Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Official Meat Shoulder Handbook

The Official Meat Shoulder Handbook
A game of wit, skill, intrigue, and revenge!

Section-1: History  

A 'Beef' History in Time: After graduation at a small, all men's, private school in Virginia (a school marinating in tradition), a graduation party was held in late May 1999. At the party, which mainly consisted of fraternity brothers and friends, an idiot savant walked casually to a carving station and placed 2 large slices of roast beef on each of his shoulders. He walked into the main party area and acted as if nothing was awry. Ironically, he opened a portal into another dimension. MEAT SHOULDER WAS BORN! What started as a practical joke soon took on a life of its own. As the group got older, but no more mature, engagements ensued, weddings were initiated, and children were born. Through the natural passing of time, opportunities were everywhere for a Meat Shoulder game. During theses early golden years of Meat Shoulder, games were as abundant and as easy to find as a pound of roast beef from your favorite local butcher. And, these events were always complete with well-dressed, inebriated invitees who usually had grilled or skewered meats at their ready disposal. Thus, the true essence of Meat Shoulder came to be.

Section-2: The Basics

What is Meat Shoulder? 
Players must attempt to deftly place a piece of meat on an unwitting victim's shoulder. The player’s placement must go undetected, and the meat must remain there for at least 30 seconds. The victim is then noted as being “Meat Shouldered.” This might sound all too simple, but you have no idea! Only the most adept players will be crowned victorious, and the rest will be left in shame and humiliation.

The Basic Rules:
Through countless games, certain rules have emerged. You can call them the do's and do not’s of a proper meat shoulder game. If you feel these rules are too intense, or you if you think that this is just a simple— or even— juvenile game, then you have no business in the meat shoulder arena: we don't want or need you! Meat Shoulder is an intense game, and only played by those who have a 200% commitment to the rules, honor, and ultimate glory that can follow a truly legendary game. Below are the basic necessities needed to play.

The game can ONLY be played at formal events. These include graduation parties, birthdays, Baptisms & Christenings, Christmas parties, charity events, wine and cheese socials, funerals, wakes, New Year's Eve parties, and the ultimate Meat Shoulder setting—THE FORMAL WEDDING.

Who plays?
Anyone who thinks they have the SKILLS TO PAY THE BUTCHER’S BILLS. Players do not have to announce that they are playing. In fact, the game works better if there are some unknown players. Unknown players help the game, as they help build up “Meat Shoulder Paranoia” (Explained in Section-4: Definitions). Anyone other than women and the father of the bride at a wedding can be Meat Shouldered. Plus, the victims don't have to be aware of the game at all. They can be any unsuspecting males: brothers, uncles, fathers, or event staff, and these victims are often the most fun to Meat Shoulder, as “Shouldering” them will always garner a good laugh from the players. And often times, the unsuspecting victim will embrace the game and join in.

All players must don the appropriate attire for a Meat Shoulder extravaganza. Players should be dressed in a suit and tie, or dark slacks and sport Jacket, or a formal tuxedo. If you show up wearing a button down and khakis, you can check your MEAT CLIP at the door— see you later meat novice! Note: Any event staff (waiters, bar tenders, chefs, and priests) can also be targeted; however, they do not have to have on the required playing attire.

The preferred order of meat selection is Roast Beef from the carving station (known as Old Glory), Pork Medallions, Chicken Fillets, Skewered Meat Pieces, or Lamb in any form. Fish is rarely used, as it tends to crumble in a player’s pocket (his meat clip), and it rarely holds when placed upon the shoulder. Lastly, breaded meats are NEVER used. 

Intoxication Level:
The intoxication level of all players MUST range from moderately intoxicated to completely blacked-out: nondrinkers are PROHIBITED from play. Slightly buzzed players must step up their level of alcohol consumption to enter the game.

