Tag Archives: drinking

I was a scumbag college senior

One time during my last year of college I got really drunk and stole something off the walls at one of the off-campus bars. This particular venue, Mug-Z’s, while I was there anyway, it was the unofficial senior bar. Trust me, that was about its only noteworthy feature. All of the off-campus bars, there were about three or four of them, they had pretty much an identical layout: an open space and then a long bar. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, the place would get jam packed with students. Looking back, I really don’t get the appeal of standing in a crowded space drinking overpriced cheap beer.


But whatever, everybody went, everybody got drunk, I got really drunk, especially on this night. And I don’t know if it was the impending pressure of knowing that the remainder of my senior year was evaporating before my eyes, but I started going out harder than usual, pregaming earlier, staying out much, much later. With the lack of sleep and excessive alcohol that accompanied these benders, naturally my decision making process started to suffer accordingly.

So at Mug-Zs, every year right before graduation, there was a sort of open class photo in front of the bar. Anybody who wanted to could head over, they’d snap the photo, and not too long after, this shot would be blown up and framed, hanging on the far wall across from the bar. This tradition must have been going back at least a dozen years, because they were starting to run out of room, all of these poster-sized prints, different groups of identical looking twenty-two year olds.

And this one night, I was partying pretty hard, I had just enough alcohol in my system to where I was definitely beginning to lapse in judgment, but I hadn’t yet reached the point where it started to slow me down. In other words, I was acting like a crazy person, pounding beers, singing along obnoxiously to the jukebox. Out of nowhere, I don’t know, maybe there was a lull in the non-action, I looked over at the nearest class photo, I thought, should I? And I did. I grabbed it off the wall, kicked open the side door, and started sprinting toward my apartment.

I honestly have no idea why I did such a thing. The whole time I was running, I kept looking over my shoulder, really expecting somebody to be following me, providing me with some sort of a drunken chase. But there was nobody. Who knows, maybe I was a really fast runner, or maybe nobody saw me. I got inside my off-campus apartment, I was the first one of my roommates back for the night. I must have had enough wits still about me that I was able to put a nail through the drywall to hang this thing up, and then I passed out.

Over the course of the next few days, everybody kind of laughed at my accomplishment. Apparently nobody had seen me bolt out of the bar, and when everybody finally got home later that night, I guess it had the intended effect, a, “What the fuck?” moment as everybody tried to figure out how this thing had wound up on our wall.

But that was it. I was kind of worried that the next time I’d step inside Mug-Z’s, the bouncer might recognize me right away, a, “You!” followed by a severe pummeling. But again, nothing happened. And the photo stayed on the wall for the rest of the year, largely invisible, the way that framed photos and artwork have a way of blending into the background after you get used to seeing them every day.

Graduation came and went, and all of the roommates spent our last twelve hours or so packing up and getting ready to move out. But then it was this question of the photo. What do I do with it now? I thought, I guess I’ll just throw it out, but for some reason now I started to feel bad. Like what kind of person just rips things right off the wall? I thought back to every time I’d been to the bar since, noticing that gaping hole in the wall of photos. Why was I all of the sudden feeling remorse for being such a scumbag?

I hung out around the neighborhood until a little later in the day, and when I was sure the bar would be open, I headed over with the photo in hand. Everybody else had already moved back, so the normally crowded bar had a really dumpy, hollow vibe with only two or three people inside drinking beers. I walked over the bartender, “Hey man, uh, I found this in the dumpster when I was moving my stuff out. I figured someone stole it from you.”

I cringed at my inability to even fully fess up for my misdeed. The guy’s face lit up, “Oh my God! I can’t believe you found that! I’ve been looking everywhere. I’m friends with a lot of the guys in that photo!” and he immediately hung it back on the wall, shaking my hand, thanking me profusely. “Come on,” he gestured to the bar, “Drinks are on me.”

And normally I would have loved some free drinks, but I couldn’t. I had to get out, fast. “No thanks man, I’ve got to be heading home.” This guy was giving me a hero’s welcome, and I was accepting it, while in reality I was the thief, I was the dirtbag who ripped this thing off of the wall in the first place. Whenever I think back upon the incident, I always still feel pretty stupid, like why did I do that in the first place? What made me think that it was OK? What the hell was I thinking?

Movie Review: The World’s End

Ah yes, a British movie. I went to see The World’s End, and I couldn’t help but thinking about all of the movies I’ve seen that were made across the Atlantic: not too many. I’m sure they make lots of films over there, but the ones that make it to me, to a pretty average American moviegoer, I don’t know, it’s like The King’s Speech, Monty Python … do Hugh Grant movies count? They totally don’t count. Even in his most British pictures, he’s really just something on loan from the UK to Hollywood, like even though Love Actually took place across the pond, there were all sorts of American actors and tropes and …

world's end robot

And what am I talking about, Love Actually? I never saw Love Actually, I just remember overhearing someone else talk about it once. Someone really stupid. And I could just tell how inauthentic the whole thing was, you know, from this non-Englishman’s point of view.

