June 30, 2001

Friday I asked Declan to share a bottle of whiskey with me as a thank-you for smuggling me into school with him to check my email in his secret high-tech lab.

Plus, it just seemed a very Irish thing to do.

I chose Paddy Whiskey, because even though Declan said it’s a bit rough and Jameson’s really is the best choice, I saw them drink it in Waking Ned Devine and it’s not available in the US.  Declan said it’s a very 1970’s country drink.  Interestingly on the label they say the name “Paddy” came from one of their most famous salesmen of the golden liquid.  My question is – what did they call it before then?

Declan jokingly said if we finished the bottle in two hours then we would still have time to get a second one before the off-license closed.  A small rush of usually dormant testosterone flooded my body and I said, “Sure, why not?”

First bottle came and went.  It’s sort of nasty when you start and then you get to the wonderful place during a night of alcoholic mayhem where you might as well be drinking water because it’s so smooth and tasteless.  You could be drinking kerosene or mare’s piss – if there’s alcohol in it you’ll get to that point.  And that’s when you need to stop or you’ll get in trouble.  We did not stop.

Declan told me of a brand of harsh, nasty cigarettes that complete the Paddy image of a rough Irish country night of boozing, so of course I had to run to Spar and get a 10 pack and a chicken stuffing sandwich as Declan ran to the off-license for bottle number two.  Neither the cigarettes nor my sandwich had much flavor either.  Another bad sign and unheeded warning.

There was some hesitation to open the second bottle.  It sat on the table untouched for several minutes until its awful Pandora’s screw cap was cracked open.  Unconsciously we much have known what we were in for.  Halfway through the second bottle we went outside for fresh air where we smoked the rest of the cigarettes – I got into quite a rhythm with them, starting off a new one with the embers of the last – and Declan punched bins.

When we wandered back in Declan gave me a course in German geography with his map book and we sort of grimly and quietly then went about the task of finishing that bottle, which would essentially make it a bottle each in under four hours of 40% alcohol.  I started to taste the whiskey again.  Very bad sign.  I was already on bathroom trip 39, as I pee like nobody’s business when I drink as all good and healthy fluids are immediately rejected, replacing my spit and my sweat and my blood with alcohol.  Filling the laces of my muscles and capillaries of my brain with pure poison.  When you start to taste it again is your body’s last kind reminder before it takes matters in its own hands (ha, ha) and it was my last wall-banging trip down to the bathroom that I began to vomit.

Now, to be honest I don’t remember vomiting.  I remember feeling terrible and wanting to vomit.  I remember laying my head on the toilet seat and gagging and spitting and pushing my fingers down my throat and scrambling my uvula, and praying and hoping and desperately trying everything I could to vomit.  But I don’t remember actually doing it.  Then somehow I woke up in my bed, fully clothed with my shoes off.  I woke up and threw an entire bottle of water down my throat, which did nothing to alleviate the tightness and dryness of my poor parched sandpapered throat.  I went to the bathroom and there was on the rug three separate piles of pasta and chicken and stuffing.  I was in that stimulus/response of hungoverhood, that limbo of ID before you truly wake up where there is nothing but absolutely basic, troglodyte brain functions.  You’re like a lab rat with an electrode.  Stimulus.  Response.  So I saw my three neat heaps of largely undigested food, scooped it up in my hands, and flushed it down the toilet.  Then with my hands and toilet paper cleaned the disgusting floor and carpet.  I took the carpet outside and poured some boiling water over it and bought some Febreeze and did my best.

Frankly, I don’t think that bathroom had ever been cleaned, so my vomit cloud had a silver lining.

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