This will be my final column as Party Crasher. Many weeks I was amazed by the people I met and the bizarre sights I saw, but also several Saturdays I wished I could have just been hanging out with my friends.
So this final crash is about them, because they invented a world-class competition, and tonight is the trial run. The Great American Challenge is a race with four-person teams to complete a large pizza, a rack of beer, an eighth, and a 500-piece puzzle. A two and a half hour time limit is set: At the end of regulation time, the remaining substances will be counted and a winning team will be crowned "Greatest Americans."
About 30 minutes in, several competitors begin vocalizing what a bad idea this was. The pizza disappears and the beers are drunk steadily, but the smoke becomes a major concern. One team has a member who doesn't partake at all, and there are several competitors only willing to try "a little," leaving their teammates to toke continuously and nauseatingly for the entire competition. As massive intoxication sets in, the puzzles become a frustrating mess, and with 20 minutes to deadline they are the deciding factor. The battle is fierce, and in the end the winner is decided by only 35 puzzle pieces. A member of the losing team celebrates by barfing on the lawn and getting driven home by his girlfriend. Team Sandwich prevails and rests easy before they begin training for round two on November 4: That competition ends at the ballot box. JEFF KIRBY
Thanks to everyone who's invited me over and shown me a great time over the last year. It's been real. Party Crasher will continue: E-mail the date, place, time, and party details to firstname.lastname@example.org and get crashed by a chosen-at-random Stranger staffer.