People really look at me weird when I explain to them that I never, ever drank alcohol until I turned 21, except for first communion and maybe one time I drank some punch that had like a capful of gin in a two gallon bowl at my cousin’s for new year’s, especially if you’ve ever seen me drink like 26 drinks in a row and then try to start fights with total strangers while throwing a restaurant’s tables out of a window and eventually getting ejected by the cops. But it’s true. Sometimes I think I didn’t drink because I came from a long line of alcoholics, and I assumed that at my first drink, I’d go completely apeshit and wake up six months later in a ditch with my car keys up my ass and a $47,000 bill on my American Express card. (That did happen once, but it had nothing to do with alcohol. Okay, maybe partially.) Anyway, I did get all of the Alcoholics Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics bullshit about how alcoholism is a disease, and you can be a “dry drunk”, and how it can be some sort of genetic latent thing, and you could take one drink and then it would suddenly compensate for all of this fucked up brain chemistry and you’d end up sucking down two cases of Red White and Blue beer a day until your liver looked like a steak that’s been on a hibachi for about seven days straight. Today, I personally believe little that twelve-step programs preach, but that’s the topic of another sermon. The point is that I only partially invested in these scare tactics as a basis for my abstinence from alcohol.
And as a side note, I should probably also mention the point that few will also believe that I’ve never done any sort of illegal drug. Part of this is because of the Just Say No scare tactics mixed with the aforementioned genetic addictive personality bullshit, but the main reason I never did any drugs in high school was because they were impossible for me to find. I know some reefer floated around Concord High School, and probably a few athletes and cheerleaders were able to score some blow, given that this was back in the Eighties. But the truth of the matter was that I was a pencil-necked geek that built model airplanes and had a GI Joe collection well past the age when I had a driver’s license, and even with a Camaro and a part-time job, I really didn’t float in any social circles where drugs were freely passed around. If I really wanted drugs, I could have talked to the headbangers and shop class graduates, but most of these guys were getting high on black beauties and minithins and model glue, and the best they could do was a miniscule amount of ragweed or a few sips of Boone’s wine on the weekend. In fact, I don’t even think I SAW any drugs of any kind, outside of health class textbooks, until my friend Jia once produced a joint about the size of a paper-wrapped toothpick, and I don’t even think I saw any weed again until college. And by that point, being drug-free for so long made it much harder to suddenly decide that I wanted to start, so I didn’t.
Alcohol was everywhere, though. My stepdad was a hardcore alcoholic, and went through a case of Haam’s every day after work, and this was after he went to the Eagles lodge to have a dozen or so drinks. I always thought it would have been easy to nick a few cans from him, especially since he had a fridge from a previous marriage in the basement just outside my bedroom door. But he was a real asshole about things and the kind of guy who couldn’t spell his name while that drunk, but he’d probably still notice the beer gone. And I didn’t like beer back then, or at least I thought I didn’t. His parents (step-grandparents? Is that a word?) always offered me a drink ever since I was probably 14, because they were also continually plastered on Manhattans and Tom Collinses. I suppose it would have been rather European or something to agree and have a drink or two, but given that my mom was a recovered alcoholic by then (and married to an alcoholic – how ironic in an Alanis sort of way) I probably would have gotten my ass kicked for pulling shit like that.
I remember a few times in high school that people offered me alcohol, and all of them in retrospect were probably just older men trying to fuck me in the ass or something. One time me and Tom Sample stopped to help some dude with a broken car on Cleveland Road (actually almost exactly where my neighbor Peter Elias got killed a few years later) and he couldn’t get the car running, so we drove him to this Marathon station. He offered us some beers, and maybe that was just a friendly gesture, but it also sounds like how Ted Bundy started every one of his special relationships with a hitchhiker. I also remember this dude that I used to work with who in retrospect reminded me a lot of Will Ferrel, except about 1 in 10,000 things Will Ferrell does are funny, and this guy’s ratio was much lower. He was a big party animal and went to Ball State and had a shit apartment over at Old Farm, and a few times I ended up at his place like to drop him off after work or some shit, and he was always offering me beer, and in retrospect I thought maybe he was going to ask me to watch The Exorcist with him and sleep in his bed ala Michael Jackson. What was even more fucked up was that this guy was also a second or third grade teacher.
And then I got to college, and spent a year trying to not drink because I thought I would flip out and end up looking like that Nick Nolte mugshot. Then I moved back home for a year and had no problem not drinking because IUSB sucked ass and I spent all of my time in a computer lab or trying to find sluts with Ray, which we never found. Then I turned 21, and it was all legal, and I decided as long as it was legal, I might as well chug about two liters of vodka and start sending emails to total strangers telling them I’m Jesus Christ and I want a handjob. And it all went downhill from there. But I never said I was an alcoholic, and I never got arrested, and I never lost a fight. So there.
Just for fun, here are my top six (was going to be ten, got bored of this) drunken exploits, not in any order:
- Getting drunk at 414 S. Mitchell from a pint bottle of rum. Some girl invited me to Teter to watch a movie with her, mostly because she thought I would keep drinking and then do Bad Things to myself. So I walked over there in the rain, and thought I found this new shortcut across campus. I ended up walking into the construction site for the new Education building, and the whole place was covered in mud, and I was walking around the pit of the foundation and got so fucking lost, it took me an hour and a half to walk about ten blocks.
- Last year on my birthday, we were ordering shots while waiting for seats at Smith and Wollensky steakhouse in Vegas. At the table, I started ordering Singapore Slings with mezcal on the side, and Mai Tais, and the waiter kept bringing over stinger shots by the trayful. After about two dozen drinks, I puked all over the restaurant, and then got dragged back to the hotel, where I proceeded to black out. I woke up at 3 AM on the floor, unable to get up, with the hotel room completely trashed, the toilet broken, my knee completely knocked in, and puke completely filling the toilet and sink, plus shotgunned all over every wall and mirror. Four hours later, I had to get on a plane and spend about ten hours flying home.
- Bill Perry’s wedding had an open bar, and all of us got tired of filling up our tiny beer glasses at the keg, so we started filling large iced tea decanters with beer and running through the Student Union in tuxedos with giant glass pitchers of brew. I stood outside the reception saying hello to everyone walking by and inviting them in. The cops later broke up the reception.
- Went to a really rough bar in Seattle with a couple of Spry friends, and drank about eight double shots of rum in about 20 minutes. I was trying to tell an involved story about a blind date and couldn’t talk, so I started drawing hieroglyphics. Woke up blacked out in my apartment with my door open, keys in the lock, heater on full blast, a bunch of show fliers in my jacket, which I was still wearing, and immediately started puking for about a day straight.
- At a Juno going-away party, about 13 of us ran up a $2700 bar tab and eventually got ran out because one of the managers ran back in the kitchen and started cooking food and yelling at the cooks in spanish, and I was doing the Aliens-knife-and-fingers thing over and over.
- One time when I lived at Colonial Crest, I managed to puke into my keyboard, and then couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t log into my account anymore. The next morning, I saw that half of my keys were stuck together.
I don’t really drink anymore.