Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cap'n Neurotic, Master of Debauchery

Okay, the following has been on my mind since I saw How I Met Your Mother on Monday, so here it is; Cap'n Neurotic's Night of Drunken Debauchery.

For the first 20 years of my life, I had never had a single drop of alcohol; no beer, no champagne, no wine, no liquor of any kind. The reasons were many: I had been raised Southern Baptist, a denomination which frowns up drinking of any sort (not to mention dancing and playing cards and cursing and many many other things); in addition, I had heard many cautionary tales of my parents' younger, wilder days. Oh, and then there was the fear, can't forget the fear. Fear of what? Take your pick, the phobias of the young Cap'n were many and varied; think it was mainly a big, nebulous, "bad things could happen" fear. But, after a few years of college, I started to question the necessity of my alcohol avoidance behavior and decided that I should, at the very least, see what the big deal was all about; my target date for the experiment: my 21st birthday. I don't recall the exact thought process that led up to my decision, or how much part any of the Parkerites played in swaying me; I do have a strong memory of G'ovich chanting "Todd's getting drunk on his birth-day, Todd's getting drunk on his birth-day " when we were all out at the lake that afternoon, but that was after I had already made up my mind. General peer pressure probably had a bit to do with it, but in the end, the choice was all on me.

So, on the night of my 21st birthday, I made my first visit to Eskimo Joe's with the express purpose of getting sloshed. As it was my first night of being of legal drinking age, I had the privilege of getting the "I'm of legal age, please don't kick me out" stamp on my forehead. Of course, there were a few things that I hadn't anticipated beforehand, things that helped account for the cheery expression on my face here:

The first was that only Coronela, Rocket, and The Old Man were along with me; everyone else was either underage or out of town. The reason why several were out of town played another big part in disrupting my plans: it was Memorial Day. And, being a holiday, there was no hard liquor being served at the bar, just beer. This was a great disappointment to all, but to none more so than myself after I had taken my first drink; awful. Horrible, horrible stuff. How anyone can drink enough beer to acquire a taste for it is beyond me. I don't think I got more than a few sips down before Rocket took pity on me and told me that I may as well stop torturing myself and wait until we all went out for the Doc's 21st b-day at the end of the week. I quickly agreed, sure that having everyone else around and having access to the "good stuff" would improve the experience.

Silly, silly Todd.

I’m a little hazy on who all was around for my second try to get wasted that following Saturday; I know The Old Man, Wrath, Rocket, and the Doc were around, as was one of the Doc's pals from high school who had come up for the festivities. Once again, we headed to EJ's to get the evening started. My memories of the time at EJ's can be boiled down to the following:

  • Having my first shot ever: a Buttery Nipple
  • After having had several other drinks, being offered a taste of Rocket's Long Island Ice Tea; I liked it so much, I pretty much drank the whole thing without realizing it.
  • Thinking "I feel a little buzzed, but I'm not drunk yet," only to have that thought proven totally false when I tried to get up to go to the restroom and discovered that what little balance and coordination I usually possess were long gone.
  • On that same trip to the restroom, bumping into Captain Ego (at the time a former roomie of Wrath and future roomie of Fellow Book Monkey and Blogger Bubblegum Tate), who was kind enough to steady me and keep me from falling flat on my face; I (rather loudly, I suspect) informed him that I was drunk; he, extremely amused, concurred.
And, well, that's about it for my memories of Joe's that evening. After a while we headed down to the Strip to another bar, whose name escapes me at the moment. It was at this new location that the trouble began.

What sort of trouble? Well, let me put it to you this way: do you realize at what point in time this story is taking place? That's right: my time rooming with the Doc et al, sometimes referred to as "The Dark Times," that period of my life when I was on the verge of a constant mental breakdown; so, what better thing to add to the mix than copious amounts of alcohol? By the time we had reached the other bar, the pleasantly buzzed portion of the evening was gone, and the booze had instead triggered (and magnified) pre-existing neurotic tendencies: I was no longer simply Cap'n Cellophane, now I was Super Tiger Dragon Edition Cap'n Cellophane, now with more cussing!

Yes, my blog monkeys, as I officially became three sheets to the wind, I began to obsess over the fact that nobody was talking to me or paying me enough attention; after all of the build-up of “He’s finally going to get drunk!” the lack of attention was depressing. I was a bit too out of it to consider that this might have been because, well, I was a bit too out of it. This stage of inebriation was also accompanied by a steady stream of cursing, my speech suddenly peppered with f-bombs and scatological expletives, usually followed swiftly by my profusely apologizing for my foul mouth; I remember saying at one point that my mom would be very disappointed in me for talking that way, which prompted Rocket to suggest that maybe I should stop. Oh, if only logical thinking had been possible for me at that point

My only other strong memory of the bar is when a waitress came by and told me that I needed to keep my head off of the table, otherwise they might kick me out; I spent the next several minutes telling anyone who would listen just how nice she was, because she really didn't have to do that, you know, that was really nice, what she did, etc. But even the kindness of the random barmaid could not raise my spirits for long; it was official: I was a depressed drunk.

