With the conclusion of each NFL season comes the same cold splash of disappointment, false hope for next year and the empty feeling one has while putting away the tailgating gear for another year. With Memorial Day on the horizon and the summer months ahead, this normally is the time tailgaters start getting fired up for the approaching season. Thanks to the current NFL Lockout, the prospectus of having a season and the subsequent tailgating that precedes each game is up in the air for the first time in over 20 years.
This predicament got us to thinking as to what we, tailgating nation, should do if the NFL Lockout lasts into the fall and games are canceled. Although tailgating prior to a football game would be ideal, the fact that billionaires are fighting with millionaires should not put the kibosh on our fun. So if there is an NFL Lockout that lasts into the regular season, please consider these non-traditional tailgating venues as a viable alternative.
Parent/Teacher conference – Without a doubt this event would be a great deal more interesting after a couple of beers. They really should serve beer at these things to increase attendance. The looks you may get from some of the mothers walking in could be less than approving though. Don’t be surprised if the fathers in attendance seem to display a look that can only be described as a hybrid of, “Honey can I join him?” and “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Just be sure to give a heads up to the head janitor that you plan on tailgating. After all, if 80’s teen movies have taught us anything, it is that the janitor is omnipotent of all things happening on campus. Tossing him a few cold ones as he cruises by on his flatbed golf cart can ensure you won’t be told to go inside before your tri-tip is done. Just try not to get grill grease on the honor roll bumper stickers and stick figure family window decals affixed to the cars next to yours.
Vasectomy – No matter how much better this procedure has become over the years, anytime a sharp object intentionally comes near your groin area, you better be in a good mood. What’s a better mood enhancer than tailgating with brats given a proper Viking funeral? With that said, you’ll be surprised as to how many of your friends will want to attend. Even more of a shock will be the wives’ encouragement for them to attend in hopes the doctor may throw in a group rate. Seeing how the parking lot of a urologist’s office is not a normal place to find a pop-up tent and a grill, you can count on the police or at the very least some rent-a-cop showing up and asking questions. Honesty is always the best policy and if the cop is a guy, no self-respecting man would cancel this going out party. Just make sure to keep the beers in red plastic party cups and the cops should take pity on you. The vasectomy tailgate is a must. Not only does it take the sting off of getting clipped but it provides you with the much needed driver home at the end. Items to bring include a bag of frozen peas for the boys post-op and one of those plastic dog head cones to be worn after.
Couples Wedding Shower – Rule No. 1. No self-respecting man should ever be caught dead at one of these unless there is tailgating in the couple’s driveway. Men in attendance at these things are merely window dressing for the women to show off to the other women. Men could care less about a Vera Wang table setting or seeing the future bride open up another envelope containing a Crate & Barrel gift card. Men should be out in the driveway grilling and having beers and the married ones should be trying their hardest to convince the groom to glimpse his future of Saturday’s spent at the Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond.
Daughter’s Ballet Recital – This one is a no brainer. Anyone who has ever had to sit through one of these knows exactly how excruciating they can be. Do not be surprised if the mothers who frown upon your behavior here give you the same reaction you received prior to the parent/teacher conference. In fact, depending on the proximity of the dance studio and your kid’s school, you may get a few repeat customers! If you catch too much flack for tailgating a ballet recital, fire back claiming to be a caring father who is supportive of all your daughter’s activities with the same passion you bring to your son’s little league games. You may have some other fathers asking you during intermission what they can bring for the next one.
Traffic School – This one may not go as planned but it’s worth a shot. Bring along some friends in case you want to have some beers so you have a sober ride home. Or since you are the one going to traffic school, you should probably opt to be the designated driver and choose sodas and water. Traffic School would make for a nice alternative tailgating spot seeing how it is assured to have a good sized parking lot and restrooms with running water. Plus you may not be so bored once you go in knowing your pals are still grilling outside. Sure beats those “comedy traffic schools” where the comedian is never funny and your chances of learning anything are zilch.
Jury Duty – Some people view jury duty as a civic responsibility and is a small price to pay for living in a country as great as the United States. Most view jury duty as a monumental waste of time that is boring and forces people to take time off from work. No matter what side of the fence you sit, we can all agree that sitting in a room with hundreds of strangers for an entire day could use some livening up. by tailgating jury duty you’ll already have your grill and cooler there so you won’t be forced to eat horrible courthouse cafeteria food on you 90 lunch break. If you are trying your hardest to not get selected onto a jury, showing up for jury selection with BBQ sauce on your chin and your breath smelling of Pabst Blue Ribbon is probably an automatic disqualification.
DMV - The trip to the DMV is one of the most dreaded and hated experiences that many of us face. The long lines, the grouchy customer service people and the overall confusion as to which is the correct window to visit can drive you crazy. So instead of making it a day of frustration, make it a day of fun. Get there early and start grilling and wait for the line to die down. You have already told your boss you have to go to the DMV so it is not like he or she is expecting you back until late or maybe even not at all. The DMV is a fail-safe excuse for wasting an entire day so you might as well mix in some tailgating while you have the time.
Strip Club – Some may say the nudie bar doesn’t really need improving and the experience is pretty stellar on its own merits. We would argue that football games are pretty spectacular on their own too but its unconscionable to think of going to a football game without tailgating first. This same attitude should be adopted when attending the strip club. Consider this, having a few beers in the parking lot will give you a “head start” and you won’t fall victim to buying more than the overpriced two drink minimum. Saving money on beer in the parking lot means more tip money for the surgically enhanced single mothers with low self-esteem. Another benefit of tailgating the nudie bar is if you get there early enough, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the girls as they show up for work. By doing this you’ll be able to preview which girls are actually decent looking prior to the pounds of make-up, glitter, clear heels, smoke machines and black light distorting your perceptive abilities.