The Cabin is a lovely, beautiful, amazing place. I love the Cabin nearly as much as my buddy Toph, whose Dad owns the Cabin. It's worth the giant pain in the ass of getting there just to be there. You drive north from Denver for three hours, until you hit a town called Glendo, Wyoming. You turn left at Glendo and follow a twisty, forking dirt road for another hour - it's not bad at first, but then you cross the dividing line between County Road and unmaintained private road, and things get hairy.
For all the years I've been going there (about four at this point), the Cabin has been Hedonism Central. There is sleeping until noon or later. There is much boozing. There is smoking of pot. And there is, Coneheads-style, the consumption of mass quantities. Oh, for the love of God, the mass quantities. More on this later.
I first noticed something was amiss on Friday morning. Ordinarily, everyone brings a 12-pack or two of soda (or, if you prefer, "pop"). Soda for drinkin', soda for mixin' with booze...you know, soda. As I stared at the pile of "fridge packs" on the porch, something occurred to me. Every single can of soda we had with us was diet. Diet Coke. Diet Coke with Splenda. Diet Cherry Coke. Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. No real sugar (or even high fructose corn syrup) to be found. "Dude, we're getting old," I said to Emily.
Then the drinking started. What was once an all-day booze binge had become "having a few drinks." I've never been a heavyweight, but I was shocked to discover how little liquor it takes for me to be pretty blitzed. The effect of the weed was about the same as usual - though I only partake of the herb at the Cabin these days, so I have no tolerance at all for it.
Are you ready to hear about the final straw?
I urge caution, gentle reader. What you are about to read is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation - life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even - horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now's your chance to - uh, well, we warned you.
I participated in a hot dog eating contest.
I ate sixteen hot dogs in the course of an hour.
Believe me, I'm every bit as disgusted as you are right now. I don't really know what to say - it seemed like a good idea at the time.
A week or so before the Cabin trip, Toph made some off-handed comment about our friend Nicki eating six hot dogs in a sitting. Full of bravado, I said, "That's not so many. I could eat more than that!" This may be one of the most appropriate moments ever to deploy the phrase, "I rue the day I made that statement." Man, do I ever rue. Rue rue rue.
My brash boast turned into a full-blown contest. Most dogs in an hour, straight up. I am simultaneously proud and ashamed to say (admit?) that I won the contest. My digestive system, however, lost. Ugh.
Time was, I could eat sixteen hot dogs in a sitting and not feel a thing. Be ready to go out and run a 10K the next day. Not so much as I push ever closer to 30. I've felt awful for two days straight. "I'm sorry you don't feel good," Emily said last night. "But not that sorry." I brought it on myself...but jeebus, I didn't think it would be this bad.
Combine that with our friend Amber clinging desperately to youth and innocence by planning ever more elaborate kid-oriented birthday parties for everyone in the group - I swear to God, Toph's birthday in October is going to involve a clown, a magician and a pony - and you've got a weekend (and a weekend aftermath) where you spend most of your time feeling like a decrepit, run-down old man.
A decrepit old man who is never, ever, ever eating a hot dog again.