“Let’s get ready to monster”

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

This past weekend, I went to a monster truck rally with some friends. Seriously. Not my idea, of course, due to a fear of monsters ever since I was three years old and there was one in my bedroom. It took about a week before I realized it was just the shadow from the evil clown needlepoint my mom had made for me. It looked like a portrait of Ronald McDonald from before he got the fast food gig and was shooting up in back alleys, supporting himself by posing for needlepoint patterns. It was a sad time in history, but luckily the Reagan administration came in and solved all that.

Anyway, my activity suggestion would have been something slightly more cultured, like driving to the liquor store on the side of the highway just across the New Hampshire border, or going to Denny’s. Instead, we went to Worcester, Mass (pronounced Wuss-ter, as in, “Stop being a wuss! Ter-n that car back around, even though it’s quite clear we’ve exited the highway and entered a city that hasn’t been wired for high-speed Internet yet and only has fourteen Starbucks.” Imagine, only fourteen Starbucks. And one of them is a combination Starbucks / bait shop, which is totally confusing when someone asks for extra whip. And when someone claims to be “hooked.”). Christo’s next project, in fact, is to permanently drape the entire city of Worcester in fabric. Not for artistic purposes, but just to hide it from view. It’s keeping the aliens from contacting us when they look at satellite images from outer space. “No signs of intelligent life there, Mork. Back to Zeptar.” It’s already cost us the discovery of a healthy substitute for trans fat, and battery-powered dental floss.

So we got to the monster truck rally, and drove into the garage to park. I got confused, because while I was pretty sure the monster trucks were supposed to be inside the arena, three-quarters of the cars in the lot could crush a Camry without even bending a fender. Pick-up trucks, SUVs, hummers, and a UFO on loan from a red state. As we walked across the street to the stadium, we noticed everyone was wearing industrial-strength headphones. My first thought was just that the iPod hasn’t made it to Wuss-ter yet, but then I realized that, while true, the reason for the headphones was that trucks are noisy. Being a law student, no one ever told me that before. So we didn’t know. I was also concerned it was going to be very cold inside the facility, because everyone had a beard. Even the children. And there were lots and lots of children. I was surprised, since when I was a kid, I was scared of Reddi Wip, so I can’t imagine what a monster truck would have made me do to myself.

We bought our tickets – the “good seats” were $27; we opted for the cheap seats for $12. As we walked in, we were immediately pleased with our decision, since the lower half of the arena was filled with a thick gray fog. I’m still not entirely sure whether this was dirt, exhaust, a combination of the two, or just some sort of monster truck airborne discharge, but it was coughitudinous, and chokidiferous. Luckily, where we were sitting, we were only going to ingest the toxic particles instead of actually having to look through them. The concession stand didn’t sell gas masks. Unfortunately. I think they would have been a big seller. To me. Okay, only to me. Because I’m a wuss who likes to breathe clean air.

I went to search for food, but first I went to the bathroom. For the first time in the history of spectator events, there was a line of about thirty people for the men’s room, but the women’s room in fact contained the original paper towels placed in the dispenser when the structure was built in 1964. I went to the bathroom, observing normal crowded-bathroom urinal rules – look at the ceiling or die – took the lead from my fellow restroom users and didn’t wash my hands, and then went to get some food. I got the chicken nuggets, which were actually chicken tenders, but I didn’t correct the cashier. There was a sign advertising McDonalds that said “there are 18 McDonalds locations on your way home.” I have no idea how they know that. Still, I cannot figure it out. What if I live in Nebraska? Which the majority of spectators at the event did.

Everyone stood and removed their Nascar hats for the national anthem, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” while the scoreboard displayed a montage of images of soldiers in Iraq alternating with timed-to-the-music monster trucks crushing little wuss cars. Nothing in that previous sentence is an exaggeration. I have no idea when Lee Greenwood’s ode to the lakes of Minnesota and the hills of Tennessee (but not the movie lots of Beverly Hills) became the national anthem, but who was I to argue. After all, I was dying of black lung disease. Then the announcer said “Let’s Get Ready to Monster,” and the trucks began to crush cars.

I was disappointed that the trucks (including Grave Digger, Black Stallion, and the Equalizer) crushed junkyard cars. I thought they were going to announce six lucky fans whose cars had been picked from the parking garage to get demolished, but, since every car in the garage was an SUV, they had to skip that part of the festivities. I was also hoping there’d be people in the cars, but no such luck. Or at least they’d drive in some new cars, rigged with cameras inside, so we could see the airbag deploy, and the leather interior crumble into dust, and the six-speaker surround sound surround ground. Or something like that.

At halftime, everyone aired out their ears and some miniature remote control monster trucks did tricks on a ten-foot ramp. That was the most fun part for me. I think that means I’m an idiot. Oh well. So, like every other law student, I will probably not be visiting monster truck land again anytime soon, or at least not until I stop coughing up diesel.

Jeremy Blachman is a 3L. Read more at http://jeremyblachman.blogspot.com.

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