Friday, June 17, 2005

Beer and Liquor, Never Sicker...

We celebrated my buddy Cree's 28th birthday last night. (Actually, he's my sister's husband's cousin, but that's such a fucking mouthful it's easier to introduce him as "my buddy.") Cree plays guitar and sings every Thursday night at T.R.'s Point on Greenville, so a bunch of us hooked up there to drink, eat cake, and cheer him on.

The drink of choice last night was Red Bull and vodka, a libation that has really gained popularity over the years since rumors started circulating that it could kill you. Back in 2001, there were all these retarded news stories like:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The energy drink Red Bull is under
investigation by the Swedish National Food Administration (SNFA) after reports
that a young man in perfect health died after drinking it mixed with
vodka. The young man's hideously mangled remains were discovered plastered
to the grill of a large truck. The exact cause of death is unknown, but an
autopsy revealed trace amouts of Red Bull and vodka in the man's system.
Anyway, I had way too much to drink last night. I didn't die, but I did wake up with a pretty nasty hangover. I've got a splitting headache and my mouth feels like I've been chewing fiberglass, but at least I'm wide awake. Thank you, Red Bull.

Last night was a rarity, because I really don't drink that much anymore. It's not that I get high on life or anything retarded like that. It's just that I've come to realize that there aren't many things more pathetic than a middle-aged drunk (although I realize that there are some who have managed to parlay it into a successful political career).

So as I sit here, bleary-eyed and nauseous, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the milestones in my rich and fascinating history of overindulgence.

Well, fun for me, anyway.

My First Drink
Dad had a ritual every night of mixing a drink (Dewar's and water) and taking it into the back room where he practiced his guitar. One night (I was about three, I think) I wandered back there to listen to him play and I noticed the drink sitting on top of the amplifier. I reached for it, but Dad told me no. He said it was a grownup drink and that I wouldn't like it. But I whined and pestered him until he finally let me have a sip.

I made a face when I drank it, and he laughed and said, "See? Told you." I don't know if I really liked it or if I was just developing masochistic tendencies at that early age, but as soon as he went back to playing, I grabbed the glass and managed a couple of large gulps before he got it away from me.

After that, things are a bit of a blur. But I woke up the next morning with a Cookie Monster tattoo on my ass and an ugly four-year-old girl in the bed next to me.

My First Buzz
I was a sophomore in high school. One night, after a football game, a bunch of us band geeks drove out to the lake for what was *supposed* to be a keg party. The keg never materialized, but one of the girls (I think her name was Heidi) had managed to procure a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.

There were about a dozen of us sitting in a circle around the fire, and we passed the bottle around. I was one of the last people to drink from the bottle, and it was still nearly 3/4 full when it got to me. Still, everybody else was staggering around and shouting in loud, slurred voices about how drunk they were. I took a couple of belts and, feeling a slight buzz, jumped up and joined in the wacky, drunken shenanigans.

I doubt even an anorexic waif who's lost three pints of blood could get that wasted on a sip of cheap-ass wine, so I guess it was an exercise in the power of peer pressure.

My First Blackout
When I was a freshman in college, I truly began to experience the joys of uninhibited binge drinking. My friends (Ix and Sean in particular) were the victims of numerous late night drunken phone calls that basically consisted of me telling them, "I just want you to know, I love you, man!"

But one Friday night, I went well beyond the veil of mere drunkeness. I was hanging out with a guy named Cary and some of his buddies, and we just kept drinking and drinking and drinking... At one point, I vaguely remember people running up to me with full glasses and saying, "Here, Irb! Drink this!" God only knows what I put away that night. Personally, I think I'm happier not knowing...

I have faint recollections of Cary driving me back to my dorm. I stumbled and fell a lot, and I remember a policeman at one time telling Cary, "Get him inside. If I see him again tonight, I'm taking him in."

I woke up in my bed, sicker than I'd ever felt in my entire life. There was vomit all over the bed and the floor, and I'd peed all over myself. I was lucky that was ALL I'd done.

