Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lose Yourself ... In This Story

I'm making these extended breaks from On The Rocks far too common, and I apologize. But this time I had a good reason, as Defi alluded to in his last post. Let's just say I recently discovered my soldiers indeed march.

So I got a little throwback for you, but be warned, it's a long one. It goes back to my first days in Appleton, almost six years ago now. This was also right about the time I discovered my knack for getting in good with strip club bouncers and bartenders and earning untold amounts of free cover, unlimited access and hundreds of gallons of booze simply for being ... well, me, I guess.

There's really no downside to such benefits. Sure, every once in a while you have to run to the store for somebody or, in extreme circumstances, fill in at DJ, but for the most part, they're a win-win situation for me.

Unfortunately, part and parcel with those newfound powers came my gift and my curse: my uncanny ability to game strippers.

I discovered this dastardly ability when I first hooked up with Jackie (not her real name, or her stage name, but appropriate given her affinity for whiskey). Jackie was a brunette dancer who was one of the more selective (read: less ho-ish) employees at my regular spot. She and I started dating in the fall.

On Nov. 6, 2002, "8 Mile" was released in theaters. I was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately, I also had a minor medical issue at the time - I know what you're thinking, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my genitals, I swear - so I was in some discomfort and on medication that day. Some new friends wanted to go catch the movie in a group, and I invited Jackie. She was bartending at the club that day, but told me she'd be off before the movie started and to come pick her up.

So I cruise by, and she comes out looking all kinds of good: jeans, heels, tight top, just smokin'. She hops in, and I immediately notice she's buzzing. I also hear lots of glass clinking inside her goosedown coat. She turns to me, says "Voila!" and produced six bottles of Smirnoff Ice that she'd boosted from the bar to bring to the movie for the crew. Not exactly a fifth of Absolut, but still cool of her. We roll off to the theater to meet my peoples.

We get there just before the movie started, so the theater's packed. Turns out our group of eight or 10 has to break into couples to find seats. She and I find seats and she proceeds to hammer through the coolers all by herself.

I'd mentioned she was already tipsy when I picked her up. By the time we walked out of the theater, she was positively drunk. At one point, she was piggybacking me across the parking lot.

My friends decide they want to head to a bar downtown. Jackie and I agree, and jump in my car to meet them there. However, once we got to the door, Jackie realized she didn't have her ID on her. She says she can head down the street to a bar where she knows the bouncer and thus won't need it. I offer to go with her, but she insists I stay with my friends. But I'm not a complete asshole; this girl was already wobbling and she was hot. I wasn't going to let her loose in a nightlife district on a Saturday night by herself. So we stroll down to the spot.

Park Central is one of those "six bars in one" type places. It's a big building, two stories, with central hallways and multiple bars leading off them on each floor. Jackie announces we're going to the karaoke bar - lucky me - so we trudge upstairs. At this point, I'm tired, in pain and developing a headache. Yet I soldier on.

We get a table in the karaoke bar and chill for a while, her with a drink and me with water. She's yammering about doing a song onstage. At some point, I doze off, head dropping down to my chest. I come to a bit later, I don't know how long, and notice Jackie's missing. I figure she's gone to the bathroom and doze back off again.

A bit after that, I wake up again to see a bouncer picking up her coat and purse from her chair. I say, "Yo, that's my girl's stuff, dog." He looks at me and offers this gem: "The police said I had to come get her coat."

I look around and see no police. The bouncer points toward the central hallway. I walk out there to see Jackie in handcuffs, cursing out a group of three officers and alternately threatening to sue them and kick their asses. I walk up very slowly and ask a policewoman talking to another bouncer what's going on.

Apparently, Jackie saw some girl at the bar she had some kind of beef with and threw a drink in her face, then slapped her, although Jackie claimed the girl shoved her first. Brilliant. When the cops show, they run her name and discover she has a warrant for missing a court date. Even more brilliant. The bail is $300, and Jackie only has $150 in her pocket.

