I like a good beer every now and then. In fact, I’m drinking one now because WHAT THE FUCK HANIE, THAT WAS THE WORST START SINCE KRISTALLNACHT. (Caleb Hanie is the new quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and “Kristallnacht” is the name of the first episode of Whitney.)
For a few years, though, I wasn’t a huge fan of moderation. Like many teens, I liked drinking because if you do it enough you aren’t scared of people or hospitals. Plus, the more you drink, the more people around you want to drink, and the more they do, the more likely you are to have sex with something alive.
I started getting my drunk on at the tender, fuckable age of 15. I’d had a few drinks at parties, but I was so worried about getting trashed that I never let go. Then my parents got divorced and for the first time I had home access to alcohol. Dad’s a strict teetotaler—once, he lectured me on Demon Rum while I watched in horror as he poured a gifted bottle of Grand Marnier down a drain—and my mom was glad to finally keep a couple basic cocktail ingredients in stock at her new place. When she wasn’t at home I mixed myself the worst martinis ever made, varying the dose to discover my tolerance level.
On one of my drunkest afternoons, my dad called to remind me that his custody period started that day. Shit. Want me to pick you up? Uhhhh, no, thas fine, is a niceday out, I’m gonna walk. What a sight it must have been: me stumbling the six landscaped blocks from her place to his, clutching my backpack like a life preserver. “Sweetie, slow down! That poor chubby boy has a muscle disease. He could wander into the road at any moment.”
The sad part is how close I was to making it. I came in through the garage for some drunk reason, only to be ganged up on by a shelf and the floor.
Once inside, I mumbled something about being tired and passed out on the couch for sixteen hours. My bruises the next morning turned me off of drinking for a solid year. Of course, as longtime readers know, I didn’t learn from this experience.
None of the drinking I did in college, though, compared to my Drunk Summer. I came home from freshman year with the exact mix of unemployment, boredom, and self-destructiveness that would’ve made me a terrorist anywhere else. There’s a reason hack Midwestern comics talk about how there’s nothing to do in small towns but drink and smoke weed: living in one drowns their funny brain cells.
Every few days, a couple of friends and I would get together to pound through a bottle of liquor and whatever weed we had. Sure, it was about as healthy as kidney punching each other for an hour, but we never let it get out of hand. No one drove or fucked strangers. All we did was watch stand-up DVDs and lie about girls.
Well, all right. It got out of hand twice.
That picture’s from the morning after the second craziest party I’ve ever thrown. My dad had just gotten remarried and planned to sell his duplex, so before I went back to school my brother and I invited a few people over to get wrecked on a night he spent at our stepmother’s place. The most vivid memory I have of the experience is waking up on the couch that morning, pantsless, with my glasses smashed into my face, a broken guitar and an iron dumbbell at my side, and a thin trail of dried blood between my eyes, unsure how any of this happened.
WIth a little help, I pieced the details together. The night started with a game of Thumpers emceed by our giant, hyperkinetic Irish friend Matt, who decreed that everyone should chuck whatever bullshit plans they made because it was time to get fucking trashed. Soon after, someone said we should take our shirts off, and everyone did. Well, everyone except this uncomfortable guy I didn’t know who was there with his already-single-in-her-mind girlfriend, and me, because the sight of my torso would’ve ruined my chances with said girlfriend.*
That pic’s from around 10 o’clock. We drank until 2.
Somewhere in that time, I got drunk enough to flirt with Captain Discomfort’s soon-to-be ex caveman-style. By that, I mean I took my pants off and uppercutted her in the face.
Let me explain. My dad tried to un-collapse his body before his wedding and bought some old-school dumbbells from Goodwill, which he used while watching TV. Peter Drunkquist thought it’d be just hilarious to retrieve them from the corner of the room and perform some grunting, exaggerated bicep curls. Oh, also, I pantsed myself so I wouldn’t have to take off my shirt.
Ms. Somebody Fuck Me Already leaned her bodyweight on the dumbbell and her face into mine, then asked, coquettish, if I was so strong that I could lift all this. Being drunk enough to rob banks, I didn’t get that this was more an invitation to stare down her cleavage than an actual question.
So I pulled. Hard. First, I hit the girl I was trying to sleep with on the chin, then, to complete the visual metaphor, I swung that fifteen pound chunk of metal into my own face.
Safe to say she went home with her boyfriend. I passed out, cleaned up alone in the morning, and got driven to the worst dad brunch since the one where God told Jesus about his Good Friday plans. Despite being as well hydrated as a Lifetime wife’s pot roast, I managed not to puke while staring at the croissant on my plate like it was made of roach larva.
That’s the end of that one. But Peter Drunkquist will return in The Lost Birthday. Stay tuned, you fucking vultures.
*Yeah, I said “said,” but I used it right. Shut up.