Friday, July 23, 2010

Lesson Learned

I feel like telling a story tonight and since it’s the weekend, why not a party story?  Let me tell you about the first time I got stone-cold shitfaced drunk.

I was a senior in high school and only beginning to drink a little.  My friends were much more “experienced” at drinking; at that point I had only been out with them a couple times and we stuck to the beer that my buddy Rik’s older friends could get us.

On this occasion, my friend Brill was having the party.  His parents were out of town (natch) but he had a girl cousin from Canada that was visiting.  I thought Canada Cousin was very hot and I loved her accent.  I made it my mission to try to get cozy with her.

Everything started well as the group of us went out for dinner at Pizza Hut.  It was all very civil.  We went back to Brill’s house and began the drinking.  I don’t know where everything came from but there was a full assortment of alcohol from which to choose.

I started out with two Shoenlings Little Kings, which are these heinous little beers that came in 7-oz bottles. 

We used to get those because we heard they were strong.  So I was working on my Little Kings and talking charmingly to Canada Cousin.  We seemed to be hitting it off.

After the Little Kings, someone broke out the wine… a big bottle of red Lambrusco. 

I had two glasses of that… my glass was about 16-oz and both times it was about 3/4 full.  I began to grow more animated and entertaining.  Canada Cousin would no doubt be all over me any minute!

After the wine, I had two helpings of Black Velvet… same glass, about half-full.  (Cue ominous sound effects and screams from off in the distanceAnd a lightning strike flashing in the window.)

I don’t remember too much after that.  All that alcohol began assaulting my system and I was completely unprepared for it.  I’d had a nice beer buzz or two in my experiences prior to that night and they were nothing like this.  It was like, I could think… I just couldn’t speak or move properly.

The rest of the night was just a series of moments of hazy lucidity.  At one point, I went upstairs to throw up.  The way I remembered it, I got my face right down in the bowl and quietly hurled up all the sick.

According to the EPA hazardous spill cleanup documents filed with the government, the bathroom looked like someone stuck a nauseous monkey on a rotisserie and cranked it up to 78-speed.  (Note to those of the CD generation <coughCassiecough>:  That means spinning really, really fast, like old vinyl records.)  Brill said they were finding bits of mushroom stuck to the walls, the tub, everywhere.  He and Canada Cousin did the cleanup.  Who says I don’t know how to impress a girl?

I vaguely remember being out in the back yard, leaning up against the clothesline pole, with someone trying to get me to drink some black coffee.  (I hate black coffee but I was too drunk to ask for cream and sugar.)

Here, again, is where my recollection differs from reality:

My point of view:  Rik packed me into his car and drove me the two houses down from Brill’s, to my house.

Rik’s point of view:  He packed me into his car and drove around the block a couple times, stopped by our buddy John’s house, had a few beers out in the yard with John, and eventually, drove me back home.

Remember, I lived in this old farmhouse.  My bedroom was at the top of a very steep staircase… and there were 17 stairs.  That meant 17 opportunities for disaster.  My parent’s room was directly across the hall from mine.  They were in bed.

Knowing how unsteady I was and how steep and long our staircase was, Rik followed me up the stairs to make sure I got to my bedroom without rolling ass-over-elbows right back down.  Once deposited in my room, Rik got the hell out of Dodge.

My dad, upon hearing two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs, comes out to investigate and finds his drunken son sitting on the edge of his bed, trying to sit up straight.

Dad:  You OK?

Son:  (thinking…)  Noooooo.

Dad:  You been drinking?

Son:  (still thinking…)  Yeaaaaaaaaah.

Dad gave me a disgusted look and went back to bed, leaving me to lay back on my bed and try to go to sleep, all the while clutching the covers lest it throw me off while it was spinning out of control.

The next morning was tough.  I was incredibly hung over but had to get up and go to work at the grocery store.

I made my way unsteadily down the stairs.  Mom was fixing breakfast; Dad was at the table.  There may have been a bottle of Jack Daniels on the table, for my benefit… or that may have been another time under similar circumstance.  Not too clear on that now.

The conversation went like this:

Dad: What the hell were you drinking last night?

Me:  Um, two beers… two big glasses of wine…

Dad: What kind of wine?

Me:  Lambrusco... red. 

Mom: Ooh, there’s nothing like a “wine-drunk.”

Me:  And two glasses of straight Black Velvet.

Mom:  Oh, puppy…

Dad:  Jesus!  What the hell’s the matter with you?  You don’t mix beer, wine and whiskey in one night!  

Me: You never told me that before.

Dad: I never thought you’d be dumb enough that I’d have to.

