At the Rose Park Skatepark—now a not-so-wise quadragenarian—Mike Brown reflects on the inimitable skills of younger skaters who’ve not yet reached the twilight years that he has. Photo: Niels Jensen

It’s my birthday this month, and I’m turning old. I don’t want to divulge exactly how old, so here’s a cryptic hint: I’ll be drinking 40-ounces of King Cobra malt liquor to celebrate. Birthdays are odd milestones of sorts. There have been times in my younger years when I didn’t even consider reaching this milestone. I still adorn myself in pretty much the same wardrobe from my early ’20s, and I’m still uninsured.

There were plenty of times where the younger, punk rock me lovingly embraced the “live fast, die young” lifestyle. Not worrying about the future whatsoever seemed to be part of the uniform to the point where, now, my credit score is totally fucked these days. The fact remains: I’m older, though I don’t feel any wiser. But I probably am.

Although I’m not quite to the age of required prostate exams or needing regular fiber in my diet (I’m still living off of pizza and Jim Beam for the most part), it’s apparent that there’s a lot of shit I used to be able to do that I just can’t anymore. And you know what? That’s OK. Getting old is inevitable. And like my old grandpa used to say to me when he was in his 90s, “This old-man shit sure isn’t for [wieners].” Boy, was he right.

SLUG asked me to write about some stuff that I can’t do now that I used to be able to do in my younger years. Obviously, the first thing that came to my whiskey-soaked brain was where I can drink. I think there are basically four phases of serious drinking in regard to age. So I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version.

Mike Brown’s Four Phases of Serious Drinking

Phase One: You’re in junior high and you steal booze from your friend’s parents’ liquor cabinet, have no idea how to drink and puke everywhere.

Phase Two: You get older, end of high school, early college years. You drink at house parties, have no idea how to drink and puke everywhere.

Phase Three: You start going to bars and do that for like the next 30 years of your life, have no idea how to drink and puke everywhere.

Phase Four: You get old, realize how much money you wasted drinking in bars, start drinking at home by yourself, and still have no idea how to drink and puke everywhere—then die happy.

Regarding Phase Two, I am officially at the age where it’s so not cool for me to go to house parties. Remember going to house parties in your early or mid-20s? And sometimes there was a weird, old guy at the party? I do. Me and my friends actually called him that, Weird Old Guy. He would always sponge off the keg without paying and try to out-drink us. I can’t be the weird, old guy at the house party.

Another thing I can’t do at my present age is engage in street fights. It’s not like I ever did in the first place, but now, if approached with confrontation, I have to rely on my keen wits to de-escalate the situation. Or I can just use a taser. But pretty much any young stud 18–25 could probably fuck me up in matters of fisticuffs these days. I can’t even have a pretend slap fight with a friend or play-wrestle with my drunk buddies anymore for fear of pulling a hamstring. So it’s best that I start being nicer to people now that I’m old.

I sure as shit can’t skate like I used to. This one actually bums me out a bit. It’s still fun to roll around the neighborhood—and I never want to morph into the “Dude, I used to skate” guy because that guy at the skatepark is just as annoying as Weird Old Guy at the house party. But a fact’s a fact—I said goodbye to my switch heelflips years ago. And hucking myself down a flight of concrete stairs just doesn’t have the same appeal to me personally as it used to. Sometimes it’s easier to roll to the skatepark on a bike to watch the young bucks.

I still love seeing how crazy fucking good every kid seems to be at skateboarding these days, though—because it didn’t seem like that when I was young. When I really got into skating 25 years ago, it seemed like there where only may be 10 or 15 kids who were super good in the city. There weren’t skateparks back then, though, and skater kids would still get spit on. Sure, skating’s more glamorous now, but I personally think it’s fun to see the progression. OLD! (Side note: I still don’t want to see that shit in the Olympics.)

Another side effect of getting old is losing friendships to a couple of really shitty things, death and kids. Sorry to be a debbie downer, but as you get older people will die and have kids. Either way, you won’t see them again.

Here is another brief list of things I can’t really do anymore or get away with due to age, but things I did in my youth: vandalism, shoplift from Wal-Mart, steal beer, smoke weed in a church parking lot, be in a crew or run from the cops.