By now, it's after 1 a.m. I tell the cop I'll be at the station with the rest of the money. After hitting the ATM, I head over to the department. (For those who don't know, I HATE the police. Not in a "it's cool, it gets you street cred" kinda way, but in a HATE way. For good reason.) I'm almost doubled over in pain. I fill out the paperwork. Jackie eventually comes strolling out, a bit more sober, eyes streaked from crying. She's still threatening to sue everyone.

I indicate we should leave without saying anything. As we walk outside, she's still running off at the mouth, then suddenly says, "What, you don't have anything to say? You don't have my back?" I quietly and politely observe that getting into a barfight when you've got a warrant isn't all that smart.

"Oh, well, f*** you!! Just shut up!!" She storms off in the other direction. After 2 a.m. on a November night in central Wisconsin, in heels. Ten miles from her house.

Once again, the 1 percent of me that's chivalrous overrides the other 99 percent. I get to the car and drive down the block to where she's walking, roll down the passenger window and tell her to get in. She's ignoring me. I pull into a driveway to cut her off and ask her to just get in so we can go home and go to sleep. She stops, looks at me for a minute, then gets in.

To get home, I had to take the main drag through Appleton's downtown, College Avenue. At this point, it's fairly empty because the bars are closed. It's crawling with cops looking for drunk drivers and the like. The speed limit is 35 mph.

I'm rolling down College at a perfect 35 mph, not saying anything, per Jackie's request. Of course, she's absolutely insane when she's drunk, which I was about to find out.

"Why aren't you saying anything?" she asks. "You can say something." I reply that she had just requested that I shut up. "Well, you can at least get my back." Once again I reply, very politely, that I can't get her back when she does something as stupid as what she'd done, and that bailing my girl out of jail at 3 a.m. while I'm sick and in pain is not high on my list of fun things to do.

Her response was to go completely and utterly batsh*t.

I wish I could repeat what she was yelling at me, but I'm not even entirely sure it was English. She's ranting and raving and flailing her arms around and screaming and jumping in the seat and DID SHE JUST OPEN HER F***ING DOOR?!?!?!?

Why yes, yes she did. And she was now trying to jump out of my 1996 Neon that was rolling along at a brisk 35 mph on a four-lane, well-lit road with half the local police department currently patrolling it. I am not making this up.

With my right hand, I reach out and grab for something, anything that will keep me from catching a vehicular manslaughter case. I get a good hold of her goosedown and yank her back in the car, HARD. The door slams shut as she gets pulled back in. She turns to me and continues to flip out, only now she's swinging her arms at me.

Please realize, I'm still trying to drive in a proper manner lest Johnny Law take notice of my car. So my eyes are on the road. All I see is blurry threatening movement very near to my face. I figure she's taking a swing at me. I reflexively swing my right arm up to block the expected blow.

Except she wasn't swinging at me, she was just flailing her arms. And my intended block became an unintended uppercut that glanced off her jaw.


She stops cold. Stops screaming, stops moving, stops everything as she stares at me with eyes the size of golf balls and her jaw hanging loosely. Meanwhile, my testicles are trying to crawl back into my abdomen as I ponder the fact that her brother has served time in prison and is so casually violent that I once saw him stroll across a bar and punch a stranger straight in the face, breaking his nose, for what he, the brother, said were inappropriate looks at his sister. (I guess the fact that his sister was a stripper, and thus depended on inappropriate looks to pay the rent, never occurred to him. But what more can you expect from a guy who hangs out a strip club where his sister works?)

"You hit me." "No, I didn't. I - " "You just f***ing hit me in the face." "Jackie, no, I - "

Cue more insanity.

I drive another block before finding an empty parking lot across from a pizza restaurant to pull into. I park and lean over and try to gently hug Jackie to calm her down. She ain't havin' it. She breaks free and gets out of the car still screaming, and my Midwestern and Northern peoples know how sound carries through cold air. She heads over to a bus stand and sits down to wait for the bus. At 3:30 a.m.

