I pulled my overstuffed suitcase down the hallway toward room 216. Finally, I had arrived in Calgary for a week of work with eight special teachers. I felt honored to have been selected as an award winning teacher by the Smartboard Company based here in Calgary. I looked forward to meeting other top teachers across North America.
Finally reaching the door marked 216, I inserted the card into the slot, the door clicked, and surprisingly flew open. Standing before me was a 6ft 4in giant ex-marine with a huge smile on his face.
"Hey, you must be Dennis. Kind'a short aren't ya!", he bellowed as he grabbed my hand and began to fling it side to side.
"My feet touch the ground, I'm tall enough." I responded meekly.
"Throw your bag over there and let's get out and explore the town. There's a Testicle Festival going on down the street. How many can you eat?"
I complied to his orders and started down the hallway toward the elevator. "I don't eat balls", I replied. "No kind, no way, never."
"I like you, Little Texas." He laughed. "Just hang out with me. I'll eat enough for both of us."
Thus my week long odyssey into another dimension and time had begun. I had walked straight into the Twilight Zone. The former marine had taken point and was leading me down the road marked Bizzare Lane.
We enter Range Rovers Bar and he bellowed, "Get me and my buddy some beer and balls."
"I"ll have a Guinness." I told the waitress as I headed to the patio garden.
"Hey, Texas, the parties in here." He yelled. "Isn't it funny, " he said to the bartender, "The boy is from Texas. Geez, they grow them small there."
The Jarhead was true to his word. He could, indeed, eat a lot of testicles. Big bull testicles and lots of beer. We sat for what seemed to be hours. Beer after beer, testicle after testicle; this Marine could put them away. With each new beer his words became more slurred and undecipherable.
I began to worry, we had our first business dinner at 6:00p.m. and it was already 5:00. The big guy didn't seem to care. Finally, I told the waitress that he was through, we had to go to a meeting. She grinned and brought me the bill.
It should probably be noted that the business dinner went as I had suspected. seven sober teachers, two impeccably dressed young business representatives and a drunken marine. The conversation focused on the week ahead and our schedules. We listened intently. Occasionally, my roomate would raise his head off the table and slur a unintelligible sentence as his face slowly descended to his plate of food. It was a long, uncomfortable dinner.
As we exited the cab, my new friend, finding additional strength leaned his hand on the cab and said, "Let's go to the Indian Casino."
I tried to talk him into going up to the room. "No, I came here to party! and I am going to party! With or without you, little buddy."
I headed for the room as he reentered the cab. I had seen enough for one day. All I wanted to do was sleep.
Part II: A River Runs Through It - March 13