I did some accounting recently and I realized that for the past eight months I’ve done nothing but yell at you, dear reader, regarding only my opinions and the opinions of those on porn websites. That’s all well and good in proper proportions, but for a person who started a blog about a two day erection, it feels like I’ve cheated you a bit. I’ve been tangentially mentioning drugs, or alcohol, or poor decisions these last months, but I haven’t explained their impact on me personally, and that’s just not fair. So this month I’ve decided to go back to my roots and explain why I can’t be trusted around a bottle of the sauce. Or, for that matter, any liquid:
To set the scene, It was my college roommate’s bachelor party and, as is tradition for a bachelor party, one of us was about to get head-and-shoulders more obliterated than the rest. You’ve probably heard a similar story before, but the thing is it wasn’t going to be the bachelor.
You know damn well who it was.
There was nothing terribly whimsical about the itinerary. We’d all flown to his city of origin, Boise, ID, and shown up with our drinking pants on. It was going to be a two day affair with the first night being pretty cut and dry. Go out. Get drunk. View lewdness. Sleep. I can remember at least two of those.
It starts the way any polite get-together should; With several shirtless men in a bathroom dunking one another into a bucket of icewater and then force feeding the chilled survivor, gasping for air, a room temperature Budweiser. I can’t have beer, so I rose from the icy deeps each time to suck down handlepulls of Jim Beam, but the principle remains the same. At any rate, we cycle through our nine-man lineup a couple of times to the groggy bass of “The Boys Are Back in Town” and then leave the hotel room.
From there we get a brief tour of the town (“Look at this thing” “Stuff happens over here”), eat a hearty dinner on main street (“This place has PBR?” “Is that tranny getting arrested?”), and hop a couple of bars (“Drinks are cheap as hell here” “Does the pinball machine work?”). All of it is a great time, too. I shoot the breeze with college friends and meet the high school buddies of the groom. Genuinely enjoyable and vaguely remembered. I’m leaning on the bar collecting whiskey ginger number four when the call is made, we’re all sauced enough to go to the “strip club”, and I use that term generously here. I down my recent purchase and follow.
I don’t mentally do the math before we reach the neon doorway of the “strip club” but I really should have, because the answer is so obvious. The club is within city limits + Idaho is a red state = There will be neither top nor bottom nudity in this bar. Those are not typos, the place is women in large underwear removing it only to reveal smaller underwear. I walk in, take one look at the situation at hand, and immediately put all my ones into the Golden Tee machine(for those who don’t know what that is). There I hunch staring at a blurry screen. I use my non-drinking hand to shank a driver into a lake and the blackness reaches out to engulf me.
Imagine, if you will, that sensation that you get when you wake up in a darkened room and for a single raw second you have no idea where you are. Then, remember the sweet embrace of recognizing your end table, your lamp, your live/laugh/love cutouts, etc., and realizing it’s actually your room and you were just confused. You see, when I open my eyes to greet the light again I don’t get that second part. What receive upon emerging from the darkness is a black Ford Mustang and a shirtless stranger sipping orange juice from a clear plastic cup.
“Hey man,” he says to me, “you can stay here for a little bit longer, but you have to go soon.”
I am in a bad place. I determine as much by looking around and noticing that I am in an unknown garage on a floral couch staring at a strangers nipples. Also, I seem to have wet myself.
“Okay man, cool.”
I lie low for a bit so as to collect what little of myself I have left, or what little of me there ever was. I don’t find much. After this existential examination, I examine the physical self for any negative repercussions of my alcoholic folly. No track marks, no burns, no cuts save for a concrete scrape against an ankle. The clothes I went out with. Wallet. Watch. Phone. All my orifices seem to be in order. I consider this a rousing success and stand up. Then I walk through the kitchen, tentatively scoot past a random mutt and a low-growling pit bull, and get to the front door. The house is actually extremely similar to a fetid shanty I lived in during college. I consider this before removing my pants and stepping into the early morning light.
