Those who know me now would find it hard to believe, but once upon a time, I didn't believe in drinking and doing drugs. I had no problem with others doing those things, as I've always believed in the freedom to get fucked up, but back when I was a teenager, I decided that I didn't want to pollute my body. This is hilarious, considering it's coming from a dummy who ate a McDonald's dinner every night for six straight years. No shit, I never missed a night. But other than fast food, I didn't put any other harmful things in my body. I didn't even take aspirin when I had a headache.
However, I DID encourage my friends to get as fucked up as humanly possible. I remember senior year of high school. I was sitting in a friend's bedroom--I won't mention who, because I don't know if he'd be cool with me saying so--with Robert Tannahill, my artist on THE COCAINE! BROS. and my hetero-lifemate. (I mention him because I'm certain he wouldn't give a fuck.) They were broke and couldn't afford to buy anything that would get them nice and fucked up, so they decided to huff some Glade. That sounded incredibly dangerous to me, but far be it for me to stop a man from being inebriated.
I did what any responsible friend would do: I got them into a Glade-huffing contest. Who could suck down air freshener for the longest? As you can imagine, this couldn't be determined in one round. I sat watching them do this for at least a half an hour, and I couldn't believe their capacity for this. I kept time, because back then, I was a pretentious fuck who carried a pocket watch on a chain. To the best of my memory, my nameless friend won, but at a huge price. He was fucked the fuck up. He was so far gone, he couldn't function. So Rob, who has done harder things than huffing Glade and was thus still capable of fairly clear thought, mercilessly mocked him.
This brings to mind another memory: later, Rob and our friend lived together briefly. Our friend left his liquor out, and Rob (at the tender age of 19) decided he was going to get drunk on Cuervo. He put me in charge of pouring shots. I'm pretty sure he came close to finishing off that bottle. In those days, I didn't have a car, so I had to depend on the kindness of strangers (and sometimes my grandparents) to drive me around. (Hey, I was only 18. I worked at the local library earning minimum wage at the time, which was $4.75 an hour.) It was so late, I had to walk home. That's OK. It was only two miles.
Rob, hammered as much as he was, had to walk me home. So we walked down the train tracks to Spring Road, where we intended to take the Prairie Path back to my place. However, he was so fucked up he started puking. Every few steps, we would have to stop so he could vomit on the sidewalk, or in an alley, or even in potted plants maintained by the Elmhurst Park District. Before long, I had to hold him up as we walked. I remember some drunken college kids coming out of Doc Ryan's calling us "faggots," and Rob tried to get away from me so he could kick their asses. Finally, I couldn't support his boozy frame anymore, so we sat on the bench by the gazebo where Spring intersects with the Prairie Path. He spent the next hour puking, and then he got up, leaving his wallet, cigarettes and lighter on the bench. I gathered his things and followed him. In the end, I wound up walking HIM home before turning back and going to my own place by myself.
The next day, he was soooooo fucking hungover. He called me to give me shit, and at that moment, he revealed to me that the reason he put me in charge of pouring shots was because he thought I'd be compassionate enough to cut him off if he got too drunk.
Whoops. You live and you learn.
But I'm such an utter bastard that in response, I laughed. To this day, if I'm walking down Spring Road with someone who knows Rob, I will play a game with them. It's called Guess Where Rob Puked. Here's the thing: you can't lose. He puked EVERYWHERE.
I'd say sorry, but . . . well, I'm still an utter bastard.