As this lady would tell you if she hadn't slipped into an alcoholic coma Saturday night, this past week was Derby time in Louisville.
No one outside of the state really cares about the Kentucky Derby, but that doesn't mean we can't party here. And we do. It's the only time of the year we get celebrities and tourists in town, but we locals manage to have a good time despite them.
The 1996 film Swingers was funny and all, but it completely ruined tourism in Vegas. All of these years later, groups of dumb young men walk around with the inflated sense of importance so thoroughly mocked in the movie. Of course, these dudes don't realize they're a walking parody. They never do.
Since I doubt frat boys from the northeast have read Hunter S. Thompson's The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, I can't put my finger on what ruined the Derby tourist. Oh, wait...it just came to me: Society ruined them. Some people went to Mardi Gras, saw what happened, then bought a jaunty hat and headed to Louisville. Or they watched a Girls Gone Wild dvd. Or they caught every "Naughty Nurse" night at the local hook-up joint.
This isn't to say that I don't enjoy it all. I'm an observer and I love people watching. If I can ever get out of the retail bidness I might even make a long-overdue return to the Infield. I'm too old to wrestle in mud, but I'm not too old to watch other people wrestle in mud.
As far as celebrity watching, I'm not connected enough to get VIP access at the fancy parties. There are no celebrities in my Derby 2009 memories. When I left work Saturday, I went to an annual party at a friend's house. Great food, friendly people, my world-renowned mint juleps....but no celebrities. Later in the evening, none of the people who closed down the brew pub were celebrities; nor were there any Hollywood types at the dive bar or late-night pizza joint. We may have stepped over Paris Hilton passed out by a gutter on our way back to the car, but we weren't sure.
"Hey, is this Paris Hilton passed out by the gutter? I'm gonna take a piss on her."
"Don't do it. If it isn't Paris, she might not be able to afford to get urine stains out of that dress."