Drinking Story Winner
I won the drinking story competition on founders day. Outside of the annual 3v3 soccer tournament and several intramural soccer titles, I haven’t won anything worth winning in years.
My name is _________ and once, when complaining about normal things not happening to me, my friend Barrington told me, “normal things don’t happen to you because you don’t do normal things.” And there is a measure of truth to that; I often do things that are at odds with my best interests out of a sense of morbid social curiosity. However it would be presumptuous of me to consider myself the principal agent in all of the strange scenarios I have encountered – at a certain point the world must stand up and take credit for its share of the bullshit I have suffered, and there are certainly some things that were not my fault. For instance I have drunkenly run into the sexual equivalent of unicorns on three separate occasions. My surroundings are often hostile to me, and I have been personally assaulted by several cities in Europe. While this story may serve as an ode to my unusual tendencies, whether the entire blame for this fiasco can be laid on my head is up for debate.
It is serenading day. Some people bought super soakers, many others bought senior class t-shirts, and everyone was drunk and merry, doing whatever it is people do when they party. I personally was alone in my room, having my way with a bottle of blackberry brandy and getting my ass kicked by teenagers from foreign countries in online chess. I eventually did the whole serenading thing, walking from dorm to dorm amongst an orgy of waterworks and sickeningly happy people. I went to Ballantine and watched freshman abase themselves before my class’s collective seniority via weird and often disturbing song and dance numbers. It was interesting, but there were a lot of other humans around and they looked too pleased with themselves and I was not nearly drunk enough to feel comfortable trying to interact with them. I wandered back to the TH’s, which were deserted but for Ben Scaglione ’11, who had returned for the day and was having a beer alone on my couch. I began drinking again, polishing off my brandy, a few other strange drinks, and was starting to really feel it (I would say I was at “happy to be here” on my drunk scale) when Scags decided that we needed to go to Kmart to get duct tape.
We get to Kmart and start walking down an impromptu jewelry aisle. A woman on the left had gathered a small, ragged looking crowd. She was gesticulating wildly, peddling her cheap wares to the masses. Normally I would ignore this, as I don’t wear jewelry and am skeptical of men who do. But I am drunk, and normal rules go out the window. The woman gave a master class in salesmanship, shouting out the unique qualities of each of the five pieces she had on display. The people around me, who definitely knew little about fine jewelry, were really getting into it, and I do too. “Retails at $125, top grade Cubic Zirconium, this piece is flawless, it’s gold, do you like this piece!” she cries.
“FUCK YES!” I say. She reads the rest of them down the line, each one of them shinier and more impressive to me than the last, and I don’t want them but I secretly do, because I am an idiot.
“What if,” she said, switching to her most tantalizing salesman voice as she gestured to bring us nearer to her, as if she was about to breathe to us a secret only we were allowed to be privy to, “I were to put all five pieces in a bag… This set is worth $445 folks… and give it to you for a cool $69.99?”
She had a fucking deal. I bought the jewelry, tossed the receipt in the trash with a derisory chuckle and went along with Scags to buy some tape. We went home and the drinking continued into the night, more and more and more until the world spun and I started to feel confident, sauntering around with my beautiful little jewels on full display, convinced for once that I was a desirable and cool person. I told everyone about the great steal I had just made, how I was going to sell everything off at a profit. I even gave one piece away, knowing I would easily cover my losses. I was in the midst of explaining how smart I was to a group of girls who oddly seemed uninterested in my treasures, when I woke up.
Over the course of the next couple weeks, I slowly learned that I had made a hideous mistake. The jewelry was crap. No one would willingly buy them, and not only was I unable to get people to pity buy them from me, every single person I showed them to rejoiced in my failure. I still have them all, shiny little testaments to my idiocy.
In comparison to the other things that have happened to me, this story is hopelessly tame. But it speaks to the fact that alcohol fucks with your brain. This is a scientific fact; it inhibits your ability to think. I’m not mad I’m out $70. I’ve cost myself over a thousand dollars in the last two years doing stupid things sober because I wasn’t paying attention.
But there’s a difference between being adorably oblivious and mentally unable to think through what you’re doing, and something weird and self-harming like this happens every single time I get drunk. I have never woken up in the morning and thought, “that was a fun, totally normal night.” I have not gone a single weekend without doing something I should not have done because I was hammered. I have to keep making new friends because each weekend I get stunningly drunk and say something to someone that makes them never willing to acknowledge my existence again. Watch me in the library or in ACDC, I rarely go anywhere alone, instead requiring a friend to walk in front of me, running interference against the horde of humans I’m not allowed to talk to or look at anymore.
Sometimes it’s kind of funny; like that time I told a security guard that I was an American hero after he found me floundering about on the floor, too drunk for my arms or legs to properly push me up, and later stopped throwing up to shout “America!” in response to being asked if I was alright. But sometimes it’s not so funny, like that time I almost stumbled onto the subway tracks as the train was incoming in London, or that time I got hospitalized freshman year after apparently having treated my low BAC as a deeply personal insult.
I’m not sure if there’s a moral to this line of thought or anything like that. I’m not going to stop drinking, there are precious few ways to keep the edge off of being alive as it is. Maybe I’ll get better at it, maybe I won’t. The principle behind my struggle is entertaining to me as a misanthrope, this idea that I’m actively doing things that hurt me; digging myself into holes just to see if I can get out of them. Granted in practice it has created a lot of miserable situations for me, but the theory is fantastic. It’s like Dostoevsky says, “when… in the course of all these thousands of years has man ever acted in his best interests?”