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October 3, 2008 - Wes Burns
There is no good way to preface this story so I'm just going to say that this is the tale of my most X-Treme X-Perience. Totally.
I went to my friend Ryan's house after work. This was before the glory days of blogging and column writing. This was back when your dear Stranger was nothing more than a simple technical writer in the great Hinterland that is Waterloo/Cedar Falls (Ceadrloo).
It was a Friday and after a long day of annotating schematics and documenting assembly procedures I was more than ready to start my weekend. I had decided to forgo my nightly commute to Marshalltown in lieu of staying with some of my Cedarloo friends, specifically my friend Ryan.
A word on the Cedarloo-Marshalltown commute: Have you ever seen a barn with a HUGE mosaic tile painted onto the side? There are a series of these barns along the Cedarloo commute, most notably on T55. What do these patterns mean? I can only assume its some sort of secret farmer/hobo code for the modern equivalent to the underground railroad.
Ryan, who was a server in the DarrenBeck-o-Sphere of restaurants in the greater Ceadrloo area, had a rare Friday night off work. Deciding to make the most of our mutual time off we gathered ourselves, made a plan for the evening, and went out to his porch to have a beer.
Ryan's apartment, shared between himself, defacto den-mother Bryce, and championship faux Irishman Paddy, overlooked the Main street area of Cedar Falls. This means that standing on Ryan's second story porch provided an excellent overview of the back alleys and parking lots.
Upon setting foot out the door a sudden thought pervaded my brain and washed away all other notions, intentions and inclinations: "I could go for a Red Bull".
Ryan was flummoxed. Very little about myself would fall under the "X-Treme" category so my sudden need to "ride the bull" was unexpected. Until Ryan looked downward. Greeting us from the parking lot below was a giant Red Bull can attached to a giant Red Bull truck. We both laughed. We moved on.
I had recently seen a stand-up special with Steven Wright. If you don't know Steven Wright he is a hilariously dry comedian that has a penchant for long stories.
So I'm talking about the special and telling Ryan why he should watch. I would like to notify everyone that, despite however improbable it may seem, the following is verbatim:
"So Steven Wright's telling a story about the first time he did acid. He's going on about how he was wandering naked through the desert, and found himself coming up on a small town in the middle of nowhere and he walks down the deserted street and finds a ringing phone booth and he walks up to the phone, and he's been in the desert so he's tired and thirsty and..."
"Thirsty? We can't have that!"
I stopped because someone had interrupted me. Ryan looked around because he hadn't said a word. Then we both realize that whoever said that was on the street.
We peered over the rail only to be greeted by the smiling face of the Red Bull representative. There he stood, in full X-Treme regalia (Red Bull hat, Red Bull shirt, X-Treme sneakers) with two cans of Red Bull in his hands.
Ryan and I looked at each other. Was the Red Bull guy listening to us? Had he decided to weigh in about the Steven Wright story? What was with the Red Bull cans?
All our answers were answered. Oblivious to our confusion Red Bull Guy pressed on. "Can you catch?"
Now I have known Ryan for years, since we were in middle school together. In the decade plus tenure of our friendship Ryan has never ceased to amaze me with his ability to encourage the shenanigans of crazy people with whom one would not normally have a conversation. This was one of those times. Ryan's response to Red Bull Guy's unwarranted intrusion?
"Can you throw?"
We were now living a Red Bull commercial. Red Bull Guy throws up the first can. Ryan catches it and blind-passes it to me. He catches the second can and, fully embracing what would be our most X-Treme experience ever, opened the cans, slammed them into one another, and we each proceeded to chug a Red Bull.
I now feel totally prepared to go snowboarding. Or maybe some street-luging. At least I can now comfortably consume Doritos without fear of my lack of "X-Tremity" resulting in physical harm.
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