For the rest of my life, I will remember exactly where I was when I learned that no more Zima would be made. It was October 20; I was driving on I-24 West towards Nashville, passing Winchester, TN. I had to pull over and cry. I felt as though I’d learned my first love had just been hit by a bus.
I met Zima during Spring Break 1993 in Gatlinburg, TN (not far from where a boy named Sue lost a piece of his ear fighting his dad). She belonged to another boy at the time, but he told me I could give ‘er a whirl, as he had plenty. So I did. And then another. And another. Having never put an alcoholic beverage into my body before, turning three tricks with the woman I hereinafter have referred to as Queen Zima (pronounced Zeye May) made me…well…refer to a shitty malt beverage as “Queen.” And ride in the back of a pickup truck barking like a basset hound. It was zomething different, all right.
At some point, I thought wearing a water polo hat would be a good idea and tried to get a game going in our hotel room’s hot tub. It wasn’t a good idea. Frustrated, I tried to shove a bottle of Zima into my left ear.
Then I decided to make a cape with my white hotel towel and play “super hero” with a guy named Jim Bob. We lay on the carpeted floor in our hotel’s hallway screaming “Wet Avengers!” until someone opened the door and took this picture:
When the cape didn’t help me slip the surly bonds of Earth, I tucked it into my underpants’ waist band to create a loincloth and, wearing nothing else, ran across four lanes of traffic to board a sightseeing tour helicopter ride. I hopped into the back of the copter with a couple who was touring. That lasted about 3 seconds. The pilot asked for $50; I had no pockets, so I had no cash. I’m sure that’s the only reason I was asked to leave.
Not long after this adventure, my friends lowered me into a go-cart, tutored me on the gas and brake pedals, and let me race several children on vacation with their families. That didn’t last long, either, as I forgot my brake pedal v. gas pedal lesson, rammed into a parked 9-year-old, and was encourage to leave (actually, to never return to that go-cart track ever. Luckily, there are 2500 more in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg).
So, my brief, tumultuous, but forever-memorable tryst with Queen Zima will always hold a warm, dear spot in my heart. It’s just a crying shame kids today won’t benefit from her companionship as I did.
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