The City of Edmonton put on a great show, as they always do, but the weekend was marred by a boring and sloppy championship game, an insipid halftime show, and my inability to establish an appropriate daily quantum of alcohol to consume.
As planned, I picked up Jay and Roland from the Edmonton International Airport at four o’clock on Thursday evening. The place could easily serve as a movie location, set in an old Soviet bloc country. Maybe Czechoslovakia. You remember Czechoslovakia, don’t you?
They flew in from Vancouver on Flair Air, which I have already commented earlier in Discombobulated sounded a little sketchy (and dangerous). As I learned, however, you couldn’t beat the prices. Their airfare from Vancouver to Edmonton was $1.45. Seriously; $1.45. Now, there was a baggage fee of $25.00 and taxes and airport improvement fees and various add-ons, but the fare itself was, seriously, $1.45. As Jay commented, he should have simply booked two seats; one for him and one for his bag, and it would have been an even cheaper flight. This airfare of $1.45 made it difficult to spend money on anything else throughout the weekend since that established the baseline for all other expenses. Two dollars for a pack of gum?! I could have flown to Vancouver for that amount!
I thought the Flair Air fare was low, but Jay and Roland’s flight back to Vancouver with Swoosh was only $0.04. Not five cents. Four. Four cents. Less than a nickel. You remember a nickel, don’t you?
Okay. So, both guys were hungry getting off the plane and had already decided they wanted to try some authentic Ukrainian food in Edmonchuk, so we immediately headed to a place called Uncle Ed’s Ukrainian Restaurant, not to be mistaken for Uncle Ed’s Pawn Shop, which is a completely unrelated business as far as we can tell. Uncle Ed’s is somehow the same as the Mundare Sausage House. It seems to be a combination Ukrainian restaurant and Ukrainian meat store, or something. You know those Ukrainians. We stayed on the restaurant side of the operation. By the way, I have never met a Ukrainian named Ed, so… hmm.
Our waitress (and she was a waitress, not a “server”) was a sassy old woman who, when we asked her how she as doing, told us she was “Living’ the dream” and then clarified that it might actually be a nightmare. We all ordered perogies and cabbage rolls, although Jay and Roland also ordered some kind of weird kubasa that was shaped like a McDonald’s-style sausage (i.e. in the shape of a burger patty). I had a “Pop Shoppe” cherry cola in a tall, cold bottle.
It was all excellent. Score one for Ukraine! Take that, Putin!
Our waitress and I had a detailed discussion about how Uncle Ed’s perogies are handmade with the thin skin surrounding the inside, which is what differentiates them from the kind you might buy at Safeway, which are industrially made and need to have a thick skin to survive the manufacturing process at the perogy factory, which really dulls the taste. Ukrainians know what I’m talking about. So do factories. So does Putin, that bastard.
Next I delivered Jay and Roland to their accommodations, the MacEwan Residence Hotel. They had reserved a two bedroom… prison cell. Granted, it was a minimum security prison cell, but a prison cell nevertheless. Lots of buzzers and rules about what you can and cannot do, and where you can and cannot do it. The “suite” consisted of a very small 12’ by 12’ common area containing a fridge, stove, counter and two chairs around a small round table that was probably screwed to the floor. There were four doors. The first door was the entrance to this common area from the hallway. There were two doors each leading to the, uh, Spartan bedrooms. Both doors required separate keys (Jay locked himself out of his bedroom on Thursday night and had to have someone from the front desk let him into his own bedroom). The fourth door was to the small bathroom (with shower, thank god). Concrete floors and most shockingly, no television. There was a common room down the hall with a TV, but a sign stated that any persons wishing to avail themselves of the TV were required to go to the main desk downstairs to sign out the remote control. Jesus H. Christ.
After Jay and Roland deposited their belongings in each of their assigned prison bedrooms, we departed the MacEwan Residence while being gawked at by pockets of young, fresh-faced MacEwan students, likely stunned by the unexpected presence of disgusting seniors weirding-up the place. Outside, we ran are into a trio of BC Lions fans drinking beer and smoking drugs! They were almost as old as us and were already very incapacitated. I reminded them of all the MacEwan signs that state there is NO DRINKING IN THE COMMON AREAS but they did not appear to fully comprehend what I was saying. I’m not sure if they understood I was being facetious or if they cared or if they even spoke English.
