One Brown Bear, Couple of Ducks, Three Running Hare; or, The Mechanics of a High School Party

It’s not easy to become a turtle master, just ask my friend Ron.  It takes a lot of practice, an iron constitution, and a willingness to forgo the constraints of the id and aim for perfection only.  And consume an unsafe amount of alcohol.

Here’s how it works:

Turtle Master, for those who might not know, is a traditional feat of strength involving the utterance of increasingly difficult alliterative phrases while strictly following a set of rules that penalize offenders with prescribed amounts of alcohol ingestion.  Basically, you have a few beers, then sit in a circle with all of the players.  The Turtle Master begins by taking a drink, then saying the first phrase.  The next person takes a drink and says the phrase – this is repeated around until you get back to the Turtle Master.  Make a mistake in the phrase (as judged by the Turtle Master)?  Take a drink.  Need to ask for help?  Take a drink.  It’s a recipe for disaster.

Since all options were on the table when Ray’s parents were away, and Ron had a penchant for inflicting pain on his friends, we began preparations for an attempt at creating a new Turtle Master.  After what many would call “standard preparations” that included me wearing one of Ray’s 6-year-old brother’s Notre Dame t-shirts (it wasn’t a great fit), avoiding Jill’s angry parents, destroying neighborhood property, and watching Heiser and Weber make an attempt at boxing (but really just punching each other), Ron called the selected circle together for an attempt at Turtle Master.  Justin sat glassy-eyed on the couch laughing at random intervals, and continued to do so for the remainder of the evening.

It’s hard to remember exactly what happened.  Ray spent an hour in the bathroom.  Kuke fell asleep standing up – and was still standing up in the morning.  Gumby woke up with no pants on stuck in the crawlspace of the garage.  And Ron, Ethan, Nick, and myself sat in the circle staring down the seventh of ten phrases.  Nick fell out at phrase 7.  Ethan at 9 – so close Ethan.  And finally, after what seemed like hours, I completed the following set of phrases, straight through, with no mistakes:

One brown bear.  Couple of ducks.  Three running hare.  Four funny fireman fighting a fire.  Five fat females sitting on a fence.  Six Sicilian sailors sailing the seven seas on a sloop.  Seven simple Simons sitting sipping scotch.  Eight egotistical egoists echo-echoing their egotistical ecstasies.  Nine naughty nuns, kneeling, necking in a nymph-nautical knot.  And ten tiny turtles talking to Ted on their tiny turtle telephones, and (with a shout) I am the Turtle Master.

It’s not every day that a new Turtle Master is created.  It was the dawning of a new era.

We cleaned up the house like maniacs in the morning – after such a great party, we had a moral obligation to make sure Ray didn’t get in trouble again.  What we didn’t remember, however, is that we spent most of the evening taking all of Bowen’s collected bottle caps and putting them on top of the blades of of the ceiling fan.  So when Ray’s parents came home and questioned him, they were satisfied that there was no party – this time.  Until they turned on the ceiling fan, that is, and 150 beer bottle caps rained down upon them like the holiest of evidence from heaven.  No more parties at Ray’s house, sadly, and no Ray for a few weeks.  Just a month later, they went away for the weekend.  It turns out Ray’s parents had a short memory……

***Note*** Names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.


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