Not that I’m trying to assign myself to the same level of a Bruce Springsteen or anything, but I sort of had a rock star moment this evening. After the usual trivia shenanigans this evening, I was playing the electronic version with a friend of mine when someone asked how the earlier game had gone. I mentioned that I was Richard Who Drinks Alone (my not terribly imaginative but completely accurate team name) and they lit up with recognition. “That’s you?” they said with what sounded like equal parts, “Wow, you win a lot!” and, “Damn you, you win a lot.”
Okay, not exactly screaming for the Beatles or having panties thrown on stage at me, but it was pretty amusing nevertheless. For some reason, people dig the fact that I play by myself. The games aren’t cutthroat by any means, so everybody’s usually happy for whoever finished in the money, but even when I’m not having one of my better nights, I’ll get an appreciative cheer or two when my name is called out. The hosts like saying things like, “The man, the myth, the legend,” which is completely silly, because there are teams that win a hell of a lot more consistently than I do. But for whatever reason, “Richard Who Drinks Alone” has become sort of a brand, to the point that when I miss a night, other teams will make references to me. I’m a Z-list celebrity in a minor sports bar in west Orlando. Bask in my light.
I’d be lying if the egotistical part of me didn’t enjoy the attention, but sometimes I think it’s all a bit weird. All I’m doing is regurgitating relatively useless information that’s gotten stuck in my head while drinking beer and eating food that’s really bad for me. And while yes, I like winning, it’s not like I’m living and dying over every game, and I’m not showing up to show off how much inane knowledge I have at my disposal. It all really started from just wanting to get the hell out of the apartment during the worst of my separation from Hannah. Here I am a year later, and I guess I got what I wanted: an escape, a home away from home, and some people who like me. With free bar tabs thrown in for good measure.
If I had to stop going each week, I’d be okay with it. It’s not the be-all end-all of my existence. But I’d miss the friendly competition. I’d miss the bartenders know what I like to drink. I’d miss the people from other teams who come over to compare notes, and to commiserate over missed answers. I’m not there for the cheers or what I’d barely call “fame.” I’m there to be around people. And if they like having me around, all the better.