I get out of the car and walk over, trying to reason with her. At this point, I just want to go home. I tell her to get in the car. She doesn't have to look at me, talk to me, acknowledge I exist. Just get in the car. Jackie refuses and screams at me some more, right as two guys are locking up the pizza restaurant across the street. They look over their shoulder to see a pretty girl screaming at some random guy and telling him to stop hitting her.

Guess what kinda reaction that got.

I see them start to walk toward us and consider that leaving this crazy trick might be my best course of action. Right then, however, she comes to her senses and realizes it's about 20 degrees out. So she starts walking down the street in the opposite direction of me to begin what I figured was the 10-mile stroll home. No, really.

I get back in the car before the pizza twins make it over and drive down the street the way Jackie was walking. I pull into the first sidestreet ahead of her, pull a Uey and wait for her to walk by, pleading out the window with her. "Just get in the car, I'll take you straight home." She walks by without even looking at me.
I figure there's a 50-50 chance I'm a dead man once her brother hears about me "hitting" her, but if I leave her out in the cold in the middle of the night, that knock my chances of survival to zero. So I pull out again, go up to the next sidestreet and wait.

This process repeats itself a couple more times before she finally relents and gets in the car. I drive her home without a word between us, and she gets out without even looking at me.

The next morning, as I'm calculating whether or not to buy a gun and whether or not that would be enough to stop Jackie's brother, I get a call from another bartender at the club. Turns out Jackie talked to her that morning and told her what all had happened. However, since Jackie had sobered up by then, she had returned to her normal, sweet disposition and told a fairly accurate version of what happened: she'd started a fight, I hadn't hit her, I was trying to be a gentleman, I was right, etc. On top of that, she had left $150 with this friend for me to cover the half of her bail I had paid.

Needless to say, that night pretty much ended our relationship. Worst part? I never even got to hit it.

Which is why when I ran into her again four years later, I made sure my 1 percent of chivalrousness was rewarded. With interest. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Tequila Willie’s Shootout

Things have been a bit boring around here lately. Only one post in the past two weeks, and that was just me musing on all of the unimpressively impressive ways I’ve voyaged into tawdry, unfulfilling, often hedonistic “relationships” that have added no meaningful value to my life—aside from some juvenile locker room bragging rights.

*leaves to go read his last post again…giggles*


So aside from that poetry, things at On the Rocks have been sparse. TJ has been AWOL down in Tampa [not entirely true: he’s got some stories from the last couple of weeks, but they’re not exactly fodder for the page]. And, due to financial responsibilities, I’ve restricted my—to quote my dear old mum’s comment yesterday—“carousing”. As a result, all around the blogosphere there are emoticon smileys shedding pixilated tears into half-empty beer mug jpegs.

Or, you know…people have just read something else.

To ease your pangs of longing, I’ll give you a quick story from several years ago.

On a Friday night in 2002, some friends and I were hanging out at Tequila Willie’s in the Strip District’s Boardwalk complex. The Boardwalk was a series of clubs located on the shore of the Allegheny River, which were connected by a boardwalk that featured outdoor bars and boat docks. At the time, it was a thriving spot for nightlife in Pittsburgh. Willie’s was relatively new, and was always packed on weekends—especially on Fridays, when they had dollar drinks from 10 to 12. Ah, the dollar drink special. Some people mourn the passing of the $1.20 gallon of gas; I mourn YOU.

We arrived at around 10 p.m. after sufficient pregaming at my boy BlahBlahBlah’s Mt. Washington home. We sat down at the bar and started ordering cups of booze (rum & Coke for my boy, bourbon & Coke for me) two at a time. Never one to waste an opportunity to challenge someone at the game of “Drink,” BBB started taunting me for being behind by a cup.

