Tag Archives: alcohol

I’m On A Boat! (Or: Adventures In Alcoholia)

I recently took a cruise in the Caribbean in celebration of my mother’s birthday.  I had gone on another cruise in my early teens, which I enjoyed, so I was really looking forward to this one.  The concept of a cruise is fairly fascinating, especially when you break it down.  A bunch of people pay a lot of money to live on a floating hotel, and that floating hotel goes to different places around the world, all while stuffing you with all the free food you can possibly stomach. “This must have been what it was like to be Columbus,” I actually heard one passenger idiotically say at one point.

Sure, provided Columbus’s vessels had two movie theaters, a casino, 47 full bars, and a constantly playing reggae band.  Then it was EXACTLY like sailing in olden times.

Now, was the cruise fun?  Of course it was.  It was especially fun for me because on the night before we left, I was having a conversation with my mother about various aspects of the cruise, and at one point she said the following:

“Oh, and since we’re all going together, I’ve decided to pay for everything.  Souvenirs, t-shirts, drinks—it’s all gonna go on my tab.”
“Wait, you’re paying for drinks, too?”
“Yep.”

Now, what I said in the response to this was, “Oh, cool.” But what I was thinking was, “HOLY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” because I’m a new drinker.  I turned 21 just a few months ago, so I’ve only recently begun to work my way around the trenches of Alcoholia.  This revelation was a nice little bonus to the rest of the cruise—all my drinks were covered. (In fact, she even kind of encouraged it, by saying, “And since you don’t have to worry about driving or anything of the like, go crazy!”)

Did you know that, on a boat, if you get so drunk you can’t maintain your balance, the rocking evens it out?  It’s true!  And by the way, before I go any further, if there’s anyone reading this (particularly any of our fine youth of America who identifies in any way with this so-called, “straight-edge” movement) who has a problem with this kind of talk, allow me to state for the record: don’t base your entire opinion of me around whether or not I drink.  I can’t stand people who do that.  There are plenty of fine people who drink just as there are plenty of fine people who do drugs just as there are plenty of degenerate fuckheads who do nothing.  It’s a two-way street.  Besides, I don’t need alcohol to have a good time—I just need it to have a great time.

***Now, I’m not promoting the use of alcohol here, especially for underage readers.  Some boundaries must be kept.  Don’t drink if you’re underage.  Just move to a country where you can drink legally.  Okay, now that that public service announcement is out of the way, we can continue with our regularly scheduled blog post.***

I got super-drunk on this cruise.  Easily the drunkest I’ve ever been (so far).  However, I didn’t just go all crazy; I had a plan.  See, in our travels, sometimes it would take more than one day to get to a particular destination on the cruise, so we had a number of “sea days” in which it was just a day at sea, on the ship.  The nights preceding these sea days were the nights I got DRUUUUNK.  Let’s go through the list, shall we?  One night, I had the following:

Two beers (Dos Equis, because the boat had a shitload of them for some reason), three White Russians, a Long Island Iced Tea, a mojito, an apple martini, and, to top off this array of alcoholic adventure, something called a raspberry fizz.  Because apparently, when I get super-drunk, I develop the tastes of a 40-year-old woman.  I also learned something else about me when I get super-drunk: the drunker I get, the more passionate I am about increasingly mundane things.

After consuming all of those drinks, I was walking around the boat sometime in the early hours of the morning, when I ran into my brother.  He and I started prowling around the boat, killing time and looking for something to do.  We stopped at a deck near the rear of the boat and hung out, when suddenly, out of the corner of my ears, I heard something.  I turned around, and saw a teenage boy and girl standing together—presumably they were a couple—and the boy was singing.

And this pissed me the fuck OFF.  No, I don’t know why.  And to answer your other obvious question, I don’t know what he was singing, because I was: A. drunk; B. too angry about the fact that he was singing to take note of exactly what he was singing.  I turned to my brother, and unleashed a passionately angry drunken tirade:

“What in God’s name is this?  Why is he singing?  Why the FUCK is he singing?  Nobody wants to hear this shithead sing!  Fuck that kid—WHY IS HE STILL SINGING?!  Goddamnit, dude, what in the name of shit is he singing for?  He’s not even singing to the fuckin’ girl next to him!  Jesus fuckin’ Christ, WHY THE FUCK IS HE SINGING?!”

