Tuesday, August 23, 2011


One of the rites of passage in our culture is when we reach the legal age to drink alcoholic beverages.  In the state of Missouri that age is twenty one.  When a person reaches said age, it is a cause for celebration for some reason.  Usually a night out on the town is planned with friends to go to a nice eating establishment with a good bar.  The newly inducted drinker has a duty to get drunk on his butt for the first time legally.  This doesn't mean he has not been extremely drunk before this night but this time it is legal to get plastered and make a fool of yourself. 

I had been married nearly two years before I reached the legal age of being a public nuisance by the means of alcohol.  When I turned twenty one we did not do the obligatory party for everyone to watch me get drunk.  My twenty first birthday passes quietly with out much fanfare.

I had been drunk several times prior to entry into the Missouri Drinkers club but had kept low keyed about it.  Most of the time when I did drink it was either a beer, gin and tonic, or Beam and coke and were consumed within the confines of my house.

My major drinking buddy was Larry.  He was a year younger than me.  That was one of the main reasons we didn't go out in public on my twenty first birthday.  Larry would not had been able to drink and all the fun would be taken out of it.  So we continued to drink at home.

Every once in a while we would take our Japanese customers from the office out to drink after work.  I was asked a lot to entertain these major customers for the company.  We would take them golfing with a whole cooler of beer on the cart.  We would take them to a local Gentleman's club in Kansas City, Kansas once in a great while.  Our Japanese brethren loved to drink and loved to get drunk, especially when we were paying for it.

During my early to mid twenties I acquired quite a taste for the booze.  Not only did I enjoy drinking, but it tasted pretty good to me.  usually I would not drink to excess but accidents do happen and every once in a while I would find myself drunk.

I don't mean to be bragging about my drinking.  I wasn't proud of the times I would over drink.  On the other hand it didn't really bother me very much either.  Getting drunk was one of those side effects that often comes along with the act of drinking.  One thing I can say is that I never got so drunk that I got sick from drinking.  Well there was this one time when I did get sick from drinking to much.  It was either drinking too much or eating too much or a combination of the two, I am not quite sure.

Larry was coming over one Friday night to spend the evening and watch some television and have dinner.  It was in the late seventies or early eighties and cowboy fashion was the rage since the release of "Urban Cowboy"  Larry and I put on our cowboy hats and went out to pick up dinner.  Dinner on this night was going to be several burrito supremes and tacos from Taco Bell.  The drink to wash these delectable foods down was going to be a hefty amount of Jim Beam mixed with coke.

Jim Beam and coke was a pretty tasty drink.  The sweetness of the coke offset the strong hard liquor taste of the Beam and seemed to balance things out very nicely.  It was so tasty you could drinka lot of it and not realize how drunk you were getting.  That is what happened that night.

We began downing the burritos as though we hadn't eaten in a week.  Those burritos were tasty as well.  Filled with hamburger and refried beans us all of the extra condiments that added into them made them go down as easy as the Beam and coke was going down.  And so it was that we engourged ourselves on the burritos and the drinks while watching a football game.

I don't remember who was playing that night and to be honest I don't remember if I enjoyed the game.  I have a pretty good idea that I did enjoy the game although I have no real knowledge of enjoying it.  We ate and drank through out the game before Larry left for home.  To me he looked well enough to drive but then again, my judgement was not the greatest at that late hour of the evening.  I would have thought my dog was in good enough shape to drive that night.

After Larry left it was left to Barb to clean up the kitchen and the remains of the feast that had taken place that evening.  I sat in my chair with my head buzzing and feeling pretty good.  I am sure that I was talking to her the whole time she was cleaning up but I couldn't say for sure.  By this time my mind was gliding along in cruise control and whatever it felt like saying or doing , it said or did.

Barb went to bed after the cleanup and I sat up with the dog a little while longer enjoying the results of the small party that Larry and I had experienced.   Soon I felt myself wandering off to sleep so I decided to go to bed, where Barb was already sound asleep and resting well until I announced to her that I was coming to bed now to her.

I lay down in the bed and closed my eyes. I was exhausted from the evening but it turned out that closing my eyes was the worst thing I could do.  The second I closed my eyes I felt the bed start to slowly rotate in a circle.  It was either that or the whole room was spinning about the bed.  It could go either way and it doesn't really matter if it was the bed spinning or the room. The fact is it was making me extremely sick.

My stomach began to churn and I felt like something may be coming up before too long.  I worked hard on keeping everything on my insides but there came a point when it wasn't possible anymore.  Suddenly I sat up straight and leaned my head over the side of the bed.  Burritos came pouring out of my mouth mixed with the smell of beam and coke.  The first surge of vomiting stopped and I got up and made my way to the bathroom to empty the rest of the contents of my stomach,

I am not sure how long I was hanging over the toilet but it seemed like forever.  Finally I felt like I was well enough to go back to bed and so I made my way very slowly towards the room, afraid that moving too fast might cause another vomiting excersize.

When I arrived in the bedroom i saw my dear wife.  She was tired.  She was sleepy.  She was on her hands and knees cleaning up the initial mess that I had create after my evening of over partying.  I told her I would finish cleaning it up and she looked at me with a look in her eyes that said "you wouldn't be able to handle it right now."  She was right.  If I had tried to clean up that mess I would have made another mess on top of it.

She calmly to me to get in the bed and try to get some sleep.  The bed was still spinning but not as bad as it had been before.  I eventually fell asleep while Barb was still cleaning up the mess.

I felt horrible about her having to do that.  I apologized  and she accepted and said it was okay.  It was over and done with and in the past.  She just wished I would be more careful with my drinking in the future.

From that night on I kept having the mental image of her down on the floor and cleaning up that mess.  I determined that I would never witness that again.  I pretty much quit drinking after that night and now it has been about twenty five years since I had a drink.  I have not been drunk since that night.  I have made plenty of mistakes in my life but none in that special close way that effected her the way cleaning up vomit does.

I think I did right by this mistake.  She may have had to clean up vomit here or there from either Brett or I, but none of it was because of liquor.

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