We left these rule-breakers behind and drove over to the local liquor store. Now, Jay had brought to Edmonton his second of three bottles of Gibson’s Finest 100th Grey Cup Limited Edition whiskey. These three bottles were purchase at the 100th Grey Cup in 2012, and the fact that two are still around shows how old and pathetic we have all become. In past years, three bottles of whiskey would have been consumed in the first hour of the first night of any given Grey Cup. Now they get rationed out over several Grey Cups, and that’s more than enough. Too much, really. I am embarrassed just typing this, although I acknowledge that I am still alive largely because I don’t (and obviously can’t; see below) drink like I used to ten year ago.
Anyway, Jay and Rolland still bought some additional booze to supplement their Gibson’s. I purchased my old friend Jack Daniel’s, although all the “60 Pounders” were sold out so I had to purchase a mere 750 ml bottle, which Jay would not shut up about even when I explained they did not have anything larger.
At this point, I left Jay and Roland and headed to my hotel to check in; the palatial Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Edmonton. Contrary to some of the dreadful reviews about the Sutton Place on TripAdvisor, it is an excellent place to stay. I had originally reserved a two-bed room, but when I told the front desk guy I only needed one bed, they moved me to a one-king-bed room. I received room 1501, which had the word “Executive” on the brass plate on the door and its own doorbell. I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with its own doorbell, but I felt like a king. In the past, people were required to use the old fashioned knocking method when announcing their arrival before my royal presence. Chumps. Now I had a doorbell. I will never again accept a hotel room that does not have its own doorbell. The room also had a chaise lounge chair. I felt like a Roman Emperor. I did not even want to use it; I wasn’t worthy.
While Jay and Roland sat around drinking at their self-imposed prison, I set up in my room. I like to have my clothes hung in the closet, my toiletries all neatly set out in the bathroom, and all electronics properly plugged in. I cracked open the Jack Daniel’s and cleaned myself up for a night out at the Spirit of Edmonton, which is really the only place to go on Grey Cup Thursday night. Eventually the boys ended up at my hotel and they used the doorbell. Very exciting. After a few drinks, and an annoying over-use of the doorbell, we headed out.
Spirit of Edmonton was located a few blocks from the Sutton Place Hotel in the Westin Hotel. Spirit has a somewhat clever system which involves its main ballroom and an antechamber where new arrivals are stored until there is room in the main ballroom for them. It is something of a purgatory for party-goers, where you can purchase booze but you don’t really want to and you can listen to a live band but you don’t really want to, and you just kinda stand around waiting for your number to be called (literally) so you can go pay a $10 cover charge to stand around in a larger room (the ballroom) that has more people, more booze and a bigger, louder band. There is no really difference between the ballroom and antechamber, but you still want to get into the ballroom.
This year we got into the ballroom, the Spirit of Edmonton proper, around midnight. None of us purchased any booze since we were already buzzed from our earlier drinking. Last year’s Spirit of Edmonton was located in a bar and it just didn’t feel right. This year, all was back to normal. The same band was playing, led by the sweaty Rob Riggle-looking guy who has a clear preference and aptitude for AC/DC (I think). I didn’t see any of the regulars that normally show up (Big Head BC Guy, for instance) but we enjoyed ourselves. It was a perfectly acceptable if uneventful evening that ended with our departure at a relatively decent hour in relatively good shape. Friday was going to be a big day!
The next morning, we organized ourselves for brunch at the Commodore restaurant. It’s a dumpy greasy spoon (in the good sense) located on Jasper Avenue that I walked past the first time I arrived, not realizing that the Commodore was not an abandoned strip mall. This place has apparently been around forever and the walls are covered with dozens of newspaper articles about the place over the last 70 or so years. It had a very 50s dirty truck stop café vibe and would not have been out of place as a location in the videogame Fallout 4 (kids will get that reference). We were waited on by the owner. I ordered an excellent crappy cheeseburger that exactly hit the spot. Jay and Roland ordered breakfast-type food that I believe involved eggs. We spent much of the time speculating why a somewhat rough-looking dad was there in the middle of the day with his young daughter (we hoped it was his daughter) since it was a school day. We speculated that this lunch was probably going to end up described in his ex-wife’s affidavit during what was likely to be an inevitable custody fight when mom found out what dad did with little Betsy during his court-ordered access.
