My son is thirteen and I think this comes under the category “crow” which doesn’t make sense unless you think it’s appropriate to brag about survival.

March 30, 2014

There is a thread that runs through my memories, not all of them, and maybe I wouldn’t even be aware of it, except…
Our first cocktails, we mixed in large cups over the kitchen sink in my kitchen, decorated in swirls of yellow and brown, of all of the hard liquor in the cabinet. We didn’t actually have a liquor cabinet, though my parents were pretty devoted, we should have had a liquor locker. We would pour random amounts of vodka, gin, tequila,… I don’t remember (what a surprise) and have a contest to see who could drink their cocktail down the fastest. I remember being strangely proud that I always won, but I’d always beaten everyone in the milk chugging copetitions at lunch.
Next stop, quarts of Colt 45 in the bathroom at the Tourne, also guzzled, inside dank stalls because it was illegal to drink in public parks. Afterwards, my eyes would sting, lurching out into sunlight, brave and dazzled by the way the world looked so different from when we snuck in, bags in hand, looking over our shoulders for grownups, and/or grownups with badges.
I can’t forget my first party, I was a freshman. I made the discovery that, in spite of it’s reputation, Schlitz Beer tasted really good. I announced it again and again, while I tried to play ping pong with a senior who was fascinated with my review of the low rent malt beverage, and my thoughts on the upcoming election. Then a junior stepped in, took my paddle away, poured me into his car, and drove me home. I remember hearing the next day that my ping pong partner was not happy about the interruption. I wondered a day or two to wonder about the great romance that might have been, then wrote a poem about our tragic affair and moved on.
Soon after, a month, a year, I found myself behind the high school, I’d snuck out of some dance because it’s impossible to boogie to Stairway to Heaven, nope, I always managed, must of been I needed a cigarette. I came upon a group of three or four that introduced me to beer shots, no, that’s not right, the joys of shooting a beer. You puncture a hole in the bottom of the can and immediately press your mouth to that hole and guzzle the contents. That way, no air gets mixed in, maximum buzz for your buck. I remember now, I was a freshman, I’d come outside because while I was peeing I’d heard all these girls talking about how many bowls they’d consumed, I thought they were bragging about the amount of wine they’d had to drink, didn’t know why they couldn’t use glasses. So I was feeling left out. When these juniors and seniors shared the mysteries of shooting a beer, like I said in the beginning of this diatribe, I could guzzle. (Have you noticed how I am delicately trying to avoid the word swallow?) And my abilities in that arena had started in third grade in a competition to see who could finish their beverage first.
These are dramatic memories I have collected from when I was really young, way too young, my mom had just gone back to work, my dad was absent, literally, not the later version.
So let me go on and say… there were nights at Stanfields, and Eves, and Fireside, and assorted establishments whose names I don’t remember where I had beers, or schnapps, or wine. Nights where me and my friends drank, got silly, played or listened to music, threw up, held up the hair of someone who threw up, laughed, giggled, talked about how we were going to make a difference, talked about the size of our thighs, talked about the fact that nobody really had meaningful conversations at “these things”, made out, had sex, really wanted to have sex, and made connections. Dear, shining connections that exist on this page today that could not have lasted had they been borne simply out of booze, pot, or teenage stupidity.
I wasn’t and am not a Lifetime movie, but I was an idiot.* I don’t know why I share these memories today except to crow I survived… the drinking, and all the bad choices I made afterwards. It feels good to remember. I’m counting war wounds and I’m preparing myself for 2 years from now when my son turns 13.(He’s 13. We are having a lot of embarrassing conversations.)
*If you work for Lifetime or an affiliate, and find me interesting at all, I was an Xtreme idiot, emphasis on the word so demographically popular, I might have forgotten a lot. And I would be happy to remember, and describe in detail, a fuzzy recollection I have of a night in paradise with ET, all grownup, and/or the relationship I had in my twenties with the brother of the sister of the woman that made Angelina Jolie so damn weird.

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