Me: *chugs* “Oh yeah? F**k you! Bartender! Two more!”
BBB: *snickers, finishes his drink* “Me too!”
Me, in my head:Wait…

I squeezed down my 10th as he polished off number 11, and declared a cease-fire. “Okay, time for beer.” It was, after all, almost midnight; the special would be ending soon. And, as all established drinkers know, if you spend most of your evening throwing back hard liquor, you have to soften the blow with beer at the end of the night. You all know the rhyme: “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear; beer before liquor, never been sicker.” BBB, for certain, was well aware of this time-tested proverb. But instead of agreeing with me, he looked at his watch, pulled out a fiver, and said, “Two more each!” I wanted to choke him, but I saw three or four of him in front of me, and I felt outnumbered. Two more bourbon & Cokes (which, after a couple of hours of tipping the bartender, were only “Coke” in name and not in spirit) were put away, along with my hopes of the night ending well.

Our friend Mere, who was the DD that night, later told us that at around 1 a.m., BBB, our friend Billy, and I were standing side-by-side-by-side at the upper-level railing, looking out onto the dance floor. BBB’s eyes were closed, my head was in my hands, and Billy—who was wearing a cast on his leg and walking with crutches—stood in place, doing all of his dancing with his upper body, arms gleefully shooting up to the sky. I don’t remember that, but I do remember this: my digestive system was angry at me, and was about to take its revenge for bourbon & Cokes 11 and 12. I walked, ever more hurriedly, towards the bathroom. About halfway there, I covered my mouth, to little benefit. Vomit sprayed out from between my fingers as I broke into a full-on run towards the men’s room. I reached a stall and finished the job, and then washed up in the sink while the bathroom attendant chuckled (like he didn’t see it every night?). As I walked back out into the club, avoiding eye contact with anyone nearby who may have been caught in my drive-by, I fully expected to be greeted by bouncers looking to remove me. It turns out, however, that they were busy.

When I got back to where my friends had been, only Mere remained. Before I could ask, she said, “Come on—[BBB] just got kicked out.” While I was gone, he had meandered off into the crowd in search of a beer, and gotten into a shoving match with a 5’5” d bag. After being separated by bouncers, the guy tossed something (by some accounts a shoe) at BBB, who then tried to go after him. Security removed him—though, at 6’4” 260, they didn’t do it easily—and Mere was collecting the rest of us to leave. We got to her car and, in an attempt to pinpoint his location in a very large parking lot, I called BBB.

Me: “Where are you right now?”
BBB: “I don’t know…I’m by a big f***in light!”

During the ten minute drive to his house, Mere twice had to pull over so that BBB could lean out of the door and throw up. The next morning, I awoke in the guestroom to him shaking me as he stood next to the bed. Startled, I responded, “What??

“Hey,” he said with a big, clueless grin. “So what happened last night?”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Marcus

One day last week, while I went through my standard morning routine of brushing teeth and shaving before work, my mind wandered off to some of the more fulfilling moments in my life. The ones that have often taken place in dimly-lit nightclubs where music is pumping, alcohol is spilling, and young women are making Susan B. Anthony and Angela Davis cringe. Then I remembered the conversation with Hollywood that I’d had the night before. As we discussed a drunken story from my weekend, I had offered, “When I’m drunk, I think I’m irresistible.”

Now as I stood in front of my mirror, attempting to escape (if only mentally) the daily 7 am tedium, I gave some deeper thought to that comment. It’s a common—and, more often than not, justified—belief that alcohol makes you bolder when it comes to the opposite sex. As I two-stepped through my highlight reel of memories, I realized just how much bolder it has made me at times. They don’t call it “liquid courage” for nothing.
    An attractive girl walks through McFadden's on a crowded Friday night in 2007, and accidentally bumps into our intoxicated protagonist near the bar. He looks at her and smiles. Instead of admonishing her clumsiness, he grabs the waist of the pretty stranger. They begin dancing in the very spot, grinding on each other hungrily like two unattended teenagers at the prom. The song ends, as does their dance.

    Him: I’m [The D.e.f.i.].
    Her: Alexis*.
    Him: Alexis, what would you do if I let you suck on my tongue?

