Tan­gle-Footed

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The Liar­ton Lyres old timers hockey guys were all sit­ting around the Jim Nor­ton’s cof­fee shop af­ter an early (9:30 am) game and some­one men­tioned how funny it was that times had changed with re­gards to our af­ter hockey ac­tiv­i­ties. The ac­tiv­i­ties re­ferred to was the af­ter game bev­er­ages and how be­ing re­tired, or in my case lazy, al­lowed us to enjoy af­ter game drinks from a cof­fee bar in­stead of a pub, most of the time. There are ad­van­tages to en­joy­ing a cof­fee and donut af­ter a game in the morn­ing, most of which will get you through a check-stop, un­like en­joy­ing a few brewskies. We all had drink­ing sto­ries about our ad­ven­tur­ous younger years. While most of the tales were ba­si­cally the same, there was a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in some ba­sic ter­mi­nol­ogy de­pend­ing on where and when we were born. Take the word “drunk” as for ex­am­ple. It can be used to de­scribe a per­son or a con­di­tion achieved as a re­sult of hav­ing “drunk” too much, but if you were from the Mar­itimes you could be elo­quently de­scribed as pos­si­bly be­ing “three sheets to the wind”. Three sheets to the wind de­scribes an out of con­trol tall ship as a re­sult of three or more loose sheets (ropes) to keep sails taut… much like a drunk would stag­ger and reel. We have a few Mari-old­timers on the team and there is no short­age of nau­ti­cal syn­onyms for drunk or be­ing drunk. “He had too much bait and could not nav­i­gate, so he was tack­ing all the way to his home har­bour from the pub” ap­par­ently is a line from an Ir­ish drink­ing song from the East Coast, ac­cord­ing to St. Johns’ Johnny, one of our val­ued and ag­ing cen­ter ice­men. An­other of our play­ers, Stewey who hails from Man­i­toba, said that in his youth the term they used for be­ing drunk was, “Hav­ing a snoot full” and if you were be­hav­ing stupidly you were, “Rum Dumb” or “Clob­bered,” all of which are very de­scrip­tive…and ac­cu­rate. We all agreed that there were com­mon terms from all across Canada to de­scribe the con­di­tion. Then we de­cided the most com­mon term was, “Feel­ing no pain.” Feel­ing no pain is ac­cu­rate, while un­der the in­flu­ence but be­lieve me when I say that changes the next morn­ing. While de­cid­ing that “feel­ing no pain” was a most com­mon phrase, there were many other univer­sal words to de­scribe some of our past drink­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. The Prairie boys on the team agreed that we might not have the de­scrip­tive poetry of the Mar­itimes to de­scribe some of our ad­ven­tures but that there was al­ways truth in the terms used. Be­tween about eight of us from the flat­lands, we have been de­scribed in our youth as be­ing in­tox­i­cated (a po­lice term?), sloshed, bombed, pot­ted (both ways), crocked, half-crocked, swacked, pick­led, shel­lacked and one of us (Bubba, an old cow­boy) had even been called tan­gle-footed. Tan­gle footed is how I usu­ally dance re­gard­less of how many drinks I have had…it is why I play in a band in­stead of danc­ing and if the truth be known, it is much safer for other dancers. Af­ter some re­con­sid­er­a­tion, tan­gle-footed does have a de­scrip­tive po­etic sense to ri­val some of those Mar­itime say­ings. Our team has a num­ber of guys who have worked in camps up North and they have some rather po­etic de­scrip­tions of their own. If you were drunk up North you could be, “Full as a tick,” “Hootered” or the epic, “One over the eight” which refers to be­ing one whole point over the .08 limit for im­paired driv­ing. North­ern­ers have also been known to get “Wastey pants” and “Arse over $%&” which are self-ex­plana­tory, but I needed some clar­i­fi­ca­tion about the de­scrip­tive phrase, “Get­ting Un­cle Joe’s Cabin.” I was told that was as North­ern as a “Sour­dough Toe Cock­tail” and that it meant drink­ing and mis­be­hav­ing like you did when you went to your un­cle’s cabin for a week­end…duh, if I had only thought for a mo­ment. You may be think­ing to your­self that the Liar­ton Lyres Old Timers are un­con­trol­lable and dan­ger­ous and we are…when we are on the ice, but with an av­er­age age of seventy the 20 of us have about two-thou­sand years of drink­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, most of which are but dis­tant mem­o­ries. We talk a good game with ex­ag­ger­a­tion, em­bel­lish­ment, and for the few of us whose doc­tors al­low us, we still enjoy a brewski or high­ball but we have learned to do it re­spon­si­bly, and usu­ally at home. In the com­ing hol­i­day sea­son, the Liar­ton Lyres ask that if you drink, please leave the driv­ing to the sober…cheers!

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