The holidays. What is it about this time of year that just makes you say, “I want to lose all consciousness as quickly as possible”?
Wednesday, Dec. 22nd
I went to an S&M shaming at the Consol Energy Center, otherwise known as the Penguins’ 5-2 manhandling of the Florida Panthers. As I sipped on my beer (at $7.75 per 12 ounce draught, I savor every drop of Miller Lite at Pens games like it was a snifter full of Remy Martin's Louis XIII), my friend—and Crooked Straight fan—Maria asked what “D.E.F.I.” stood for. I explained that it really doesn’t stand for anything, and was just me being cute with my former stage name, “Defi” (or “Defiance”).
Maria: “Oh. We should come up with something that it can stand for.”
Me: “Ha. *sip*”
Maria: *after a full 2.69 seconds of thought* “I’ve got it! ‘Drunk Enough For Intercourse’!”
Early in the night I received a text from Mo-Fo, who was back in town with his lovely wife for the holidays. He informed me that they would be drinking with others at Shady Grove, where our boy Jed bartends, so I decided to stop by on my way home from the game. About 90 seconds after I walked in, Jed had a Long Island Iced Tea in my hand that could degrease an engine. I snapped a picture of it and sent it to Dupa, who responded, “*like*.” Jed was full of his quotable effervescence, the bar was packed with a solid crowd of people, and I got to catch up with Abbie and GG (neither whom I had seen since this summer); all in all, a cool little night with old friends.
The event’s highlight, though, came from our buddy “Trip”. A friend of ours for some years now, Trip is a boozing jokester who sees more rear than a car mirror—if you know what I mean. His goofy charm is reminiscent of Jack Tripper from “Three’s Company”; little did we know that he was capable of Jon Ritter-esque slapstick, too. He attempted to smack the ass of a female acquaintance, but timed it just as she was about to lean forward towards the bar. He whiffed, and injury was then added to the insult when his hand’s momentum carried it through a crushing blow to his own junk. Trip doubled over in pain as the rest of us cracked up at him for hitting himself in the balls.
Thursday, Dec. 23rd
The third annual Xmas Eve Eve, a night of boozing in Shadyside, had been anticipated by all for weeks. TJ, Pakistanimal, and Dupa all pregamed at my apartment with Belvedere, Captain Morgan, Woodford Reserve, the Penguins/Capitals game, and various innuendo involving each other’s sisters, mothers, and loved ones. TJ had to work the next morning, and therefore cut out early; the rest of us moved the fun to Shady Grove, where Tony soon met up with us. I began with another of Jed’s vicious LI Iced Teas, but halfway through it—and after rounds of Jager Shakes and Batman shots—I had the realization that I was heading up Shit Creek sans paddle. If there was any hope for my survival, the next round had to be beer. Unfortunately, I found a brand new LI Iced Tea sitting in front of me before I could form the word “beer” with my lips. Uh oh.
We left the bar around 1 a.m. (Tony says it’s because I had begun to pass out at our table; I don’t remember that, therefore he’s a dirty, dirty liar) and headed back towards my place. Along the way we passed a drunken Indian guy who was babbling about random topics. Pak decided, though, that this guy had insulted his heritage; thus began an India vs. Pakistan tribal showdown. The centuries-old border war in Asia was reignited by two sloshed idiots screaming at each other on a sidewalk in the middle of Shadyside.
We dragged Pak away and avoided any escalation to the conflict. From there on, though, my night is sketchy to say the least. I remember lying on my apartment floor for a while, laughing at myself and nothing all at once, but not much more than that. The following morning I awoke and shuffled to the bathroom. While washing my hands I noticed that the sink seemed to have specks of some foreign substance on it. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “One of those assholes threw up in here last night.” I had just climbed back into bed when a memory came to me of my own face being buried in that sink. “Wait…did I throw up last night?”
