This isn’t my picture.

Sober Speculations on Dunking or Drunking — I’m not Sure

I took my family to an afternoon matinee showing of the Lego Batman movie. After making myself sick on a bucket of popcorn and three soda refills; the final credits finished scrolling. I stood, stretched, removed my 3D glasses, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dim lighting. While waiting my turn to step into the aisle, I noticed a man, probably ten years my senior, following his family as they navigate the narrow walkway littered in movie house debris.

The balding man kept what was left of his hair short in a Jason Statham-esque hair-style (if you could call it that). He was taller, at least 6’ 3”, maybe even 6’ 5”; considerably taller than my own 5’ 9” height, and looked twenty seven weeks pregnant. It was his paunch that caught my attention as I’d been self concious of my own developing beer belly. His red shirt, rode higher in the front, draping unevenly over his gut — then I noticed the printing on his shirt.

As a man, I know it’s odd to have an opinion on clothing; but our clothing is the first communication we have with one another as they offer visual cues regarding personal interests and style. For instance, in Wal-Mart, it’s not uncommon to meet many people who say “I like wearing my pajamas” even if they don’t speak a word. Most times, I don’t pay much attention to such discourse, but the white lettering against the red background caught my eye:

I want this same shirt, but with a cookie instead of a Nike swoosh.

Dunk-aholic? But what does that even mean? I pictured the man sitting in a group for DA or Dunkaholics Anonymous.

“My name is John, and I am a dunkaholic,” he’d say with a slight shrug of his slouching shoulders. “It began when I was just a teen. My friends and I would hang out playing basketball and occasionally I’d dunk the ball. I really enjoyed dunking, but then, I began experimenting. I tried dunking other balls: footballs, soccer balls, volley balls, even golf balls. My friends became concerned. They tried to tell me I had a problem, but I wouldn’t listen. Then, later in life when I met my wife, I tried to downplay my problem,” he’d pause, “and that’s when I noticed I was dunking my food.” John’s voice would tremble as he relates his story. “I’d buy Oreo cookies from Costco, sometimes dunking the whole bag in one night. I’d dunk them in anything I could find: milk, peanut butter, Nutella . . . mayonnaise.” His voice cracking at the mention of the creamy white condiment and the groups most seasoned veterans would utter low oaths, Merciful God! John would break down weeping, hard convulsive sobs, a stream of salty shame runing over his hot cheeks.

I laughed quietly to myself as “John” passed. “Dunkaholic. Who comes up with these things?” I wondered. I envisioned the shirt’s conception by two Nike designers closing down TGI Fridays on a Tuesday and recounting the glory days of their respective college fraternity houses.

Purely speculative.

“ . . . and then they took my picture with the keg and gave me my crown,” says Chad.

“Awe, that’s really somethin’, man,” Brad assures him.

“Yeah. I was a legend,” Chad continues as he takes a swig from his pint glass. “I was the Keg-Stand King!” he says while pointing his finger above his head indicating his status as number one.

“Dude, that’s epic,” says Brad. “I wish we were back on campus, I miss those days,” he laments. “Girls, parties, no responsibilities.”

“I hear ya, brother. Now we hafta figure out a new shirt design by the end of the week! How are we gonna do that?”

“I dunno, man. I can’t even think right now,” Brad says. “I’m just at drunkaholic.”

“Ha, ha,” laughs Chad. “Drunkaholic. That’s funny.”

“Yeah, too bad we couldn’t use that in our design.”

“What? Drunkaholic?” asks Chad.

“Yeah, have the shirt say “Drunkaholic” and put a Nike swoosh on it.”

Ha, ha!” Chad laughs again, spilling some beer from his pint glass. “That’s great. That’d be my shirt for sure. I’mma write that down on this coaster.” He scrawls a pen across his beer stained table coaster.

“Dude, you’re wasted!” Brad exclaims. “You spelled it wrong. It says Dunkaholic,”

“Ha ha ha,” Chad laughs. “Yeah, I’m pretty messed up,” he says swaying slightly in his chair. “What do you suppose a ‘dunkaholic’ is?”

“Someone who likes to dunk?” Brad replies.

Chad pauses only for a moment before jolting up in his chair, “Holy shit! We, got it! That’s the Nike thing. We figured it out!” he says as he scrawls the Nike logo on the same coaster.

“Fist bump?” asks Brad as he holds out a clenched fist.

“Exploding fist bump,” Chad corrects him.

“Move, Dad,” my impatient son implored as he awakened me from my musing. “John” had already cleared the aisle way allowing me to step out. I lead my family out of the cinema and spend the next twenty minutes silently attaching “aholic” to anything I can think of.