So I showered and put on some clean clothes, and then set to the miserable task of cleaning up the mess. By the time I mopped everything up and did the laundry, I was feeling a lot better. In fact, I was surpringly hungry. It was around 11:30 in the morning, so I decided to go grab something to eat.

I grabbed my keys, but I couldn't find my glasses anywhere. I searched the entire room, but they didn't turn up. The last time I remembered wearing them was at Cary's, so I called him and asked, "Did I leave my glasses at your place last night?"

He paused for a second and said, "Um, no. But you left them here Friday night."

It was Sunday, and I had just experienced my first (and only, so far) lost weekend...

My First Legal Drink
Back in 1986, the legal drinking age in Texas was 19. However, six months after I came of age, it was raised to 21 and I had to spend another 18 months dealing with fake IDs and snarky bartenders.

I've always had this total baby face, and I still get carded occasionally when I buy beer. When it happens now, it totally makes my day. But back when I was 18, I think I looked like I was about 10 or 11 and I had a hell of a time pulling off the fake ID. I was always getting asked about my horoscope sign, and more than one bartender made me sign my (fake) name to compare signatures.

When I turned 19, I assumed all those worries would be over (at least for half a year). Some buddies took me to Bash Riprock's to celebrate. They were carding at the door, and the bouncer ran through the usual gamut of questions with me. He also held my license up to the light and tried to peel away the lamination. In the end, he finally said he wasn't fully convinced, but he was going to let me in.

To add insult to injury, when I ordered a bottle of Corona, the chick behind the bar asked me, "Would you like a nipple on that bottle, little boy?"

My First Legal Drink (Redux)
When I turned 21, my good pal Ix took me to Bowley and Wilson's, a comedy club where the entire act consists of dragging people up on stage and embarrassing the shit out of them. After about five or six Long Island Ice Teas, they pulled me out of the audience and forced me to reenact a scene from Deliverence. And I promise you, it wasn't the nice scene where the retarded kid plays the banjo.

Afterwards, Ix gave me about $20 in singles and took me to a "gentlemen's club." I'd never been to one before (you can take the boy out of the Baptist church, but... well, you know), so Ix just told me to pick the girl on stage I liked best and start tucking dollars into her g-string.

Well, there was a big crowd around one of the stages. I don't know from man-pleasuring dancing, but this girl was obviously quite popular. Another girl danced on the other stage, but there was nobody there to cheer for her and I started feeling sorry for her. (Remember, this was after five or six Long Island Ice Teas.)

She didn't seem particularly happy to be there, but she seemed grateful for any kind of audience. She smiled down at me as she danced, then knelt to let me tuck in some bills. Then, instead of getting back up to dance, she sat down on the edge of the stage and started talking to me.

By this point, I was already composing my letter to the Penthouse Forum. But then she patted me on the head and said, "You're cute. Are you here with your daddy?"

My First Drunken Brawl
Usually, I'm a pretty mellow drunk. But I went through about a two year phase where the booze made me brave. Not in a good way, but in the totally retarded way that caused me to shout "Fuck you!" at cops, or climb up on the roof and try to pee into the pool.

My senior year in college, I was at a Theta Chi party with a bunch of friends when I got into a fight with this enormous redneck fuck named Don.

This guy was huge, like Orca fat, and wearing a black ten-gallon Hoss cowboy hat. Apparently he was standing on the porch near the keg, and he got mad when somebody tried to close the screen. He kicked it open and stormed into the house, bellowing "I said leave it fucking open!" He was shoving past people, knocking them aside. My friend Jim was knocked into a wall and broke his nose.

So I was standing in line at the bathroom waiting to pee (they didn't have a pool or an easily accessible roof) when Jim came running down the hallway holding his nose. There was blood all over his face and shirt.

Another friend, Chuck, told me what had happened. He said Don had been told to leave and, after being threatened with a call to the police, had done so. But it wasn't enough, as far as I was concerned. And being filled with the righteous indignation and sense of invulnerability that comes from losing at Quarters all night long ("DRINK!"), I stormed outside to teach this fucker a lesson.