Jay was a little unhappy with the Commodore’s lack of any common sense with regard to the condiments placed on our table (none). I needed to ask twice for ketchup and Jay had to ask for the little cage that contains the small packets of marmalade, jam and peanut butter. And the peanut butter packets were some kind of generic brand, which seemed both odd and appropriate. Jay speculated that the waiter was either mentally challenged or on some kind of work-release program.
After brunch, we walked over to the Alberta provincial legislature for a tour. We arrived just as one was about to begin. We joined a family consisting of two older parents and their 20s-ish son. Our tour guide was a heavily accented young skinny male who looked like he had just arrived from Somalia, but he was a really earnest, nice and informed guy, so we all approved.
The tour took a little more than a half hour and we all learned things that we promptly forgot moments after leaving the building, but seemed interesting when our Somali guide was explaining them to us. The only thing that really sticks in my head was the portraits of the premiers. I had forgotten that Alberta had a gaggle of premiers after the smoking and drinking premier, “King” Ralph Klein, had left office. We received a very detailed explanation of why Alison Redford (who I had completely forgotten about) had been painted wearing a jacket that was missing a button (something about how she got drummed out of office without completing her third year, or something). There was a portrait of the interim premier Dave Hancock who followed Ms. Redford, and who had never actually be elected but still qualified as premier due to the weird rules of parliamentary democracy (John Turner, Kim Campbell and Jim Prentice being other notable beneficiaries of that system). Speaking of Jim Prentice, his portrait was not yet completed even though he’s been dead for a few years already (the victim of a very weird airplane accident after he was ushered out of office by Alberta’s current premier and the fickle people of Alberta).
We had a lengthy stopover in the public gallery of the legislative chamber. In Ontario, they let us right into the chamber, but not here. At this point, Jay was getting a little bored and began to fiddle with his swear box. This is a little electronic device that has four buttons which, if pressed, say “Fuck you”, “You’re an asshole”, “Fuckin’ Jerk” and “Eat shit”, respectively. I have those phrases burned into my brain because he brings the swear box to every Grey Cup. It never gets old. I once had a slightly larger swear box that uttered all those same phrases, but I lost it at some point. Or grew up. No, just lost it.
Anyway, Jay started to hit the swear box while our Somali tour guide was explaining things about the legislative chamber, mostly related to political science issues of which we are all very aware. We were all too far away from him (we thought) for him to hear, and we were all just trying to remain silent and straight-faced while the little swear box quietly cursed everyone out. The tour guide finally heard something and very good-naturedly speculated that Jay might have a radio on him. This ended the electronic cursing.
A somewhat interesting story at the legislature involved an explanation of the original parliamentary mace. Shortly before the first opening of the Alberta legislature, it dawned on the mucky-mucks that no one had bothered to have a parliamentary mace made. You have to have a mace! Apparently it’s for bashing the Queen over the head if she tries to get in without permission. Fuckin’ Queen, wandering around the Canadian prairies trying to sneak into the legislature. Anyway, there was a mad scramble and eventually a Calgary carpenter was commissioned to create a mace. He used old plumbing and toilet parts, including the round tin drum (usually plastic now) that floats on top of the water inside the toilet tank. On close inspection of the aforementioned mace, it was pretty obvious our tour guide was not making this up. I was ready to file a lawsuit up to that point. Her Majesty would not appreciate being brained by this glorified toilet plunger, but that’s how we do things in Edmonton, bitch.
Next, we headed to Edmonton’s city hall, which had just finished some kind of ceremony involving a bunch of police. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with themselves; it might have been a graduation ceremony. I’m sure they’ll all be out on the street in no time, beating up homeless people and planting evidence. God bless our boys.
We completed our civic trifecta with a visit to the courthouse. This involved the annual recounting of the time Jay successfully represented his girlfriend in some traffic-accident related issue. He actually got costs! (That’s big deal for lawyers.)
Jay and Roland decided to enter one of the courtrooms but I thought it was a little too small for us to just wander in and expect not to create a major fuss, so I stayed out. As it turned out, Jay and Roland did create something akin to a fuss since they were immediately questioned by a sheriff who asked them if they had a matter before the court. They explained that they were just observing and the sheriff told them they had picked the right courtroom to observe, because this was the mental health courtroom, which typically involves a lot of really bizarre information and circumstances.