I was kind of surprised that I didn’t get into any major trouble.  But their rationale was that I’d be suffering enough that day and didn’t really need any more grief.  I’d learn my lesson. 

That was true enough.  Now I had to go off to the grocery store and work 9-5 bagging groceries and taking them out to the customer’s cars.

Once there, I made a huge mistake though… I told the Evil Ann, the Head Cashier, about what I’d done the night before.  Did I get any sympathy?  Hell no.  She spent the rest of the morning smashing grocery carts together behind me, then cackling like a mad woman when I’d whip my head around, then grab at it in pain.

The best part of working on Saturday mornings was the bakery was going full steam.  Every time you’d come back into the store, you could smell the bread baking.  I paid a visit to the bakery at lunchtime and the ladies there, who were much nicer than the cashier, fixed me up with a loaf of French bread, straight from the oven.  I propped it over my shoulder like a rifle, grabbed a bottle of Squeeze-Parkay and marched back to the break room.

Man, that bread sopped up all that badness and left me feeling almost human again.  I ate the entire goddamned loaf.

Man, lesson learned!  I very rarely mixed again, and only if I’d only had very little of one of the offenders.  And I also learned about the curative powers of fresh-baked bread.

But I wonder why I never heard from Canada Cousin again?

31 comments:

  1. Me and whiskey? No no no. Reality goes out the window and I am worthless. I must, however, say that I do remember the vinyl. Only we called them...records and albums.

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  2. I'm good with whiskey or bourbon, as long as I'm not mixing... especially with wine. I come from a long line of Jack Daniels drinkers.

    Of course I know them as records too... I'm just trying to be mindful of my more youthful readers, who were born about the same time CDs were...

    I covered this before you began visiting (see March of this year) but I used to manage record stores, back in my first career. Oh, the stories...

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  3. My folks busted me in your house with a big ol' bottle of Lambrusco! I think I was all of 15 maybe? Needless to say I was not in sober condition and had to ride home (short trip thankfully) sitting between them :( I never knew about Mark's Canadian cousin. I was just thinking about Mark yesterday- Tom Petty was in the area- Mark and I went to his concert in Toledo in 1981 AND we sat it the front row! What a blast we had together. I miss Mark!

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  4. Maggie,
    I remember escorting you out the front door of my first party while Rik stalled your Dad at the back door. Heck, I should do a post on that story...

    I didn't know they busted you another time.

    I remember when Brill went to that concert... wasn't it cancelled at first and he had to reschedule?

    I think about Brill all the time... usually when I see military jet flying over, or when I hear a Warren Zevon song.

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  5. You gotta know that "Let me tell you about the first time I got stone-cold shitfaced drunk" is a terrific story opener. Really gets a person's attention. And it paid off. I don't see why Canada Cousin didn't speak to you again, either. It's probably a good thing that you went to work and got that bread!

    I have to admit, I've done like Evil Ann. You know, just to drive the lesson about getting drunk right before work home. I've been on the receiving end of that lesson, too.

    My ex-boyfriend once drank about 4 beers, which was typical for him. Florida Cracker men can take a lot. But he also had two or three Long Island Ice Teas. Then a couple more beers. I was pissed at him by this point. In the morning, when he was unsteady and green in the face, he quoted the greatest quote ever: "I think that Long Island Ice Tea was spiked." He was 27.

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  6. No colored liquor for me! The night of my rehersal dinner, I had so much Jack Daniels that I was still throwing up the next morning. That should have been my first clue that THAT marriage was doomed!

    Two glasses of chardonney is my limit, after two vodkas on the rocks, of course! I splurged in Cancun, though, and had a Corona with lime with lunch!

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  7. Immobilization from booze must be in the genes. I remember having a best friend bring his new girlfriend to our apartment, wanted to impress her with his sophisticated married friends. (Plus free drinks and sandwiches).
    Having been drinking martinis since about 5 PM, I excused myself, went into the bathroom, discovered upon finishing that I could not move. So there I am, pants around the ankles, crying, "Ji iim, Jiii iiim, I can't move." Mind was perfectly clear. Body paralyzed.
    Our friend wouldn't answer his phone the next day.
    Glad I hadn't eaten any mushrooms.

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  8. As I recall, you came down for breakfast the next morning and I offered you a shot. You turned more white than possible and headed back upstairs. Glad you learned your lesson, dad

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  9. My brothers pulled something similar, in our basement while my parents were out. They had to be quiet because there were three tattle tale sisters upstairs. My parents knew something was up when the washing machine was running at 7 am the next morning. The next day, all three boys had to go to work and my sisters and I had full permission to be as loud and as annoying as we liked. Funny our parents handled it similarly.

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  10. Wow, lots of people like to read about the drunken exploits of others...

