On Sunday, I attended the cardboard tube duel in Cal Anderson Park, because if there’s a better way to work out misplaced Valentine’s Day aggression than hitting someone with a tube, I certainly haven’t heard about it.

Cardboard armor was encouraged but not required, for which I was thankful. Because while I will wear a lot of things on the bus, up to and including full Santa regalia, cardboard armor is where I draw the line. I know, given the whole robot costume thing, you’d think I’d be all over it. Maybe next time, when I can transport it in a car, folks, and don’t have to drag it all over the city. However, you were not allowed to bring your own cardboard weapons; any outside tube was considered contraband and had to be handed over prior to the duels.

I was signed up in the ‘Naked’ division, which is a sexy way of saying non-armored. Before they divided up the Armored, Partial Armored and Naked groups, they held the children’s tournament, because there was no other division more likely to draw blood, and we all had cardboard tube bloodlust.

This adorable little pixie took two swings and after the challenger whacked her solidly in the huggies armor, she decided she’d had enough and ran back to mom. Her little brother started to sob as mom suited him up in his cardboard box, wanting none of this action. It’s surely a topic that will come up in therapy twenty years from now.

After the kids failed to bruise and maim one another, we split into our respective groups and took business into our own hands. Cardboard tubes are not the sturdiest of instruments, and since the fight only lasted until one tube was broken or bent at 45 degree angle, they were all over relatively quickly. In the lovers’s duels, they were encouraged to keep fighting until the tube was entirely destroyed.

When my name was called, I strode into the center of the ring and seriously told my opponent, “We must fight to the death, or they will kill us both.”

She did not like that one bit, and screeched every time I took a swing at her, eventually falling to the ground. My tube was broken on her defensively placed forearm, and lo, I was out of the tournament, so I meandered up the hill to watch the armored division fights and wait for the melee.

One guy got cracked in the face and got a bloody nose. From a tube.





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The guy on the left ended up taking home the championship trophy, as his finishing move was consistently knocking the tube out of his opponent’s hand and then stomping on it until it broke. Not exactly sporting, but not against the rules, either. The only rules were: hold your tube at the end, avoid face-hitting if possible, and no jabbing.

After the tournaments came the melee, where everybody was to grab a tube, or two, or part of a tube, and just wail on one another. The very moment they cried ‘GO!’ for the melee, and we began running and screaming at one another at the height of cardboard bloodlust, the skies opened up and it began pouring. Within seconds, we were soaked to the bone, slipping in mud, and STILL smacking one another around with soggy cardboard.

When all that remained was limp paper bits and defeated participants, that is when Frank texted me to ask if the fight was still going on. Yes, Vomit Date Frank was supposed to attend the duel, but missed it owing to one: his night owl schedule and two: not feeling particularly well. If he can give turning into a living vomit fountain a pass, I can excuse this sort of lateness. He asked if I’d still like to get together and see The Wolfman, and I agreed that sounded mighty fine. On my way to the theater, I ended up having to buy a hoodie so I would have something warm and dry to wear so I wouldn’t freeze in the theater for two hours.

Before the movie started, we had some time to catch up, and when I asked him if anything new and exciting was going on, he said he would be in Vegas in two weeks. “Really?” I exclaimed. “I’m going to be in Vegas in two weeks.” As it turns out, we’re going out on the same flight, so I will have a seat buddy in whom I do not have to fake an interest for a few hours. What are the odds!?

22 Comments THIS….IS…..SPARDBOARD!

  1. echoeversky February 18, 2010 at 1:06 am


    Then marriage, kids, old age, and death!


    Awesome post my dear. May the Tube be With you.


    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

      Re: ITS A FRAP!

      Pfft, unlikely, all except that last one.

      1. echoeversky February 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

        Re: ITS A FRAP!

        You sell yourself short.

        I think you could pull all of that off and not become your mother. 🙂


  2. nanci_raygun February 18, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Dude I wanna hit people with tubes too! Waaahhhh!!!!