Just to clarify, none of the side effects in this article suck. It’s just how it is. There are lots of awesome things about getting old, like I can rent a car now. And I can finally claim old-school, and there may be a smidgeon of street cred to that.


More on SLUGMag.com:
Mike Brown: #HoldMyBeer
Mike Brown: Barroom Etiquette 

Sometimes being hit by a car on your bike spurs a #HoldMyBeer moment

For this year’s Beer Issue, instead of writing or reviewing a tasty, frosty brew—which will be done a lot in this issue anyway—I decided to share a few stories of stupid shit I’ve done while intoxicated. I can’t possibly remember them all because, well, I was wasted for all of them. The hashtag #HoldMyBeer came to mind. So here are some of my finest #HoldMyBeer moments.

In case you aren’t familiar with this popular hashtag, it’s basically when someone does something stupid, and the person next to them says, “Hold my beer …” and one-ups them by doing something stupider. If you don’t know what hashtags are, you are probably too old to be reading this article. But yeah, if you’re on the internet and bored with all the porn, just Google the hashtag and let the hilarious memes and GIFs flow.

The Paint Roller

The first story that came to my booze-soaked brain was about 13 years ago when I was at a strip club on a weeknight with a friend. I’ve never had any objection to them, but strip clubs just aren’t my thing. The club was pretty dead that night, so it was just me, my buddy and one other group of guys.

For whatever reason (booze), the other group of dudes started talking shit to my buddy. He had terrible dreadlocks at the time and started talking shit back. I vaguely remember the phrase, “Fuck you, cheese dick,” exiting his mouth. And that’s when the bouncers asked us to exit.

Since we couldn’t pee before getting kicked out of the strip club, we walk behind the building and take pisses by the dumpster. And for whatever drunk reason, I start going through said dumpster. I happen to find a fresh paint roller. This is the #HoldMyBeer part—since there were only like two cars in the parking lot of the strip club, I figured one of them had to belong to the guys that tried to start shit with us.

#HoldMyBeer: “I’m going to paint that car’s windows with this paint roller!” I said to my buddy. And I sure did. We proceeded to hide in the bushes and watch the reaction. Yes, I totally painted the car of the dude who started shit with us, and the reaction was priceless. Sometimes fate leaves a fresh paint roller in a dumpster for you.

The Bounty Hunter

Another epic #HoldMyBeer moment was when I accidentally hired a bounty hunter. I can’t go into all the details for legal purposes, but it’s still kind of a funny story. You’re probably wondering how one accidentally hires a bounty hunter—well, here’s how.

I was at a house party, drunk and being a total jackass. Me and Sammy Harper, the drummer of Spell Talk, ended up on the roof taking whiskey shots and started peeing off the roof. I don’t think we hit anyone, but we were definitely being dipshits. I don’t know how I didn’t get beat up at the party, but I was somehow politely asked to leave, so I did.

On my bike ride home at about 3 in the morning, a car circled me. Then it swung around and hit me intentionally. Luckily, I was super drunk, so my body was limber and able to absorb the blow without any serious injuries. (This wasn’t the first time I’d been hit by a car intentionally—it was a year prior when my ex-GF mowed me down, but that’s another story for another day.)

I know people in this city, so I called some dudes for backup after I got hit. It was pretty clear the guys that hit me where trying to rob me, but couldn’t when they saw me pop up. I wasn’t able to get a license plate, and I didn’t want to call the cops, based on the experience of my previous intentional mow-down. The legal system sucks on so many levels. I got home safe, and the next night, I was talking with one of my neighbors-at-the-time about the incident.

#HoldMyBeer: The next night at like 4 in the morning, me and my neighbor were talking about what happened. I told him I had no idea who hit me or why, other than it may have been someone I peed on from the roof of the house party. He told me he knew a guy who could find them. I thought he was lying.

I tell him I think he’s full of shit and he’s like, “We can call the dude right now.” I think I’m calling his bluff, so I’m like, “OK. It’s 4 in the morning—call this dude.” He pulls out his phone and makes a call. Turns out the dude exists and was an actual bounty hunter. And not one that works for the cops or any other agency.

