The Memphis Flyer hits a milestone with Fireball shots and a cooler full of beer.
I could not handle my blog without these Fly Gals: Britt Ervin and Natalie LeDoux.
selfie by me with my iPhone5
So the Memphis Flyer turned 25 and staffers gathered on the office building dock on 460 Tennessee Street to have a family-style birthday party. Or so it seemed ... we tried to guise under the “safe” grownup activities of cooking out burgers, having birthday cake, enjoying games for the children of employees, and even having the wise elders present (namely Papa Publisher Ken Neill and Editor Bruce VanWyngarden) to oversee the sanctioned fun. But the party wasn’t complete without a cooler full of beer and a few beer runs. And that’s when things got really interesting. The Flyer notoriously has The Best Work Parties Ever and this one was perfect even though it wasn’t necessarily a massive blowout. The office dock space kept all of us cozy, close, and able to reminisce about former Flyer glory. For me, that glory entails many, many, many Beale Street Music Fest Flyer tent throwdowns and Best of Memphis parties. The greatest thing about the birthday gathering was getting to act like a 25-year-old for a few hours. Who drinks beer at a work party at 2 in the afternoon? We do. And we do Fireball shots too then climb up on iconic trucks and take LOTS of pictures. So, the inspiration rattles off into two areas ... what I was doing 25 years ago in 1989 and what I was doing as a 25-year-old more than a few moons ago ...
In the summer of 1989 I was getting ready to be a senior at St. Agnes Academy and selfishly thought the world was all mine. I was cruising around with my besties Kathleen Ball, Saffa Koja, Jay Adkins, and Dirk Olsen, in Jay’s Jeep all summer long and listened to the Grateful Dead and INXS — every gal I knew was in love with Michael Hutchence. We scared the tar out of ourselves by sneaking into abandoned buildings (remember the old school on Black Road?) and drinking Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers. I thought I was adult chic because I smoked cigarettes and could drive a stick shift, which Jay taught me on his Jeep. We went to every concert that came through at Mud Island and The Coliseum, partied at Channel 3 Drive on the river banks, and hung out in the McDonald’s parking lot on Poplar with every other high school student. We went to the movies to see Batman, Dead Poets Society, and Born on the Fourth of July. I blew all of my money at U.S. Male shopping for the perfect pair of Girbaud jeans and anything else that was considered to be cool threads back then. That summer was the best ... I still had high school in sight and felt really confident about the perceived social status that came with becoming a senior. I was ready to rule. At that same time of my ignorance, a handful of visionaries launched what would eventually become the city’s largest weekly paper.
Another reflection comes with examining my life as a 25-year-old ... fast forwarding seven years and still ignorantly loving life. By 1996, Jerry Garcia had passed away so the Grateful Dead stopped touring but my close friends and I managed to entertain ourselves by following just about every other jam band out there ... namely, Widespread Panic and the Allman Brothers Band. We went to dance clubs, hit festivals, and traveled all over in search of fun. My brother was living in South Florida so I visited on the reg to dive into the world of Latino nightlife to the extreme. Memphis also had a rave party scene at the time (not like Miami but still fun) and we tried our hardest not to miss any of those. Most were held in old warehouses downtown somewhere not far from the old office dock where the Flyer held its own recent celebration. Funny to note that every move I made on the social scene was written in the Flyer — the entertainment news dictated what my weekends were made of. Ahh ... to be 25 and only be concerned with What’s Next on the party to-do list.
I do have to admit that the Memphis Flyer is a far more accomplished 25-year-old than I ever was. It has nurtured a host of brilliant writers, thinkers, photographers, and marketers. Some of my favorite people on Earth have passed through the pages representing the best of alternative news and always shining the light on what makes Memphis magical — our unique brand of music, food, and lifestyle. So, the birthday party’s countless intake of beers and Fireball shots maximized by the sugary pieces of cake were pretty consistent with my inner 25-year-old. The epic hangover afterwards cruelly reminded me that I am actually 42. However, it was totally worth it as I got to celebrate a milestone with some of the most fun and cultivated people I know. With time, the past gains perspective and the tightrope of life is more manageable with balance. For me, that means my “boy mom” duties (I have two wild and active sons) and work responsibilities make a little more sense when I get to have a few Fireball shots at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.