So it’s Tax Day, and FirstandMonday was fully prepared to bring you Cheat Codes for Real Life with some tax day tips. Unfortunately the damn lawyers insist that it might be considered providing tax advice. We have explained to them numerous times that no one actually reads this stuff, and that most of these guys are likely in the “I did them myself and already fucked them up” group, or are actively avoiding paying income taxes. Didn’t matter, so no tax day Cheat Codes. Which is probably for the best.
Instead, we are breaking out some tailgating life hacks for you guys. Yes, most college Spring Games just happened. If you are a die-hard, you probably attended and tailgated. Well, while that debacle is fresh on your mind, let us offer some assistance so that when toe meets leather in 141 days, you can be on top of your game.
The Three “Ps” of Tailgating Success
No college guys, not Pi (ADPi, PiPhi, or any of your other favorites); partying; and pledge abuse. While those 3 “Ps” of tailgating are surely of interest to most of you, that’s not really the purpose of this column. No, the three “Ps” for today’s lesson are: Preparation, Packing, and Presentation.
Preparation and Packing actually go hand-in-hand. You have to get your gear together and get it loaded for the trip over, and just as importantly, the trip back. So, let’s start with making sure you have everything you need:
Go grab a toolbox or an oversized tackle box. If you actually use it, just get a new one, but since most of you probably aren’t that handy anyway, just dump it out in the garage. Once you have one, use it to load up all your tailgating gear:
The second tip for preparation and packing is how to load your cooler. Yes, we know – chunking things in randomly has worked just fine. It’s probably because those of you lucky enough to have a female companion has actually sorted that shit out after the fact. Save her the headache, or just task her with doing it right to start with (read: politely ask unless you want to be neatly arranged in that cooler):
Lastly, presentation is key. You should know this by now, it’s true for anything: work, dating, life in general, but it’s also true for your tailgate. A couple of tricks to do it better.
Condiment Service Made Easy:
So you loaded up on food, but now have the issue of what to do with the half dozen industrial sized containers of ketchup, mustard, ranch, and other dipping sauces. Sure, you can just shove them out and let people do whatever they want, but why make it harder on them and you come clean up time.
Instead, borrow a couple of muffin pans like these:
Now, simply fill each slot with the desired condiment, and you have a ready made dipping station that can be easily covered and stowed post tailgate.
For sauces that are more liquid (e.g., hot sauce) or spices and other items best left in their bottle, put an empty six pack box to use:
Chill drinks faster:
Couple of tricks here to get your beverages of choice nice and cold.
First, play spin the bottle. No, pervs we aren’t suggesting you get weird in a college parking lot. Literally put a can or bottle in your ice chest, making sure the entire length of the can is touching ice, and spin it vigorously. In very little time, you will have a cold drink.
Or if you are really impatient, check out SpinChill:
If you have extra time in advance but want to expedite the chilling process for your preferred beverage, give this a shot. All you need is a wet paper towel and and access to a refrigerator or freezer. Wet the paper towel, wrap the bottle, and insert in the freezer.
Bonus tip: Freeze your water bottles in advance, and use those as a base layer in your cooler. Not only will your water be ice cold when you need to drink it, it creates a great cooling system for your other items.
Keep it Clean:
Okay, so after 4 or more hours sitting outside drinking and gorging on tailgate grub, you are bound to be somewhat a filthy bastard. But at least give your guests (read: females if you are lucky enough to have some there) some options for remaining reasonably unsullied.
Those are pretty self explanatory, but if you are actually still reading and not just looking at the pictures, you can use a bungee cord to hang your paper towels for easy access. What, you think they are just find on the ground? Okay, maybe tips on cleanliness is lost on this group.
The second picture is your homemade hand washing station. Simply fill an empty water, laundry detergent, or other similar spouted container with water, and place soap nearby. Again, we know this is not most of you guys forte, but if you actually procure a female presence at this event, it will be appreciated.
Pack Up Properly:
So, when you were packing the car, did you just shove everything in the back? Yeah, we thought so. Even if you followed our toolbox and cooler packing, you probably just piled the rest of the plates, napkins, and other shit in. What you should have done is put it all in one of those big plastic storage container. Why? Because it makes cleanup that much easier.
After the tailgate is finished, throw all the stuff that’s not trash into, close it up, and no worries about getting ketchup, booze, or other leftovers all over the place.
So, drinking and eating with the radio playing and one football to toss around isn’t enough for you, huh? Look, this isn’t an article for those tailgate pros at the Grove, this is for the guys just trying to step up their amateur level game. But, just because some of you are spoiled, check out some of these options for different takes on the traditional cornhole, beer pong, flip cup extravaganza:
The Tailgater by Dish Network allows you to bring full satellite functionality to your tailgate. Sure you can watch games on your phone, or maybe rig up some wireless hotspot with Roku or AppleTV to make this happen, but for the most variety and options, check out this full featured system.
Consider the above a crash course into how you can work smarter, not harder in throwing an awesome tailgate. And fear not, we will be back closer to the season with more tips, including some great food tips and even some recipes. For now, feel free to discuss the merits of 18 year old young men practicing against one another in lovely spring weather with the guys on our forum.