>>> Edited For Content
By staff writer Mike Forest
August 25, 2004

I just got home from an all expense paid business trip to Atlanta where I can personally attest that it is where the players play. In fact they really do ride on the street most every day. Personally I wouldn't consider myself a player. Maybe a spectator, but not a player. Most likely, I'm the guy who talked about going and then wussed out like always, but if you got an extra ticket, hook a brother up.

I was in town for a college rep program for a pretty big cable station with 59 other college kids from around the nation. I'd tell you who it was, but they have more lawyers than I have toe hairs, and going to jail isn't worth it. You'd have to know me and be familiar with my feet for that to make any sense, but with hyperbole for comedic intent being an often-used gag, I'm hoping that at least some of you get it. Plus, withholding details makes me much cooler than you, unless of course you were there, which you weren't.

There are several hours that I can't recall during our first night out (nothing new for me), but the next morning all of us were told that that sort of behavior was not going to be tolerated. No one seemed to know what that meant, but when we pressed for more information, we were told that those involved knew who they were. Kind of a bold assumption based on the memory-debilitating effects of large quantities of alcohol, but nevertheless a justified call for responsibility. It turned out that someone had tackled one of our employers while trying to get off the bus for more free drinking. It turned out to be me who did the tackling. Good, Mike. Way to make an impression. I blame MC Chris. Once again, I'm deeply sorry. Please don't fire me.

I fly very seldom, so airports are like the Dewey Decimal system to me. I could figure it out if I had to, but I'd rather just have somebody do it for me. Plus who even reads anymore? It took more time for the woman to show me how to use the e-check-in for my flight than it would have been to just do it all for me. That's what I call efficient.

Word of advice: don't ever hesitate when they ask you those damn pre-flight questions. I made it through most of them alright, but on the way home I almost seriously screwed up. They asked me if I had any film or firearms in my bag. First of all, that's one of those classic rock-and-a-hard-place questions, like if you're girlfriend asks, “Have you ever cheated on me or masturbated before?” Then, instead of just saying “no,” which would have been the right answer, I did a classic look-up-and-think-before-answering maneuver, during which this whole process shot through my head:

Do I have any film? No I just have my digital camera, which is in my carry-on. Man, I thought for sure I lost it that first night. That thing isn't even mine. That would have sucked if I had lost it. Besides, I stopped taking pictures with real film because I never develop them. I still have four rolls from Mexico two years ago that I never developed. Damn that girl from the trip was hot. I wonder what she's up to? Hold on, wait. I don't have film or firearms. Quick, answer them quick before you get Patriot-Acted, Beech.


I watched them heave my bag into the compactor—I mean carrier—and then it was on to the only place inside the airport I could have a cigarette. Usually there is nowhere inside an airport to smoke. If you want to smoke you have to go back through security and show ID, boarding pass, DNA sample, etc. I know that smoking is bad for me blah blah blah. Save it. Traveling stresses me out. When I'm stressed I smoke. Okay, let me rephrase: when I'm tired I smoke. When I'm hungry, I smoke. When I'm drinking, I smoke. Basically, if I am awake, I'm in cancer mode.

There was a tiny bar that had a back area crammed with people smoking. The smoke was so thick you had to hold your own hand to keep from losing it. I called it heaven. Our waitress was right out of a Boris and Natasha cartoon. She was full of “Vhat vill you be drinking, dahlink?” and “You sit right here and I vill get yoo sumptink.” $8.50 for a Jack and coke, but it was worth it. I lit up and watched Olympic volleyball. That brings my total Olympic watching time to five minutes. Take that NBC.