February 01, 2011

Training Wheels

By AlCantHang © 2011

Every bad idea begins with a first step and most of the stories so far involve a good amount of Southern Comfort. It wasn't always this way when I first took my steps which lead me to such a silly life. I was a slow starter in terms of alcohol consumption yet still managed to get myself in some very stupid situations. The addition of my sweet SoCo only lit the fire a little brighter for a bigger burn.

I was just fine with the occasional light beer and fancy ass mixed drink "shot" for those first few years and took the requisite abuse from my friends. I was still drinking a ton so I assumed, incorrectly, I was getting a full dose of the crazy. It finally took a night of relentless jokes to push me to the most idiotic bet of my life. I would go shot-for-shot with Brad.

Brad was light years ahead of me in this arena. He was chugging bottles of Jack Daniels while the rest of us were trying to cheat on our high school mid-terms. He was a smoking, drinking, cursing, partying machine who was unmatched by any of our peers at the time. He was my best friend and I wanted to take down the toughest guy in the yard.

We picked the perfect bar on the perfect night and set forth the rules. No beer, non-alcoholic drinks, or anything which might skew the results. I had to pick a "real shot" to replace those girly things I was trying to pass off as the real thing and puking called for instant disqualification. Since we were young and stupid, the losing "player" would have to drive the other one home. We were not smart young men.

I was clueless in the ways of the hard liquor and slyly asked one of the bartenders "What's the booze in those Alabama Slamma shots?". Southern Comfort was the answer and to this day it's impossible to calculate exactly how much of the stuff I have consumed ever since.

The stage was set. It was a decent local bar in the Philly suburbs, our friend's band was in place for a three set gig, the bartenders were aware of our little challenge and shots were lined up. As the band kicked in their first song we lifted our 1.5oz shot glasses for a toast and we were underway.

Song. Shot.
Song. Shot.
And so on.

We were clipping along at a nice pace with the bartender just leaving the two bottles nearby. I wasn't having a single problem and we were laughing it up. If I remember correctly they did a fine version of Foreigner's Jukebox Hero. Turns out my memory might be a little fuzzy because shortly after the first set I was found clinging tightly to the walls of the bathroom stall and blowing ungodly wicked hot shots of Southern out of my system.

I was barely able to stand as Brad collected me from my comfortable seat on the floor among the afterbirth to carry me out to his car. He dumped me in the back seat, obviously ignoring the rule that I must be the one to drive the victor home, and asked me if I was going to be alright.

"Would you mind if I go back inside and finish up?"

"Wharf!" was my answer.

Four hours and two full trash bags later the bastard comes walking out of the bar with a receipt showing how much more he drank before driving me home. I was unceremoniously dumped through my front door, at 4am per my roommates at the time, which would have bothered me except we had a bathroom situated a short crawl away. I spent the next 24 hours on the cool cool tile floor.

In the short term I was defeated by the bionic liver of my friend. In the long term I have come close to mastering the delicate balance of hard booze versus functionality with a few spectacular failures along the way. But I now had my drink of choice.

AlCantHang is a seasoned alkie from the Philadelphia suburbs.

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