How I Found the Porcelain Thrones*, and They Redeemed Me*

*Eventually.

Long ago when I was young, when families dined out or had guests over, it was considered appropriate for younger girls and boys to drink non-alcoholic versions of adult drinks so that they could fit in.

These would be made in real cocktail glasses, with a maraschino cherry or a twist of lime or lemon–so that they would look real.

Older children–older preteens and young teens–were pressured to drink real cocktails. I remember feeling very embarrassed by the adults teasing me ungently about how I didn’t like the taste of alcohol. I was considered immature.

By age thirteen, high school, I had finally learned to sip at anything with Creme de Menthe, and at Tom and John Collinses.

When I was fourteen, my parents decided to farm us kids out to neighbors while they went to Guatemala for two weeks. The minute we heard, we gathered secretly together in a mutual spirit of cooperation rarely seen since we had long ago gathered to plan the murder of our mother.

“Okay, here’s how we’ll do it: We’ll each take turns getting the house. No big parties, no big messes.”

On the days I held possession, my friend Vicky and I sampled everything in the liquor cabinet. We thought if we did it evenly across all bottles, no one would notice.

Typical of me, I spilled Creme de Menthe on a nightgown on one of these days, and, also typical of me, carelessly tossed the gown in the clothes hamper.

Where my mother discovered it, still reeking of minty alcohol, upon returning from Guatemala. Oops!

I Dont Know What Makes You So Dumb
My first college year, my roommate Beryl and I would start out every Friday by jointly downing a half-gallon bottle of Rhine wine. Then we went looking for a party, where we’d suck back as many free mixed drinks as we could get the guys to push on us.

That’s what college weekends were supposed to be: FUN!!

(We were lucky nothing worse happened than aggressive jerkwads being aggressive jerkwads.)

My second semester, I transferred to another school where waterfalls cascaded down the stairwells every weekend night, caused by the massive drunken waterfights at the all-night parties.

I continued my harmless practice of sucking back countless mixed drinks of all varieties with no ill effects. Hangovers? What were they? I had no idea. I’d awaken the same as if I’d had a full night’s sleep.

One night, I’d been inhaling screwdrivers. Someone asked me if I’d ever had a rum and coke. As soon as I tasted that delicious rum sweetness, I was hooked, and immediately switched allegiance. Down went a total of what I recall as four rum and cokes.

The next thing I knew, it was not-quite-morning and I was in my bed.

I was feeling the way a person would who had projectile-vomited all over her friend’s bathroom the night before and now realized she would have to clean it. After it had dried on.

My stomach gave another heave at the thought.

Attractive Cartoon Giraffe Puking Prettily

Delicately, I slid myself over the side of the bed. Gingerly, I raised my body from the horizontal.

I skied my sock-shod feet gently to my pal Buddy’s bathroom. When I had experimentally lifted foot from floor, I’d found that the rules of gravity were no longer in effect. My socks and the floor, however, were apparently magnetic.

Shading my eyes in self-preservation, I turned on the light.

Oh, I most sincerely hope that none of you ever have to behold the horror:

Twin toilets, twin sinks. Both soiled, sullied, and woefully besmirched by my most unprecious bodily fluids.

My eyes are actually tearing as I type this.

One and a half hours later, I stood up, the hellish job complete. I was proud I had managed not to vomit again.

However, by now, my first hangover ever was in full flower. I could no longer raise my head completely, nor entirely open my eyes.

I had to feel my way along the walls and furniture and count doorframes in order to find my way back to my own bed and to the sweet, sweet release of sleep.

***

“Babe! Babe! Wake up!” Somebody was shaking me violently.

“Whuh? Wha’ d’you wan’?”

“Babe! You’ve got to wake up!”

It was my good friend Buddy. He was the one who had gotten me into my bed the night before.

“You were sick in our bathroom last night, Babe!”

“Oh. That. I know. A’ready cleaned it.”

