One day, future archaeologists will dig up the bones of these men, in the rubble of what was once Spokane, Wash., and conclude that here fell a fearsome band of noble warriors. To illustrate his theory, Cole Griffith offers his friends his broken self.
"Fractured wrist, separated shoulder, torn ligaments in both knees -- what else could they think I'd been?"
The other warriors chime in. First Eck: "Blind cab driver?" Then Hadel: "Gerald Ford?"
Then Van Goose with the truth: "Middle-aged basketball player who didn't know when to quit?"
But Cole with a revelation is a puppy with a shoe. "No, this is what happens," he says. "One day you're chasing a mammoth to feed your family -- and then you fall into a crevasse. A hundred thousand years later, you're in a museum. Or you're on your way to see a courtesan, Vesuvius erupts, and thousands of years later your corpse is a tourist attraction."
As he speaks, Cole pours himself a quarter glass of beer. He will do this all night in a losing ...