Meanwhile, while I waited outside the courtroom in the hallway, I began calling both Jay and Roland on their cell phones, hoping it would exacerbate their already disruptive presence in the courtroom as they would be forced to shut their phones off while disturbing everything that was going on. I found this very amusing and I laughed to myself alone in the courtroom hallway. However, I subsequently learned that my plan didn’t work. Jay had forgotten his cell phone in his hotel room and Roland had turned his off. In fact, Jay had placed his swear box in a specific pocket to make sure it did not accidentally go off in court.
After they got out of the courtroom, Jay and Roland explained that upon the completion of a telephone application involving some crazy person who was locked up somewhere (probably the Queen after she tried to get into the legislature), the judge asked from the bench whether Jay and Roland had any matters and the sheriff explained that no, they did not have any mental health issue, they were just lawyers. This provoked a laugh around the room and Jay explained to the judge that, as lawyers, even on their day off, they couldn’t help going to the courthouse. The judge made some comments that made everyone laugh, but as we all agreed, everyone always laughs at anything a judge says just to stay on her good side, so this was not exactly a comedy extravaganza.
The courthouse visit concluded the official portion of Friday’s program. We wandered around the Grey Cup festival area, which seemed to be located in the middle of Beirut, or at least the part of Edmonton that was designed to look like Beirut, circa mid-1980s-civil-war-U.S. Marines-barracks-getting-blown-up. (Actually, that describes most of Edmonton.)
Jay and Roland came over to my room and Roland took a dump in my hotel room. Anyone who has read any of the earlier Grey Cup posts here at Discombobulated knows how much I hate this, but I suppose I have to just relax. Still, I don’t know why Roland could not have waited to complete his operation at his prison-issued toilet. Maybe it was the prison issue toilet paper.
After Roland’s procedure, we had a discussion of what we should do that night. We decided that that evening we would head to the “Hub Bar”, which was a dive bar that had the luck to be located alongside the Grey Cup Festival area (i.e. Edmonton’s Little Beirut). It had gone to the trouble of purchasing a relatively fancy banner it hung outside, temporarily renaming itself the “Dive Bar”. I expected the place to be packed due purely to its fortuitous location beside the Grey Cup Festival, but we are always happy to support local establishments.
After making that decision, Jay and Roland headed back to the MacEwan Residence Minimum Security Prison and I fell asleep on my king sized bed with the 60 inch HD television showing CFL highlights. At some point, I woke up and got into the Jack Daniel’s while watching TV and getting ready. I headed downstairs and stopped in at Chop, the steakhouse inside the Sutton Place Hotel. I ordered a couple of shots of Amaretto which provoked a conversation with a table full of young ladies about what a nice drink Amaretto is. Then, a table full of males around my age, next to the table full of young ladies, then started talking to me, too. It dawned on me that this table of males was using me as a segue to talking with the table of young ladies. I don’t like to be treated like a segue so I tried to leave. However, getting out of Chop was a lot more difficult than I thought and I got tangled up with another table of drunken males from Calgary who treated me like I was their long lost brother. I told them I was trying to get out of this place and one of the guys assured me he had been trying to get out for four hours. So after some weird and completely unnecessary hi-fives, I managed to get away from them and I escaped out the second level of the restaurant with the help of several staff members.
I walked over to MacEwan Prison. Jay and Roland were already into their booze, including the Gibson’s Finest 100th Grey Cup Limited Edition whiskey. They proudly showed off the TV remote control that they had obtained from the lobby and we partook in the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the common room with an ancient TV just under a big sign that stated “NO ALCOHOL IN THE COMMON AREAS.”
The TV remote control didn’t really seem to control the TV beyond turning it on to a channel that had a show where airport police harassed irritated Asian businessmen arriving in Canada who pretended not to speak English until they had been cleared of all wrong-doing, after which they immediately displayed a very strong grasp of English, especially the swears.
We headed to the Hub Bar (a.k.a. the Dive Bar). It was immediately clear that this place had done nothing to improve itself for the Grey Cup beyond the banner outside temporarily renaming itself the “Dive Bar”. This is absolutely the worst bar I have ever been to, and I’ve been to the Empire Hotel bar in Regina.
This place looked like someone’s unfinished basement if they had been trying to build a dungeon but lost interest halfway through and decided to install a used karaoke machine to torture people a different way. There was a gaggle of regulars, maybe a dozen, who did not look like they were employed, or had ever been employed. Or even knew what “employed” meant, or how to spell it, or how to spell anything. There was also a group of Edmonton Eskimo fans—maybe six— in snow suits who should have known better.
