With the exception of a handful of unrelated short stories last week, I’ve been trying to keep up with giving you my running commentary on the summer of 2014. The early weeks of this new season were at worst, demoralizing, and at best, entertaining. Thus far, each weekend has brought with it an onslaught of human cartoons and walking clichés. I almost feel guilty about how easy they make this column to write. To date, I had gotten us up to Memorial Day weekend. I could easily spend the rest of the summer reflecting on that weekend’s special customers – a.k.a the zombie apocalypse – but we must press forward into the next wave of Swill-worthy stories.

The weekend that followed the big kick-off was the Ravens Roost weekend, which came complete with a parade and the absence of proper English or grammar. Before I alienate any of you, let me just make it abundantly clear that I am in fact a diehard Ravens fan. I was a Colts fan from birth until 1983, after which I wished nothing but bad things on anything affiliated with the drunken Irsay family. From ’83-’96 I was a diehard Buffalo Bills fan. I’ll explain briefly how this happened. They had always been my second favorite team. I liked their uniforms, it seemed like they always played in the snow (which was super cool), and O.J. hadn’t killed anyone yet. (What, too soon?!) These seemed like three perfectly sound reasons to a 13 year old boy. It wasn’t like I was a bandwagon fan; they would still suck for another 7 years or so. Then, in 1996 my broken heart was mended and the powers that be in the NFL (despite their hatred of all things Baltimore) had to deal with us as football fans again. From that day forward, purple coursed through my veins.

But not all who bleed purple are exactly a treat to wait on, or even be around for that matter. It kind of reminds me of the joke I always told about culinary school graduates; 90% of them give the rest of us a bad name. I’m both a Ravens fan and a culinary school graduate, so I am technically free to make that analogy. I think the joke was originally about lawyers anyway. For that weekend in early June, our quaint little beach town was hit with a tsunami of purple clad crusaders. While I admire the pride they take in their favorite team and the tenacity and vigor with which they root, I think many of them need to be reminded that they are not actually on the team’s payroll. Personally, I believe that only ‘The Artist Formerly Known As, And I Think Now Again Known As Prince’ should have to drown in a sea of purple.

All weekend I couldn’t stop thinking about a story from last years’ Ravens weekend that I can’t believe I haven’t shared until now. It was Saturday night of the Roost weekend 2013, I don’t recall exactly what time. The dining room was completely full, and I had about a two deep bar. Nothing Earth shattering, but a pretty solid night for early June. A couple who were in town to show their Ravens pride approached the bar at the absolute perfect time for them and the worst time for me. Just as another couple had gotten up to leave, the pair swooped (not unlike a raven) in ahead of all who had been standing and obtained the coveted pieces of real estate.

I will now describe this couple to you as best I remember. The lovely bride, who clearly did not have a dental plan as part of the benefit package from her hair net wearing career, sported a Ravens Roost halter top, and pink, skin tight gym shorts with the word ‘yummy’ emblazoned across you know where. Yes, I never thought it would happen, but I did just write ‘halter top’. And she did of course refer to me only as ‘Hon’ even after I introduced myself…three times. I would guess this couple from appearance to be about mid 50’s, but looking back on it, they’re probably younger than me.

I lead with her description because it pales in comparison to her prize winning husband. This human gem was roughly 420 pounds. Atop his massive cranium rested a grease, dirt, and secretion stained Ravens hat that was actually lavender at this point. I can only assume that it had been sun bleached from sittin on da stoop in Bawlmer, knockin back Natty Bohs, lisnin ta dem O’s while hiz ole lady gitz a pitcher a wooder from da zink, hon. (I really hope that my editor, who is not from Baltimore, realizes that I did NOT just suddenly develop Parkinson’s, but that last sentence, as it is spelled is completely germane to the story).

I thankfully never had call to view his nether regions, but the north 40 was draped in a grey, XXX (only because tragically, they don’t make a 5X) Harley Davidson tee shirt that evidently the sleeves were too much of a burden to keep on. He no doubt performed the task of removing said sleeves with the Swiss Army knife he had obtained by cashing in his Marlboro miles back in the 90’s. This upper body vestment revealed what can only be described as an almost enviable tuft of arm pit foliage. It looked like he was a bouncer escorting Chewbacca and a Yeti out of a night club both in head locks. The quaff in his shoulder cul-de-sac revealed a follicular topiary that would make the Chief landscaper at friggin Disney World jealous. All I’m sayin is that it’s a good thing you can’t smoke in bars anymore, because he was a fire hazard!

Who doesn’t want to sit down with a $36 steak and a $100 bottle of wine and see THAT just a few feet to the East? Apparently the drastic temperature transition from ‘morbidly obese guy who just walked 3 blocks’ to ‘fat guy in an air conditioned bar’ was too much of a change, because his NASTY chesticles, hardened by the temperature change almost poked my eyes out. I actually just gagged writing that sentence.

To her credit, she was relatively quiet as she sipped her white zinfandel and perused the menu with wide eyes. He on the other hand, didn’t posses enough dignity or self respect to either look around the dining room and feel out the place or to keep his profanity and religious icon laden diatribes to himself. Needless to say, they shared the least expensive appetizer on the menu, asked for everything they could possibly get for free to accessorize the small plate with, ate everything but the plate itself, and THEN bitched about it! I admittedly am not good at many things, but I’ve been a restaurant guy for 32 years.  So, yes, I saw this coming.

My favorite part about my experience with these two specimens was how it ended. He was absolutely appalled by the fact that we had only one white zinfandel to choose from and only one moscato to choose from. He loudly chastised me and told me we’d be much busier if we had a larger selection.

I loved these people. Why you ask? Well, quite simply because I need folks like that in my life as fodder for this column.

Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols