Land of suspenders, spring training, smiles, and light beers

We just returned from our annual CJS Rendezvous in Tucson. We covered some CJS business, drank a shitload of Coors Light, smoked about a hundred cigarettes, and marveled at how spring training baseball games eerily resemble a retirement community field trip. Here are a few random thoughts from our travels in no particular order.

1) Distance, time, and absence don’t mean a damn thing

You know when you’re traveling to see an old friend, you secretly worry that when you get together somehow things will be different and you’ll forget how to hang out? No matter how many times you’ve made this trip, this idiotic notion always finds its way into your consciousness and even though you always try to immediately dismiss it, the feeling still lingers like the taste of a bad shot of cheap whiskey.

And then you show up and within ten minutes you’re sitting around together slamming beers, cracking the same old tired jokes (now fresh again), and nothing has changed. Hallelujah! Hart, Lady E and I beat Limon to the condo by about a half hour and since my day started out in Pissface Mode, Mama Dagger had driven us to the airport and couldn’t stop talking about “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars” (apparently the one who got dumped by The Bachelor was now dancing on the other show! Who knew?!) and we had to fly through that satan’s hangnail known as DIA, I suspect everyone had had about enough of me already. When Limon showed up, all that malaise from the day lifted like a fog blown away by the bright shining sun.

We succeeded in alienating Lady E in about 30 seconds flat with obscure quotes from Family Guy, SLC Punk, Major League, and about a hundred other movies that she couldn’t recognize quickly enough. She remained a good sport about it and put us all to shame with earth-shaking belches that I’m sure would make her mother proud.

The most important thing was, when we weren’t hungover (which happened a couple of times), we spent nearly the entire time laughing at each other which reminded me of why we started the Cru Jones Society in the first place. We all just want to make each other laugh and waste each other’s time at work. And we did that. Only no work. And we were in person. And we weren’t writing. But there was definitely jokes. My personal favorite from the weekend (told in some form between 10 and 2,000 times in four days): “Dagger, there’s something wrong with this condo. It smells like farts all of a sudden. You should call maintenance.” Yeah, Lady E loved that one.

But goddamn, it was good to have us all together again.

2) Sunny weather and 75 degrees is still too cold for Pool Beirut in an unheated pool

Hart will explain this more next Wednesday, but after you’ve been baking in the sun drinking beers and watching the Rockies blow it in extra innings, you’d think your core temperature would be high enough to where some ass freezing water would be downright lovely. Yeah, not so much. Limon, who rocks 2 percent body fat (and that’s on a particularly fat day), had to climb out shivering like a 3rd grader coming in from a rain-soaked recess. Lady E channeled her best motherly instincts and toweled him off while Hart and I froze in the water trying to finish an ill-advised second game using cans of MGD.

And yes, this is all just as terrible as it sounds.

3) In ‘N Out Burger is still one of the top three most desirable foods on the planet

Like a beacon in the night.

In Tucson right near Hi Corbett Field is an In ‘N Out Burger followed less than a block away by a standalone Chik-Fil-A. Can you imagining living near there? I’d gain at least 30 lbs. in the first week alone. If they added a Big City Burrito, I’d be dead within a year from heart failure and/or cholesterol poisoning.

But the crown jewel is definitely In ‘N Out. It’s the only place people who don’t live near one talk about like they talk about some old kinky girlfriend in college. Every time someone brings up In ‘N Out, if you haven’t had it in awhile, you get that glazed over look on your face, remember the last time you had it, and ultimately need to sit down. People on the East Coast have no idea what they’re missing.

Then you’re back in the restaurant enjoying that perfectly lightly-toasted bun, the tender meat, flawlessly melted cheese and tangy spread… Jesus Christ, could anyone else go for a cigarette?

4) Spring Training is the ideal way to enjoy baseball

The temperature is in the mid-70s, there’s not a cloud in the sky, you’ve got a beer in your hand and a bag of peanuts in your lap, you and your friends are cracking jokes as frequently as you are peanut shells, the games don’t fucking matter in the least, and you’re surrounded by old people. Alright, so the last one isn’t ideal, but it’s not a bad thing either. Since they don’t yell nearly as much and are about 150% less inclined to get obnoxiously drunk, the game is just that much more mellow.

I love competitive baseball, but after killing yourself 50 hours a week in your white collar gulag, getting into the sun and turning your brain off entirely is a thin slice of heaven. When I’m old and crusty, I fully plan on getting myself a nice pair of suspenders, heading to Arizona, and getting season tickets to spring training. Which reminds me…

5) Arizona should change its name from “The Grand Canyon State” to “The Suspender State”

I can’t remember who first coined that (it was either Hart or Limon), but it’s perfect. My boss wears suspenders sometimes and because of his build, it makes him look a bit like an Oompa Loompa. But he’s the only one I’ve seen wearing them in at least 6 months. I saw ten times that within 3 minutes at Hi Corbett Field. It’s unbelievable. And not just with pants, but shorts too. I even saw one guy wearing shorts with his suspenders and a belt. My first inclination was to make fun of him, but he had one of those “I may be 75 years old, but I’m still built like a brown bear and come from the navy, so I’ll kick your ass from here to next Tuesday” looks about him. But then I realized that guy was prepared for anything. I mean, belt and suspenders? That’s a guy who’s got a backup plan for everything.

6) The Cru Jones Society is still something we love to do

We’re rapidly approaching our one-year anniversary, and we’re all still having a blast putting together articles for you. We’ve grown substantially in our one year (averaging 900 unique readers per week as of last week), and we hope to continue to grow.

We have a big surprise in store for our one-year anniversary, so stay tuned next week for that. We began daily updates on March 31, so look forward to something truly RAD on that day.

A number of you have asked us about merchandise and we’re working on it. The base prices are high and the logistics are turning out to be more challenging than we anticipated, but we hope to have at least something for you within the month.

We talked about expanding our Facebook presence, figuring out a way to use Twitter, and getting linked on some other sites. We also formulated some more Confessional topics, planned new group features (look for one about field testing drinking products next week), and relived some of our favorite articles. You all are the reason we’re as big as we are now, and we love you for it. Thanks for reading us.

Most importantly, we talked about just how much fun it is to post articles and check out the comments section for the witty banter that ensues. I can’t speak for Hart or Limon, but sometimes I’ll read a comment from one of our regulars and wonder if I should continue writing articles because the comment I just read was about 10x funnier than anything in my article.

It’s not always easy – many of our articles involve a lot of man hours writing, researching, and editing – but it’s definitely worth it. And with Limon’s unbelievably taxing job, Hart working a full schedule while getting his degree, and me and Lady E planning a wedding this year on top of trying to build a real life career (at least until we can figure out how to make money doing this), your faithful CJS authors are busy. But we’ll be there providing daily updates as best we can either until we drop dead from exhaustion, or you decide you’ve had enough.

Whatever happens in the future, thanks for reading. It means the world to us.

One last piece of business: Send in your responses to the Confessional this week to We want to hear your weird, wild, wacky, and just plain goofy travel stories. You’ve heard a little about ours (and you’ll hear plenty more), we want to hear from you too. So send ‘em in.

Senor Limon and Lee S. Hart may drop by to share some of their thoughts too. And they may not. Either way, we’ll see you Monday in the Confessional.

Until then…