Is everyone on performance-enhancing drugs or some shit? Where does the edge come from?

My second question: How do I get back in the game? How do I go from the guy who dips out of music festivals while the sun is still up to the guy who pulls his dick out at 4 p.m. and pisses in front of 50,000 strangers? I want to be that guy.

Image via Instagram/ @roger_dorn


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