Tuesday, January 3, 2012

“I'm not confused, I'm just well mixed”

- Robert Frost

I had a strange few years of my life that I'd like to tell you about. Essentially, it revolved around the following scenario: every time I was promised great music at a party with friends, I got mediocre beer instead. Time and time again I attended multiple parties in my young twenties expecting to enjoy one of my favorite bands' music. After being promised we'd play Beirut at said parties, I would wait to hear the trumpet blaring, hip shaking gypsy music of the wonderful group.

But each party visit, I was offered a ping pong ball and a beer pong match up instead. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy playing beer pong as much as any other Big 10 grad (though the allure has faded with age). But why, oh, why were we playing beer pong instead of sitting around (and dancing) to Zach Condon and friends?

Finally, late one night, I asked the party host point blank - "So, just when are we going to play Beirut?" I could hardly hide the frustration in my voice, so desperate was I to hear this or this. The host stared at me for a few moments before simply pointing to the ping pong table and saying, "what do you think we're doing?"

It was my turn to stare back. What could he mean with this cryptic statement? Were the band members hiding under the table, ready to jump up for an impromptu jam? A fellow midwesterner shook his head and took me aside, explaining to me that the term "Beirut" refers to the game of beer pong for pretty much everyone from the east coast (and beyond, but apparently I'd missed that).

Oh. I guess that explains it. The fact that I never thought it was weird that people would have parties focused on an indie band with a relatively small (but passionate) following evades me as well.

Lesson #49: Don't assume you know the lingo everywhere, and also don't be afraid to just ask. Sure, you'll feel and look silly asking someone to define a confusing sounding phrase they've known their whole life (hopefully not beer pong in this case), but you'll feel far sillier if you spend years attending parties because you thought some of your favorite music would be played. Maybe even sillier yet if you tell others of your misunderstanding that lasted far longer than it should've.


  1. Did that really happen!? I love it! You should have known that most Michigan frat boys wouldn't know the band, but I love the story nonetheless. We could always go to your favorite, Down the Hatch, and request Beirut while playing Beirut.