This past weekend was my “birthday weekend”, which just means it was the closest weekend to my birthday. Two of my best friends from high school, Ian and Justin, came to visit me. My brain is still not working correctly. Here are some things that happened: 

• Justin got into town from Cincinnati on Friday, and we decided it would be a great idea to drink beers all afternoon and then sneak a bottle of whiskey into a movie theater to watch “Looper”. “Looper”, it turns out, is a totally awesome movie, and whiskey at three in the afternoon, it turns out, is similarly totally awesome.

• My friend Ian, who is stupid, told me he was getting in to O’Hare, so we went out to Wicker Park to meet him at the Damen stop only to discover, when he landed, that he was in fact at Midway airport and not O’Hare. For those unfamiliar with Chicago geography, there is a fairly large difference between these places. Unfortunately, by that point Justin and I were one large Piece pizza and several, several, several pints of Piece beer into an extended conversation about the relative realism of “Looper” and Ian had to figure out how to get to Lincoln Park without getting robbed by his damn self.

• We grabbed my buddy Eric and went to meet Ian at Kincaid’s where we all thought it would be a great idea to start indiscriminately taking shots. Ian attempted to catch up, but this was futile because Justin and I simply shut down our brains and carried on. We went to The Store, where the city of Chicago should make an ordinance not letting them charge you five dollars to get in. That night I possibly became the first person in human history to miss every single basket during a game of Pop-a-Shot.

• The next day we somehow ended up back at Kincaid’s with the mayor of Parma, Ohio. I am not making this up. We talked about football and politics. Also, I brought up the theory that every football team should be going for it on every fourth down. This is true, but I’d perhaps already had too many Bud Lights to make a compelling argument. We were supposed to go down to Soldier Field to tailgate for the Notre Dame-Miami game, but due to bowel-related issues, we instead had to spend some quality time at my apartment. We then went to approximately every bar in Lincoln Park during the next four hours.

• We found ourselves at Mickey’s for the Buckeyes game against Nebraska, only I barely got to watch any of the second half because I got into the loudest drunken argument with this random guy about politics, economics, God, and climate change. He just kept repeating that he had a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, and I kept telling him that he probably could have learned to regurgitate half-baked Austrian-school theorizing and discredited libertarian garbage for ten dollars in late fees at the Chicago Public Library (“Good Will Hunting”-style, naturally). The argument whipsawed around for the better part of the third and fourth quarters until I told him that anyone who thinks a credit default swap is a great idea and that the scientific processes behind anthropogenic climate change aren’t real should have to do his PhD over again.

• Justin, who was sure I was going to end the night getting punched, suggested we get the hell out of Mickey’s following Ohio State’s glorious victory. This was a good idea. We went to Weiner Circle so Ian could get a hot dog, only Ian didn’t understand the point of Weiner Circle. This proved problematic because he was one of those out-of-towners trying to come up with retorts to the insults being hurled from the other side of the counter. Ian was kind of drunk, and really the best stuff he was coming up with was along the lines of, “Oh yeah?! I went to Pitt! Ever get some O-fries? That’s what I’m talking about!” And the cashiers hurled such amazing, vocabulary-stretching invective at him that basically everyone else in Weiner Circle stopped eating to watch. “Get him a chocolate milkshake!” they cried.

• At Matilda, Ian finished the night by hitting on one of my friends, who is a lesbian. And I mean hitting on her like she was the last human female on the planet except for his mother, who was being suspended above a volcano by a Bond villain and the only way to save his mom was for him to make out with this girl. Like that’s how much effort he was putting into this, and no one, including the my friend herself, had the heart to tell him that he was missing several important components of what she finds attractive.

• Ian left my apartment at 4 a.m. in order to catch his 5:30 a.m. flight out of Midway. He always does this when he comes to Chicago, and I find it totally insane. He left my apartment basically speaking gibberish without his jacket or his toothbrush, which, as far as I can tell, he never actually used that weekend even once. Justin passed out sitting up on the couch with his mouth open, and I’m kicking myself that I did not have enough coherent forethought to put something funny in it and take a picture.

• Justin, who had been planning to stay Sunday to watch more football and drink more beer, woke me up that morning and, looking like a truck had run over him, stopped, turned around and driven over him again, said, “I’m leaving, Markley. I’m going home to my wife and kids. I’m never leaving them again. Give me my shirts, you son of a bitch.” (That last part is a long story).

• “Yup,” I said. “See you in Cincy in two weeks, buddy. Remember: It'll still be my birthday month."