It has now become a rite of Spring, and for the past four years my buddy Loyd has taken me out and gotten me completely, "In the gutter, lying drunk." That's as good as a description that comes to mind and it was far from my intention of ending up that way, on the contrary, it was only suppose to be a few round of beers, some great Ruckus Pizza and take in a local Rock & Roll band. All it took was for some stranger to offer us a single round of Tequila and it was Nightmare on Elm Street all over again. Last year, it got so bad I had to sleep in a lawn chair outside his RV... I knew I was going to heave (hurl, pimento parade, spew...whatever you call it) and I definitely didn't want to do it inside...it seems as if the year before somebody might have accidentally "relieved" themselves in the corner of the trailer after our night on the town. I know, how is it that Loyd still considers me a friend?
Mind you, it isn't exactly his fault...he's not holding a pistol to my head...the bottom line is that I'm an absolute panty waste of an alcohol drinker. Loyd, on the other hand is the complete opposite, the man can hold his liquor...and I mean that it in a good way; he has this rare disposition found in few men who can drink straight grain alcohol as if it were water, and then proceed to plow the back forty. As usual, I refuse to accept responsibility for my own actions when modern science can explain it away. I wasn't that much of a drinker before my weight loss, and now that I have shed some of my inner child, I just don't belly up to the bar all that well anymore...and that might be a blessing in disguise. Don't let my cute little Blog title fool you, yes, I do enjoy beer, but I don't make it a routine. In fact I would classify myself as a "social alcoholic," if such a title exists. What that means is I usually partake in alcohol consumption at gatherings and after about 4 or 5 beers...I'm toast. Claudia and I usually flip a coin before we leave to see who will be the designated driver, but on most of these occasions she is the one dragging my ass back to the "hoosegow." 4 or 5 beers doesn't usually put me in the "obliterated" category but it will get me in trouble with "Johnny Lawman" and the last thing I want to do, is encourage anyone to drink and drive...it's just not worth it.
Anyways, I can hold my own when it comes to beer, it's when men decide to be men and desire the straight stuff that the train starts coming off the tracks for me. I enjoy a mixed drink every now and again. My brother-in-law, Pete, got me hooked on "CC and 7" and he has absolutely the best Margarita recipe that I have ever tasted; I just don't do well with straight shots of liquor. Personally, I just don't find straight anything in alcohol all that tasty...bourbon, scotch, vodka, moonshine...none of it. We men though, are a proud lot and when the call goes out for "shots," we have to defend our manhood...it's in our blood, the nature of the world. So, what is Mark's booze "kryptonite?" Without hesitation...RUM. I avoid it like the plague and have vivid nightmares of when I was a young lad of nineteen living in the barracks and trying to make my mark in the world...I failed miserably.
Every good Army Story starts out with, "You're not going to believe this shit...," so, "you're not going to believe this shit" when I tell you about the time a handful of us young GI's were downtown in the local Gasthaus enjoying life, drinking the local beer and having a grand 'ole time. It's a story that has been re-hashed many times so I'll skip to the part where the evil "Rum" ferry has magically armed all of us with a single shot of her potion. We end up toasting one another, how we hate every Sergeant in the unit, the Commander and eventually the Army.
Fast forward to the next morning...I'm saying this because, truthfully, I couldn't remember anything between the time we drank those shots of Bacardi 151 RUM and the annoying knock at our barracks door and our Section Sergeant barking at us to make PT formation. I could hear him speaking (yelling was more like it) to me and I was physically awake but I couldn't move or talk...it was that bad. I could see the leg of my room mate and knew he was lying on the floor, but that was about the extent of it as he was probably in the same condition as your faithful super hero.
Sergent Allen, our section sergeant at the time, wasn't about to let 2 snot nosed PFC's(Private First Class is a rank in the Army) make a fool of him. He was able to get the CQ keys and promptly opened our door. As I mentioned, I was completely immobile, but awake...the look on Sergeant Allen's face and the fact that he covered his mouth told me that something had gone horribly wrong the evening before...he was intermittently yelling at me to, "get up!" and trying to cover his mouth. He left frustrated but more determined; he reappeared in less than ten minutes with another soldier carrying water hoses. You can imagine the scene and the complete mess that was made when he "unleashed the hounds" on 2 drunken, young sots lying in their own bile. Least wise, that is what they told me, because, truly, I don't remember vomiting...and yeah, sports fans...this was an epic FUBAR on my part.
The good thing out of that, was once the sergeant turned the hose on us, it relieved my fear that I was paralyzed. The not so good result of this was the Commander and First Sergeant were disturbed by the actions of two of their young Privates. It was decreed that myself and my room-mate would be made an example of. I got busted down to PRIVATE, loss of 1/2 month's pay, 2 months extra duty and a month restricted to post. The "Piece De Resistance" of the punishment was that we had to vacate our room and set up a 10 man Arctic tent in front of the barracks and move all our belongings, bunk, locker and gear in as well.
Recall that I said we were "restricted" to post for a month? The part that really sucked for us was that we never got any sleep. Between all the floor scrubbing, room painting and kitchen details assigned as "extra duty" after the end of Work Day formation, we were constantly having to defend our tent from the other assholes in the billets who would pull up our stakes in the middle of the night or even worse on weekends, when they would return from downtown and decide to mess with us...it was actually hilarious as hell, but imagine having to re-stake your tent at odd hours of the night for 30 friggin days...we were two tired mo-fos when we were allowed to move back into the billets and to this day I have never taken a shot of rum again.
Back to Loyd and our most recent adventure: I didn't cause any physical damage( this means I didn't get sick), which for me is a victory. Once the walls started moving I knew it was over and stuck solely to water, but even if you put lipstick on a pig...it's still a pig. All the water in the world wasn't going to flush out the tequila that had already made it to my brain. I retreated to the back seat of the car and went to sleep. I woke up the next morning in the RV (damn if I can remember how we got there) with a massive headache. There sitting across from me was Loyd, bright eyed and bushy tail drinking a Bloody Mary. He had politely laid out some Alka-Seltzer and water and offered me some of his concoction. His only advice was, "Hair of the dog...drink it!!" I being a panty waste knew that wasn't going to happen; it was only 3 hours later that I could actually function and made it to the shower.
I have no illusions of grandeur about all this...it is what it is...and I hardly feel the need to improve this aspect of my life as it happens so infrequently but, if you find the Dogwoods blooming and the birds singing and haven't heard from me in a while, just drive out to Carter Finley Stadium and prop my "pickled" carcass up against whatever object will support me and kick me til I groan...it will be much appreciated.