[ Read this in Dutch ]
Having repeatedly told my friends that I really did not want a bachelor party, I started worrying two weeks ago that they might have taken me seriously. Last Friday night, it transpired that I need not have worried. Not only had they put together a bachelor party, they’d managed make it exactly the kind of thing I enjoy, while avoiding almost anything traditionally associated with bachelor parties.
The kind of thing I enjoy entailed clues carefully hidden in familiar places across the city; puzzles to solve; modern media like MSN and email and text messaging as tools; a huge library; Bruce Springsteen (not in person, but still); and close friends at every waypoint, who were, if not actually visible to greet me, at least lurking in a hidden corner taking pictures of me looking for the next clue. And booze. That too.
They lured me out of the house by sending me the message ‘FIND YOUR BIG BROTHER NEAR THE LITTLE FERRY’ on MSN at 6.30pm. The resulting wild bicycle ride around the city took me across the IJ river and back by ferry, had me guessing words in Bruce Springsteen song titles, looking for clues in obscure volumes in the new Public Library building, drinking sake and discovering how the sake can self-heated, decyphering Google Earth areal shots and Morse messages, drinking beer, quoting poetry, identifying a mystery man, trying to remember my friends’ birth dates and measuring their ape factors* with a blank sheet of typing paper, drinking beer, hacking into the locker system at Central Station, trying to remember the name of the obnoxious student in the Frantics sketch ‘Boot to the head’**, drinking beer, and finally finding all of them waiting for me in an Irish pub at 11.30pm, with, not surprisingly, more beer.
It’s good to have friends, especially ones who know me well enough to set up this perfect bachelor adventure for me.
* The ape factor is a scientific measurement of the degree to which an individual is ape-like. It is calculated as follows: measure arm span from fingertip to fingertip and divide by length. Most people have ape factors around 1. The higher the ape factor, the more one resembles an ape. With an ape factor above 1.1, chances are the measured individual simply is an ape.
** Ed Gruberman.