The bounty hunter was really nice and we became friends. I don’t know if I ever got my street justice, but oh well, I made a friend. Overall, the lesson I learned is that I shouldn’t pee on people off of a roof while at house parties—or it could lead to accidentally hiring a bounty hunter.

Fireworks

The last #HoldMyBeer incident is documented in YouTube legacy forever right here:

I almost blew myself up in my kitchen over a breakup. It’s totally worth looking up. Me and Abu broke every dish in our kitchen and lit off Roman candles in front of a gas stove, and somehow didn’t get evicted. I’ll leave you with that.


More on SLUGMag.com:
Mike Brown: The Great, Drunk Spelling Bee
Mike Brown: Going Out and Staying Level

Mike Brown thinks that Utah’s new .05 law blows … for the tourism industry. Illustration: garrick@deanillustration.com

As of Dec. 30, 2018, the great and wholesome state in which we reside has updated its DUI policy, lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05. Keep in mind, that for this article, I am by no means a legal expert, nor shall I pretend to be. I did, however, grow up with a lawyer dad, which meant that when I got in trouble as a teen—which was quite frequent—I was rarely grounded and never beaten. I’d get litigated. At the time, I felt that being litigated was worse. I’m not saying that you should beat your kids, but when you’re on the wrong side of a deposition with your dad over breaking curfew, sometimes I’d just want him to spank me and get the punishment over with.

Either way, this new DUI thingie has some people freaking out. Some people are wondering if they can even go out and drink and will just have to get boozed up in the comfy confines of their living room in front of the TV, like I usually do.

First off, I’m going to get as drunk as I want when I want, regardless of what the government ever tries to tell me. I don’t need to get married because I don’t need the government to tell me I’m in love, and I don’t need the government to tell me I can’t have a double–whiskey Coke. We learned this lesson as a nation during Prohibition, and we all know how that worked out. Long story short, it turns out that making booze completely illegal only empowered the mob and the ability for people to do illegal and fun things, like running cool-ass speak-easies and making gin in a bathtub.

Let me quickly go over what .05 means, in case you live in a cave. When you get pulled over and a cop suspects you of drinking, they give you all the fun tests then finally whip out the breathalyzer for you to blow into to measure your blood-alcohol content. It’s a simple percentage that can determine whether or not you are legally or illegally intoxicated.

Lots of factors can determine what percentage the breathalyzer comes up with, like how much you’ve eaten, how much sperm is in your system, how much fat content you have or if you’re male or female. But the simplest ratio is determined by body weight. So according to the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, one drink can legally intoxicate a woman weighing 110 pounds, thus putting your BAC at .05.

Now that we have some of the facts, let me go over my humble and wet opinion on this matter. I don’t think this new law changes shit. Like I said about Prohibition, laws don’t change what people want to do. And the fact of the matter is that even before this law, you could still get a DUI if you blew under .08. The police could determine that you were an endangerment on the road. Like, if you were swerving like a motherfucker but only blew a .03, let’s say, or your Valium kicks in on the way back from your kid’s soccer game, you could still get charged with a DUI.

I feel like this law was put into place due to the upswing in ride-sharing via Uber and Lyft. I don’t think it’s a moral argument like other issues with our stupid legislature, but a financial one. Salt Lake’s public transit sucks, and our taxicab companies have always sucked. I remember bartending years ago and having to tell customers from out of town that it would be at least an hour for them to get a cab back to their hotel. So think of all the money the state has lost out on per lack of DUIs due to the fact that ride-sharing is so available. (Although, getting a creepy Uber driver may sometimes make you wish you just drove home drunk.) [Editor’s Note: DON’T.]

I feel like it falls into the same category of why you don’t have to get a safety inspection on your car anymore in this state. It ups the chances of getting pulled over because you forgot your tail light was out, thus upping revenue for the state. This also means that there will probably be more DUI checkpoints because of the new .05 law. But if you get a DUI at a checkpoint, you’re a real dumbass, and here’s why. First off, you shouldn’t be driving drunk. Second off, the police have to post in the news when and where they are running the checkpoints. And third, it’s pretty easy to tell when you are rolling up on a checkpoint—just hang a right and go back to that shitty house party.