The World’s End is billed as the third part in a trilogy of sorts, although besides the principle cast and writing team, there’s not really a coherent story linking all three parts. Shaun of the Dead imagined how Simon Pegg would confront the zombie apocalypse, Hot Fuzz had something to do with police officers (I never actually saw Hot Fuzz,) and The World’s End follows five high school friends who reunite twenty years later to finish a twelve-stop pub crawl they almost completed back when they were eighteen.

I realized pretty soon into the movie that I was laughing a lot more than I would be at this point during an American movie, during parts in any movie that I wouldn’t normally find laugh-out-loud funny. I attributed a lot of the giggles to the fact that everybody’s talking really fast, jokes weaved tightly into every sentence, with absolutely no stopping for even the briefest of pauses between syllables or breaths. It’s just non-stop dialogue and everybody’s speaking in an accent and, yeah, I guess that is pretty funny.

The humor is very dark. Simon Pegg’s main character Gary King hasn’t developed at all since the early 1990s montage that opens the film. By the time we meet our protagonist in the present day, twenty years of partying have taken their toll. The whole intro, the extended speech explaining the almost-made-it night of twenty years ago, it winds up being told by King in the middle of a twelve-step meeting, and even the other participants seem disturbed by the enthusiasm in which he recounts the best day of his life.

King rallies his old friends and convinces them to have a proper night. Twelve bars, twelve beers, all culminating at The World’s End, a fitting name for the final tavern. As the Five Musketeers head out to their old home town, in King’s high school car, with the same exact cassette mix tape never having been removed from the tape deck, the gang starts to question the psychic hold their friend seems to manage over everyone else.

Just as the adults step in to make some belated adult decisions, it turns out that the town has been taken over by robots. And even though that’s pretty much the whole plot of the movie, once things get rolling, a lot of the genuine character-driven plot evaporates. I get it, I guess, that this kind of a spoof on a disaster movie is a way to confront existential problems, addiction, middle-age, conformity, feelings of isolation, but I just couldn’t help but feel that the group dynamic was building toward something. And then the robot thing happens and that’s basically the rest of the movie.

All the way until the really bizarre ending, something that, after having seen Monty Python, I’m just going to go ahead and make the sweeping generalization that all British movies have to have crazy endings. Except for The King’s Speech. Did I mention that I saw The King’s Speech already? Well, I saw it. Although, I guess it’s not all that normal of a movie, right? A king? With a stutter? And the doctor is some crazy guy from Australia? That didn’t really happen, did it?

St. Patrick’s Day: The Real Story

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody. It’s such a great holiday. Everything’s green. Just like Ireland. Just like St. Patrick. Legend has it that good old St. Pat had sort of a green tint to him, to his complexion. Those interested in hagiography know that Patrick had to board a ship to travel to Ireland. It was there that he developed a really bad case of seasickness. “Looking a little green around the gills, aren’t ye Patty?” the sailors used to tease and taunt him.

And it was true. From the minute St. Patrick boarded his first vessel, he couldn’t stop feeling the rocking, the back and forth, the never-ending motion of the boat crashing against the waves. When he wasn’t throwing up, he was in between throw-ups. It was pretty constant. He was originally supposed to be a slave on one of these ships, but after a while the captain realized that Patrick was all but useless on a boat.

They tried beating it out of him, they tried withholding food and water. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and so Patrick kept puking and puking. Finally the crew conceded that he was probably a lost cause, and so they made him walk the plank.

Even when he was thrown overboard, alone, adrift in the sea, he couldn’t stop throwing up. But it was all for the best, because his wrenching and heaving served to propel him forward through the water, until he miraculously landed on the Emerald Isle.

Once on dry land, his nausea diminished somewhat, but he was never really able to get his sea legs to start acting like land legs again. For the rest of his life, wherever he went, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop feeling those waves, the incessant rocking back and forth. He’d lay awake in his bed for hours, unable to stop the maddening sensation of being stuck on that boat, staring at the ceiling and trying to will his brain to adjust to his new surroundings.

But it was all for naught, and he had to contend to living a life slightly off balance. Interestingly, this is how the Irish people came up with one of their most famous dances, the jig. After Patrick did all of his miracles, expelled the frogs and the snakes, defeated the druid priests in miracle competitions, he became very famous. Everybody in Ireland knew of him and talked about his exploits. He was beloved enough that when people saw him walking all wobbly because of the whole permanent seasickness thing, they emulated him. They all started walking like they were stuck on a boat. And so generation after generation, this became a way to commemorate Patrick, it became embedded in the Irish culture, in the jig.