***

“Babe. I don’t know how to tell you this.
I don’t know whose bathroom you cleaned, but it wasn’t ours.”

Woman Feeling the Horror

ADDENDUM

Please. Let us pause for a moment of sympathy for the me back then who had to get out of bed again, now with full-blown hangover, and clean that second bathroom.

This time, trying not to ups while thinking of the someone else’s gacksplat she had spent an hour and a half touching without gloves earlier that night.

It did take one more pukefest and hangover (a story that would only be funny if video existed), plus my first and last alcoholic blackout (very scary–I may have had sex with someone I had zero attraction to) to get me to see the light.

From that point on, I stuck to a one drink maximum. It helped to know that having an alcoholic mother and brother combined with my special luck would make bucking the odds unlikely.

Today, my kidneys do their part in encouraging a half-glass maximum.

Kidneys Toasting Your Health

They’re only looking out for my best interests, the dears.

***

Oh, I am hopeless. Here’s the second hangover story:

I’m working in a bar as a short-order cook. After work, hanging out with some roofers I sorta’ know–great guys–who’ve been coming in for a while. They find out I’ve never tasted a White Russian. They order me one. I’ve never tasted a Tootsie Roll. … A Pink Lady… A total of six different mixed drinks. Bike home. Walk through the front door, say to my bud K.

“I had SUCH a great time after work today, hangin’ out with the NICEST guys!”

She tells me I then fell right on my face, straight-bodied, as does a tree in the forest.

I awaken at 3AM, panicked, tangled in a bedsheet, with something alien on my head. I reach up, and feel…rubber bands! Little rubber bands all over my head, everywhere!

I have long hair to mid-back at the time. Someone has taken separate strands of hair and tiny rubber bands and for some reason combined them into this… I look like the Flying Spaghetti Monster after a perm! What the feck?

Many hours later, when I was lucid and less hungover, and K. was awake, she explained that while I was barfing my guts out, and she was holding my head up out of the puke pail, she needed both hands for that. But my hair was falling into my barf. K. grabbed whatever was to hand to tie bits of my hair out of the way as well as she could manage while balancing my big barfing melon. (Thank you, K!)

Goose Puking Im Never Drinking Again


 

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37 Comments

  1. Ha! You should have switched back to the alcohol that didn’t give you a hang-over. Sheesh. Very funny OB, although I bet it wasn’t when it happened. Love the story of all the rubber bands. Ha!

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  2. I was smiling from the first sentence, Babe. I could have written this one. We were weaned on whiskey sours, carefully blended for the kids by my ever- partying parents,but without alcohol, at least at first. My dad nursed me through the first real hangover when I was in high school. My best friend and I were charged with the after party cleanup as the guests moved on from house to house at Christmas time…it was a common neighborhood tradition.
    After finishing everyone’s half-consumed drinks (dad was quite the bartender), we decided to make our own screwdrivers, blending until we could actually taste the vodka ( must have been 50 % by then). Ugliness happened. I have not touched vodka since.☺

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    • Oh, I used to LOVE Whiskey Sours–I had forgotten all about those! Yummy! My mouth actually watered at the memory.

      While the Mad Men days are mostly over, if we substitute beer for the mixed drinks, this sort of thing is still considered perfectly acceptable child-rearing practice for many families. It’s really too bad.

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  3. Leave it to you OB to find virtue in vomit. Cleaning that stuff is one of the most difficult things to to do, even when you are not hungover. Therefore you deserve a big fat medal for that one, and a whole ton or several of redemption. As for the rubber band fashion, little did you know you were a trend setter. I remember a certain Cyndi Lauper photo with her wild hair clipped with clothes pins. Who new.
    As for conditioned responses, I learned very quick (once!) that I have an extreme aversion to throwing up and therefore avoid it all costs, thereby also imposing a drink limit on myself. Cheers and let’s have one drink to that! 🙂

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    • Aw… I’ll take that as a compliment: I’m the Queen of Quease!