At which point my brother quietly excused himself from the proceedings, and I traveled up to the late-night buffet to eat a giant plate of mashed potatoes at roughly 2AM.  Have you ever had THAT existential nightmare?  When you’re drunk and eating mashed potatoes at two in the morning—for NO REASON WHATSOEVER?  That’s not an aspect of the vacation you envision on the ride over to the airport.

Some people deal with an element of fear before a massive experience like a cruise.  As we were driving to the ship on the morning that we were to embark, my mom was talking to everyone in the car and giving us all The Mom Rundown: Cruise Edition.  This is meant to be a conversation warning us of any potential hazards related to health/crime/etc. that, while highly unlikely, are not completely out of the realm of possibility on the cruise ship.  Which is a perfectly fine conversation to have, but not when we are DRIVING TO THE SHIP BOARDING LOCATION.

“Oh, wow, look, there’s the ship right over there!  Okay, you guys, we are gonna have a lot of fun and—HOLY FUCK WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE AND GET DEATH-RAPED BY PEOPLE WITH PUPPY AIDS!”
“Hey, Mom, uh…not the best time to bring this up.”

Not that it mattered, because unbeknownst to all of us, we ended up choosing a cruise week that was completely dominated by senior citizens.  I’d wager that less that 20% of the passengers on the cruise were under 40.  We weren’t gonna get raped by anyone—after all, they’d get worn out just from trying to hold us down on the bed.  The abundance of old folks was disappointing, but it did lead to the creation of my new favorite game: Man or Woman?  Many times, it was nearly impossible to tell.

And I wasn’t even drunk.

Until next time,

–Riley

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Whose Special Day Is It, Anyway?

I just celebrated my 21st birthday.  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!

Okay, it wasn’t that wild and crazy.  I just went out to dinner with my family and had a couple of drinks.  What did I decide for my first legal drinks to be?  The White Russian.  Now, before I go any further, let me clarify that I ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY  made that choice based on the drink of choice of The Dude in The Big Lebowski.  I’m not gonna pretend like I was a fan of the beverage before the release of that movie, because otherwise that would mean that I would have been drinking White Russians since about the age of nine.  However, I highly enjoyed the drink, and I will continue to drink it when the opportunity arises, but not just because it was The Dude’s drink.  I actually believe that the White Russian is one of the best alcoholic drinks for you.

How?  Very simple: the White Russian can be made with milk.  That way, if you drink so many of them that you are falling down drunk, the calcium from the milk will keep your bones strong.  Some have argued that the alcoholic drinks with fruit or vegetable juice are better because you can receive vital vitamins and minerals that way, and quite simply: THEY’RE WRONG.  Milk equals calcium, which equals strong bones, which means if you pass out, you won’t crack your skull.  CASE FUCKING CLOSED.

However, despite what you may think from the above paragraphs, I’ve never been much of a big drinker.  I didn’t have my first beer until about nine months ago, and my only prior drinking experience involved a couple of rum & Cokes, which did teach me something about drinking.

Because of my typical nature (which is that of the generally quiet observer), when I drink I become much more talkative.  That’s probably not a big surprise.  But I get really talkative, like to the point that I like to perform what I call autobiographical magic shows.  By that, I mean I will approach the first person I see and say:

“I’m gonna tell you my life story and make the next three hours of your life DISAPPEAR!  But first, let me take off my hat—holy shit, there’s a rabbit in there!  I’ll be damned…I gotta let Cody know I found Mr. Wiggles…”

As I said, I didn’t get that crazy on my birthday, but it was good enough.  I’m glad I had a good birthday this year.  I’ve always had a bit of a problem with my birthday personally.  Why?  Because my birthday falls on December 20th, a mere five days from Christmas.  Do you have any idea how tough that can be on a kid?  To have his or her special day forever overshadowed by a much bigger holiday?

