This past weekend, I put a call out to a few of my friends to see if they had any old television sets or computers lying around their house, waiting to be recycled. Not that I was on a recycling binge, but I needed something for a particular soiree I was going to that night. Luckily, my friend, Ryan, happened to have a computer tower that he had been meaning to get rid of for a few months now...
Now this may look like an ordinary computer tower, but it was actually my ticket to pure unadulterated aggression: The 8th Annual Titmouse Smashing Party!
What is a Smashing Party you ask? Well, according to the invitation, "We supply the tools, you supply the items to smash." The event has been going on since about 2004 and I always had something going on that kept me from coming. But this weekend was different. This weekend I was going to see what all the hubbub was about.
Besides food trucks, live bands, and free booze, the activities included "Smashing stuff (like TV monitors, computers, pictures, vases, plates, statues, and things you hate) with one or more of the following implements: hammer, baseball bat, axe, brick, golf club, lead pipe, 2 X 4, bowling ball, and sledgehammer."
I brought the HP Pavilion Media Center.
What you can't see, are all the people in the bleachers sitting beside the cage and the crowd of people watching on the ground, surrounding the cage behind the yellow tape. It was like a scene out of "Fight Club." People were cheering, holding up their phones, capturing the moments. Before I went in, people were smashing old tube TV's (they made the biggest explosions), toilets, and one guy even smashed a Teddy Ruxpin doll. The crowd cheered like crazy with every hit (fueled by the fact that the majority of them were enebriated).
It was my first time out, so I was kind of nervous going in. First of all, you have to gear up with hand and face protection. I went for the safety goggles and full "Dexter's Lab" gloves. When you first enter, there's a bucket filled with a number of instruments for smashing. I bypassed the samurai sword and settled on the hybrid ax/sledgehammer. I thought about using the bowling ball, but knew that I needed to take out more aggression.
I figured I wasn't going to get a huge crowd of people watching me since I had a simple computer tower (no expectant crowd-pleasing explosion). But as I walked in the cage, the founder of Titmouse, Chris Prynoski, went on his bullhorn to make an announcement to the crowd. As the crowd thickened, I waited my turn to hear what Chris had to say. At one point during his call for people's attention, he turned to look inside the cage and saw me. I playfully waved over to him and, to my surprise, he yelled into the bullhorn, "Hey everybody! Let's watch Van Partible smash something!"
The crowd cheered and, with all eyes on me... it was on.
My years of untapped anger unleashed itself for a little under a minute until I swung my last swing and walked off, thug appeal intact. And just so you know, it felt REALLLY COOL! There's something about holding an ax/sledgehammer with a crowd cheering you on that feels kind of... "demented and sad, but social." (Big thanks to my manger, Schuyler Evans, for capturing my inner "Rick Grimes" on camera.)
Just so you know, it wasn't all smashing (although, it was smashing in a Thurston Howell III kind of way). There was also a lot of waiting. There were about a thousand people there (which you can't really tell from my pictures) and I had to wait about an hour and a half to smash my tower. Some people waited over two hours! But I got to meet some really cool people in line so the time went by pretty fast. Luckily, the party lasted from 5 to 11:oo that night so just about everybody got to smash something. Afterwards, I got to catch up with old friends from all the different studios. A fun run-in I had was with Maxwell Atoms (creator of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy) whose Kickstarter campaign literally ended that morning! He is now in the process of creating a new web series about a reimagined puppet apocalypse called "Dead Meat!" Definite cause for celebration!
So now I'm looking forward to next year when I plan on bringing a tube TV. Maybe then I'll use the bowling ball. But only for starters. I really liked the feeling of using the ax/sledgehammer.
I need to go watch some "Leave It To Beaver" now.