    Lilo,
    "The Long Island Ice Tea is spiked"?? LOL... Aren't they considered "spiked" by definition?

    Judie,
    One night on my brother's 18th birthday put him off Jack Daniels (and most other hard liquor) for the rest of his life. He and a buddy (our current brother-in-law) killed a bottle between them.

    I'm the same way with rum. I'll have to do a post about it, but the rum-based excesses of my youth now ensure that the mere smell of rum makes me queasy. (Note: there is no reason 151 rum should exist. All it does is fuck people up beyond belief.)

    Mary Ann,
    I remember the martini story. Good thing you only weighed about 95 lbs, so Dad could get you off the pot.

    Anonymous Dad,
    I don't remember if it was THAT morning or another, but that was definitely your M.O.

    I remember getting sick from mixing one other time... I'd been drinking beer all night at a barn party and was in pretty good shape. But after the barn emptied out, there were so many half-cups of wine sitting all over the place, I decided I couldn't let them go to waste so I drank several of them. Big mistake... it reinforced The Lesson.

    Vange,
    Must be in the Universal Cool Parents Handbook. OR, it's one of those situations that don't require much intervention. The punishment is baked in.

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  11. When I got the hell outta Dodge I went back to work on mending U.S. - CANADIAN relations !!!!!

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  12. Rik,
    Good God, we're lucky you didn't start an international cross-border incident.

    Ah, hell, you were probably just trying to get her to buy you some Molsons.

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  13. I have many drunken tales to tell, but they're not half as interesting as what I just discovered... I just followed your "Brill" link on a hunch, and sure enough, I figured it was Mark Brillhart. And then the photo posted was of the Dobson brothers! I was friends with all of them (and Mark's sister Sarah, too, whom I worked with one summer). I just saw Ed Dobson last weekend; he and his wife Anne were in from Portland. Wow, very small world. I have to believe you and I met at some point. Wonder if we ever drank Little Kings together?

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  14. Sherry,
    Small world indeed. And any friend of Brill's is a friend of mine.

    I remember the Dobsons well... a great bunch of guys. They almost killed me playing football, but fortunately, I was still indestructible.

    Might you ever have visited The Barn? If so, we might have clinked glasses. Or maybe the Waterville Festival, back when they had the beer tent. Otherwise, I seldom drank at the local bars. (Who would, with a place like The Barn to drink at?)

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  15. Um, I think I just dry heaved reading this...this happens to me when I look at a bottle of tequilla.

    Of course, God only knows what will happen when i try and drink now...I imagine it would result in a coma after a shot.

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  16. Goldey,
    Like I told Judie, that's me with rum. I can take it in a well mixed concoction when you can't taste it, but in something like a rum and coke? Instant hurl. I lived on rum and cokes in my late teen years, out at clubs. Definitely used and abused.

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  17. The real killer is Southern Comfort. That stuff is nasty wicked! I had a friend in Chi who drank that stuff and she made me a drink one night. I thought I had died and gone to hell! I don't see how those Kentuckians drink that shit!

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  18. I never drank the stuff, but we did have it around The Barn from time to time. It was like "Girl Killer." Girls would bring it with them if they didn't care for beer, drink entirely too much and get falling down drunk.

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  19. My first night of shitface drunk can be attributed to 9 16oz. Falstaff beers. Don't know if they even make Falstaff anymore. I never see it anywhere.

    We used to hit those Little Kings every now and again. But far as Cream Ale goes, Genny Cream was King (pun intended) in 1970s Western PA.

    Worst mix? Oreo cookies + Dairy Queen soft chocolate ice cream + Michelob beer + Jack Daniels. I had to use a commode plunger to get that mess down the sink. Too sick to make it the extra two steps to the toilet. Sink was the best I could do. LOL! My mother was not amused.

    Never mix sweets with booze kids.

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  20. Mixing is bad. Tequilla is hell in a bottle.

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  21. My ex-husband's mother used to drink beer and eat chocolate covered cherries at the same time. I just couldn't watch!

    Tequila, I like--but oddly enough, it keeps me awake!

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  22. Dog,
    I think they still make Falstaff... I think you can get it around Chicago and the Midwest.

    Used to love the Genny pounders back in the day. Haven't seen those in ages.

    Out in the Barn, we didn't stay long on Little Kings... we quickly moved onto Michelob, so we could pretend we were classy. I also liked the little 6-pack carriers, which we used to stack into pyramids against the back wall.

    DG,
    Yeah, that was my main lesson. Mixing is bad! I never really had much experience with Tequilla though, outside of margaritas.