    Without hesitation, the shy lass pulls him into an impromptu makeout session.
Firstly: Yes, that all actually happened as written. Chief, Haze, and Tony are all my witnesses. Alexis [*I have absolutely NO clue what her name was; I had forgotten it by the next morning] continued on to her original destination after a few minutes of tongue-wrestling. An hour later I spotted a random girl—or, at least, the blurry outline of a girl—nearby, and said, “Alexis?” When she shook her head confused, I resigned, “You’re not the girl I was just making out with, are you?”

Secondly: Yes, my life is heavily influenced by Castor Troy.

Do I always end up with the girl and/or her phone number? Nope. Am I always as suave (stop laughing!) as I was that night in McFadden’s? Hardly. But between sober and twisted, the contrast in my demeanor and approach is stark, to say the least. I go from Clark Kent fumbling with his words and glasses, to Superman…fumbling with his words and glass. But, you know, in a more charming way.
  • Sober? I pass by quietly with a smile. Drunk? “You’re really tall.”
  • When sober, I respond to the news that a girl has read this blog with something like, "Oh really? What did she think?" After drinking, the first thing out of my mouth is, "How badly does she want me?"
  • Sober Me, to Tony: “You are NOT going to tell girls I’m mentally-challenged just to start a conversation.” Drunk Me, about an hour later: “Yeah, do it. I can make it work.” (And I did—hi , Hannah.)
  • Sober Me is annoyed by promotions girls passing out shirts and trinkets that no one really wants; Drunk Me livens up their night by making witty remarks about his new flashing Bacardi pin, while he adjusts his new Bacardi hat.
  • Sober Me hates the fundamental principle of a strip club (why spend money on a girl you can’t have sex with?); Drunk Me wins lap dances and chills in clubs without even realizing a dancer is sitting in his lap.
  • Sober, I hang out with a beautiful senorita in a respectful manner. Drunk, I maul her in front of her coworkers on a couch in the VIP (I’m still amazed she didn’t slap my face and never talk to me again).
  • Sober, I remain an engaging, professional presence around attractive female clients. Blacked out? I end up in the women’s restroom in a club, against the door, frantically making out with one when a coworker opens said door into my back.
  • When I’m sober and a girl tells me she’s married, I curse in my head and give up any hope of hooking up with her. When I’m drunk, I end up having sex with her in a hotel stairwell while her hubby sleeps in their room down the hall.
And lest any girls out there begin to feel a high and mighty streak coming on, let me point out that your gender is not immune to the “altered ego.” About a year ago, I was at McFadden’s again, this time for TD’s birthday. A girl struck up a conversation with me, but as I didn’t find her attractive, I gave the time-honored “I have a girlfriend” line. She then spent the next hour or so trying to convince me to cheat on my fictitious significant other. She even went to the extreme of writing the following on a bar napkin, and then slipping it into my pocket:
    If you’re ever in the mood to try something different, call me!
    Karen xoxo

    (Once again, I don’t remember her real name. And no, I never called. But I do admire her moxie, even if it didn’t come naturally.)
I say all of this to analyze and discuss, not to brag (ok, I’m doing it a little to brag). The stakes aren’t always as low as a quick slap & tickle. When drunk, I’ve told lots of girls that they’re exactly the type that I could fall in love with (if I did and you haven’t heard from me since…sorry ladies). But, once when I was deeply in love—quite possibly the one and only time that I’ve actually been in love in the first 29 years of my life—with one particular girl, I couldn’t muster up the courage to tell her so during the sober hours, when it counted. Come to think of it, I didn’t do much better of addressing it when I was drunk, either. One of my most profound alky blunders led to our friendship being more or less demoted to an awkward pleasantness. Over time, I’ve slowly begun to beat myself up less and less for the opportunity I blew. She has since married, and I wish her the best.

