January 18, 2012

Cleveland Rocks?

Years ago and fresh out of high school, two single guys decided to go on an adventure.  Fighting monsters and villains.  Battling the harsh elements.  Destroying anything that came in their way.  It was a road trip, almost too grand to be written.  It was epic.  And here is that story.

Jim and I went to Cleveland, Ohio. (and Kentucky)

Yeah, okay...I know what you're thinking and you're right...Cleveland sucks.  There I said it, so you wouldn't have to.  You see, it wasn't so much of an adventure as it was a nightmare.  So, if you have ever had a bad vacation or road trip or bad day, maybe you can relate.

We started out, just two troublemakers looking to do a little rabble-rousing, so we thought what better place to cause a little ruckus than good ol' Ohio.  Because, Cleveland is one of the greatest cities in the world?  (yes, there is suppose to be a question mark at the end of that last sentence)  Let's take a look at all the wonderful things Cleveland has to offer.

Exhibit 1 - The Indians.  A major league baseball team.  The last time they won the world series Truman was battling Dewey for the presidential election.  1948, kids.  The only time in recent history, Charlie Sheen was "acting" crazy as the Wild Thing in the movie Major League. (A great movie, might I add)

Exhibit 2 - The Browns.  The National Football team.  Cleveland is so bad they left.

Exhibit 3 - The Browns.  Yeah, they came back.  But, they are awful.  Players and coaches can't wait to get out, as quick as they can.  Ask Bill Belichick if he likes New England better than Cleveland and see what he says.

Exhibit 4 - Drew Carey.  I miss Bob Barker.  Thanks for taking the only thing I looked forward to while being sick away from me, Drew.  The Price is no longer Right.

Exhibit 5 - Lebron James.  (See Exhibit 2.)

Exhibit 6 - Even The Cleveland Show isn't any good.

And finally...Exhibit 7...and why we decided to go.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Because when you think of Rock and Roll, what city comes to mind?  If you said, Cleveland then you know absolutely nothing about music.  Even when the bands do their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction concert, they go to New York City.  No one wants to be in Cleveland.  No one.

But, we did.  We got into the ultimate babe magnet, a 1990 dark blue Ford Escort, and hit the road, traveling from New Jersey.  Traveling to Rock and Roll Mecca, the Hall of Fame.  We would see things that icons wrote and used to make some of the greatest music ever recorded.

It was 1995 and I felt like the President at the time in a room full of chubby interns.  (that is a real old joke, but when else am I going to be able to make Bill Clinton jokes?  Give me a break.)  We were two cool guys and what do cool guys do?  Arrive late at night in Cleveland and don't bother to make reservations for hotel rooms.  So...Drove around Blah Blah Blah boring details  No rooms  Blah Blah Blah  more driving  Blah Blah Blah.  There were no rooms to be found in the Cleveland area!  None!  So, we slept outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in that Ford Escort.

Let me tell you, you have not lived till you have spent the night in a Ford Escort.  It is a little like sleeping in shopping cart, only without the handlebar.  I however, slept like a newborn - waking up every couple of hours - there was some crying - and I couldn't roll over because of the radical bucket seat.

I awoke the next morning, the sun directly in my face.  The other seat was empty.  Jim was gone.  I looked everywhere.  He was nowhere to be found.  I found a couple quarters in my tight jeans and was planning on finding the nearest payphone to page him on his beeper.  (That is right, this story is that old)  And then there was Jim, coffee in hand, and finishing up a danish.
"Hey, they got a great continental breakfast," he said.
"Isn't that for people staying there?"  I asked.
"They didn't check."
I wanted danish.
I like danish.
My belly was hungry and danish would stop that.
But, I knew I would be the one to get caught.  My life would be over.  I would end up in some Cleveland prison.  I would bang a cup along the bars, singing some Johnny Cash tune, while trying to fend off the likes of  Bogs Diamond  and  Heywood .  There would be no "Red" to help me...and there would be no danish.  I couldn't bring myself to do go in a get a danish.

We walked around Cleveland for a little while, looking for a place to eat before our journey into the Hall of Fame.  But, Cleveland turns out is a ghost town.  It was like walking through Zombieland, without  all  the fun of the zombies.  No place was open and the city was dead.  I had almost given up hope, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, a jolly fat man eating sloppily out of a wrapper.
There it was - yippee ki yay.  Roy Rogers!  No, not the one with Trigger or Dale Evans.  No, the one that served something that kinda tasted like food.  I rushed in there and greedily ate that slop.  It was heavenly awful.  You understand, the greatest worst meal I had ever eaten.  Now, I was ready to be rocked!
Bring on the Hall of Fame!

I guess I should have known, because I know how rock and roll is, but let me explain the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1995...it belonged in Cleveland.  They opened up the roof and dump all the stuff in.  There was crap everywhere.  Nothing made any sense.  It was more disappointing than reading a blog about a road trip to Cleveland.  I couldn't find anything I wanted to see.  It was worthless.  I felt betrayed.  These Rock and Roll hoodlums had pulled a bait and switch.
"Come see Rock and Roll history."
"Sucka, we already fooled you into coming to Cleveland, now enjoy this mockery of a Hall."

We left with our heads hung low and all our hopes and dreams of our Rock and Roll fantasy had been flushed. My time in Cleveland felt endless, minutes felt like hours, hours felt like days, days felt like an aeon.  I could not wait to get back to my home.

Now, to help you understand how awful Cleveland really is, here is a list of seven things that you would think would be awesome, but really just plain suck.

Seven Things
1.) Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  
         (Were you not paying attention?)

2.) Taking candy from a stranger.

3.) Eating a McRib

4.) Going on the Tilt-A-Whirl as an adult

5.) White guys shaving their heads

6.)  Waxing your chest

There are still more stories about my time in Cleveland, but they will have to wait for another day.  My doctor says that too much stress isn't good for me at one time.  So, until next time avoid Cleveland at all costs. 
Consider this your warning.

The Always Wandering,


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