Friday, Dec. 24th
When I finally got out of bed for good that day (around 1:30 p.m.), I found nothing but chaos. A snack mix that had been in my cupboard was raided, and pieces of peanuts, raisins, and chocolate were scattered about my living room. No more than five people had been in my place the night before, yet somehow 11 or so dirty glasses and cups littered my coffee table and kitchen counter. A skillet with the residue of scrambled eggs sat on my stove. The air smelled of stale bourbon and flat cola, and a bottle of sorely-needed Gatorade was missing from my fridge. I dashed off a text message to all those responsible: “I hate you guys.”
Christmas Eve, mercifully, was a toned down affair. TJ and I had dinner at my mom’s house with my cousin Jump, his fiancée, and her son. Various bottles of wine were uncorked and poured, but I was more partial to the bottles of PowerAde that my mother keeps handy for me. Who knows you better than your own mom, after all? Shortly after dinner TJ and I received a text from Dupa that included a picture from the night before; in the picture, Pak was taking a joyride on the tricycle belonging to the seven year old daughter of the family living in the apartment next to mine. The only words that I could muster were sent back to Dupa in a text: “My neighbors hate me.”
When I got home around 11 p.m., I poured a glass of Woodford and tried out my Christmas gift from TJ: whiskey stones. The little cubes of genius worked beautifully, as the chilled fine bourbon massaged my consciousness. At 12:30 a.m., I figured it was time for me to begin wrapping gifts (why do two weeks ahead of time what you can put off until the very last minute?). At 12:31 a.m. I realized, though, that I didn’t have any wrapping paper (oh, that’s why…).
Saturday, Dec. 25th
As has become our tradition, my mom and I unwrapped gifts—well, I unwrapped gifts; she merely had to pull hers out of their bags and boxes—Christmas Day while sipping from glasses of Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog. If you’ve never had it, I suggest picking up a bottle during the holidays. It’s real egg nog that has been pimped out with rum, brandy, and blended whiskey. In other words, it’s egg nog that comes out of the bottle spiked. Merry New Year!
Some of my gifts this year: A Chivas Regal gift set (a fifth of Chivas Regal 12 Year Old and two tumblers) and an airplane bottle of Grey Goose from mi madre; a fifth of Crown Royal from Jump; and a liquor store gift card from my aunt. Add those to the whiskey stones from TJ and the 375 ML bottle of Goose that my manager bought me, and there seems to be a theme here…
Sunday Dec. 26th
If you play fantasy football, then you know what the 16th Sunday of the NFL calendar means: championship. By the 1 p.m. kickoff, TJ and I had glasses of Captain & Coke and Belve & cranberry, respectively, in our hands and NFL Red Zone in HD on the screen. Tony (my opponent in one of my championship matchups this year) and LRG eventually joined us as we drank, ate pizza, and screamed at Reggie Wayne, Josh Freeman, and others.
After the afternoon’s last NFL games, we went to Cappy’s Cafe on Walnut to watch the Pens and continue laughing in the face of sobriety. Eventually some fool (*raises hand*) had the bright idea to order Jager Shakes. Before long LRG, Tony, and I found ourselves at Grove yet again (TJ had to be at work early the next day); more beers, more shots, more delusions of grandeur. The last thing I remember clearly that night is asking Tony to call my phone around 2 a.m. as we stood in my apartment, because in the ten minutes that we’d been back there I had managed to lose it. As you might imagine, I had a long, uninterrupted sleep that night. And to all, a good night.
When I dragged myself out of bed the next morning, I found a pair of sneakers sitting on my living room floor. They looked like Tony’s, but he had already left. I texted him about the shoes, eagerly anticipating a story about him leaving my place in his socks. About five minutes later, though, he responded in confusion, saying that he had his shoes with him. I looked again at the pair in my living room; they were small, probably a woman’s size. I realized that they probably belonged to the mother of the family next door. But that opened a new round of questions. How, exactly, did her shoes end up in my apartment? Unfortunately, that question still has yet to be answered. But one thing’s for sure: that family hates me.
I can’t wait for New Years Eve.