Having a birthday around Christmas was always difficult for me as a kid.  One reason was because, although I am not a very religious person (and satisfied enough about that—don’t bother me about it, Christians), many of my childhood friends were.  Therefore, every year was like a constant tug of war with the institution of religion.  And, of course, I’d never win.  I’d call my friends up:

“Hey, man, you gonna come to my birthday party next week?  It’s gonna be a lot of fun!”
“Aww, man, we’re going to somebody else’s party that night.  We’re not gonna be able to make it.  Sorry, dude.”
“Somebody else is having a party that night?  Oh, Jesus Christ…”
“Oh, how’d you know?”
“Ah, got a Facebook invite.  Put myself down for maybe.  Y’know, ’cause I didn’t wanna outright DENY the guy, but I’m still not going anyway.”

I can’t compete with Jesus.  It’s like putting Michael Jordan up against the entire US Special Olympics basketball team.  And Jesus obviously has the better parties.  Why?  Because he’s fuckin’ JESUS!  He can feed his whole party with one Snickers bar.  Meanwhile, I’m stuck with a melted pile of ice cream cake—there’s no resurrecting that!

Another reason having my birthday around Christmas was tough as a kid was because my parents didn’t always have a lot of money growing up.  But to their credit, they always did their best.  For instance, one year I wanted a bike.  But my parents couldn’t afford one.  Now, a lot of parents, in instances like these, will buy the bike anyway, and then say that it counts for both birthday and Christmas combined.  Not mine.  They got the bike, but they still insisted on differentiating between the two holidays.  So for my birthday, I got a unicycle.  Then for Christmas, I got handlebars, a tire, and heavy welding equipment.

I’m nine.  Surely that can’t be safe.  Imagine some little nine-year-old kid wearing an oversized safety helmet with a giant welding machine in the garage.  Besides, if my parents could afford the welding equipment, why not just spring for the fuckin’ bike?  My dad said, “Well, son, this year you are receiving the gift that keeps on giving: self-reliance…and possibly some third-degree burns.”

By the way, I hate when people give presents that “count” for both holidays.  I’m not a big materialistic person (or at least I try not to be), and I understand if you’re really struggling financially, but, otherwise, at least be fair and differentiate between the two holidays.  Whenever somebody gives me a gift and says, “This counts for both birthday and Christmas,” I like to stick up my two middle fingers and say, “Well, this counts for both, ‘fuck,’ and, ‘you.'”

Besides, that’s just cheap.  And it’s the only holiday where people will try to cheat you out of another gift.  Ridiculous.  You never see that with kids who share birthdays with other holidays.  Like Groundhog Day:

“Hey, Dad, what’d ya get me for my birthday?”
“Uh, how’s the weather outside?”
“It’s sunny!”
“Then you get six more weeks of winter, boy.  Happy fuckin’ Birthday.  Now go outside and play…Daddy’s drinkin’…”

Or the 4th of July:

“Hey, Dad, you gave me this box, but there’s nothing in it.  What gives?”
“Nothin’ in it?  Boy, that’s Uncle Sam’s Box O’ Freedom right there.  You realize your great-grandfather’s blood paid for that box?  I’m serious, it’s on the receipt here.  Three pints.  That’s how they do business down in Alabama.”

Until next time,

–Riley

My Roommate From Hell And The French Guy

I spent my freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  My first semester, I was involved with a classic “roommate from hell” situation.  I had been assigned to him via the random roommate option offered by the school.  I didn’t have any close friends going to UT, and I had that deep hope that maybe I’d end up with one of those best friends for life that so many people talked about for months on end, prior to moving in.  Because of that, I was looking forward to meeting my random roommate.

However, I was nervous about it as well, because for every great and inspiring success story about being randomly assigned to the person who would later become some guy’s best man at his wedding, I heard a horrifying tale of personality clashes to the extreme.  So in the weeks leading up to the move-in and eventual meeting of the roommate, I obsessed over what I would say.  The introduction.  The ice-breaker.

I’m fucked.

I didn’t know what I was gonna say.  Hell, what COULD I say?   I didn’t know anything about him.  I honestly thought about introducing myself this way:

“Hi!  Depending on how this conversation goes, I may or may not be Riley Fox.”

But where to go from there?  Obviously, the easiest thing would be to find some kind of common ground:

“So, uh…do you like normal things?  I know I do.  Hey, you know what sure is swell?  Living!  Boy, do I looooooove living.  Hey, it’s nice to meet you—I’M NOT GAY AND PLEASE DON’T KILL MY FAMILY!”

