Slightly! Lightly!

I’m troubled, y’all, troubled.

It all started toward the end of September when I went to visit Sonny Boy in Chicago. I was flying Southwest, which I love, and I had scored “A” group status for boarding. I got on the plane and chose a window seat in the same row as a quiet-looking white-haired gentleman who had taken the aisle seat. The next thing I know, my seatmate bails out to the row behind him and in swoops this boisterous, red-faced man probably in his mid-fifties bedecked in all of his University of Alabama gear (Roll Tide!) who plops down in the middle seat while his wife takes the aisle.

The white-haired man was a seat-saver, damn the rotten luck! It turns out that he and his wife are traveling with Roll Tide and his mate but they got to board first. And they have more friends in the surrounding seats. And they’ve all commenced to imbibing, despite the fact that it’s 10 a.m.

The whole passel of them are headed to Chicago for a weekend of partying and fun and football watching at the Houndstooth Saloon. Now it’s just been in the last few years that I became aware that most every big city has a place where fellow Alabamians gather to watch football. Sounds like a good time, if you ask me! And I’m all for throwing down, shaking your groove thang, and partying like it’s (literally) 1999, so that’s not what troubles me.

What troubles me is their call to bacchanalia, their party chant, the rallying cry they’ve used since college which was not only shared repeatedly with the flight attendant but has been burned into my brain. For the record, she only seemed tactfully amused as one would expect a person who deals repeatedly with people who are overly excited to be.

With every imagined exploit and every toast, together they would sing out:

Slightly!
Lightly!
Politely!
And all nightly!

Now you. Yes, YOU! Chant it out loud in a deep Southern accent and make sure to stress the “POE” in “politely” and drag it out a while. Now say it three or four more times. Now think about what you’re actually saying.

Now you know why I’m troubled.

I’m going hell and gone all the way up to Chicago to party slightly. Just a little bit. Not too much. Mind you, this adverb was belied by the two vodka crans that were gulped down by Roll Tide over the course of about 20 minutes, which is really all the time you have to get a beverage on the short flight north.

I’m going hell and gone all the way up to Chicago wearing all the crimson and white (Roll Tide!) to party lightly. Just a touch of partying here or there. Then we might take a break! Don’t want things to get too heavy.

I’m going hell and gone all the way up to Chicago wearing all the crimson and white (Roll Tide!) to party with strangers in a bar, but my mama always told me to be polite, by God, so I will, please and thank ya, ma’am. Honestly, I actually don’t mind this nod toward courtesy. Lord knows we could all use a little more civility. I do think it seems a little out of place in a call for debauchery, but, as you can see, there is to be only slight and light debauching.

I’m going hell and gone all the way up to Chicago wearing all the crimson and white (Roll Tide!) to party with strangers in a bar, but my mama always told me to be polite, by God, so I will, please and thank ya, ma’am, and we’ll carry on all night, or at least past 10 which is my usual bedtime. I’m pushing 50 myself, so I know what the true nature of “all nightly” is to me. Maybe once upon a time back in college I partied all night. But now … well, let’s just say that I rarely make it all the way to Saturday Night Live unless I’m trying real hard and have had a glass of iced tea late in the afternoon. Maybe that’s the purpose of the “slightly” and the “lightly” — so you can make it “all nightly,” Lord willing.

If I was going to craft a resounding call for revelry to be shouted out repeatedly in a confined space filled with staring travelers, I think I might make it a little more … oh, I don’t know … festive. Less reserved. I mean, go all in! Shout it from the rooftops that the celebration is fixing to commence! I might go with … and I’m just thinking out loud here …

Let’s get rightly!
Let’s get tightly!
While the stars shine brightly!
Till the sun ends the nightly!
Till we feel alrightly!

(Drag out the “al” for quite some time for effect.)

You know, just if one were to need a party chant … as one apparently does.