I bought a couple of beers for Jay and Roland. For myself I purchased a shot of Jack Daniel’s with a tetanus shot chaser. As I am typing this I realize I must have been quite drunk to drink from a shot glass at this place. Several of the regulars seemed to really like to chat me up until it became obvious I was not going to buy them a drink, but I still felt like a pretty big deal in there, the way I had money and shoes and stuff.
I was also approached by a relatively attractive woman who was done up well enough to pass for a regular human outside the bar but in cold hard hindsight I realize may have been a “professional” friend. However, as we were talking she became distracted by the first of three fist fights that broke out in this place, all of them involving women. Each one of these fights required the female bartender to come out from behind the bar to physically separate the combatants, putting the female combatant in some form of headlock and leading her towards the back door of the bar where Jay, Roland and I were sitting. Each time, the bartender and the combatant would stop at the door to have a long conversation that would always end in the combatant and bartender hugging it out before the combatant was ushered peacefully through the door, evidently pleased with how the evening ended.
Each one of the fights seemed like it involved the same woman who would be escorted out the back door after the bartender reasoned with her, and then would seemingly return via the front door and promptly get in another fight with someone else. However, it might have just been a series of women who all looked the same since this place did not attract a wide demographic.
At some point, watching these fights unfold lost its novelty but Jay and Roland were happily ensconced in this place, with Lyle having joined us. Therefore, I took my leave and cabbed it to another bar, called On The Rocks. I frequent this bar almost every time I come up to Edmonton for a regular season game. I find that place is typically filled with footballs fans and no one ever gets in any fights there; bunch a pussies. There, I ran into the guys with whom I had spent the 2017 Grey cup in Ottawa, the brothers and friends of my friend Joe who passed away a few months after last year’s Grey Cup.
After about a half hour at On The Rocks, I commenced a drunken and confused text exchanged with Roland. I felt I was trying to get him, Jay and Lyle to come to On The Rocks, while Roland felt he was trying to get me to come to the Shaw Convention Centre to join them at Riderville. The next morning, reviewing my texts, I saw that this text exchange was more Roland trying to convince me to come to Riderville and me hurling poorly worded and spelled insults at Roland, calling into question his intelligence and masculinity.
In my defense, Jay has always maintained a severe and irrational hatred for Riderville ever since the 2006 Winnipeg Grey Cup. That night, when Roland claimed that they had gone to Riderville, I simply did not believe him. As it turned out, they had gone to Toronto’s hospitality room and then made a very late appearance at Riderville, late enough to avoid the cover charge (another thing Jay maintains a severe and irrational hatred for).
That morning, I received a text from Ron who indicated that he was going to fly up from Calgary to join us for Saturday night. Ron had originally booked a hotel room from Thursday to Sunday but, as is typical, he cancelled his plans at the last minute.
Anyway, Jay, Roland and I all debriefed the next morning at Normand’s restaurant on Jasper Avenue (not to be confused with Normand’s Bistro located in a completely different location downtown). This is a steak joint which advertises “Breakfast All Day” as long as it’s not after 3 pm. I don’t know if they know what “all day” means, but I didn’t care because I didn’t want breakfast. I wanted a steak; specifically a filet. Their lunch menu did not have a filet, just a New York, but their dinner menu did have a filet. I asked the waitress, a somewhat vacant but friendly waitress who looked like Julie Hagarty from the movie Airplane!, if I could order off the dinner menu and she said she’d check with the kitchen. I clarified that I just wanted to substitute a filet for the New York. I thought that this would be easy for a steak place to make that substitution. She came back and told me it was a “hard no” from the kitchen. I suspect that she did not ask if I could substitute a filet for the New York, but instead asked if I could order off the dinner menu, and that request had elicited the “hard no”. I considered asking her what she asked the kitchen but I thought if I annoyed the staff too much, whatever I ultimately received would contain some spit, so I just dropped the matter.
I ended up getting a bison meat burger because I don’t like a New York cut and nothing else appealed to me. After starting in on the burger, I remembered that I don’t like bison meat, either. Both Jay and Roland had a New York cut and seemed to enjoy themselves, the plebs.
