Welcome to the New Year gang! A bright and shiny fresh start where instead of making resolutions prepackaged for immediate failure I just didn't make any in the first place.
To be honest I have ignored New Years Eve festivities for decades now, much in the same manner my nail polished poetry writing Smith's listening cries for help went ignored by my immediate family.
The luster went out of drinking copious amounts of alcohol and violently purging the contents and lining of my stomach, resulting in ruptured capillaries when it stopped being fun. Apparently wiping the chunks of yesterdays soggy Cheetos from your chin and winking with blood filled eyes prior to making your Big Move on the Single-For-A-Reason girl in the corner isn't widely regarded as "Sexy" per se.
I do remember the first time I set out to drink with the intended byproduct of getting drunk. I was 13.
Oh, I had imbibed before, sharing 2 beers with 5 people behind the school on a Friday night after Automan and Manimal, but that wasn't about getting intoxicated; that was for the thrill of doing something that we weren't supposed to be doing and getting away with it, the rush of possibly getting caught. Also known as the Catholic Priest Complex.
The night in question my parents were going across the street to the neighbors for a dinner party, which meant my brother and I would also be attending, except we would be relegated to the basement to hang out with the neighbor's kids, Steve, who was my brothers age, and his younger brother Donny, who was my age. Friends through geographical convenience.
Earlier that day while eavesdropping on my brothers conversation with Steve in the hopes of gleaning something worthy of future blackmail, I overheard them conspiring to sneak in some booze while the parents were preoccupied discussing Reagan, the State of the World, and Kids Today. As soon as the rotary phone was resting in its cradle I advised my chunky sibling in no uncertain terms that I wanted a piece of the action.
My brother considered the consequences of getting ratted out to my father or looking like a dweeb in front of his pal Steve, and in a shrewd and risky move agreed to include me, but on the condition I be the one who procure the alcohol. In my excitement I immediately agreed without thinking it through.
I had visions of being the Hero, sneaking behind enemy lines, and securing the target to slaps on the back and accolades from the older kids.
My brother had visions of me taking all the risks and him still getting all the glory.
When asked how I was going to pull off the heist I ambiguously stated "Leave it to me, I have a plan", and truth be told, I absolutely did not. What I had was an extensive cinematic memory, my mind flipping through a repertoire of old Hogan's Heroes episodes and Steve McQueen movies. Then it hit me like a Turkish prison guard: Midnight Express!
I quickly siphoned about an inch and a half from each bottle of my parents seemingly infinite collection of rye, gin, rum, vodka, brandy, and scotch into 2 large re-sealable freezer bags, sucking the air out of each. I then duct-taped 1 to the small of my back, and the other to my hairless chest. I didn't care that I had contaminated the flavors by mixing them together, booze was booze and I wasn't some pubescent connoisseur, I was on a mission. I felt like a mule for ill begotten goods, although a camel may be more apropos.
As I casually sauntered past my mother who was busily preparing a dessert for the evenings festivities, the sound of the amber colored parcels under my shirt thundered like crashing waves in my paranoid ears, drowning out the sound of my hammering heart. "I'm going to Donny's to play on his Commodore 64 before dinner, seeya there Ma" I called over my shoulder, my trembling sweaty hand poised on the handle of the front door. "Ok son" she replied without stopping the motion of the rolling pin on the kitchen counter. Talk about a harrowing a close call.
Once inside the neighbors domicile I paused at the door of the basement rec room where the gang was gathered to regain my composure, waiting for my legs to stop feeling like Jello. I calmly opened the door and strutted, actually strutted into the room. "Hey gaylords" I bravely greeted the anticipant trio, slumping into one of the waiting beanbag chairs, and feigned nonchalance by lazily flipping through the pages of a discarded Starlog showcasing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on the cover.
All eyes on me, two silent, expectant minutes passed before I pulled up my shirt revealing both the alcohol and my ingenuity. My brothers mouth widened in an ugly steel grin as he exclaimed "I told you guys I'd come through". I let this usurpation slide because for a fleeting moment I thought I detected a glimmer of pride in my brother's eye, although it could have been the track lighting reflected off a fresh eye-booger.
Disneyland tumblers featuring Goofy in a one-piece bathing suit were produced and the foul smelling nectar was cut with my favourite soda, Dr Pepper, at a 50-50 ratio. I took the liberty of claiming the first glass siting The Spoils of War clause. Trying to project an image of one world-wise and cavalier, whilst simultaneously disposing of the evidence, I hurriedly slurped the bacchnalian concoction. Through a straw.
2 glasses and 30 minutes later things went sideways. Fast.
Donny and I were very, very inebriated. Unpleasantly messy fall-down world spinning drunk. The 2 older boys were pretty tipsy, but had enough of their faculties about them to realize that they would be the ones to ultimately take the brunt of the inevitable repercussions. They were In Charge.
They needed to get me out of the house and sobered up. Stat.
The plan was hurriedly concocted and discussed: we would file out quickly, siting we were going to the movies. That would give us 3 hours to get the liquid evil out of me and Donny. I was supposed to be the 1st one out of the door, but the mercenary gaggle crowded the door and I got pushed to the back of the line, like the runt of the litter who always gets bucked from the teat. With a casual "Going to the movies!" the other three made it out the door.
Things went wrong when my mother innocently asked what feature we were going to see. Not wanting to draw attention to my drunkeness by acting strange, I stopped to address the adults. I could have kept it simple and said something monosyllabic like "Dune", but I was feeling uninhibited and cocky, I was indomitable, and I was gonna sell this.
I took a deep breath, focussed my rolling eyes and shouted "InnyAnna Jnnz anna Tempus a Dim", then went to nonchalantly lean on the wall that wasn't beside me. I landed on my stomach and projectile vomitted into the boot tray laden with loafers and pumps, and continued to vomit for 16 hours.
Oh yeah, I sold that alright. About as convincing as Bono playing guitar.