I'd been told this party was typically a historic blowout. That meant one of two things: Either a crowd overloaded with expectations waiting for crazy shit to happen, or a collection of spirited individuals ready to build a blowout from the ground up. To my delight, this north Ballard bash is the latter, comfortably stuffed with motivated revelers of the thirtysomething urban-rocker variety, plus a wood-paneled basement outfitted with a real, full bar adorned with an electric sign positing the eternal question: "WHAT'S YOUR POISON--THE POLE OR THE HOLE?"
In addition to hard liquor, the annual bash is also loaded with traditions, one of which hovers fearfully on the well-stocked snack table in the kitchen: The Meat Orb, a collection of lunch meats wadded up and skewered into a head of red cabbage. But the main attraction comes at midnight, with the commencement of the gift exchange, which immediately fills the room with hilarious and instructional items: Depends, a bas-relief paint-by-numbers Last Supper, and a sweatshirt adorned with a sequined Santa, which draws furious chants of "PUT IT ON, PUT IT ON!" Modifications of this chant erupt throughout the hour-long exchange, greeting the unwrapping of everything from a jug of J...germeister ("CHUG IT DOWN!") to a pocket-sized artificial vagina ("SHOVE IT IN!").
But the gift of the year is easily the lime-green double-knit polyester women's suit, won by one lucky young man, and worn by at least 17 lucky revelers over the next blur of hours. In the end, the suit winds up like so many of the attendees: in a crumpled heap on a strange carpet.
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