So yeah, the real losers of this new law aren’t us power-drinkers or bar patrons. Like I said, we’re gonna get drunk anyway. The real loser is the department of tourism. That’s money that could be brought in from tourists—who would rather go ski in Colorado where they can puff tuff and not have a weird perception of our alcohol laws even though our resorts are closer to Downtown and our snow is better.

I guess the last question that I don’t have the answer to is what’s going to generate more money for the state? Lack of tourism or money from .05 DUIs and busted tail lights? Only time will tell in another great and strange chapter from the Land of Zion. – Mike Brown

(L–R) Mike Abu and Mike Brown commune with their peer group at estate sales to bring back sick loots. Photo: John Barkiple

The years of living with Mike Abu and being his friend have always been adventurous. Whether it’s seeing how many flags we could steal on our way home, drunkenly stumbling from the bar or blowing up our kitchen, weirdness always abounds. If you know Abu or have ever been to any of his living quarters, then you know that it’s riddled with weird shit, kind of like Pee Wee’s Playhouse without all of the public masturbation—just some of it. All those years I lived with him, I never questioned where he got an antique ice-cream scooper or a 1940s hair dryer. That is, until I went estate-sale shopping with him.

Abu invited me to go with him last month, and I cordially obliged. The thing is, estate sales happen in the morning, and I don’t really know what mornings are. I ignore and neglect mornings like a redheaded stepchild, so I obviously slept through the first estate sale Abu invited me to. Abu bribed me with beer and coffee, and dragged me to an estate sale in the Avenues the next day.

I meandered around some dead old lady’s house for a while, with several other people all digging through her old shit that her kids didn’t want—or that she was too busy hoarding, so us lucky estate sale shoppers got to pick up the leftovers. Fortunately, this lady really liked cats. There was cat shit everywhere, not like cat poo but cat items galore. I was able to pick up some cat pillows and cat ceramics on the cheap. Her fondness of cats and hoarding seemed to go hand in hand, like chocolate and biscuits. Abu bought a broom and a packet of old notepads for god knows what reason.

There were plenty of serious collectors there taking their time; people going over other miscellaneous items, people on their phones, probably looking up something on eBay to check a resale value and lots of old people. Old people like old stuff. Everyone was nice and friendly, and I must say, it was a great Black Friday shopping environment.

I decided that I should learn more about estate sales and what they are all about after this experience, so I called one of Abu’s estate colleagues to get some more info on how this whole thing goes down. Lou Barrett, owner and operator of B-Team Liquidations, was kind enough to let me pick his brain about how antiques go from dead people to collectors to antique stores and sometimes the D.I.

Photo: John Barkiple
Photo: John Barkiple

First off, someone has to die. That might sound harsh, but it’s all part of the brutal circle of life. You die, and someone gets to take your stuff. I’m well aware that all the Utah Jazz merch I’ve collected over the years will end up in someone else’s hands, eventually. But, Lou gets his leads for organizing estate sales mostly from realtors and from the trust department of a bank, not so much from funeral homes.

Lou used to run his own antique store, Wasatch Furniture, before he really got into running an estate-sale business—which makes sense because a majority of estate sale shoppers are antique-store people, or what Lou told me were “serious collectors.” Estate sales typically start on Friday, when the antique store people and serious resellers usually show up. They run all weekend, and B-Team Liquidation is usually able to sell about 70 to 90 percent of the stuff in the houses they purge.

I asked Lou what the strangest thing he’s ever sold was—it was a once-living stuffed monkey for $200. And no, Abu didn’t buy it because he rarely has $200 to blow. Other than that, there have been human skeletons—which I was surprised to find out could be legal to buy—and dentures. For some reason, Lou told me that he sells a lot of dentures at these estate sales. But like I said, there were lots of old people at the one I went to.

Lou does about 40 of these estate sales a year, roughly every weekend. You can find out about them from B-Team Liquidation’s Facebook page. I was surprised I didn’t see more candy-ass hipster kids at the estate sale I went to fighting over vinyl—probably too busy racking up scene points at the D.I. or Goodwill when the real good shit is in some dead lady’s house. In fact, I kind of feel bad blowing the ultimate secret about thrifting with this article, but I have a job to do.