Guess you can chalk at least one up for Dr. Jeckyll.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Working Hard Over Labor Day Weekend

The booze. Oh the booze.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were a marathon tag-team wrestling match: in one corner were me and my common sense; in the opposite corner were beer and liquor. I’d say we won, but I’m not really sure if there is a winner in that kind of battle. I started the weekend downing Patron straight from the bottle at a birthday party. I ended it facedown on a futon in Baby Joey’s computer room. In between were some stories (of course), but my consistent incoherence will only permit me to remember a few of the many. I’ll go over them to the best of my ability.


I kicked off the weekend with my friend TK’s birthday party, which featured about twelve rowdy guys and…two girls. You’ve got to love those 6 to 1 odds. Correction: 11 to 1 odds (two of the people at the party were a couple). It’s not like I ever put women before booze, though, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me. And it didn’t seem to slow down anyone else, either. When I arrived, Dupa and another guy were heading out to pick up a second keg. After I walked into the apartment, I was immediately directed to the ice luge—oh yeah. Some of the guys chugged beer out of a boot-shaped glass named “Das Boot.” My boy Cap [not TJ’s Cap] ran outside after tangling with the Boot, bent over in TK’s front yard, and pulled the trigger, unleashing a torrent of digestion. Then he went inside, washed his hands and face, and filled up Das Boot again.

Eventually, our group made it over to the Saloon of Mt. Lebanon—much to the dismay of the people in the bar. The birthday boy drank directly from his own pitcher, one of our buddies decided to drink while standing with his pants around his ankles, and we all took turns sexually harassing the only female in our group (the couple left before we got drunk enough to try to drive a wedge between them). To put it succinctly: good times.


I started the day still drunk. Of course, it wasn’t until I got to the barbershop that my inebriation really hit me. My barber probably needed to chug some water after inhaling alcohol fumes for 20 minutes while doing my fade.

Then it was off to a live draft for one of my fantasy football leagues. The 2008 season for the “Playa Haters” can go either way—on the one hand, I stocked up on some pretty decent talent; on the other, a lot of that talent plays for the Colts. One good cocaine-&-hooker party in Indy, and my season’s done for.

I had a couple of beers at the draft, but by the time I got home that night I was half-certain that I wanted to take it easy until the next day’s cookout. And the thought of saving some cash was appealing, since I have a bachelor party of epic proportions coming up at the end of the month (Chief’s). And it’s not like I could find a place to get obliterated on a Saturday night without spending much money, right?

Wrong. My boy Nate called me from his girlfriend’s apartment, which is in The ‘Side, and said that he was thinking about hanging out in my hood that night. This made me remember that a friend of ours now works at one of the better bars in Shadyside. Oh f—… Several rounds of Long Island Iced Teas, Red Bull & Vodkas, shots, and beer later, the three of us had a combined tab of around $45. Nate’s girl (NGF), who is all of 5’2” 0lbs, was silly-drunk. As he and I sat at the bar talking, she would be on the other side of him giving a thumbs up like Borat. I’d laugh, he’d snap his head around, she’d stop and giggle; he’d turn back around to continue the convo, and she’d do it all over again. During the walk home, he and I often paced out ahead of her. We’d turn around to check on NGF, who was usually laughing hysterically at everything or nothing, and then slow down so that she could catch up. Once, when we looked back to see what her laughter was for, we found her laying on her side in a front yard after losing her balance and falling. The next afternoon, I sent Nate a picture of her Borat pose; he responded, “Yeah, she’s feeling it today.”


The weekend’s centerpiece, its marquee event, was the now-annual Labor Day Party at the house of Baby Joey and his girlfriend TD. Kegs, Jell-O shots, young pros at this drinking business, and… a Chihuahua? (I’ll explain shortly.)

Joey and TD haven’t been chronicled all too heavily in this blog. But, just in case you have any question about their ability to party, I call your attention to the picture to the right. That’s the actual welcome mat that greets you as you walk up the steps into their house.

And Joey’s pedigree, in particular, is impressive. He is the little brother of Esq (whose comments and exploits have found their way onto this page in the past), and a son of a woman (“Delightful”) more than capable of holding her own in a conversation. Delightful is white, but Joey and Esq are each half Black. While talking to a group of us early in the evening, Delightful paused, looked at Joey, and declared, “You could’ve been Obama!”

