Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me?

It took 29½ years, but I’ve finally come to the realization that birthday parties are not for the birthday boy or girl; they are for his or her friends. (This is similar to weddings not being for the bride and groom—I think we can all agree that they are definitely not for the groom—but instead really only serving as a big drunken soirée for their guests.) Maybe I’m wrong; maybe this is only how it is for my friends and me. But it seems that when convening at a bar or club to celebrate someone’s date of birth, everyone except for the man or woman of honor has a blast and comes away with some crazy tales. The most basic of explanations is that if you have 20 people, it’s a 19-on-1 brawl; unless you’re the Bruce Lee of BAC, you’re just not going to survive. Witness my most recent birthday, which I chronicled on this page last April. But despite my night ending brutally, everyone else who was there has told me how much fun they had (for example: Hollywood made out with a 40 year old cougar at the bar while her 22 year old son watched with a disappointed look). The person celebrating the birthday is usually so wiped out that he or she doesn’t get the opportunity to party as hard as everyone else. Drinking is irony sometimes.

This new wisdom came to me Saturday morning, after a Friday night spent commemorating TD’s birthday in The ‘Side. The 28th anniversary of TD coming into being was actually October 22nd; however, colds (first hers, then Baby Joey’s) helped to push back any revelry until November 14th. The recuperated couple joined Zach and I in pregaming at my apartment that night, throwing back Ketel One, Belvedere, and Crown Royal for about an hour. We ended that session by downing a round of Jager Bombs, and then strolled up the street to William Penn Tavern to meet up with her friends from work, Ashhad, and others. More shots and drinks were passed around in every direction, especially TD’s; but it seemed like Joey, Zach, and I were sprinting out ahead of the 5’5” 10 lb birthday girl on the road to Blackoutville. My theory: This particular highway is a pretty steep decline, and our greater masses brought about a higher rate of acceleration.

At least it kind of sounds intelligent, right?

Though I can barely remember this portion of the evening, talking to Ashhad and Zach the next day confirmed that the three of us ended the night at Doc’s Place. Ashhad ordered six rum & Cokes—two for each of us—and handed them out. Instead of sipping my two drinks, though, I picked up a random glass that had been left on the bar and began to chug an unknown concoction. Both of my boys tried to talk sense into me, but to no avail. Who were they to tell me not to drink free booze, anyways?

That moment of personal brilliance surely contributed to the scene that I awoke to the next morning. Coming to, I saw my nightstand and bedroom wall in front of me. Well, I made it back to my bed. Next, the standard “Do I still have my cellphone” check. I looked behind me, and saw the back of Baby Joey’s bald head. Hmm, I wasn’t expecting that.

I jumped out of bed to get a better assessment of the situation. Joey, still clothed, was tucked under the blanket on the other side of the bed. Scratching my head, I walked out into my hallway. On the floor of my bathroom sat one of my spare blankets, neatly folded. I shuffled down the hall to the living room. Zach was passed out on my couch. His jeans were on the floor next to his bottle of Crown. The dress shirt that Joey had worn the previous night was on the floor by the TV stand. What wasn’t anywhere in sight was the birthday girl herself. Resigned to letting Joey have the bed and kicking his ass for it later, I grabbed the blanket from the bathroom and laid on the loveseat. I shot off a text message to Lady Friend, who was out of town: “Babe, you won’t believe the morning I’m having. I woke up in the Twilight Zone.”

Ten or so minutes later, Joey emerged from my room.

Joey: “How did I end up in the bed?”
Me: “You tell me!”

To the best of our collective knowledge, he had passed out on the couch upon returning to the apartment. At some point in the night, probably after coming out of the bathroom, he had been disoriented, thought he was back at his own house, and climbed into bed.

During a phone call to his MIA girlfriend later in the morning, Joey found out that she had slept in the front seat of their car; she then drove home around 5 a.m. When he asked her, “Can you come pick me up?” TD gave him a terse, “I guess so.” After hanging up, Joey said, “I think it’s safe to say we got into a fight last night.”

Zach: "You don't remember?"
Joey: "Nope!"

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