Unfortunately, to an outsider’s perspective, this whole walking around like you can’t get a hold of anything, it looks an awful lot like inebriation. And so the Irish developed an unwarranted reputation for being a group of heavy drinkers. Still, St. Patrick’s life was noble and honorable enough to overcome this slanderous legacy, kind of.

Today Irish and non-Irish around the world celebrate the life and deeds of St. Patrick, Ireland’s most famous non-Irish person. Some of his more unsophisticated followers use his feast day as an excuse to head to the city for the day, to get really drunk. They drink lots of beer and have to go to the bathroom really badly, but everybody else is doing the same exact thing. So they head down to the alley to see if they can’t get away with peeing outside, but the cops, they’re everywhere, they’re just counting on busting kids from the suburbs for public urination. And that’s a pretty hefty fine.

True devotees commemorate St. Patrick by, yes, by drinking, but they use green food coloring to make their beer look green. And it’s not just beer. You can get green bagels on St. Patrick’s Day. You can get a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. There’s lots of green stuff available, just like in Ireland.

So get out there and celebrate. Do a little jig. If you see a frog or a snake, kill it. And make sure that everything you eat and drink is green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody!

Seventh Heaven is the worst show in the history of television

I’ve been thinking about Seventh Heaven all day. It came out of nowhere. That stupid theme song just popped in my head, kind of in the background at first, like I don’t remember when it actually started, but it must have been imperceptible, gently blending in behind all of my other thoughts, slowly working its way into the forefront of my consciousness. And then it was all I could hear, that, “Oooooooh Seventh Heaven,” over and over again. It’s terrible.

And I haven’t thought about Seventh Heaven in forever, so my mind, while chewing on the never-ending theme song stuck on loop, it’s been digging up basically every Seventh Heaven related memory I have stored inside my brain. After having not thought about it in years, I can’t believe how terrible that show really was. Even worse than I remember. I can’t believe I actually watched it.

It started airing when I was in seventh grade. Seventh grade. Seventh Heaven. I’m trying to think of some sort of a connection, but I think that’s it, really, and it’s not even much of a connection at all. Or it could be a sign, from God, telling seventh grade me to watch Seventh Heaven. Seeing as how the show is all about cookie-cutter morality all draped in a semi-religious backdrop, I guess that makes about as much sense as any.

Who knows why I started watching the show? When you’re twelve years old, you’ll watch anything. It was on regular TV. It was on at like eight at night. What else would I be doing? Homework? Please. I never did homework.

Growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch a majority of what was on TV. No Fresh Prince. No Blossom. All way too mature I guess. Whatever, part of me wished my mom had banned Seventh Heaven, if only to spare me the nonsensical bullshit of the Camden family every week for the next five years of my life.

The dad’s a minister. The Reverend. As Newt Gingrich told Mitt Romney last year, “Enough of the pious baloney.” The whole premise of the show was a constant stream of black and white, good and evil garbage. On especially bad episodes, they whole program would basically turn into an hour long PSA. Forget plot, forget characters. Just get to the pointing of a random topic and start sermonizing about it.

There was a video game episode. One of the kids got a Game Boy but the parents tied the whole thing into a culture of desensitizing violence. There’s an episode where the brother starts smoking cigarettes. There are bullies at school. Cutting. Bulimia. Drinking, drugs, fireworks. Vandalism. Acne. Literally, just name some random topic, some random ill of society, and on that given week, every single member of the family will independently be confronted with and will have to deal with that specific topic.

Everything, every problem, every question, there’s always a clear-cut answer. No in betweens, no halfway, no gray areas. And while there’s always a lesson to be learned, usually coming right at you directly from the Reverend’s pulpit, they’ll always manage to dramatize the situation even further by demonstrating at length why good is good and just how evil all things evil really are.

One week the older brother Matt gets tempted with marijuana. He never smokes it, of course, but he drops the joint accidentally in front of his house. The mom finds it. The kids find it and think it’s the mom’s. Everyone in the family is all at the same time talking to each other about the evils of marijuana. The whole thing comes to a climax in the form of a good old fashioned family meeting. After the Reverend threatens to drug test everyone in the household, Matt admits it was his, at which point the little brother Simon flips out, starts crying, screaming about how his older brother really let him down.

In the world of Seventh Heaven, the act of simply considering marijuana makes you a full-fledged junkie. One sip of beer makes you drunk, and getting behind the wheel after that one sip makes you a felon. And don’t think you can get away with anything, because the Reverend owns the police. He’s got Sergeant Michaels on speed dial, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain peace and harmony.

