Tuesday, August 21, 2007

John Hodgman once told a story on This American Life about meeting Ryan, a host on the Cuervo Nation, "[a person] whose job it is to force us to interact, to touch one another because apparently this is something we’ve forgotten how to do."

Hodgman goes on to say, "[It] is a job that seems so intuitive and skill-free that you initially think anyone can do it. It's only when you are trying and failing to get someone to drink a shot of tequila off your head that you realize how hard it is to be Cuervo Man."

Or, in my case, Cuervo Woman. I was one of a handful of people who for a few weeks a year got to live on Marina Cay, a five acre piece of land in the middle of the British Virgin Islands dubbed the Cuervo Nation. There I hosted 14 contest winners. double decker tour bus.

When I listened to Hodgman's account, I was at once proud and grossly embarrassed. I had a coveted gig but one with no merit, morals or intelligence required. It was a bawdy lifestyle of debauchery in a bikini doing tequila body shots, dropping poker chips out of my butt crack into a beer stein and jumping off naked from the upper deck of a boat into a pool of anacondas swimming in the deep blue awaiting discarded burgers and bread and me.  I was tan, young, happy, drunk, fearless, free.

“Hey, Kambri, telephone!” The bartender yelled. I sat frozen, confused as to how anyone could track me down. The Cuervo Nation isn’t exactly listed in the phone book. In fact, it has no air conditioning, no television, no radio.

"Who died?" I thought. Then quickly, "This had better not be about Grandma."

"Hey, Kambri." It was my brother. I hadn't spoken to him in a year. If this were about Grandma, my mother would be the one calling. Why isn't she calling? She’s the one who's dead. Or my dad.

This is about my dad.

It is strange how in the still anticipation of gaining unwanted news how crystal clear the message is.

I climbed out of the vacuum of that phone call and tried to focus on something else. The reggae music, the pattern of the wood grain table, my half-empty bottle of tequila. I stopped my brother from saying another word.

That bottle of tequila was only half empty and the anacondas were waiting.

No comments: