When was the last time you got so drunk you vomited? For me, about three weeks ago. Relax, I'm not even 40 yet, I still have decades of irresponsibility to burn through before I settle in and start making wise decisions.
That said, I'm not that great of a drinker, which is why, until a few weeks ago, I spent two years mostly avoiding it. Don't worry, I've stopped again, for more reasons than I can even count. It's been a weird few weeks. Sorry, just about everyone I know.
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Here, have a cat.
To that end, I decided to put together a handy document that I can reference whenever the urge to down an entire fifth of vodka in eight hours or less might arise again. It's a brief retelling of some of the unpleasant situations I've found myself in over the years thanks to drinking. To make it even more permanent, I talked about the exact same thing on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
#5. The Python Incident
So here's a funny story. It was the night before my dad's funeral, I was 17 years old, and dammit, it seemed like the right time to start drinking (well, drinking again; more on that later). So that's what I decided to do. This would, literally, mark the second time I'd ever consumed alcohol in my entire life. I was living with a cousin at the time. We opted for vodka and orange juice. Like I said, power drinking was mostly a foreign concept to me at this point.
Power drink we did, though. Oh! I also smoked weed for the first time that night. It was a bit much, I admit. I realized that myself sometime around 2 am when, after having spilled an orange grove's worth of screwdrivers back into the toilet where they should have been all along, I fell asleep, right there on the floor, in front of the toilet.
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Like this, except on the floor. Otherwise completely the same.
Honestly, the story is dark enough already, right? You caught the funeral part, I'm assuming. Well, don't worry, it's not all sad. There's also a healthy amount of terror, too!
See, the cousin I was living with had a snake. A pet snake. A python. It was fucking gigantic and, for reasons I'll never understand, he just let that motherfucker roam around the house freely. I remember being in the bathroom once, getting things done, if you know what I mean, when my cousin pounds on the door and says, "Dude, the snake is in there, be careful."
Wait, what? I didn't see a snake. The bathroom wasn't that big -- if there was a snake somewhere on the floor ... and that's when I thought to look up. What did I see? Approximately eight feet of deadly reptile, precariously balancing on the shower rod and shower head, almost certainly debating whether or not choking me out right there on the shitter was a feasible lunch strategy.
Until all that remains is my tail.
So, let's go back to me drinking vodka until I passed out in front of my cousin's toilet. When I woke up, I immediately realized I had a problem. The watch on my left hand, which was practically in my face when I opened my eyes, revealed the time to be 10:43 am. My father's funeral was at 11 am. This gave me approximately 17 minutes to gussy up and get to the saddest day of my life. Exactly the kind of thing you want to be in a rush to get to.
It wasn't until I turned my head to the right, though, that I realized I had a way bigger problem. Sitting approximately three feet from my face, likely having the same thoughts as when we met before, except this time about a booze-filled brunch, was that fucking python.
"Where else would I be, the jungle?"
I'm afraid the rest of the story is kind of anticlimactic. There isn't a whole lot else you can do in that situation except stand up and hope you're able to out-leap a snake's desire to kill you. So, I did that and, as you can tell, I didn't die.
In case you're wondering, I made it to the funeral with seconds to spare!
#4. A Night at the Pepsi Truck
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So, remember how I mentioned that the previous story was my second experience with alcohol? Let's talk about the first.
There's something to be said for being the cool parent, and that something is: don't be. Kids don't need that shit.
I had a firsthand run-in with a "cool mom" at the age of 14. Let's call her Jenny, because she wouldn't want me to use her real name (Penny), but Jenny rhymes with it fairly well. It's more for my benefit than anything.
So! One day, Penny gathers up me and two friends, one of them being her son. Despite none of us having ever inquired about such a thing, she told us that, if we were going drink, she'd rather we do it at her place instead of going out and getting in trouble. With that, she produced six bottles of malt liquor, two for each of us.
OK, for starters, nowhere is "safe" if there are six bottles of malt liquor around.
You aren't even allowed to take a picture of six bottles at the same time.
Two ... lady, you just invited the trouble to your house.
