Thursday, September 07, 2006
Wow! What a confusing title! But only if you haven't read this, and then, after that, this, so you probably should if you didn't. If you already have (or you're at least willing to make a pledge in good faith that you will) then pull on your boots and come along with me as we explore the murky swamp I call my past.
41 - Taken care of someone who was wasted.
Yes, often, but many of the instances were self-help.
42 - Had amazing friends.
I still do. All friends are amazing, really.
45 - Stolen a sign.
A few times. It's easiest if you're on second base and the catcher isn't being too clever.
Oh, wait a minute. I think maybe what was being asked here was if I had ever stolen, like, a street sign or a sign from in front of a business or something akin to that, right?
Eh. I'm still going with my original interpretation. Otherwise I'll have to re-title this whole thing with new numbers and it was already hard enough to get you through that first paragraph.
47 - Taken a road trip.
Sure. I've tripped on plenty of roads.
49 - Midnight walk on the beach.
The intent is probably to ask whether or not I'd ever had a romantic midnight walk on a beach, but let's go back to the wasted days of my wasted youth, instead.
It's 1975, I think, and six of us are piled into Killer's car.
("Killer" was not fond of that nickname. He was a nice guy, fairly non-threatening, and with a dandy sense of humor. However, I have no idea what he might be up to these days, so I don't want to embarrass him by using his real name.)
The other occupants of the car were Duck, Munch, Pel, Stublet and Tooch.
(If you're one of those people who knows how to count, you may have noticed that the total of nicknames is six. I had previously said that there were six people in Killer's car. Therefore, one of the nicknames was mine. No, I'm not telling you which one. I wasn't fond of my nickname, either. I don't think anybody liked their nicknames in this crowd. If we had all spoken up at once, we probably could have been six happy guys named Jim, Steve, Joe, Mike, Kevin, and another guy named Steve, though not necessarily in that order.)
Anyway, it was February and there we were in the car, driving through one of the most hellacious blizzards ever to hit Massachusetts. We were somewhere over by Nahant, driving along the seashore. And, to a man, we were absolutely blasted on angel dust.
(I make a lot of jokes about drugs, but angel dust is no laughing matter. I know of at least one friend who never really came back from an angel dust experience and I had another friend go through one of the nastiest withdrawal experiences I ever saw when he tried to quit the stuff after months of abuse. I wouldn't deny anybody their choice of psychotropic experiences, but I would strongly urge everybody to skip dust. End of short sidetrip into morality. It is important to know what we were on for the story, though.
Angel dust is basically the non-human-use anesthetic phencyclidine applied to oregano or parsley and then smoked. It has a distinctive plastic taste and smell, both of which linger long after you wish they'd go away. The main effect of angel dust is dissociation. Time, place, physical sensations and perceptions are all distorted or, in some cases, almost obliterated. This manifests itself in a variety of ways, but one of the most noticeable is a lack of sensitivity to temperature extremes.)
So, there we were fishtailing and so forth in the snow and wind. There were no other cars anywhere. We were the only fools out in this noreaster by the seashore. And it was a howler, too. There was perhaps a foot of snow drifting on the road and the winds were whipping at 20 or 25 mph.
We decided it would be really cool to take a walk on the beach.
(Despite what I said above about the use of angel dust, the experience was really cool. To this day, it's the most violent and powerful thing I've ever felt. Would I do angel dust again if given the opportunity to re-live the experience? No. Despite much evidence to the contrary in these pages, I am smarter than that. However, I'm glad I did it when I didn't know any better.)
Killer parked his car by the seawall and the six of us got out and walked towards the water. The snow falling and wind blasting and waves crashing were so loud, we could barely hear each other shouting. Salt spray from the ocean hit us hard in the face. We were walking in a foot of snow on the beach and had to lean into the wind to make forward progress. Some of us then took off our jackets to get even deeper into the power. And, because of the effects of the dust, none of us were feeling the cold. All we felt was the immense rush of nature at full force. We stood there, marveling at this fury, for a good ten minutes.
Soaking wet, we climbed back into the car, where I Believe In Miracles (by Hot Chocolate) was playing on the radio. I'm happy to report that we all made it home safely, we all came down without crashing, none of us caught pneumonia, and as far as I know all six of us are still alive and not missing any major faculties. A minor miracle.
So, no, not a romantic midnight walk on the beach, but a memorable one nonetheless.
51 - Visited Ireland.
I hate to go into yet another "Jim inebriated" story so soon, but, hey, it's about Ireland.
I was there with my parents. It was the last major trip we all took together before they were divorced, as I recall. I don't believe this trip was the deciding factor in that, but that's when the trip took place. So, make me about 15 or so.
On the last night of our trip, we went to an honest-to-goodness castle, somewhere a few miles outside of Dublin, to enjoy a medieval feast. Some of you have no doubt done the same sort of thing in your time or at least you have a basic knowledge of the deal. The joint is set up with huge oaken banquet tables, each with 15 or 20 guests. A bunch of local actors portray the king, the jester, minstrels, serving wenches and whatever else might hang around a castle. You're served big greasy platters of meats and vegetables, medieval family style, along with large loaves of coarse bread. You pretty much only have a knife to eat with, so you use your hands a lot. The king does various amusing things - choosing a queen from among the guests, throwing some folks into a dungeon, having someone sing a bawdy song, stuff like that - and everybody has a roaring good messy time.
In Ireland - at least then, if not now - there was no set legal drinking age (gee, who woulda thunk?) and as part of the service at this castle, they set out huge casks of cheap red wine on the tables, all you could drink along with your fatty slabs of beef and whatnot. I indulged myself a bit.
OK, more than a bit. I poured as much of the stuff down my gullet as I could get my hands on. I was one stultifyingly-blitzed 15-year-old. My parents caught on to the fact that I was sucking down the hooch at an alarming rate and shut me off. Too late. I was ginormously swacked.
I remember very little about the night, from that point on, other than my parents being initially amused at my drunkenness and then, on the ride back to our cottage, a bit less so. The next day, however, I remember with crystal clarity.
I had the mother of all hangovers. My head felt as though my brain went for a walk and, while it was out, a cat crawled into my skull and was now trying to claw his way out. No matter how much water I drank, I still had dry mouth. I couldn't eat anything and keep it down. And we flew home that day, so I had the dehydration and compression of an airplane ride to deal with, too.
Now, you'd think that something like that might have taken me down the road to future sobriety forevermore, wouldn't you? Well, as glimpsed throughout these pages, we see that the answer is a resounding "NO".
53 - In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them.
See above, and pity the strangers.
Oh, my. This is only #53, isn't it? I think we're looking at at least another day before we get to the COED NAKED SNOW JOGGING. Since I don't post on the weekend, that means Monday at the earliest. But, hey, it's COED NAKED SNOW JOGGING. You'll be back.
See you then.