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 1:40 am

      It’s SO good. But probably not as good as slapping a bitch with a flip-flop. You don’t get a resounding crack with a tube.

  3. robotdevil February 18, 2010 at 2:01 am

    omg badass. How did you find out about this? Is there some sort of fun-stuff grapevine I need to get myself hooked into?

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 2:21 am

      told me about this one. Otherwise, I mostly just keep my eye on The Stranger, weird Facebook events that pop up from time to time, or create my own events. 🙂

  4. faerieburst February 18, 2010 at 2:17 am

    How the hell did I not know about this?!?!?!

    I weep. But I cheer for plane serendipity!


    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 2:25 am

      I don’t know. 🙁 But they’ll be doing it again in the spring, I will make sure I tell you about it when they decide on a date!

      1. faerieburst February 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

        Sweet! I am so there.


  5. morlith February 18, 2010 at 2:34 am


    Hella-awesome idea! =D

    Kickass about the movie! (Did you like it?)

    DOUBLE KICK ASS about the flight!! Woo!!

    Have a blast in Vegas! Where are you staying?

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 2:38 am

      I liked the movie! It was a good homage to the original, the CG was well done, there wasn’t a crappy tacked-on love scene, the gore was pretty spectacular…there was a lot to like there.

      I am staying at the oh-so-posh Riviera, AKA the ‘Showgirls’ hotel.

      1. morlith February 18, 2010 at 3:00 am

        My friends and I usually stay at the swank Imperial Palace, so I understand. =)

        1. admin February 18, 2010 at 4:23 am

          I figure, the only time I’m going to be in the hotel room is to sleep and (maaaaybe get laid, you know, when pigs fly) so who really cares how small the room is if it’s on the strip? 🙂

  6. aquariumspast February 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

    “Santa, why are you wearing a box?”

    You really do live in an alternate universe where people have fun…

    I think the kids’ division might need to be broken up a little further. When I saw that little kid at top, I thought, “Her little brother? How small do they get?”

    But please tell me that is not a photo later of a tiny kid getting their weapon stomped on by a giant…

    The one after the flame helmet cracks me up…

    I support the no BYOW rule — I can only imagine what devious methods people might employ to test the boundaries of the strength/devastation envelope…

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 4:36 am

      Re: “Santa, why are you wearing a box?”

      It wasn’t super organized, and kids kept getting signed up throughout the kid’s division so it ended with awkward battles like that. There were some even tinier kids out there, with the youngest somewhere around a year old–she didn’t fight but kept wandering out into the thick of things.

      No kids had their tubes stomped on. That photo is of a tiny-framed adult who had fallen down.

      Frank admitted to wanting to put a tube wrapped in fiberglass tape inside another tube so…yeah. Probably for the best that those kinds of weapons weren’t allowed.

  7. weaselmom February 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Now see, I’d have run this a little differently. Instead of being eliminated when your tube broke, the first person to break her tube on her opponent would win and advance. I’d *encourage* people to whap the living hell out of each other and *reward* that behavior. This may explain why I am rarely put in charge of things anymore.

    I love Hairless Soul Shield guy. (That would make a good Pemco ad. “Hairless Soul Shield guy, you’re one of us. A little different.”)

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      Oh, I completely agree with you. They told us to expect bruises and welts and when I left with NEITHER, I was severely disappointed. Maybe I need to start a full contact league.

  8. pezking124 February 18, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I feel that the Vomit Date Frank link should probably take me somewhere other than one of the attached pictures under the cut.

    Also, your awesome fun times posts make me feel like I’m viewing some other world that I didn’t know existed until recently. You’re like a dimensional rift through which I can observe strange, foreign people engage in activities that my ignorant Earth brain cannot grok.

    1. admin February 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      You are correct, sir! That link should have taken you here, and the post has been fixed as well. 🙂

  9. poetrix618 February 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    This looks as fun as it sounded. Next year!! (If you don’t have a car by then–we can cram into my Z3.)

    1. admin February 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      There actually will be one coming up in a few months. 🙂

Comments are closed.