On our way back from Normand’s, we walked past a panhandler sitting on the street reading a newspaper. He asked us if we had any spare change. Neither Jay nor Roland said anything, but I feel that a panhandler is a human being so we should not ignore him. I said “no”. Well, he didn’t like that! He immediately flew into a rage, called me a fucking asshole and threw his newspaper at me. Then he started ranting and raving about “fucking Roughriders fans.” I stopped and looked myself over as well as Jay and Roland. None of us were wearing anything that even suggested we were football fans, let alone Roughriders fans. So, despite this nutcase going crazy, I had to ask him how he figured out I was a Roughriders’ fan. That just made him even madder and he told me to fuck off, etc. Obviously, there was no reasoning with this guy so we just left him behind, but that’s the last time I treat anyone like a human being.
Jay figured that it was just a lucky guess and speculated that I had said “no” too aggressively. In hindsight, perhaps my “no” was a little harsh.
We headed over to Rogers Place for the tour that was advertised in the Grey Cup materials. We arrived in the cavernous Rogers Place “lobby”, or whatever it was, just in time for the start of the first tour group. We were asked for out tickets. We had none. We asked how we could get some. We were told we had to get them online. And we were told, before someone whipped out a smartphone to order tickets online, that they were all sold out. So that was that.
We forlornly walked back to Sutton Place adjacent Rogers Place. Jay was so demoralized he could barely summon the energy to vandalize a CFL sign that pointed VIPs to the CFL Commissioner’s temporary office, thus sending anyone looking for the Commissioner’s office in the opposite direction. Roland and I barely had the energy to laugh about this. Roland half-heartedly threatened to us my toilet again, but we were all too tired to care. Jay and Roland decided to head back to MacEwan Prison without defiling my bathroom. I went to my room upstairs. It was time for another nap. Our plan for Saturday night was to head to the Shaw Convention Centre and go to the various hospitality rooms, including Riderville.
Now Saturday night. What to say about Saturday night? It started out very conventionally, with me drinking Jack Daniel’s in my room alone until my friend Ron showed up, as planned. He flew in from Calgary that afternoon. I had already been drinking the remainder of my Jack Daniel’s. When he arrived, we got into the bourbon he brought with him.
I have only two solid memories of Saturday night. Memory one is drinking at my hotel room with Ron. Memory two is me lying on my bed face down in my hotel room fully dressed. I have virtually no recollection of anything that happened in between, and I know things happened because of what I found in my room the next morning. It was a Hangover (the movie) situation.
Waking up, I took a personal inventory. Everything I was supposed to have with me I had: all my clothes, my wallet (full of money; all my credit cards), my shoes. However, I had a green Riderville bracelet, so I had been there. No memory of that, but whatever. I looked around my room. I also had a Toronto Argonauts T-shirt, which I later learned was being handed out at the Toronto Shipyard hospitality room, so I had been there.
I also had a nice new men’s Abercrombie & Fitch winter jacket. I don’t know where that came from. I also had a CFL toque and a pair of glasses (not mine) with one of the lenses popped out. Inside one of the pockets of the winter jacket was about thirty packets of Fisherman’s Friend throat lozenges, a little metal/plastic football that would light up, and a ticket for free admission to a local strip club.
I called my friend Ron to find out what exactly happened the night before. He couldn’t help me. Apparently, we went to the Shaw Convention Centre, both drunk, and immediately split up. Also apparently, he just wandered around for a couple of hours until he ran into Roland, who had been with Jay and Gordie but had also somehow gotten split up from them. Lyle showed up at some point, alone, and somehow he found everyone, likely because he was the only one who was sober. I learned from Lyle that he saw me leaving the Shaw Convention Centre at around 10:30, and Ron told me we left my hotel room for the Shaw Convention Centre at around 10 o’clock, so I must have made a very quick appearance at Riderville and the Argos Shipyard hospitality room before realizing that I was too drunk to be doing anything but going back to my hotel room, which I assume I promptly did. I hope I promptly did.
None of this explains the jacket, the toque, the glasses and so on. That will remain a mystery forever.
Part of the problem on Saturday night was also that I had left my cell phone at my hotel room, as did Roland, and Jay never brings his cell phone. Jay and Gordie spent much of the night in the VIP section of the Argos Shipyard. This was a roped off section that was occupied by Mike “Pinball” Clemons, who was receiving well-wishers and autographing stuff. When he left, naturally Jay and Gordie sat down in the VIP section behind the ropes and spent most of their evening there. They did not receive any well-wishers or sign anything. No one thought to look for them in the Toronto Argonaut VIP section, and no one could call them.
