Contraband Days Retold — My One and Only Titubic Bathtub Race
In 1984 I was working for Bayou 104. One of our Contraband Days events was the Titubic Bathtub Race. It was a race across the lake in floating bathtubs. Most of these racing tubs were designed for speed. That was not the case with the station's tub as I would soon find out.
The first thing you have to do to make a tub sea worthy (or lake worthy in this case) is to add floatation devices. Most of the racing crews did this by adding something like you would see on a pontoon boat. They would attach these floatation devices to the sides of the tubs and also add oar locks. The two person teams could then race across the lake with great precision and speed. Our tub was a completely different story.
When I was asked to man the tub for the race ... I said yes because it sounded like fun. Then I saw the tub. I was still up for the challenge. Then we put the tub in the water at the I-10 boat launch and started paddling toward the civic center seawall. The operative word here is paddle. Our tub was simply set on top of a huge block of flotation material resembling Styrofoam. There were no oar locks. We each had a paddle that would barely reach the water. The huge floatation block under our tub was square and took a lot of effort to move in the water. We quickly faded into last place. That's when my partner made the mistake of falling for pirate trickery.
There was no way we were going to win this race for the station. It was me and our night personality. When it was clear we were going to be last and way behind everyone; pirates in boats started offering us libations. I thought it was a bad idea (I know it's hard to believe.) It seemed like we would never make it to the seawall and I did not see how drinking would help. My partner took the other road and began accepting the pirates poison. This would end up embarrassing him and the station.
After what seemed like a week ... we finally reached the civic center seawall flying the stations colors. There was a crowd waiting and cheering us on as we tied up our tub and stepped onto the seawall. That's when it happened. My partner stood there waving for a minute...then proceeded to throw up all the pirate poison in front of everybody!
I turned to look at the lady pirate standing beside me with a goblet full of goo and ask "you got anymore of that?"