When we did meet, we ended up talking about music, movies, TV shows, etc.  The general stuff that NORMAL PEOPLE TALK ABOUT.  Okay.  Good.  At least he’s not a psycho-murderer.

But he was a mega-drug-alcohol-fratboy-party-animal.

I’m fucked.

I will never forget the first time he got busted for drug possession at the school (oh, yes, there were several other times).  I was in class, and when I got back to the dorm room, he was sitting at his desk looking somewhat downtrodden.  I set my bag down next to my desk and sat in the nearby chair.

“Hey, what’s up, man?”
“Dude, I’m in some shit.”
“What’s going on?”
“The RA caught me and Matt drinking in here, and reported it to the hall director.  They’re on their way up here now, and they’re gonna search the whole room.”

For those unaware, UT is a dry campus, meaning alcohol is banned (despite the fact that there were liquor shops literally a five-minute walk from my dorm building).  I knew I personally had nothing to worry about because I hadn’t done anything wrong.  But then my roommate threw a curve ball.

“There’s something I should probably tell you.”

I’m fucked.

“Before I came here, when I lived in Atlanta, I got into some pretty deep shit with drug possession charges.  They’re coming to search the room.  I’ve got some shit, and if they find it, I’m likely to go away for a while.”

This is probably not something you want to tell your new roommate two months into the semester, when the dorm hall director, the RA, and a cop are en route to your residence.  I was speechless, and just when I thought that that was it, he continued:

“Dude, do you think you could just tell them that it’s yours?  Please?”
“Man, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

You’re fucked.

The next semester, I lucked out.  There was an exchange student from France living on my floor, and after the fall semester, he had to move back to France.  This had no bearing on me until I found out that he had lived in a single room by himself, and now that the room was open, someone could move into it.  My roommate found out about it and told the RA that I would be interested.  When the RA came to me, I was ecstatic.  I figured that after my experience with my roommate, spending the spring in my own private room would be just what I needed.  I filled out the necessary paperwork and got all the required approvals, and within the first week of the spring semester I was ready to move in.  I got the key for the new room, unlocked the lock, and opened the door…

…and the French guy still had a shitload of stuff left in the room.

I immediately got the RA and showed him the room that seemed only half-vacated.  There was a fold-out chair, a stereo system and CD player, a bicycle, a pair of computer speakers, a couple pairs of shoes, and several other less significant items.  The RA had assured me that the French guy was not coming back—he lived in France, after all—so he figured that I could keep what I want and toss the rest, and as he left I noticed him looking at the computer speakers.  I even talked to the hall director, and he said the same thing.  So I gave the RA the pair of computer speakers he wanted, and kept everything else.

Around spring break, I was strapped for cash and desperate.  One day, I turned and looked at the bicycle the French guy had left behind.  I hadn’t ridden it once.  I hadn’t even taken it outside of the room.  Clearly, I wasn’t planning on using it—I’m more of a walker anyway—so I figured, “Well, hell, I could sell this to somebody.”

I was apprehensive at first.  I knew it technically wasn’t MY bicycle, but: I wasn’t going to use it, it was too big for my car, and the French guy whom it belonged to was not coming back according to two very trustworthy sources.

Twenty minutes later, I was posting flyers around my dorm building advertising the bicycle that was now for sale.

Two days later, I received a phone call.  A guy down the hall wanted to buy the bike.  He was my first offer, and I was extremely desperate for whatever I could get, so I sold it to him.

At the end of the semester, I began packing all of my belongings in my car for the final drive home.  Many of the French guy’s things were still in my room.  Most of it I didn’t want or need, so I just left it under the bed where it all was when I found it. (However, the fold-out chair and CD player/stereo system was in my car.  He wasn’t coming back and I wasn’t leaving that stuff.)

The day before I planned on leaving UT for the summer, I was sitting in my dorm room watching a TV show on my computer, when I heard a knock at the door.  I opened it up.

It was him.

THE FRENCH GUY.

“I’m here to get my stuff.”

I’m really fucked.

I was at a complete loss for words, yet my mind was racing a mile a minute.  I had sold off this guy’s bicycle without his knowledge or approval, and now he’s here to take it back with him to France.  I was cornered, and had no chance of escape.  Finally, I managed to conjure up the wherewithal to speak the only thing that could come to mind:

“So, uh…do you like normal things?”

Until next time,

–Riley