Nuthin' but good times
And when I arrived and discovered our reserved section of pink-ballooned tables adjacent to a Teamster's retirement party, I quickly tried to calculate which of our co-celebrants I'd be able to outrun (see, it's just like escaping from bears: you don't have to be the fastest in the group; you just have to not be the slowest).
I decided to make sure I was in front of Peter at all times.
Of course, my knee-jerk assumption that we were surrounded by unenlightened Neanderthals turned out to be unfounded (or at least unproven). This may have been because Good Times is such an aircraft-hanger of a place that there's plenty of room for everyone--the video-game nerd kids; the middle-aged guys in baseball caps nursing beers and watching basketball; the Hispanic guys crowded around the batting cages; the quiet group of lesbians playing pool.
Or it could have been that the consensus was not to hassle the couple dozen boisterous people, festooned with shiny Mardi Gras beads, who were engaged in a manliness competition.
Would you want to mix it up with these people?
The baubles were part of the entertainment: everyone started off with five strings of beads, which could be confiscated or increased depending on the judges' perceived manliness of one's actions. Doing shots of tequila? Manly. Sharing a slice of pizza with someone? Unmanly. Getting a high score on laser-tag? Manly. Making a musical theater reference? Unmanly.
The manliest thing of all, it turned out, was bribing the judges with alcohol. Isn't it always?
So yes, laser-tag was a manly thing to do. The manliness factor was lessened only slightly by the fact that we were grouped together with a gang of 15-year-old boys who'd spent more time running around in the dark with fake guns than we had. Recognizing this, I volunteered to be on their side to balance out the numbers. This meant not only that I was guaranteed to be on the winning team, but also that I could legitimately shoot The Boy; he seemed strangely gleeful about being able to do the same to me.
After Red Team declared pounding victory over Green Team (yaay!), we staggered out, breathless and sweaty, and refueled with Sam Adams' rich, chocolately Winter Ale before heading over to the go-karts. Because speed is manly.
As it's been a long time since I was behind the wheel of anything more dangerous than a WholeFoods shopping cart, I had to forfeit beads for the decidedly unmanly action of pulling over to allow other, faster drivers to pass me. Tim actually lapped me at one point. Peter said I looked like a Winnebago. I didn't care.
And who won the manliness contest? Well, after a number of pitchers of Sam, plus tequila shots, I think we all stopped counting. Good times indeed.