For a brief and unceremonious time during my early teens (a time which, coincidentally, was the same period that people referred to as my ‘awkward appearance phase of life,’ although after milling over hundreds of middle school photos of myself, I have no idea what they’re talking about), I was a reluctant member of the gangly cult known as the Boy Scouts of America. It was apparent early on that tying knots and weaving baskets wasn’t exactly my thing and after achieving the rank of First Class, the next merit badge that I earned might have been called The Art of Disappearing, since I never stepped foot in another Boy Scouts meeting. After leaving the knee-high socks, impeccably folded bandanas, and weekly meetings of voice-cracking male youths behind for good, one three-word virtue of the Boy Scouts did end up sticking with me throughout life: Always Be Prepared.
Although I’ve failed miserably in living up to the wisdom of those three words at various and importune moments in life (forgetting the butter when cooking Coq au Vin, heading into the Mojave with only quarter tank of gas), I had no idea the true value of that motto would be exemplified as I donned my Party Pack Sam during my recent birthday bash, celebrated at a pool party in Las Vegas.
After a certain age, few things in life elate the senses as innocently and purely as a birthday: Facebook posts, calls from friends, random free scoops of ice cream at various merchants, and the well wishes from a couple highly-observant bouncers. Throw in a private cabana at one of the hottest pool parties in Vegas and a birthday couldn’t be any better, right? No one could be blamed for answering in the affirmative to that question. However, as I was soon to learn, it was the innocuous fluorescent Party Pack Sam that was strapped to my waist which elevated the excitement of my birthday from having a Top Gun cake to getting an in person fly-by from Maverick and Goose themselves.
My Party Pack Sam was filled to the brim with a multitude of items that when taken individually, might be the culprit of clutter that congregates towards the back of the desk drawer at home. However, when mingled together inside the convenience of a portable party satchel, each item became the building block of a spectacular party. The shot glass came in handy when a passer-by found out it was my birthday and wanted to pour me a shot from their table’s bottle. Who knows when game of beer-pong will break out – good thing I had my ping pong ball for such an occasion. Anyone have beads? I did – and trust me, they came in handy when the overly voluptuous “Victoria” walked by. And of course, the quintessential addition of one prophylactic and a shot of lube would have come in handy, had Victoria responded to my meek attempt to coax her into my cabana by saying “How YOU doing?” in my best Joey Tribbiani.
As the day waned, it was apparent that the pool revelers’ continuous intake of liquid vices began to catch up with them. But my party pack was only getting started; I was the proverbial Mary Poppins’ of the pool party with the party pack that kept on giving. Not only was it giving to the happy people around me but it was taking from them too: VIP club passes, little slips of paper with phone numbers, and most suggestively: room keys, were all slipped into my party pack throughout the day. As if the physical utility of the Party Pack wasn’t enough, it also provided a method of identity management, whereby ladies could distinguish me among the overly ‘roided male contingent at the pool party, which was made clear later that night at the clubs when several beautiful girls stopped me and said “Hey, you were that guy at the pool today with that sweet party pack! Wanna dance?”
Needless to say, my Party Pack Sam added a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to my birthday festivities that I will always attempt to emulate for future bashes throughout life. I have no doubt that had Dusty Bottoms, Ned Nederlander, and Lucky Day been wearing Party Pack Sams on their quest, they would not have had to traipse over impassable mountains and scorching deserts to find the Singing Bush and Invisible Swordsman; those two would have found the three amigos.