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Punch Drunk

Jack's Bizarro World

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Sometimes we all like to dream about a world that doesn't so closely resemble an underemployed, rug-rat-ridden, over-legislated zombie apocalypse. So in that vein, I give you the perfect bizarro world — and remember, dream big:

- Trampolines everywhere, because why not?

- Mandatory nap time at 2 p.m. Everyone will nap. No exceptions.

- Virginia votes to re-allow smoking in bars and then to ban children from places including but not limited to restaurants, Target, strip clubs, Busch Gardens, single childless adults' direct lines of vision and the outdoors — indefinitely.

- Insert Virginia-related abortion joke here.

- I have a dream. … No more hangovers.

- Virginia votes to allow gay marriage, gay judges, gay butt sex, gay everything — and every closeted, Bible-thumping moron from Appalachia will just get over it and instead focus on making their moonshine and their meth and their sweet step-sibling love. Now I've never been down Interstate 81 beyond Roanoke, but I'm told it's exactly like that and that's fine because in my bizarro world our motto is, 'If It Feels Good, Do It!' Even if that includes meth and one's step-sister. We try not to judge here, I guess.

- Wiffle Ball becomes a national sport. The ragtag group of high-school misfits that I just met at the neighborhood pool and I will defy the odds, overcoming bad luck while enduring a number of wacky misadventures, culminating in our winning a mythical national Wiffle title, my losing my virginity to the hot Eastern European lifeguard, and the meaning of life ultimately revealing itself in the form of a group of true friends — with whom I'm clearly smoking too much pot in the woods behind the neighborhood pool.

- The Virginia GOP stops playing partisan political jai-alai with their old white balls and just does what's best for the state. That's dreaming as big as Burj Khalifa. There'll be trampolines coming out of my ass before this actually happens.

- Ken Cuccinelli fails in his efforts to be Virginia's next governor and is forced to disappear into private practice, only to be occasionally seen walking around the Virginia Supreme Court, lashing out at imaginary aides and muttering about "science being a Commie hoax" and "immigrants and Taco Bell ruining the country."

- Richmond becomes the new home to a Kenny Rogers Roasters, and if you need a faux-Russian hat — and who doesn't — you can visit my buddy Bob Sacamano down at Byrd Park. It's nutria (rat), but the difference in negligible. Mr. Marbles? Is that you?

- Richmond gets a White Castle and an Au Bon Pain. Seriously, how do we not have Au Bon Pain? Radford has an Au Bon Pain and we don't? That's discrimination against people who don't abuse meth or their step-sisters, which again, are two things that we reluctantly decided were OK in Bizarro World. So, bring an Au Bon Pain to Richmond and we can just avoid Bizarro Radford altogether.

- Bizarro soft pretzels for all.

- I have money and a semblance of rhythm. And an Audi. And less of a temper. And maybe a sense of shame every now and then. And a bitchin' hot tub. In fact, everyone will have a bitchin' hot tub next to their trampoline.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's nap time. Big Brother, ya know.

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The New Metro

Walk up to the newly redesigned Metro Grill on Robinson Street and you get a sense of déjà vu. You were once fresh out of college and waiting in line under a tattered overhang to gain entrance into what was arguably, at one point, the busiest bar in the Fan. Now the outside has changed, the overhang replaced with modern sliding windows. Walking in, another sense of déjà vu upon being greeted by Kevin Mandeville, once the Boston Red Sox hat-wearing bartender, now the tie-adorned general manager. The inside looks familiar, only sharper, with cleaner lines, less dingy. That's still the corner where you made out with so many nameless University of Richmond grads, and that's still the bar where you clamored and jostled and sometimes fought for the chance to even see the bartender on a Friday night. Only everything and everyone seems different, seems grown up. At the soft reopening of Metro Grill last week, it's clear that new owners Tony Hawkins, Richie Masters and Travis Bacile want to retain some of the magic that made Metro so great in its heyday, yet also put their personal stamp on it by cleaning the joint up (including a revamped and slightly more upscale menu). So far, I'm impressed. Even if I didn't get a drunken make-out session in the corner.

Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback also serves as co-host of 103.7-FM's "River Mornings with Melissa and Jack." Email bartender@styleweekly.com.

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