December 15, 2002

A Column From Late May,

A Column From Late May, Can't Remember When Exactly

I recently donned a tuxedo and stood front and center as yet another of my good friends surrendered to the institution of marriage. And, although I could expound endlessly on my own proud status as the last living single man on earth, or on how smoking hot I looked in a tuxedo, I'm opting instead to recount the four-and-a-half hour journey to Milwaukee, where the wedding (a.k.a. crime) took place.

Milwaukee is a large city situated on the eastern border of Wisconsin, a state known for cheese, bitter beer, and a religious devotion to The Church of Favre (there are lesser denominations established for Lombardi, Holmgren and Starr). If not for the Green Bay Packers, I believe, Wisconsin-ites would actually be able to evolve beyond their current Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein developmental status.

Thankfully, I did not have to traverse the vast Wisconsin expanse by myself. A fellow groomsman, Chad, accompanied me on the lengthy drive from Rochester, Minn., to Milwaukee. Therefore, I could engage in conversation whenever the Wisconsin countryside grew tiresome. In other words, I engaged in conversation pretty much the entire trip.

The fastest and most direct route between point A and point B is to link up with I-90 and keep the speedometer latched at just shy of 10 miles above the speed limit. Once this is accomplished, it's simply a matter of watching time drag by as the wheels drone on in perpetuity.

11:30 a.m.: Chad and I depart. We both agree that we need to stop for pop, and soon.

11:35 a.m.: We stop at Kwik Trip to buy pops. I buy a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Pepsi. Chad buys a much larger bottle that resembles the shells fired from U.S. battleships. I think Chad will regret this purchase within an hour.

11:37 a.m.: After leaving Kwik Trip, Chad and I talk about our jobs for about 15 minutes. Eventually, the topic starts to irritate us and we fall into sullen silence for about five minutes.

11:58 a.m.: Now firmly on I-90, Chad begins talking about money and investing and tells me I should roll my savings into tax-free municipals and. . . and. . . I escape into my mind where I imagine scantily clad women chasing me down a sandy beach.

12:15 p.m.: I emerge from my beach fantasy briefly to acknowledge that Chad is now talking about the volatile economy and how it has a negative effect on overall investment returns. I revisit my fantasy, only this time there are more women chasing me.

12:20 p.m.: Desperate to change the topic of conversation, I ask Chad about his Harley motorcycle. This pleases Chad to no end and he begins a lengthy discussion about his bike and how he wants to buy a newer one. Compared to investment strategies, this is highly entertaining conversation.

12:35 p.m.: We reach LaCrosse, where we cross the Mississippi. No matter how many times I cross the river, I'm awed by its timeless beauty. It drifts lazily along, unconcerned about current events, interested in nothing. It's like a giant liquid teenager.

12:50 p.m.: Once outside of LaCrosse, I become aware of a disturbing number of dead deer littering the side of the road. I make a mental note of the carnage but remain silent.

1 p.m.: "Man there are a lot of dead deer on this road," Chad and I say practically in unison. There are deer carcasses to the right and the left. And where there are no deer bodies, there are massive red stains painting the pavement for about a quarter of a mile. It's like a demented marriage between a slasher movie and Wild America.

1:30 p.m.: We reach a truck stop in a town called Mauston. Chad hurries to the bathroom to dispose of his giant Diet Pepsi mistake. I'm amazed he made it two hours. We decide to eat at the truck stop. We're surrounded by truckers, all of whom have the tired, grizzled look of someone who has seen all of America 10 times over at 65 mph.

2 p.m.: We resume our journey. Aside from the continual string of smashed deer, the only thing to delight the senses are interspersed billboards advertising Wisconsin Dells. I'm trying to imagine a family vacation under the surreal conditions.

MOTHER: "Look kids! Noah's Ark! You'll be playing in the water in just a couple of hours!"

CHILDREN: "Mommy, why isn't Bambi moving?"

4 p.m.: We arrive in Milwaukee, having spent the last two hours counting deer carcasses.

Who says Wisconsin is boring?

Now, in a bid to boost my site traffic, I'm going to repeat the name Hanna Montana a few times. Hanna Montana. Hanna Montana. Hanna Montana. Hanna Montana. Hanna Montana. Hanna Montana.

Posted by Ryan at December 15, 2002 11:29 PM
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