I’ve been drunk for all kinds of reasons.
Once, because I was young and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine was cheap and available. Once, because a tall brunette named Julie traveled all the way from Winona, Minnesota to break my heart. Once, because I was with a pretty, blue-eyed blonde at a smokey blues bar in Kansas City, the music was good and the drinks were strong.
We barely made it back to the car that night, let alone the hotel.
But it’s my friend Rick who’s gotten me in the most trouble with alcohol.
Rick’s a devout Buddhist now, and doesn’t eat meat or drink booze. He meditates a lot, and tries not to get too angry or happy about anything because strong emotions create imbalance that prevent you from walking the path of enlightenment and escaping the cycle of rebirth and suffering.
Or as his wife would say, he’s “boring.”
But Rick is the proud descendant of good Danish stock. Basically a tall, strong, dark-haired Viking masquerading as a saffron-infused monk who should be out lopping off heads with a bloody axe instead of stirring decaffeinated green tea with free-range celery sticks.
Everything I know about the Danish, I learned from hanging out with Rick and his family. And as near as I can tell, true Danelanders believe life’s sole purpose is to eat meat and drink liquor, liquor first. They’re particularly fond of something called Akvavit, which is basically rocket fuel flavored with caraway seed. I’ve drunk enough of it to know it should be illegal, partly because a few shots will either make you blind or give you hallucinations that set you skittering down the path of enlightenment like your hair’s on fire.
The Buddhists ain’t got nuthin’ on Akvavit.
The stupidest drunk I ever got was with Rick. Not at a party, or out on the town. Not even at a bachelor party. At my condo, on a Friday night when we didn’t have anything better to do.
He came over to play cards and watch a movie. Offered to make me a rum and Coke. Filled a tall, fat glass half full of rum and topped it off with a few cubes of ice and cola.
I’d never had a rum and Coke. Tasted great. So while he mixed himself a drink, I drank it. All of it, all at once. Roughly a full eight to ten shots of 100-proof liquor in less time than it takes to make the bed.
By the time Rick sat down, I was on the floor, on my back, feeling dizzy. Or ditzy. Or both. It’s unclear to me now.
He glanced at my empty glass, and cocked an eyebrow inquisitively.
“Did you drink the whole thing?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, not understanding the implications of his expression.
“Oh shit,” he said, grinning. “That was supposed to last all night. You’re in trouble.”
My memory of the rest of the night is vague, like a dream within a dream within a dream. I recall Rick sitting on my stomach, laughing loudly and thumping my chest with his index finger. And the condo apparently got caught up in a tornado and spun its way to Kansas and back because I remember not being able to stand up. In fact, I crawled to the bathroom at one point, and poorly at that. The wavy waterbed I eventually fell into was pure hell on my heaving stomach.
I don’t drink rum anymore. The sight and smell of it makes me wretch.
But a gin and tonic?
Well, that’s an entirely different story for another time.
I don’t need a reason to get drunk, but this writing competition hosted by Nicky and Mike over at We Work For Cheese is reason enough. It’s hard. Really hard. Please visit them to see the other entries for today.