I’ll be hitting up more of these estate sales in the future on my quest of having the ultimate Jazz shrine and some cat collectibles along the way. So if you see me there, keep your hands off the cat pillows—I call dibs.

Mike Brown finds the Christmas spirit in the fact that kids still love to get and play video games for Christmas. Illustration: donnellysme.com

The holy Christmas spirit is so magical for many of us when we’re young and innocent. As time goes on, it seems to evaporate like cheap vape smoke from a fuccboi’s e-cig. The older we get, the further away we seem to move away from the magic that is Christmas. Chucking snowballs at cars and pretending to be good to get more presents slowly morphs into a hellish realization of the blight of capitalism on the sacred holiday and destroys us from the inside of our wallets to the inside of our hearts—completely.

We increase in age, and along with the Christmas spirit and holiday, so does seasonal depression. There are family obligations, pointless work parties, magical moments of job insecurity accompanying the thought of our Christmas bonus being botched once again—and so on. The magic of Christmas just doesn’t have the same glow as we become adults by definition of age.

To be honest, I’ve been jaded about a lot of things for a while (big shocker), but I wanted to get back in touch with the Christmas spirit. This isn’t about rekindling my belief in Santa Claus or trying to milk extra presents out of the SLUG staff or my friends—though that would be nice. I just want to get back in touch with what Christmas used to mean to me when I was a kid—instead of just being a day off from work where I could get hammered by myself while laughing about how much my Mormon siblings were stressing over how much they had to spend this month on all of their kids.

I decided that the best way to do this is to interview an actual kid—something I’ve never done for SLUG, unless you count juggalos. Finding a kid to interview was actually kind of a chore. Seeing as how I don’t have any kids of my own (that I know of) and that most of my friends with kids don’t have custody over the holidays, I had to hit up the SLUG Magazine’s (self-proclaimed) Highest Ranking Mormon™, James Bennett, to see if his adorable spawn would be willing to talk to me.

When Bennett and I were neighbors Downtown a few years ago, he would walk with his kid, Atticus, past my house, and I would always respectfully hide my beer and cig and let his toddler steal toys off of my porch. His kid seems pretty cool, so I totally crashed in on a Monday evening with the hopes of a free meal and an interview Atticus—who is named after a rarely mentioned character in the B of M—about the spirit of Christmas, while fully knowing that I was interrupting family night.

Atticus was great interviewee. Like I said, I had never interviewed a kid before, so, the first question I asked was about his favorite Christmas present. He was like, “Other than something electronic?” I had to remember that I come from a different time, so I was like, “Yeah.” Turns out it’s some weird dinosaur that he still likes.

We spent most of the interview talking and debating about video games, but to me, that’s an important part of the Christmas spirit, so I’m cool with that. I then asked Atticus some basic Christmas questions, like “What is your favorite reindeer?” He said Rudolph, which I was expecting as a typical kid answer—“his nose is red, duh.” But when I asked him why, Atticus went down a rabbit hole of existential brilliance that was way beyond a 10-year-old’s perspective in my opinion.

Turns out that 10-year-old Atticus goes to a hippie school—his words (and his dad’s), not mine, which instantly cracked me up because I was able to remind him that his dad is a teacher at a public school. But this explained Atticus’ perspective on Rudolph (alongside the fact that he’s already forced into humanities classes). See, Rudolph was a loner—as Atticus explained to me, but was able to overcome that. And everyone in the room could relate to that—a deep perspective on Christmas.

Atticus also explained to me, in a complex way, why he still believes in Santa but won’t believe in him after he dies—another unique perspective, but humbling at the same time, especially coming from a kid. It kinda made me take a step back in my head and realize that the Christmas spirit is more about perspective than me just becoming older and jaded.

I personally wanted to get back in touch with what Christmas is about. Like I said, the older you get, the more Christmas sucks. Talking to a kid was a great way to get back in touch. I’ll always reflect on the scars of a brutal divorce being soothed over by parents competing to see who could provide more presents—not the worst childhood trauma in the world.

But talking to another kid is rad, realizing that Christmas is also still rad and just simple. It’s all about getting time off school, making some shit out of snow (also, Atticus has read my articles before where I’ve sworn numerous times, so I’m OK saying, “shit”), hanging out late and getting presents, and all the other rad things that come with Christmas.