Seventh Heaven was terrible, a truly awful, awful, terrible TV show. I can’t believe it was shown to a national audience. A bunch of bullshit ridiculous preachy sermonizing from a totally unrealistic family set in a town that doesn’t resemble any real place I’ve ever been to in my life. You want to watch TV and get lectured? Not me. I want to watch crime and space travel and really stupid funny stuff. Fucking Seventh Heaven.

That’s what I’m here for man

Please, no need to thank me. Of course I didn’t mind picking you up at three in the morning. You were drinking. What were you supposed to do, drive home? Take a cab? Those taxis are such a rip-off. Not drink so much? Please, what’s the point of going out if you can’t knock a few back. I mean, I wasn’t doing anything. Which worked out perfectly, because I’m here for you man. Let me know, any time, you’re my friend.

Of course I can help you move next Saturday. I’m great at helping people move. Wait, are you asking me to come help lift large items into a truck or do you want me to swing by and actually pack? Both? Yeah, of course that’s fine. That’s why people call me up when they’re moving, because I’m great at it. The best. Of course I have extra boxes and tape. And if we need more I know exactly where we can get some. Sure, yeah, I guess I can just swing by on my way over and pick up some more. Because, yeah, you’re right, it’ll be much easier if I just go myself and save you a trip. Because, please, you’re moving. Moving sucks. You’ve got a lot on your plate, a huge headache.

Yeah let’s totally get together this Friday. Yeah that’s a great idea, let’s all meet up at my place. Yeah I have a ton of leftover beer from last time. I mean, I don’t have as much as I did last time, because we all drank a lot of it, but there is definitely some left over. I could just pick up some more. You guys will throw me a couple of bucks, right? Right, I remember you telling me about that cleaning service last time, but it just seems so expensive. Especially because it’s just us hanging out. Well, how many other people were you thinking of inviting? Well, wouldn’t we need a lot more beer than last time for that type of a party? Yeah, you’re right, I’m sure everybody will bring something, and … no, when you compare it like that, the number of people coming to how much the cleaning service costs, I guess it’s not that bad.

You need a guarantor for your new apartment? I don’t know man, that sounds like a lot of commitment. No, I know you’re good for your rent. But I just feel a little uncomfortable signing my name onto something like that. Because what if you lose your job? No, I know you’re doing OK. I’m not trying to say that … what about your parents, could they sign? They said no? Why? Well, I mean, it kind of matters a little why, to me, especially because you’re asking me to put my finances on the line. Right? And if your parents said no I should at least know why they said no.

Because, I don’t know, I have my own expenses to worry about. Well, yeah, I guess I could lend you five hundred bucks. Yeah, no, I really don’t want to cosign on your apartment. Fine, fine I’ll commit to the five hundred. But you’re good for it, right? Like how long until you’ll be able to get it back to me? Well, when is your cousin supposed to be in touch with you? Well, when is this guy’s company supposed to get up and running? Full-time associate you say? Yeah, that does sound pretty legit. Still, I’d feel more comfortable if … no, you’re right, none of us can accurately predict the future. It’s just that …

Why would you need my social security number? Can’t I just give you five hundred cash? Well then can’t I just fill out the paperwork and send it in myself? I’ve never heard of any bank that insists on anybody personally handing in all of this information, especially for such a small loan. Can I come with you at least? Maybe talk to the banker? Why not? What do you mean not technically a bank? This is all getting to be a little more than I’m really comfortable with.

Yeah I have a Zip Car. No you can’t use it. What do you mean you already used it? Did you return it? No, you have to return it as soon as you’re done with it. They charge by the hour. Because they don’t know if it’s available to rent again unless you tell them. Two days ago. You just took the card out of my wallet. Listen, I know you’re moving, but you can rent a U-Haul for a whole day for like significantly less than what it costs for me to rent a Prius by the hour. Wait a second, please don’t tell me you tried to get furniture in that thing. Jesus. Of course they’re going to be able to link it back to me.

No, yeah, no you’re right. Yeah, I’d do it for you I guess. Just, just let me know next time. Yeah, I’ll still sign. I mean, we’re friends, right? Just, just next time you all go out drinking, just give me a call, I’m always down. No, I won’t even drink. I’ll still be good to be your DD. I know a lot of times I’m sleeping when it’s that late, but only because I don’t have anything to do, so if you call me, I’ll be up and out. Yeah, totally, and no, I really appreciate you not wanting to disturb me, but we’re bros, right? Yeah, you’re not disturbing me, you’re not imposing at all. I mean, what are friends for?