At some point, as indicated above, Lyle tracked everyone down and, at some point, all the guys departed the Shaw Convention Centre and went to the Kraft Beer establishment. At some point, again, the evening ended peaceably.
On Sunday, Jay, Roland and Gordie came to my hotel room and that’s where I learned what had happened to everyone else but me. They had nothing interesting to tell me beyond what I just described above. It is starting to dawn on me that I need to be around these guys to start trouble or nothing remotely interesting has a chance of happening. They just sit around acting like a bunch of 50ish slugs.
While Jay, Roland and Gordie were waiting around in the Sutton Place Hotel lobby, prior to coming up to my room, they tell me they ran into recently retired CFL legend Wally Buono. Keep in mind that Jay refers to Mr. Buono as “Wally Bozo” because he thinks that Mr. Buono looks confused at all times on the sidelines during games. Frequent readers of Discombobulated know that I also think Mr. Buono looks a little lost on the sidelines, too. Jay said that Mr. Buono’s head is smaller, and his hair seems less clownish, in person, so Jay was willing to reconsider his nickname for the all-time winningest coach in CFL history. Although I think Jay’s name for Mr. Buono is funny, the reader will notice that I refer to Mr. Buono at all times as “Mr. Buono”. Anyway, they asked Mr. Bozo, I mean Mr. Buono, who was going to win the game that afternoon. Mr. Buono stated that it would be the team that scored the most points. That’s why he’s a legend, folks.
Anyway, around midday of Grey Cup Sunday, sitting in my hotel room watching TSN’s Grey Cup pregame show, we discussed our lack of game tickets. For the last four months, our tentative plan was to somehow get some lousy cheap tickets a few hours before the game unless the Roughriders made the game, and then we would scramble around like madmen trying to get half-decent tickets. So obviously, as we settled into my hotel room in front of the TV while the other three guys started to drink, it began to dawn on us that tickets were not going to magically appear, and none of us really had the energy to go down to Commonwealth and get tickets, so at some point the decision was made to watch the game in my room.
All in all, we all felt it was a good decision. None of us cared about either team. It was perfectly nice football weather but it was still a little cold. As it turned out, the game was boring. It was just two teams playing kinda crappy football, with the team that threw the least interceptions and played the least crappy winning. The halftime show was dull. It was just a bad choice to have some young girl, who admittedly is a pretty big deal to the kids, drone out her slow melancholy songs to a jacked-up crowd full of mostly older men (and some women) who are only vaguely aware of who she is. I get that the CFL is trying to appeal to the younger demographic but I don’t think the youngsters watch Canadian football (yet), so you aren’t reaching them, and you are annoying actual fans who do watch. It’s a lose-lose situation.
After the game I drove the guys to a few local restaurants but we didn’t have much luck. One place was open but there were no cars around. We walked in. The place was empty. It reminded me of the place that Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci torched in Goodfellas. We stood around until it because apparent that no one was going to come out of the back to greet us at the door, so we left. I ended up dumping the guys off at a sports bar near the MacEwan Residence Hotel. I went back to my hotel.
As noted above, I had yet to get a steak this trip so I decided to order a steak at Chop, the restaurant in Sutton Place, which was hoppin’. Lots of fans from the game, plenty of happy Stampeders’ fans, and the CFL league officials were also staying at the hotel. I ordered a filet for take-out. This turned out to be an ordeal. I was told to come back in fifteen minutes, which seemed optimistic, so I can back in twenty minutes. I was told there was some problem and I should come back in about ten minutes, which also seemed optimistic so I came back in twenty minutes, and now the problem was allegedly that they had overcooked my steak, so they told me my meal would be free and they would bring it up to my room in about fifteen minutes. I went back up to my room and waited about twenty-five minutes and then went back down to Chop because I thought it was possible they had forgotten my room number. As it turned out, they were just about to deliver my steak meal so they handed it to me and I went back up to my room.
It was a good meal, and free, so even though I was eating at 10:30 at night, I still enjoyed myself.
The next morning I was on the road back to the real world.
And that jacket that I found in my room on Sunday morning? Jay took it. It fit him perfectly.