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Arch Nemesis

Monday, June 12th, 2006

Monday

Quote of the Day: “I had a bag of fritos, they were Texas grilled fritos. These fritos had grill marks on them. Hell yeah, reminds me of something, when we used to fire up the barbeque and throw down some fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on, better flip that frito, dad, you know how I like mine.”

- Mitch Hedburg

First and foremost, happy birthday to my little girl. She is 12 today and that means I am old. Actually, it means that my little girl isn’t as little as I keep her in my mind’s eye and despite her outward appearance and developing personality, she is still Daddy’s Little Girl. More and more and more like her mother every day and this is a good thing.

I thought I had better get back into the running again so I found a park near Killjoy’s house and knocked out a simple little 45 minute run that depressed me a lot. Why? Because it was so tough and the little hill on the circular path was like Everest. But it was the first in a long time so I should give myself a break. OK, break’s over. Get in shape, Grose!!!

Being the tourist in STL, we had to go do the obvious today and I made a stunning determination:

St Louis hates military.

Why do I say this? Because nowhere do they offer any kind of military discount in any attraction in the greater St Louis area. And I don’t buy the argument that there is no military presence nearby because there is an American presence, isn’t there?

Before you label me as greedy and self-serving, let me point out that I don’t really care WHAT the discount is. Even a 5% off or something is a recognition that the city, well, recognizes the military. Companies like Sears, Anheuser Bush (Gardens), and even Fudruckers make my heart swell by recognizing the contributions of the military. It’s heartwarming and the right thing to do, especially considering the pay scale for military.

Normally, you see these discounts at state parks, monuments, tourist attractions, etc. which is why I was somewhat surprised that the Arch in STL disked me a miss. I was almost as surprised as the vendor selling me the tickets for even asking.

After this incident, I made it a point to ask everywhere I went and thus, the determination I announced to Killjoy: St Louis hates military. Boy, did that piss her off. But it’s OK, we’ll still defend the entire nation.

We still went up into the Arch and the arguing ensued. OK, let me take a poll. Answer the following question right when it is asked and don’t change your answer. Don’t look any farther until you have an answer and don’t do any research. Here it is:

What color is the Arch in St Louis?

Got your answer? Good, comment and send it to me (a poor/lazy man’s poll).

Here is why I ask: for some unknown reason, I had it in my mind all my life that the Arch was white and made of stone, just like the monuments in Washington DC. I never gave it much thought, just accepted this like you accept that the Statue of Liberty is green (and don’t give me the comment about it being copper so originally brown, I know this already).

So it was shocking to me to see that the Arch is actually silver and made of sheets of metal.

Think about it: how would you feel if you made a trip to New York and saw that the Statue of Liberty was yellow. And then everyone around you thought you were some kind of village idiot for thinking it was green. “Of course it’s yellow, what are you, retarded?”

Killjoy was not much nicer. To her, the concept of the Arch being anything but silver is as alien as me thinking it was anything but white.

What makes this even stranger is that I’ve been through STL before, on my way to TBS back in 1997 but either I didn’t notice or I had forgotten.

As people called us on our travels and as we visited other people away from STL, I posed this question and I got about 50/50. So I’m only half retarded.

We paid FULL PRICE to go up into the Arch by getting into this big egg-looking contraption they had set up. You sit in this egg and through a series of pulleys and elevator-like lifts, you go up and over, up and over, until you get to the top.

At the top, there are a series of windows on each side with slanted, carpeted shelves that you lean on to get your head to the windows. The view is breathtaking, as you can imagine and I would show you how breathtaking if Killjoy would ever send me the pictures she promised me.

(I abstained from any picture-taking this entire trip, depending on Killjoy and the new camera we got Stephanie for her birthday.)

I really enjoyed seeing the river, the city, and finding the exact apex of the arch and standing there. Alex, on the other had, didn’t get his money’s worth. Or more accurately, MY money’s worth. You see, the Boy is scared of heights so leaning over on a carpeted shelf to look out a little window 630 feet high was not squarely in the “good day” category for him. I long ago burned the trust factor when it comes to this by grabbing him once too often when we were up high. He stayed very far away from me.

After we were done seeing the most visible tourist attract in STL (did you know it was silver?), we continued to get the 10 cent tour from Killjoy who liked driving the Pilot a little too much. We deferred driving duties to her since she knew her way around which left Carrie and I fighting for the front seat. We decided to take turns being banished to the back but I got them back: I pretended it was a limo and Killjoy was my driver. It worked until she chatted up so much that it blew the image.

St Louis is a great city. A weird city, but a great city. I say weird because you have these lavish neighborhoods with gorgeous houses and then a block over, you have Welcome To the Jungle ghetto. Back to gorgeous next block and then mean streets again. Killjoy insists it doesn’t bleed over but I have my doubts.

The other thing they have a lot of is parks. It seemed we were passing a lot of parks and my inner runner was slobbering over all the running paths through them, as opposed to my former Spotsyltuckian existence where the road ended and the farm began so no running unless you wanted some body vs. vehicle action (and not he good kind).

The ladies wanted to go to a movie. Being outnumbered had its advantages such as everyone looking at me like we were Mormon or something. But it also had disadvantages because I was outvoted with everything. Thus, we went and saw The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. Although watching Ms. Aniston for a couple of hours seems survivable on paper, it was a hardcore chick flick. I even had to check my penis at the door which I wasn’t too happy about. I made sure I got the right one back when we left so no worries.

Completing the St Louis Experience, Killjoy took us to this ice cream shop. I forgot what it was called but according to Killjoy, calling it simply “an ice cream shop” is like saying Hitler was kind of a jerkwad.

And it seems that 97% of St. Louis agrees with her because when we got there, they were there. Who? All of them. It was like the first ten rows of a rock concert trying to get ICE CREAM. Are you catching what I’m throwin’ here? ICE CREAM!

Now I like a delectable frozen concoction like the rest of normal human beings but going apeshit over a particular place for friggin’ ice cream seemed excessive. But Killjoy swore by it and with the Whitecastle fiasco still fresh in my mind (and smoldering in my intestines), I had my doubts.

OK, to be fair, I wasn’t all that hungry. Plus, the medium I got was huge and as dense as a brick of granite. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but I was not dazzled to the point that I would be clawing through a blood-covered crowd to get to it.

I would eat it again but I was not floored like the sno-cones. Killjoy, on the other hand, had it all smeared over her face with a wild-eyed look, licking the empty cup. I think there might be crack mixed in which would explain the popularity so maybe I should stay away from it.

Free Advice for Today: “Still no bookie-bookie.”

- Me

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