The only other thing I really recall was the walk home afterwards. As we walked the few blocks back to our house, we passed a huge kegger going on across the street. I was moving pretty slowly, and was at the back of the group, all of whom were talking to each other and not paying any attention to me (or so it seemed through my liquored-up lenses); I was suddenly possessed by the idea that, if I suddenly took a left turn and headed down one of the side streets, nobody would even notice I was missing until they got home, and wouldn't they be sorry for ignoring me then! Yes, not only was I indulging in self-pity, it was grade-school self-pity. I don't know how long I stood there, savoring the idea of teaching everyone a lesson; luckily, even plastered, I was too big of a chicken to venture away from the pack. Still, I swear I was *this* close to waking up in the gutter which, really, would have made a much better ending to the story. Sorry, Cap’n Disaster, maybe next time.

Anyway, we all made it back to the house without losing anyone to the mean streets of Stillwater, and I promptly collapsed in my bed. I woke up the next morning, hangover free, showered, and headed to work, where they were taking bets whether I would be in good enough shape to make it in our not; think my general lack of disheveledness disappointed them.

And, well, that was pretty much that; I tasted a few drinks over the next couple of months, but quickly decided that drinking wasn’t for me; I didn’t like the initial taste of most things to drink it for any reason other than getting drunk, and I definitely didn’t like what had happened to me when I got drunk, so that was that. To be honest, at that point in time I didn’t like the way I was three-quarters of the time anyway; losing what little self-control and dignity I had left just for a fleeting buzz wasn’t worth it to me. Would my experience have been any different if I’d first tried drinking the year before that? Or the year after? Or even on my actual 21st b-day, when the small group would have insured that I was the center of attention? Could be, but we’ll never know; this is one of the few things from that time period that I’m kind of glad worked out the way it did.


g'ovich said...

Good Story!

I'd question the validity of this one as well, but I remember thinking we were all going to get kicked out because Todd was sleeping at the bar. At least I _think_ I remember thinking that.

I'm sure you probably received plenty of attention after that. "Todd, Keep your head up, here she comes!"

And I'm sure there were snipers down that side alley by the gutter.

More stories like these!

Cap'n Neurotic said...

I have one lined up that involves vomit-stained bathroom tile and a late night run to Wal-Mart . . .

CAP'N Disaster said...

Now, this was definatly my kind of story. Although as I already mentioned to you I was disappointed that you weren't at least at some point that night hugging the porcelian god swearing up and down to whomever will listen that you will NEVER NEVER NEVER do it again if only god will save you and get you through the night, as you press you head to cold tile floor between bouts of wretching up the vile toxins that you had ingested earlier in the night along with whatever bar-food you had eaten in a meager attemt to absorb some of the alcohol...let me tell you cheese sticks and jalapeno poppers don't feel very good when they come back up...especially if it comes out your nose, now I've never experienced this but I can imagine that a jalapeno coming out of your nose would would be a funny addition to the story though (not that I fine enjoyment and humor in reading about your pain or anything), but I'm glad to see that you do have a story that involves vomit-stained bathroom tiles, I'll just have to wait for that one.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Well, Cap'n D., I don't know if it will make any difference in your enjoyment, but the vomit in question was not mine; however, there was a large amount of discomfort on my part because of it, so that should make you happy (not that the thought of me being uncomfortable makes you happy or anything).

Tina said...

Damn, if only I could have witnessed the one man my parents totally felt safe with me being out with drunk off his lily white ass. Yes that is presumptuous but it probably matches the rest of you: ) So maybe I should take you to Club 502 when you get to town. One of the two times we went, I had 2 highly potent drinks and was sick from the time the truck started till the next evening when I could finally stop vomiting or for my body to stop trying to purge the wretched mixture from where it came. It was the next evening before I got my balance back and the headache subsided. I somehow went from "Baby, you're so gettin' lucky tonite" to incompacitated for 2 days...

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Now, see, that's the type of ending that people wanted my story to have (and by people, I mean Cap'n Disaster and Fellow Book Monkey and Blogger Bubblegum Tate); sadly, I had to stick to the boring truth, since the Doc is apparently ready to pounce on the first big gaffe he finds. Still waiting to hear what parts of my earlier stories he thought were made up, though . . .

Anyway, that's a lovely thought about Club 502; what better way to spend my Christmas break than blowing 9 1/2 years of sobriety? ;)