Our friend (“Hollywood”) does some landscaping, and adorned Joey’s backyard with a dollar sign (right) for the occasion. And that’s not just a random nickname crafted by yours truly—he was actually calling himself “Hollywood” last week. This is hilarious to me, because: (a.) it reminds me of Meshach Taylor’s character from “Mannequin”; and (b.) I already tease him about his metrosexuality on a consistent basis. He advised Joey’s 10 year old niece to tell her baseball coach that she didn’t want to play catcher anymore, because it’s inherently bad for the knees. My retort—though I had to say it low enough that only Hollywood, and none of the minors running around, heard—was, “Yeah, you should listen to him; he’s been a ‘catcher’ his whole life.”

Speaking of questionable orientations… Ashhad was in attendance—rather, a shell of what used to be “Ashhad” was in attendance. When I arrived, he was seated at a table next to his girlfriend, who was holding a little Chihuahua puppy…in a pink and blue dress. You just can’t make that up. I later looked over and found him holding the dog, and I nearly tripped over myself running over to snap a picture. Just about every one of our friends now has a copy of it. And Ashhad absolutely hates me for it. Hey, it wasn’t my choice for him to show up at a Labor Day party looking like a Pakistani Mugatu. And women wonder why I’ve avoided getting into a serious relationship over the past few years. What guy wants to end up like that?

Early in the evening, though, I came to a realization. This is the third party that I have attended at Baby Joey and TD’s house, and at each the first half of the day has been a “family” segment. Little kids run to and fro while the adults make a futile effort to curb their language and drunken mannerisms. My suggestion (with absolutely no consideration towards the hosts’ finances, time, and effort) is that they hold a family party on Saturday and the adult party on Sunday. Need further evidence that this would be a good idea? Joey’s aforementioned-10 year old niece tossed a frisbee around with another child. She eventually threw it when her playmate wasn’t looking, and the toy sailed straight into the face of a much younger child standing behind him. Hollywood, Ashhad and I watched it happen, all wincing and stifling laughter. When the toddler began crying hysterically, and the older party guests all asked who threw the frisbee, the ten year old turned and pointed at me. And despite the fact that the toss had come from about a foot below my arm reach, adults all around the yard began chastising me for beaning a little girl in the face.

As the night wore on, we slowly polished off the better of two kegs and all of TD’s Jell-O shots. Tony and I played some inspired beer pong, and reaffirmed our place among the top duos in the game. With Joey and Hollywood down to their last cup in one match, I declared, “This is over!” and sank the shot. Then I walked into the house, and on my way to the restroom announced to the guests gathered in the living room, “I am the greatest beer pong player EVER!” Did I mention that I drank a lot of beer and Jell-O shots?

Hollywood persuaded Baby Joey and I to make a run down the street to the bar for shots of tequila. I think his eloquent sales pitch consisted of, “C’mmooonnnn.” After tossing back the first one, I wondered why I hadn’t just stayed at the party. Then Tony, TD, and several other girls from the party walked in, upset that we had gone without them. And I remembered that I run with drunks; staying at the party was never really an option.

Another round or two of shots went down, and we all returned to the house. One of TD’s friends, “1L,” was drunk enough that she had to lie on her back on a couch while talking to the rest of us, who were all standing. TD, who is by no means a large girl, packed away the last of a dessert dish. Hollywood, who had brought an overnight bag and a change of clothes, waited until none of us were looking and stumbled off to his car, peeling off down the street on his way home (he made it there safely, amazingly). And if the level of a person’s intoxication can be measured by how out of character his or her actions are, then the award for “Most Hammered” goes to Baby Joey, who stood at the sink, casually washing the dishes.

And with that, goes the summer. It’s been an interesting one, to say the least. Now I have to brace for months of cold, snow, and ice. I’m taking a bottle of Glenfiddich to a cave—someone wake me in May.