Chuck and a guy named Jon tried to stop me. And I'd like to say it was a melodramatic scene, with them whispering reverently, "No, Chris! Don't do it! It's not worth it, man!" But the truth is, they were rolling their eyes and saying, "Irb, quit being a retard. You know you can't fight for shit."

Don was standing on the sidewalk with a couple of his friends when we came staggering out onto the porch. He saw us and shouted, "What do you want, faggots?"

"Fuck you, Jabba!" I shouted, as Chuck and Jon tried to physically throw me back into the house. Don started towards me, but Chuck stepped between us. "Look, just give him a break, okay?" he said to Don. "He's really drunk."

Don stopped and glared at me, then shrugged. "Faggot," he muttered. Then he turned and started walking away. I grabbed a half-empty styrofoam cup of beer from the porch railing and hurled it at Don as hard as I could. Unfortunately, my inebriation coupled with my utter lack of athletic ability insured that the cup landed far short and wide of its target.

But Don heard the beer splash, and he whirled around. And I yelled in my best Johnny Cash voice, "Hey, pardner! Sing me a sad, sad song!"

This time Chuck and Jon both stepped up to stop Don, but he just shoved his way past them and beat the living shit out of me. I'd like to say I gave a good accounting of myself, but the truth is all I managed to do was get my blood on his ring when he punched me in the mouth. I don't think I even landed a blow.

I don't really remember how it all ended. I think Chuck ran to call the police, and Jon and Don's friends finally managed to pull him off of me. One of my eyes was swollen shut, my lip was split, and one of my front teeth was chipped. I still have the scar on my chin where Don's ring caught me.

Now that I think about it, that might have been the end of my mean drunk stage...


Ah, booze. It gives us so much and it asks for so little in return...


SJ said...

That was beautiful. I would dole these stories out though, thus giving me many, many posts to tell on myself. I am not a writer such as you, that can turn anything into great storytelling. "Fuck you, Jabba!" (Please use this line again in your fiction writing. Slayed me.)

Sylvana said...

Red Bull and vodka is a popular drink over in Scotland too. They call it "Liquid Viagra". They also drink Red Bull with beer. I would say "yuck" but I used to drink Mt. Dew with beer (still do sometimes). I called it "Skunk Piss" but it really does taste good. I got several of my friends hooked on it. You don't pour them in the same glass- you used the Dew as a chaser. It's a beautiful thing.

kimbabalu said...

Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning - and with a Usual Suspects movie line to boot ("like Orca fat" am I right?).

Irb said...

SJ: I had no idea this particular post was going to ramble on for as long as it did. I actually had about three more stories, but I figured I'd save them for another time.

But any wild, drunken debaucheries you want to share (or link to on your blog ;-) are totally welcome!

Sylvana: Okay, the beer and Mountain Dew sounds totally brilliant. I think I'll invest in a 40-ouncer and a 2-liter today...

Kimbabalu: Yes, I admit that line was shamelessly lifted from The Usual Suspects. But "Fuck you, Jabba!" was all me, baby! (Unless it appeared in one of the director's cuts of Star Wars. Sometimes I lose track.)

ix said...

i love you mannnnnnn!

thanks for leaving out our drunken evenings where i was drinking to forget someone..and you were drinking to ease the pain of my whining. :P

mr. schprock said...

Oh boy, these stories sure bring back some memories. Or they would have been memories if I hadn't blacked out all the time. All I really remember from those halcyon daze was constantly drinking until I felt nauseous, at which point I would calmly find a secluded spot, expertly put my finger down my throat and expedite matters. Sheesh! What fun.

Great post. Well-written and very funny.

Irb said...

Ix: Oh, was that you? How much damn beer did we drink on that bike path, anyway? ;-)

Mr. Schprock: Well, it was darn decent of you to find a secluded spot. I used to vomit on my date's shoes. Really sucked when she wore sandals...