I have a rich tradition of not knowing when to stop drinking, and my parents have a rich tradition of looking the other way. Back in my youthful days I’d have evenings of coming home intoxicated and then consuming two microwaved t-bone steaks in front of my mom in the small hours of the morning while doing my best impression of a sober guy who simply met up with friends for an evening drive. Or, vomiting on my pillow and convincing my parents that I had a stomach bug. I’m sure they knew what I was up to, but luckily they never bothered to broach the subject.
One night when I was visiting home from college, I decided to sneak some boxed wine that my dad kept in the fridge. I was secretive about it since I knew that my parents wouldn’t approve of underage drinking in their house. So, I waited until they turned in for the evening before filling up a glass. I spent the night sitting by myself in the living room downing glass after glass of red, while keeping my ears open for either of my parents possibly descending the house steps. At the time I didn’t have a lot of experience drinking wine. It wouldn’t be for a few more years that I would realize that you get different affects from drinking wine, beer and whiskey.
For all of my young readers, here is a rundown of how each individual drinks will affect your body.
Beer: After a couple beers on an empty stomach, you’ll get a great burst of energy. You’ll be optimistic and will feel an undeserved sense of self-satisfaction. But after a few more beers all of that will quickly fade and you’ll begin to get sleepy and depressed. You’ll then become nostalgic and will want to listen to bands that you enjoyed in high school. Beer will also shake loose memories that you’ve long forgotten, like stealing a brownie from a retarded girl in a wheelchair.
Whiskey: Whiskey will make some of your most inane thoughts seem pithy and poetic. You’ll feel like the most intelligent man in the room and you won’t hesitate to prove it with pedantic monologues and condescending scoffs. Eventually your mouth won’t be able to keep up with your verbose vocabulary and you’ll begin to stutter like Walt’s son from Breaking Bad as you try to say words like “idiosyncratic”, “in perpetuity” and “omnipotent”. But, not to worry, people around you will have stopped listening after your third glass.
Wine: Wine is an entirely different breed of cat. Wine doesn’t lead to very heady thoughts or anything of merit in my opinion. Wine will only make you dizzy and nauseous. The end.
Back to my wine drinking evening almost a dozen years ago. I decided to spend the night in and figured I’d class up my evening of scanning the movie channels for boobs by drinking a few glasses of the boxed Merlot. Over the course of the night I made multiple trips to the kitchen fridge to replenish my glass, and by the time I realized that I had too much to drink, it was too late. My brother, Abe, came home to discover me drunk on my parent’s sofa. I don’t remember what we talked about. All I remember is that he went to bed and I wasn’t far behind. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, my brother and I slept in bunk beds far too long into our adulthood. He was twenty-two and I was nineteen, and yet we slept like Arnold and Willis from Diff’rent Strokes when we came home from college.
At a certain point while I was trying to fall asleep on the top bunk, I decided that I needed to drain some of the fermented grapes that collected in my bladder. As I crawled to the edge of the bed and felt for the ladder below me with one foot, I lost my balance and fell to the floor. My mother, awoken by the sound of her youngest child falling onto the bedroom floor, immediately came into the room. She asked what happened, I said, “I guess I fell out of bed.” I assured her that I was alright and quickly climbed back into bed.
Not long after I realized that I still needed to go to the bathroom. I decided to make a second attempt. As I perched myself at the edge of my bed, I felt for the ladder once more, this time with much more care. It didn’t matter. I fell off my bed once again and onto the floor with another loud thud. My mother once again hurried into our room to make sure her drunken baby was alright.
She said to me with great concern, “Are you alright?” I uttered with great disbelief, “I fell out of bed again?!?!” At this point I think she was starting to get suspicious. I assured her that everything was alright and climbed my crippled bones back into bed.
Soon after the second fall I realized not only that I had to urinate, but I also had the bed spins and cold-sweats that usually proceed vomit. Like Christ, I knew I was probably destined for a third fall, but I had to risk it. I couldn’t stay in that bed. As I began to maneuver to the edge of the top bunk, a voice beneath me cut through the stark silence by saying with great aggravation, “Stay in bed you idiot.” I heeded my older brother’s advice, lied back down, and managed to pass out with a full bladder while sleeping on my side to reduce the chance of asphyxiating on my vomit.
The following evening my dad opened the fridge to get a glass of wine and instead of being greeted by a healthy stream Merlot, he instead had his glass hovering below a stalactite-like drip from the box spigot. The family was sitting at the kitchen table as my dad lifted the empty box from the fridge and shook it. “Who drank all my wine?” he inquired. My blood ran cold, I knew I was busted. At that moment, Abe (of legal drinking age) swooped in to my rescue and said, “Oh, I had some wine when I came home last night. I’ll pick you up some more.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. I was off the hook. And yet, I still sold my kin down the river by saying, “Some wine?”
I was the best man at his wedding. Though, I’m not sure why. I guess he found some redeemable qualities in me, even though I’m the sort who would douse him with gasoline as he pulled me from the flames.