Remember, folks: The next time you go out, please, please, please, don’t be That Guy.Mike Brown knows how people get to being “That Guy” at the bar and on a Tinder date. Sorry, Tawnie Archuleta. Photo: John Barkiple

For this month’s installment of another booze-themed issue of SLUG Magazine, I thought I’d write a little bit about barroom etiquette, but not from a bartender’s perspective. Quite frankly, that topic is severely played out, and it’s pretty easy to keep a bartender happy. Just tip them a bunch of money—end of story. Bartenders that have pet peeves about anything else are probably pretty new to the trade or they are really shitty at putting liquid in a glass, which is essentially all a bartender does.

Instead, I’d like to tackle the topic of barroom etiquette from the perspective of the customers. We’ve all been in a public place like a bar in these scenarios, and have witnessed “That Guy,” the person you feel an awkward embarrassment for because their booze-brain is incapable of feelings of chagrin for themselves. I, myself, witness That Guy almost every weekend while working behind the bar. In order to help my customers, I’d like to try to help you not be That Guy.

The thing with That Guy is that we all have been That Guy at one time or another in our lives. I’ve had to apologize more than once in my meager existence for realizing that I was That Guy the night before. I’ve kicked myself out of more bars than I’ve actually gotten kicked out of upon realizing that my That Guy threshold was about to be broken. It’s a terrible part of life, and if I can save just one person from being That Guy for a night, well then, I can rest my cranium easy on my pillow.

Photo: John Barkiple
Photo: John Barkiple

One thing with That Guy is that they usually walk into a bar not being That Guy. For some, it might take 12 shots to release the That Guy demon; for others, it may only take two. Although, there always will be a special breed of douchebaggery that have their That Guy switch flipped on 24/7. There’s nothing we can do to save those humans—unfortunately, being That Guy is not a capital offense.

But there are some red flags we can all watch out for in anticipation of someone going from zero to That Guy in 4.5 drinks. That would be drink selection. If you are sitting at the bar and random orders any of the following, run: shots of Fireball, Jaeger bombs, Long Island iced teas, AMFs, any beer with fruit in it or shots of Jameson whisky but he calls it Jame-O. There’s a high probability that he will be That Guy in no time.

That Guy will also try to get you to buy him some of the aforementioned drinks. Classic That Guy move. If you have to ask someone to buy your drink, then you are being That Guy—and you don’t deserve one, in my opinion. I reserve the right only to buy drinks for close friends, people I lost a bet to, intelligent strangers who can hold a good conversation at the bar or people I’d like to cuddle with later.

One thing I’ve noticed at the bar I work at, in particular, is that That Guy likes to go on a lot of Tinder dates. So many Tinder dates go down at my work—usually on a weeknight, which is probably a good idea because if shit goes south, you can bail easily by saying you gotta work in the morning. I call these days Tinder Tuesdays. And whenever I see a That Guy, if he’s on a Tinder date, they usually say, “Fuck no! We met on Bumble!” which is basically the same as saying you use Bing! instead of Google. They are all Tinder dates, buddy.

Usually, That Guy will get to the bar before his Tinder date does and pound three or four shots in a row. The girl will usually take it easy and casually, and sip some sauvignon blanc. Watching the drinking habits of this 21st-century mating ritual is fascinating. A tip for not being That Guy on your Tinder date: Let her set the pace for the booze-intake race. I understand trying to take the edge off, but if you are that nervous meeting strangers off the internet, then maybe you shouldn’t.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing numerous Tinder dates go down like the Hindenburg while at work. Honestly, it’s the best part of my job—and the only good thing about That Guy. But sometimes the Tinder bender goes well for a couple, and sometimes that leads to making out and heavy petting in the bar. And guess what? If you are making out and groping someone in the bar, you are being That Guy. People don’t like public displays of affection, not because it’s gross—because it’s not—but because we’re jealous. I’m all for breastfeeding in public, just not when the baby is a 41-year-old That Guy.

It’s fair to say that That Guy can also be That Girl or That Person, too. The behavior is basically the exact same. Annoying is annoying, regardless of gender or orientation. So remember, folks: The next time you go out, please, please, please, don’t be That Guy.