Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alcoholic Haze

Bear with me while I set the stage a bit. 

Back in the day* I did my share of heavy drinking.  I know!  Who would have thought?  Fortunately for my liver, I have some strong Irish blood flowing through these veins.  It pulses with super human tolerance for beer, gin, and - occasionally - tequila. 

* Back in the day in this case is defined as between the ages of 16 and yesterday. 

My favorite Wifey story:  When we first started dating, I was introduced to her party friends.  Many of them were guys who were fond of Wifey and immediately wanted to test my meddle.  How do you test a man's endurance?  Apparently by offering shots of expensive 180 proof vodka.  Several shots of this flammable liquid and many, MANY beers later, we left the party. 

The next morning Wifey and I were at the beach doing our usual thing.  Several hours later those party friends show up looking like death.  Several of them give me a skeptical once over, realize with a shock I'm not even slightly hungover and stay far away from me the rest of the weekend.  As Wifey says 'They didn't know who they were dealing with.'  And, yes, she says it with some semblance of pride.

Pre Wifey era produced more debauchery than I care to share.  Let's just say my college years were spent in a surreal, semi translucent fog of pot, booze, and occasional studying.  I shared intimate moments with people I wouldn't recognize if I passed them on the street three days later. 

My partner in crime for most of this time was my Best Man.  I will refer to him as such going forward.  We've been best friends since 1st grade and have had more forgotten, great moments than most friends have in a lifetime.  Just after we graduated college we road tripped to Virginia Beach on a spur of the moment decision and drank nothing but Budweiser the entire time we were there. 

Two quick notes here:

1:  Best Man was living with his college girlfriend at the time and didn't think she would let him go.  So we made up a story about us working an out of state job.  Since this was pre-cell phone era, he would only check in once or twice a day from a pay phone.  When we wanted to prolong our stay, we checked the weather in Massachusetts, saw it was raining, and told her the rain had delayed our work so we would be late a day or two.  I don't have to point out that relationship didn't last too long.  To this day I don't know how he explained that not only did he not get paid, but wound up dropping $300 in Atlantic City. 

2:  Don't ever drink only beer for an entire week.  It wreaks havoc with your digestive system.  By the time we were ready to leave both of us were shitting rabbit pellets. 

It is also with this Best Man that the 'Alcoholics Club' was created.  One of our friends started going to AA because he thought he had a drinking problem when, in reality, he just couldn't keep up with us.  So we created the AC in response to his sobriety.  Our mission statement was to get everyone drinking everywhere we went.  We were a rousing success for years. 

Flash forward to last week.  I met Best Man out for 'a few' beers and bumped into high school classmates of ours.  After our obligatory 'What are you doing for work' and 'how are the wife and kids' bullshit, we asked one of them about his time as a Boston police officer.  I distinctly remember boozing in Fanueil Hall one night and a Boston cop started yelling at us to come over.  I mumbled 'Don't stop' and started walking away. 

Turns out it was this dude from our high school class giving us shit.  We all go over and he laughs because he can tell we're halfway to trashville.  I mention this to him and he says 'I was never a Boston cop.  I was one in Osterville for a few years, though.'

If you're not familiar, Osterville is down on Cape Cod, more than 80 miles away from Boston.  I look at Best Man and say, 'Man I could have sworn that was him'.  Best Man replies 'I thought so, too'.

There is a pause before he offers 'We didn't wind up in Osterville one night, did we?'

I start to laugh at the absurdity of this suggestion, stop, look at Best Man and ask 'Wait, did we?' and we spend the next few minutes trying to sort out the details in our beer soaked brains.  

Now, if there is a lesson to be made here it's not that drinking is bad.  I would offer that I have had more good times with beer than without.  It probably isn't that beer messes up your brain, either.  That I remembered the encounter at all should be proof of the opposite.  Frankly, if beer destroyed brain cells I would be in a vegetative state in some state hospital. 

The lesson really should be this:  If you party a lot, there is a solid chance in the distant future you'll be trying to figure out if you wound up 80 miles from where you thought you were and if Osterville looks at all like Fanueil Hall.

And you won't have an answer. 

Or, as I said after a moment's consideration, 'Fuck it!  You ready for another?'

Today's distraction:  More 'At the right moment' pictures for your viewing pleasure. 

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