      I would happily modestly tipple with you. i raise a virtual glass of any white wine, (or two teensy cordial glasses of Mogen David or the like–they last longer, for I take tiny mouse sips). To us, Reverse Peristalsis Avoidance Syndrome Sufferers (we MUST get that added to the DSM if it is not there already), unite!

      Re: Trend-setting and Cyndi (for whom I am fond), I almost made a crack about how I beat out Bo Derek at stealing hairstyles from black women, but thought this might, given that particular hairstyle and the history of its use in racist-whites-against-blacks caricature, be taken poorly by some black women who don’t know me, (With those who do, I would push it even farther. Wig cracks, the whole thing: “Beware that glare when you dare to snare the hair.”)

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  4. Obviously you learned your lesson. I remember the stupid attempt I made to find a martini that didn’t taste like window cleaner to me. They all had fantastic names–Chocolate Martini, Lemon Drop, Pink Gin–and they all tasted of the same awful paint thinner/lacquer veneer chemicals. I had a headache to match the toxic alcohol abuse the next morning. Haven’t touched one of those monsters since. Daiquiris, on the other hands…still a favorite.

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    • Daiquiris are delish! Haven’t had one for an age. Mmmm…

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    • By the way, Kiri, I could tell (and had been sorta’ wondering) from your comment that the post indeed was dull. I have not enough interest remaining in it to do it justice, but owe you thanks, for I did at least whack off some the beginning, which mercifully shortened the dullest part by a tad.
      🙂

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      • I have no idea what I said/did/implied that made you think this wasn’t interesting to read! I must have been drunk. Seriously though, I rarely comment on something I consider inferior writing. While I am all about encouraging neophyte writers in their efforts, I am an innately honest (read brutally, snobbishly honest) and don’t write comments I don’t mean. I like personal essays, and you too tend to fall into the ‘blindingly honest about faults and troubles’ category that I lean toward. You can find the humor in the bleak, and I appreciate that ability. Life is too f*cking hard some times to put up with anything that doesn’t lighten the mood or at least make you stop and think.

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        • Thank you, Kiri (16 days late–wow. This is the first I’ve known how long I’ve been off WP). You probably said/did/implied nothing. I can be pretty insecure/paranoid. Sorry about that!

          BTW, I’m still off WP, but dipped back in to answer some comments, and will try to start reading some posts over the next days/weeks–doubt I’ll catch up on 16 days’ worth, but who knows?

          –O. Babe

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  5. Oh, eww. Someone else’s spew.

    At a Hen’s Night celebration, I was given something that had a name I forget but basically consisted of the entire top shelf of the bar. All I remember tasting is Uzo. All I remember after that is riding the porcelain bus. I’m surprised I retained my liking of licorice (but never again in the alcoholic incarnation).

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    • Blechy–Uzo! My pal Maria being Greek, we if course tried to get drunk on THAT. No way. I am astonished you can still stomach licorice.

      (D#mn. Just like with Kiri’s comment, I can tell from yours that the post is still falling flat. Rats. I give up, and will just stop messing with it and call it a loss. To think I was more successful at potty humor than spew. The shame!)

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      • Hang on. My fault. Preface my previous comment with:

        This was hilarious, Babe. Such a funny read. Loved the “I don’t know whose bathroom you cleaned, but it wasn’t ours.” Made me laugh. Lots of it did.

        Sorry. Bad manners on my part. Too keen to exchange disgusting drunk stories.

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  6. There are certain alcoholic beverages like Boone’s Farm Wine and Old Crow Whiskey that can only be consumed by the very young. I am not sure why that is and how it came to be, all I know of it are the recollections of teenage trauma.

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    • I retried Boone’s Farm as an adult and agree, and this from a Mogen David lover, so I loves me some sweet swill, arsenic and all.

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      • I still buy Boone’s Farm regularly. I used it to kill weeds that sprout in the cracks in my driveway.

