Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Sleep, in the immortal words of Nasir Jones, is the cousin of death. But it’s the BFF of drinking. Spend enough time with booze in your hand, and soon you’ll have your head on a pillow. Or a floor. Or a dog.

As you probably can imagine, my crew of grizzled drinking veterans have had plenty of falling-down-drunk moments. And while in sports—and in life in general—it’s not about whether or not you fall down, but how fast you get back up, in boozing the falling down itself is often the truest testament to a performance.
  • In the fall of 2001, BlahBlahBlah and I traveled to Thiel College for their homecoming celebrations. We spent a wild day boozing in a hangar, riding in back of a U-Haul truck with 20 other drunken revelers, defeating all challengers at beer pong while each opposing team had half the student body rowdily cheering behind it, doing 90 mph down country roads in Sales Machine’s Jeep Cherokee, irritating rednecks in Wal-Mart, and just being us, in general. We crashed at Sales’ off-campus apartment, and by about 4 am only BBB, Sales’ Rottweiler, a friend of Sales’ girlfriend, and I were still awake. As we sat in the living room talking, BBB abruptly got up from his chair and announced, “Fuck this—I’m out!” Saying that, he dove to the floor immediately next to the dog, threw an arm over the poor pooch, and cuddled up for the night.
  • BBB, however, is not the only canine Casanova amongst our ranks. In 2004, Rocky threw a raucous pool party at his parents’ house while they were out of town. The next morning I woke up to a reoccurring whimper. As I came to, I gathered information piece-by-piece. “I’m on a couch. I’m facing the back of the couch. Oh yeah, I’m at Rocky’s. In the living room. That whimper is somewhere behind me. I think it’s the dog.” Putting all of this together, I surmised that the family’s dog, Nine [don’t ask me about the name; she was their dog, not mine], needed to be let out to go to the bathroom. I rolled over to take care of it—or, hopefully, to find someone else around who could do it instead—and found the dog only about three feet away from me. Laying on the sofa bed. With Dupa’s arm slumped over her. The man was spooning the dog. And the dog was whimpering because she couldn’t make it stop.
  • One morning last year, I woke up and walked to my bathroom. When I came out to head back to bed, I glanced into my living room. There on my couch laid Dupa, in nothing but a pair of tighty-whities; lying on his side with one leg up over the back of the sofa, he looked as though he had fallen asleep mid-pubescent-couch-grinding-thrust. I returned to my room and got my camera phone to snap a picture. The Ex, half-awake, asked what I was doing. “You’ll see in a second,” I said, as I giddily tip-toed back out to the living room.
  • My living room has been the scene of other great moments in pass out history. Exhibit B: After we returned from a night at the Shadyside bars with a pizza in 2008, LRG promptly passed out while sitting on one half of my loveseat, his head rolled backwards and his mouth wide open. Next to him, occupying the other half of the loveseat, sat the open box with half of a pizza still inside. From the positioning of his arm, it looked as though LRG had passed out while reaching for another slice.
    Exhibit C (as shown below right): After a night of boozing later that year, Tony and I went back to my place to call it a night. After going to my room to throw on sweats and grab him some pillows, I returned to the living room to find Tony dead asleep, facedown in the same loveseat that had claimed LRG. For his part, however, Tony did not appear to have gone down without a fight; it looked as though he had dove over the arm of the couch, face-planted the far cushion, and been knocked out cold upon impact—an impact that had folded his right leg behind him at the knee, adding to the comedy of the scene.
  • Esq has long had a terrible track record of being the first to fall asleep, to which the end of his 4th of July two years ago attests. Often he has been unable to even make it back to the safe haven of a house, apartment, hotel room, etc. before succumbing to the Sand Man. As a result, I have numerous pictures of him passing out at a variety of bars and eateries across the greater Pittsburgh area. One night, while he, Tony, and I ate at Tom’s Diner, I looked up from my 3 a.m. meal to find him sound asleep across the table. I took out my phone and snapped a picture, and then sent it to Tank with the accompanying text, “Have you ever seen a large man in a pink shirt sleeping at Tom’s Diner?”
    Tank responded, “Yes, I have,” and included a picture that he’d taken months prior. In the photo sat Esq—wearing a completely different pink dress shirt—sleeping in a booth at Tom’s.
  • On the morning of the Pirates’ Home Opener in 2003, Swing Low began the day by opening a fifth of Beam with Beard. An hour later the bottle was dry. Then they went tailgating.
    Early that evening, Swing opened his eyes to a bright light. It was a female police officer’s flashlight. Scanning his surroundings, Swing found himself in a random front yard in Beechview, a mile or so from home. He looked up at the officer and said, “I’m that guy, aren’t I?” When she offered him a ride back to his place, a still-drunk Swing countered, “Oooh no—I know what that means!” He then scrambled to his feet and began to run away; but, given his state, his running was more of a lumbering stumble in slow motion (I often imagine it to look something like Bigfoot running underwater). The policewoman followed behind him in her squad car until he got home, to be sure he didn’t endanger himself or anyone else during his “getaway.” To this day, he’s the only one of my friends who can claim to have gotten a police escort home from a day of drinking.
  • In fairness to my friends, I’ll share one of my own pass out violations. I occasionally have the bad habit of roaming during my drunken slumber. Sometimes I get confused when returning from a journey to the bathroom while half asleep, and other times my subconscious decides that I need a change of scenery. And sometimes I haven’t the slightest clue what leads to it.
    On one such occasion in 2002, several of us had been out on the town running amok. At night’s end we returned to the Mount Washington house where BBB lived with two female friends of his from high school. Tony, Irish lothario that he is, had been invited by one of the roommates (“Triple A”) to sleep in her bed. I had chosen my favorite resting place, the couch in a sun room adjacent to Triple A’s room. I loved that room, as it looked out on downtown Pittsburgh, which was directly across the river (this also made it a preferred hook-up room amongst our friends, even a few who didn’t live in the house; sadly, I never took advantage of it myself). Many a Saturday and Sunday morning found me waking up in there. Early the next morning, however, I did not awake in my familiar nook. When I opened my eyes, I was laying on the edge of a bed, facing a wall. Triple A’s wall. I rolled over and looked behind me. There was Tony with his back to me, and on the other side of him Triple A. The next quick check was down my torso, to make sure I was still clothed. I was. Thank god. I gingerly got out of that bed of intrigue as fast as I could, and returned to my sun room with a head full of questions that still haven’t been completely answered.

Here’s to everyone finding sweet dreams this weekend, whenever—and wherever—they may come. Salud.

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