Friday, September 03, 2004

The 'Berg is Back!!!<---note the extra !s

That is right. The greatest tradition, I think, on this whole freaking campus is back in business.

On Thursday, after returning from St. Louis, my roommates barged in while I was finishing my shower at about 10 p.m. and announced that we need to go drinking at the 'Berg's opening night. It was like Christmas had come to Columbia early.

After burning to the ground from an electrical fire about a year ago, The owners of the campus pub swore that the Berg would return. The anticipation nearly killed everyone who would walk by the construction site everyday going to class or work. How could not, it had been an icon of drunken debautchery for nearly 40 years.

So, Thursday we all geared up (fake ID and all) and walked on over to the new Old Heidelberg. The place looked amazing. Although some aspects of the place had been updated and made more trendy, It was still the Heidelberg. It literally looked like all they had done was change the light fixtures and cleaned the originally building. It was amazing. I sat with my roommates and a group of other people we had met there and began to consume some of the greatest Killian's ever - Killian's was the first beer I drank at the Heidelberg when I was a freshman here.

It only took a couple of pitchers for the four of us to start to get into the swing of the 'berg's atmosphere. Singing along with the jukebox and joking with the waitress as if we were already regulars.

As we continued to drink, we noticed not but 15 feet away from us, someone was getting their serious make-out on. Obviously drunk and extremely under dressed, this girl was sitting on a guy lap and apparently acting out her favorite soft-core porn right there in the middle of the pub. We all started staring and making lewd comments to see if we could get their attention. One of the guys sitting at our table even threw a French fry at the guys head.

Eventually, the couple could not take it anymore and decided to leave. On their exit, our entire table decided it was a grand idea to give them a standing ovation. It did not take long for the entire place to realize who we were cheering for and it, too began cheering as if we had just witnessed celebrities enter the building. Both gave a short bow and left a little redder in the face.

The night took off when Billy Joel's bar classic Piano Man came blaring over the speakers. Not only did our table insist on shouting the tune as loud as we could after about five pitchers, but for the final chorus, we all stood on our chairs and sang to our audience of the packed Heidelberg. The place went nuts.

The night ended with one of the manager standing on the bar and leading the entire place in a toast to the new Heidelberg. Drinking from a beer bottle that survived the original fire, the bartender saluted every person there that night and gave a few words of encouragement to anyone who later finds themself at the Berg.

Of course, with the Heidelberg, the night never actually ends in the pub itself. As we closed down the bar and they raised the lights on us, we all stumbled home and began the long walk to our Anthony apartment.

As we passed the Campus Bar and Grill, Pierson (one of my roommates) noticed another drunk guy attempting to skateboard past us. Pierson made few comments about how the guy sucked at skateboarding and the guy thought Pierson (all 50 lbs of him) was trying to pick a fight. This guy was pissed. It seemed as if he was gathering a small group to try and kill all of us (Me, Coulter, Abby and Pierson - Poon was the only sober one and he knew to get the hell out of there).

Luckily, being drunk helped our situation as we laughed it off and began walking toward the car that Poon had driven over.

As we laughed about the crazy guy on his skateboard, Pierson spotted him as we were driving home. Pierson, begin a complete dumbass, yelled at the guy expecting that we would continue driving and not stop. The guy started chasing after the car we all had piled into.

The only was I can really explain how frightening this was, is to compare it to the scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex chases after the little jeep. You could see this guy running as fast as he could right to the back of our car ready to kill someone.

Thank god we are alive today.

Once home, the good times continued with the breaking of Pierson's guitar by Coulter, the molestation of my Ketchup bottle by Abby and the fact that I still wrote two papers and finished a cross-cultural assignment while drunk at 3 a.m.

Good Bless you Heidelberg. We welcome you back into loving arms.

Of all the things that I remember that night, the coolest was when I was leaving the bathroom. I noticed in the hall way leading to the restroom and kitchen, the owners had hanged news articles from when the 'berg burned down in 2003. Articled from the Missourian, Kansas City Star and Tribune were proudly framed and placed along the wall.

But the one that caught my eye was a familiar new article entitled The Mourning After. Easily the largest framed work, it was a two page spread from the Maneater that I had written for the first issue of the newspaper my sophomore year. It was, essentially, a eulogy to the Heidelberg.

Yes, I did feel a little emotional seeing my work in the Heidelberg (I'm sure it was the alcohol). Still, It makes me truly feel like I am now part of a tradition that, despite fire and destruction, will never die on this campus.