As a rule, I don’t cry and I don’t puke. Like crying, though, there are exceptions—public exceptions. Including the time I already covered, my years of partying have caused me to throw up a grand total of five times. All but one of these involved a phenomenon college students everywhere call “the spins.”
For all my old readers out there, first off, what was Bush One like? Also, the spins happen when you drink and smoke weed at the same time and make you feel like you’re in that ride where they stick you to a wall and drop the floor out from under you and make out with the girl you were flirting with, except the ride only ends when you yell at it and throw up on its couch.
I can’t handle the spins. I’ve held on to my guts through rollercoasters, pure absinthe, fevers, and mixing bathtub gin with malt liquor and Smirnoff Ice. Pass me a joint, though, and I turn into a sixteen year-old Juliet understudy.
I’d give you examples, but bragging about how much I used to drink already makes me sound like a bro douche so I’ll cut the shit. The focus here is supposed to be on how being a weird kid made me act out, both for the attention and because I had the social sense of a retarded time traveler.
Instead, here’s a story that foreshadows the disaster that was my nineteenth birthday more accurately. In fourth grade, my best friend Justin and I were huge Mortal Kombat fans. Maybe it was our insecurity over being two of the only whites in town; maybe it was blind pubescent bloodlust. Whatever punches the hurt away!
Anyway, one recess, we decided to stage a playground fight as Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The homoeroticism of screaming “GET OVER HERE!” while pretending to penetrate another guy’s chest with a spear was lost on us, but whatever! Murder’s fun!
The fight began when whoever was supposed to be watching us stopped watching us. We both screamed “MORTAL KOMBAAAAAT!”, ran to a patch of open blacktop, and pretend-beat the living hell out of each other.
This lasted for about two minutes, at which point the principal, under whose open window this had all happened, dragged us into her office and gave us detentions.
I wish I could say that was the dumbest part of that story, but then there’s this: we knew we were under her window the whole time. Even so, our impulse to do something self-destructive with obvious consequences pushed us onward, because ten year old boys are invincible.
College is a great time to exorcise this particular belief. On no day did I learn this lesson (that is, don’t do things that will bring you pain) so immediately as on my nineteenth birthday.
First things first: I can’t remember what happened. My memory is a photo album that your ex got to first, just a couple of shots that you know aren’t the important ones. All that I’m sure of is I fell out of a chair, had to close one eye to read, and at some point said “this doesn’t taste like rum anymore.”
Here’s how I got myself into trouble. I had been having an awful birthday. Almost no one was available, I didn’t have anything planned, no one gave me anything or acknowledged me in a non-Facebook context—in other words, how all of my birthdays will be now since I’m 21.
There were other bad things about it, too, but the one thing I remember most clearly was the pledge I made to myself as soon as I started drinking. Since nothing I hated about the day needed remembering, I decided to black it all out.
This means that the narrative I have of the night was supplied by other people. According to them, my brother and my friends Tim and Steve came over late and we all got really drunk in my garage. The rest of them passed a bowl around, but I refused because I didn’t want to get sick. (Ha!)
Then they noticed that I’d made a point of getting myself horribly drunk and decided to take advantage. One of my favorite read-along books as a kid happened to be in the garage, and my friends rightly guessed that it’d be hilarious to hear from someone slurring worse than your grandpa when he mixes bourbon with his stroke meds.
This much I know for sure, because there’s an audio recording. I won’t post it here, but I will say that however bad you think it sounds, it’s worse. The book’s main character is a machinosaurus, a sentient bulldozer thing shaped like a dinosaur. For some reason, I pronounced this “makinasaurus,” despite numerous correction attempts. After the second one of these, any time someone said anything or laughed at me saying makinasaurus, I’d shout “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
About halfway through, there’s a loud clattering sound followed by uproarious laughter. Tim explains to the microphone that I’d fallen out of my chair for no reason, as I had just been sitting upright. Don’t know if you’ve ever been drunk enough to have worse equilibrium than a dead guy, but it’s possible! Dream on everyone!
I don’t know what I was thinking getting that drunk, especially considering how much of my stomach lining everyone saw later that night. Probably the same thing I was thinking when I punched a kid in the face in front of the principal ten years earlier. Good thing I learned my lesson!