Thursday, October 20, 2005

When you say Tap Water, you've said it all!

Anyone who has every visited Penny Lane has probably gotten a chuckle out of the little notices attached to certain paraphernalia that state they are intended for tobacco use only. There’s something quaint about such blatant misrepresentations when made by brain-charred head shop owners, who hope only to make enough money to keep the Microbus running and Mountain Girl turned on.

When a billion dollar corporation tries this same tactic, as Budweiser attempted to do by claiming their Bud Pong game is intended to facilitate the consumption of water for fun and sport, it comes across as patronizing. Their feigned amazement that people in a bar were actually playing their drinking game with - gasp – beer, stretches the limits of spin. Their assertion that this was never their intention is . . just plain stupid.

A more honest approach would have been to say something along the lines of this:

Upon receiving word from some of our distributors that Bud Pong may be indirectly responsible for some isolated instances of irresponsible drinking, we have decided to immediately recall all game kits. In their place, distributors will receive official Budweiser Beer Bongs, which are intended strictly as a transference mechanism in the performance of do-it-yourself oil changes. (Some nursing mothers have also found that, in a pinch, they can be useful as crude breast pumps. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse away all 10W40 before using it in this manner.)

Equally upsetting to me is that Budweiser’s pathetic act of obstinance has marred an otherwise fine and worthy sport.

My friends and I began playing beer pong back in the 80s, before corporate interests turned it into yet another bastion of ego and greed. Marked by fierce competitiveness, its aggressive, anything-goes set of rules made it perhaps the very first Xtreme sport. Of course we had no use for those trendy marketing labels back then. Like our forgotten brethren who went before us in baseball’s Negro League, we played for the love of the game.

The rules for beer pong are simple. Cups of beer (or Kool-Aid if you prefer) are placed approximately one foot from the edge of each side of the table. The object is to either hit the cup with the ball or get the ball to land in the cup. The defender can not return volley until the ball has passed the cup (no shot blocking.)

It is here where our version of the rules break even more significantly with traditional beer pong etiquette:

  • Play is not dead until the ball comes to a complete stop, usually in the corner of the room, under a couch, or under the foot of a spectator who has unintentionally trod upon it.
  • As long as the ball remains moving, a player is required to hit it, as many times as necessary on as many bounces, until the ball crosses the net.
  • In doubles, the recommended form of beer pong, a player retrieving an errant shot can pop the ball up to a teammate who can then take a shot.
  • Diving recklessly and throwing paddles at unreachable shots are the hallmarks of a great player.

As you can see, drinking is secondary to the all-out, wall-to-wall action that makes beer pong such an exhilarating sport. In fact, many beers are upended in the course of a game, the viscosity of the spilled liquid creating unpredictable hazards that further test a player’s skills.

The origins of our game can be traced back to too many parties where the girls failed to show up. Absent their reasoned presence and the need to maintain a measure of comportment as required by the mating ritual, we reverted to our primitive instincts and turned a low-impact recreational activity into an aggressive match of male dominance.

I’m not sure what the rules are for Bud’s version of the game. It’s obvious from all that nonsense about using water that their lawyers had a hand in writing them so they probably dictate a full complement of protective gear and a pre-game CT scan from a licensed cardiologist. They don't want anybody getting hurt before it's time to drive home from happy hour.

1 comment:

Monkey Boy said...

Another interesting point on this matter.

Even if playing the game with water it could possibly be dangerous. Take for example a newcomer to the game who is viciously preyed upon by experienced, "professional" if you will, water pong (rhymes with bong) players. The newcomer is whipped so bad that he/she consumes so much water that the rookies' electrolytes are screwed up to the point of renal failure.

Now I am not sure of the renal failure part as that is just a little embellishment on my part, but too much water (i.e.; massive amounts) can indeed be seriously dangerous to one's health.

None-the-less, I will continue to purchase Bud products as I enjoy cold "watered-down" beer. I have been lied to before by better people than Bud executives. However, this once again goes to show you just how much intelligence you really need to be a high level executive pulling down $300,000 a year.