    There used to be a little Mexican place out in NW Ohio, and my boss, the store mgr, would take me out there with him for lunch. We'd have a couple of their strong-assed margaritas, then he'd sent ME back to the store to tell his assistant that he wasn't coming back.

    Judie,
    I agree w/ Dog... sweets and beer aren't a good mix. Don't know how the ex-MOL did it...

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  23. OMG - Epic!!
    And to think, you could have gotten some Canookie! But noooo, had to show off! lmao

    Here's a short story of when I was married...
    Ex and I went out, don't remember where, lots of drinking involved. I stayed sober, he got trashed. He wanted sex at his grandma's house where we were staying and got kicked out of the Walgreen's trying to buy condoms. I think he also tried to pee on their wall.
    There was no sex.
    We went to sleep and he said he felt ill. I bailed and went to the other guest bedroom. He wakes me up a few hours later b/c he puked in the bathroom. Couldn't turn the TUB off. Oh yea, the tub.
    Few hours after, he needed my help getting the sheets off and starting the washer. You know, for all the puke on the bedspread, sheets, etc. THEN wanted to sleep with me (uhm, NO).
    A few months later, his grandma is moving furniture to find a smell and finds clothes halfway under the mattress. Which, oh, btw, had vomit on the UNDER side.
    Jackass flipped the mattress b/c he puked on it!
    This wasn't the only incident, just the worst one.
    And people wonder why I divorced him...

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  24. What a night, bluz! Wine and beer? In college they called that a spodey-odey and it was powerful---beer and wine mixed together. There was a night when I went to a wine and cheese party. Everyone brought a bottle of something different. The host walked around filling glasses as soon as they were empty. The more I drank the more profound the conversations became, or so I thought. I drove home. Only God knows how I made it safely. I was in my '20's and once my head hit the pillow the room spun around like some God-forsaken ride at Kennywood. What did I do? I called my mother! She told me to put one leg over the side of the bed. I tried it and lo and behold, the room stopped spinning. Moms give great advice!

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  25. Whenever I used to come home stumbling drunk (which was quite a lot during my latter high school and early college years), my dad would ask why I couldn't walk straight, and I would tell him every time (EVERY TIME) that my socks were too big.

    Unfortunately, my lying skills haven't improved much since then.

    Sadly, neither have my drinking skills.

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  26. LMAO@ Bachelor Girl!! Socks are too big. I'll have to remember that one!

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  27. Woman,
    I LOVE that term… "Canookie"! I immediately sent it to a Canadian friend of mine to see if she’s heard that before.

    My actual honeymoon, way back when, bears a similar lesson, if not the details. The actual night after the reception is not the best for lovin… not if you’ve had an appropriately good time at the reception… We kind of put all that on hold until the next day… which was a whole ‘nother story in itself that I will tell in the future.

    Oh, and good riddance!

    Cher,
    Don’t forget the whiskey… it was beer, wine, and whiskey… a real killer trio if ever there was one.

    It’s been ages since I’ve had to endure the bed-spins, but if I ever do, I’ll try out your mom’s remedy. Man, I hated that. All I’d want to do was pass out and I couldn’t even do THAT!

    Bachelor Girl,
    Wow, that’s a lame excuse, even by High School standards.

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  28. There is no drunk like the high-school cheap-wine-drunk. Mine was Boone's Farm. I think it was some green apple shit. God, I think it has ruined white wine for me to this day.

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  29. Bagger,
    We really didn’t mess around with wine too much. I remember one night though when we had a similar bottle of cheap wine… Might have been Boone’s Farm, might have just been Lambrusco. But we were driving around one night (before we set up The Barn) and passing the bottle back and forth. Someone passed it up to me in the front passenger seat and I tilted back and raised the bottle to take a big swig… not realizing the cap was on. I still haven’t lived that down.

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  30. Man, what a ride! It took me a hell of a lot more sessions to learn my lesson. Not so much the wine, cause, you know "Duddley's Draw" in College Station, TX, doesn't serve wine, but SOOO many nights of bottomless plastic glass of Shiner Bock, followed by a couple-a-three visits to the "shot bar" (I still don't know the real name of that place) when I was already pretty toasty. And, I did the same thing when I was in Boulder for a few years. Glad you learned more quickly than I did.

    Loved the "finding mushrooms" bit. I remember cleaning up after my boyfriend's projectile issues down a whole hallway one time. I was already tipsy at the time - don't know if I could've stood cleaning up while sober. Blech.

    Sorry about Canada Cousin. Sounds like you did everything possible to make her swoon. :)

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  31. Cristy,
    I tell you, I had my mojo workin’… right up until I “lost containment” and began talking to Ralph. (as we used to put it, back in the day…)

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