Section-3: Roles, Players & Advanced Play

Master of Meatemonies (The Chosen One):
The Master of Meatemonies is the general keeper and enforcer of the rules. Only the Master of Meatemonies can elevate or reduce a players' status. The Master of Meatemonies will be made known to every player before the game. The M.O.M. can volunteer or be chosen by his peers. Usually the player with the most experience, rule knowledge, and enthusiasm will be selected for the role. This is a great honor, for in the next game of Meat Shoulder, the previous M.O.M. automatically starts the game at the Sir Loin level. The Master or Meatemonies begins the game by dropping the chosen and approved pieces of meat on the ground for all the players to see. This is known as the “SAYING OF THE MEAT GRACE.” Note: The Master of 
Meatemonies can be meat shouldered with impunity. However, if the Master of Meatemonies is double meat shouldered, he must take a shot of any liquor chosen by the Butcher's Boy. This is a horrible shame, but the show goes on, and the Master of Meatemonies can still enforce any of the rules with ultimate authority. The M.O.M. can relinquish his duty at anytime to a player at the Sir Loin level, but both parties must agree on this, and the word must be passed on to all the players.

Sir Loin (A great honor and a rite of passage):
Any player can achieve the Sir Loin rank through a confirmation and a MEAT KNIGHTING by the Master of Meatemonies. This rite of passage is performed by the M.O.M. after the player has 6 true Meat Shoulderings in the current game. There must be a strict adherence to the MEAT SHOULDER CODE OF HONOR for a Meat Knighting, as the Master of Meatemonies may not have witnessed all the Shoulderings. Why is it important to reach the Sir Loin Level, you might ask? Well, besides gaining the honor and recognition that comes with the title, only at the Sir Loin level, can the player utilize women as spies or sentries. 

The Butcher’s Boy (An embarrassment and a servant):
Whoever is the first player to be DOUBLE MEAT SHOULDERED becomes the Butcher's Boy. The Master of Meatemonies may have to witness and rule on this. The Butcher's Boy is effectively out of the game until he can Double Meat Shoulder another player. The M.O.M. will rule when the player can be removed from his Butcher Boy shackles and successfully pass the shame on to another player. No true honor can be gained when in the role of the Butcher's Boy. 

The Vegan (The enemy):
Any non-player who calls into question the maturity level of the game, lays a snide remark, or incites violence against any player attempting to Meat Shoulder him is known as “The Vegan.” THE VEGAN IS PUBLIC ENEMY #1. It is the goal and duty of any respectable player to constantly Meat Shoulder this idiot until they can take no more. This person (if you can call them that) makes the Master of Meatemonies extremely agitated, and the M.O.M. will 
usually send his Sir Loins out on missions to harass this naysayer. The point of the harassment is obviously to make the Vegan even angrier and to ultimately make him flee the scene or leave the party. Note: If any player tells the Vegan that the M.O.M. "made me do it," that player is banished from any Meat Shoulder game for the rest of his life, only to be allowed back in the circle of trust with a sizeable bribe to the MEAT SHOULDER GOVERNING COUNCIL. This is no joke! 

Women (Off limits):
Women are generally noncombatants. Women are not allowed to be meat shouldered, no matter how much you might dislike a certain individual. It has been proven that Meat Shouldering women will only lead to unwanted complaining and a general disdain of the game by the family hosting the event. Due to the host's anger, the meat supply (normally the carving station) is usually removed earlier than it typically would be. Thus, be smart, protect your meat supply, and don't Meat Shoulder women. If they know they are left alone, women remain happy and are general supporters of the game. Women can also be used as sentries or spies. This is done at a Sir Loin's discretion for his protection or for use in detecting hidden players. Any player caught Meat Shouldering a woman will be reported to the Master of Meatemonies by a rule abiding witness. If not at the Sir Loin level, the Master of Meatemonies will record the player’s name, and that player
will never be Meat Knighted during that game. If the player is already at the Sir Loin level, he will be stripped of his rank, and he may not obtain it again. Women may Meat Shoulder anyone at anytime, but they will never obtain any roles or ranks, nor can they benefit or suffer from any of the rules. 