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        • 🙄
          Pull the other one. Weed, that is. And the first one. ‘Cause you’d sure have to, unless Almost grows some mighty puny weeds. Or they’re teetotalers–guess where you live, THAT’s possible…

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  7. I can’t even recount any of my own drunken tales – remembering makes me retch. But other people’s hangover stories are brilliant! I think you should have been given credit for cleaning up someone else’s spew. I’m in awe you managed it the first time let alone the second. My weans never do!

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    • I do give my abusive parents credit for passing on good Midwestern values along with my lifelong PTSD:

      Say Please, Thank you, and You’re welcome.
      If you mess it up, clean it up, except lazy Mrs. H., who makes her kids do it.
      Put down the lid and wash your hands.
      No one you want to know picks their nose.
      Turn your head to sneeze.
      Only pigs eat or drink from serving or leftover containers. Witness Mr. H.

      All good rules.

      (There are more! :D)

      Liked by 1 person

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      • For a minute I thought you were talking about me! I get called Mrs. H sometimes, not by my own kids, the school kids. Then I was going, ‘I don’t say that’.
        It’s funny the things parents (myself included) have rules about. Some things don’t bother at all and others are a must. You’ve got me thinking now about some of the things that were musts or must nots when I was growing up. I could be here a while laughing at a few of them although I still never call anyone a pig or a cow – ‘cept under my breath. 😉
        Yours definitely sound more stringent. Parents (and I include myself in this again) can be arses at times. No rule book so every lot gets to make up their own and you have to hope they’re the right ones. And be prepared to admit when we’re wrong. :/

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  8. Yeah, drinking, Babe, so carefully passed down from the parents to the kiddies in our generation. I (somehow) remember sneaking glasses of beer out of the keg and my dad laughing and urging me on when he “caught” me at my middle sister’s first communion party. I’m eight years older than her. Yeah, that made me … 12. In college my freshman year I encountered the SUNY tradition of of cuckoo juice parties. The host dorm wing provided the garbage pail and a couple bottles of soda, and cans of Hawaiian punch, and to get in, the guest brought a bottle of alchohol. Rum, vodka, Southern Comfort, Schnapps, whatever. Drinking age 18, power boot and hangover guaranteed. Gack. I still don’t take too kindly to drinks with more than one or two type especially kind and sympathetic alocohol buddies in them.

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  9. longchaps2

     /  2015/07/08

    Drinking. A rite of passage. One I passed right around. Almost. Ask Butler. Or better yet. Don’t.

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  10. Awesome post, Babe. Don’t know how I missed it. I haven’t had very alcohol in this century.

    The last time I got blind drunk, I tried to pick a fight with Mr R, and I had to clean the toilet several times – while still drunk – because we were staying in a country pub without en-suites. I was amazed how well I did when I looked next morning. 😀 I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t drink for a whole year, not even at Christmas. As to binge-drinking, I began that when I dated and then married Mr Ex. Pink parfait amour must have been the most disgusting thing to have passed my lips. I love rum and coke, but ouzo is my favourite.

    I decided not to comment on the having sex with someone you shouldn’t / wouldn’t while under the influence, in case I incriminate myself. Okay, I ‘sort-of’ had sex, apparently. I found out years later.

    The body is certainly better off without alcohol!

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    • Hello, Christine (two months later)–Thank you greatly for that “awesome”! Pink parfait amour SOUNDS disgusting!
      😦
      But, to me, your favorite, ouzo, is also quite blechy, even though I used to love real licorice candy. Besides dark rum, I used to really like great Russian vodka. All in the past, now.

      Wow–you are lucky your discovered-later sex had no ugly consequences, either!

      I’ve been away from WP and will not really be back for an unknown time, but dipped in today for a bit, and perhaps will be on a bit this week to read some posts of others–hard to say. My life is quite unsettled lately.
      Thank you for reading and commenting–and complimenting.
      🙂 🙂

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