Here's the thing: I really like the way alcohol makes me feel, so much so that, once I start drinking, I do not want to stop. It's been that way for as long as I've enjoyed alcohol, including on this, my first night of drinking, ever.
My friends, however, did not display the same determination. That's great! More booze for me. So, my very first time drinking, I ended up downing approximately three and a half 40-ounce bottles of Olde English 800. Don't let the "e" at the end of the first word fool you -- this is not a fancy drink. This is a hobo drink.
Party at rock bottom tonight!
I'm still not convinced Penny wasn't just outright trying to kill us. Even if she wasn't, she would want to eventually.
Here's what kind of trouble Penny could have avoided if she didn't willingly let a 14-year-old try his hand at getting alcohol poisoning in her home:
- An 11-inch hole in the wall in the upstairs hallway, which happened through no other magic than me drunkenly falling over, shoulder first, into the wall.
- Having to explain to an employee of the Pepsi bottling plant next door why someone just very clearly ran out of her home, grabbed a case of Pepsi off an open truck, and ran back inside.
- Vomit. So much vomit.
So much vomit, in fact, that I ended up being stripped down and tossed in a bathtub to sober up. Someone gave me a dry turkey sandwich on Wonder Bread. Possibly one of my two or three least favorite meals in existence. I just dropped it in the water.
It didn't even have lettuce on it.
It was at that point that the lecturing started, mostly from Penny herself. She even threatened to call my mom.
Right, call my mom and tell her you got her 14-year-old son drunk and now have him naked in a bathtub. Just call the police directly if you want to go to jail so much.
I don't remember much after that. I think I fell asleep in the bathtub. Don't get your kids drunk, America.
#3. The Second Bruce Springsteen
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Have I ever mentioned that, in my honest opinion, I sometimes make questionable choices? It's true. Here's a good example -- the first time I ever took Ambien was while driving alone from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. That's a sleep medication, ladies and gentlemen, and it's a pretty damn powerful one. The part about taking it while driving is bad enough, but you really can't fathom how terrible of a decision it really was if you aren't familiar with the landscape in that particular stretch of the country. Basically, it's just this ...
So pretty. For the first three minutes.
... for fucking miles. There aren't even any trees. It's just vast, flat nothing, and somehow these were the conditions under which I decided I should try Ambien for the first time. Shockingly, I didn't die. I barely even slept! When I arrived at the hotel, I took this as a clear sign that I should take another Ambien, so I did.
I was in town to meet up with a friend to go see a Bruce Springsteen concert. When my friend arrived, I told him about my adventures with Ambien. He said he wanted one. I decided I did also. If you're keeping score at home, that's three Ambien in my system. Really, can you think of better conditions under which to experience live music?
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Still better than an outdoor music festival.
Sure you can! What if you took three Ambien and then drank a bunch of whiskey? That was my plan once we arrived at the venue (we walked). Straight whiskey, at that. See, I'd been taking a drug called Topamax to help curb my drinking. It kind of helped in that it made anything carbonated taste like dirt water, which removes almost all of my favorite mixers from the equation, but I just overcame it by drinking hard alcohol straight. I don't think that's what the directions say you're supposed to do.
Between arriving at the venue and finally taking our seats, I'd guess I drank maybe four to six shots of Windsor Canadian, one of the foulest whiskeys known to man. I'd been really excited to see this show. I'm a huge Springsteen fan, and he was touring around an album called Magic, which is one my favorites.
I was so looking forward to hearing those songs played live, and as soon as the band took the stage, I so knew that wasn't going to happen.
At first, I thought everyone was just walking on in pairs, but no, it wasn't that at all. There were two bands. Not two different bands, just the same band, twice. E Street Band all over the fucking place. I was already in the throes of double vision, and they hadn't played a single note yet. I assumed things were only going to get worse from there, and I was right.
I remember on at least two separate occasions being elbowed by the person in the seat next to me so he could tell me I was snoring. I'd been looking forward to that show for months, and I didn't see a single fucking bit of it. On the bright side, my friend missed most of it also, for the same reason. As I've said time and again, I certainly don't want people enjoying shit that I don't get to enjoy.
Oh, hey, speaking of things no one should ever enjoy ...