Father of the Bride (The Ruler of the Meat Kingdom)
At formal weddings, the father of the bride is the host, and he has control of the Meat Kingdom; therefore, he is also off limits. This rule is in place for two reasons. First, there has to be a level of respect within the MEAT SHOULDER COMMUNTIY, but more importantly, he can put a stop to the game at a moments notice. However, if the father of the bride observes the game, and he wants to become an active player, he is welcome to play. This can occur only after the Master of Meatemonies has briefed him on the general rules and informed the other players that the father of the bride is now fair game. As for the father of the groom, he should be a primary target for any player, as he holds no power at a wedding. It should also be noted that Meat Shouldering the father of the groom is one of the highest honors a participant can achieve, and it calls for an immediate Meat Knighting by the Master of Meatemonies, and it promotes that player to the level of Sir Loin. If you achieve this honor, well done and well played. 

Section-4: Definitions

Dry-Aged (A Veteran)
A Dry-Aged player as been around the slaughterhouse a few times— you could say. They have usually played at least 2 full length games. Watch out: they usually remain hidden for most of the game, and they can hit 2 or 3 people in one pass. Dry-Aged players rarely get Double Meat Shouldered, but if they do, their Dry-Aged, veteran status is quietly questioned among their peers. 

Sushi (A raw recruit)
A Sushi is a participant who has never played Meat Shoulder, but he is willing and ‘meats’ the criteria. These are usually good targets for reaching the rank of Sir Loin. Sushi’s generally have a lack of meat shoulder paranoia. They are also good to have around you if you are looking to smoke out the Dry-Aged players, as Sushi’s are easy prey for Dry-Aged veterans.

Double Meat Shoulder, Meat Shoulder Lapels, Roast Beef Beagle Ears… (A branding of shame)
These are all the same thing. This can lead someone into the undignified role of The Butcher's Boy, but it also carries the shame and disgrace of showing that your Meat Shoulder skill is so bad, that you actually allowed yourself to be Double-Shouldered. Here’s a piece of advice, if being embarrassed is the worst thing that could happen to you, consider getting Double Meat Shouldered. It’s basically the same thing as having to eat you parents alive while standing naked in Times Square with a tire iron in your butt.

Meat Shoulder Paranoia (A Disease)
Just like the thousand yard stare of a Vietnam Veteran, only Meat shoulder Dry-Aged Vets seem to get this blessing and curse. The player will swing his head from side to side constantly making sure he has not been double meat shouldered. The paranoia will help guard the player. However, the player will succumb to the affects of the disease, and he will eventually fall deeper and deeper into the endless abyss of Double Meat Shoulder Paranoia to the point where he can only focus on this (hopefully) meatless shoulders. The side effects are severe: family members, wives, girlfriends, and children will all become invisible and inconsequential as the player totally falls into the trance that only Meat Shoulder Paranoia can produce. Just for reference, do not expect to hang out, talk, or have fun with anyone who has M.S.P. Only those who have had it know of its severity.

A Full Clip (Armed and dangerous)
Having a full supply of meat stacked, hidden, and ready to roll in your front coat or pants pocket. 

Standing in the Smokehouse (On Guard!)
This is a tactic where the player sits with his back against a wall or stands in a corner trying to guard himself from getting Meat Shouldered. While he may remain safe, he loses all bragging rights, as he is not actively playing the game. This is acceptable, but sad, because this is generally the most intense and unrecoverable form of Meat Shoulder Paranoia. Write this player off until he recovers (usually by an intense increase in alcohol consumption).

Section-5: Simple Meat Shoulder

This is a simplified version of the game, which is in essence equivalent to buying meat from your local grocery store, and not from a true butcher. This version of Meat Shoulder can be played by just following the simple guidelines in section-2. It is not frowned upon to play a game or two in this simple format just to get a feel for the game; however, games that don't follow the "Advanced Play" rules outlined in Section-3 will not be recognized or sanctioned by the Meat Shoulder Governing Council. So, it is advised to read and learn the true Meat Shoulder bylaws, and join the ranks of the true Meat Shoulder elite. For the honor that comes from victory in a real Meat Shoulder game is unmatched by any other sanctioned sport or competition. 
By C. M. Johnston June, 2004