It’s a lovely day, which is great news because it is immediately apparent that I am nowhere near downtown Boise and I am going to be doing some walking. And for the next forty five minutes or so this is precisely what I do. I watch the blue dot on my gps move slowly one direction, then the opposite. Every once in a while I lift my head to take in the suburban Idaho scenery, like concrete algae canals loosely called ‘rivers’ or topiaries shaped like obese jungle creatures. It’d almost be enjoyable if my dehydrated brain weren’t trying desperately to figure out which direction to take me so that I can properly lay down and die.
By the time I locate the street I should have been taking the entire time the sun is very high in the sky. Then I get a call from a member of the party. I answer it
“Hey, Rick, where the hell are you?”
The phone dies.
At this point I am outside a radio shack, wondering if they’ll let a pantsless man charge a phone. I assume they will not so I walk on. There is much more walking. If I were a poetic man I might, at this point, weave you a tapestry of words to describe the way the sun plays off the tall grass of the undeveloped lots I pass. I might explain in sweeping metaphor the dance the wind makes my floral boxers do as I walk. But I am not a poetic man, so I will instead say I plod onward for another ten minutes regretting not purchasing a water from the last gas station I passed.
It’s fairly early in the lazy Saturday morning, so the only close company I enjoy on my stroll is the occasional confused bee or a car whooshing by, but this doesn’t preclude me from actively trying to thumb a ride as I go. I make my way like this for some time until a rather disquieting hum stalks up from behind. Normally, the sound of tires hissing to a stop and a car door opening is nothing more than the background noise of modern life, but when I hear it this time I know it to be something quite different. I know danger is afoot. And when I turn the proof is there, a man with Oakley sunglasses, short hair, and a shiny badge. It’s Johnny Law.
There is a brief jolt of primal energy that tells my body it’s time to run, but the thought of getting my body up to full speed is followed quickly by a mental image of me wearing handcuffs and vomiting in a Blimpie parking lot. I pick the easier option, which is coming to terms with the run I’ve had. Pretty respectable. Considering my patterns of behavior, a full 23 years without once ending up in the drunk tank is impressive bordering on commendable. I mournfully note that my trip this day won’t top the one my brother took while wearing a tutu, and wonder if the station at least has Powerade.
“See, if you’dve been drinking this in the first place we wouldn’tve caught you”
Then the man saunters up to talk:
“How are we doing today?”
“Alright officer, how are you?”
“I, uh, got a call. Some kind of vagrant was wandering around a residential area looking very confused?”
“That might have been me.”
“Mhm. Can I see your ID?”
Takes the ID back to his car. Punches in all the particulars. Talks jargon into the radio. Returns.
“So. What are you up to this morning?”
“It’s my buddy’s bachelor party. It’s over there, I’m just trying to get back to the Ace Hotel” Indicates vague direction.
“Mhm.” Weighs options. Thinks of better things to be doing. “Can I call you a cab?”
“No, I think I’ll be fine.” Is DECIDEDLY not fine.
“What’s that you got in your hand there?”
“Uhm,” inspects hand pants, “Boxers?”
“Why are you carrying your boxers?”
“Uhm, they got wet.”
“O…K.” Walks partway back to car, turns. “Are you sure you don’t want me to call a cab?”
“Y’know what officer, that sounds great right now.”
Jargons into radio. “Alright, I have a cab coming for you, should be here in,” checks watch, “fifteen minutes.”
“Great, thank you Officer. Have a nice day.” Ass, curb. Head, knees. Arm shoved out with a thumbs up.
And that was that. I wasn’t forced to learn any lesson that day. The kind officer drove away, and fifteen minutes later a cab came and dragged my desiccated body back to the realm where competent humans organize events for their competent friends. By the time I arrived at the hotel most everybody was wide-eyed to see me alive, asking me questions and talking about how close I was to missing the departure time. Everyone, that is, except for the people who’d been to this rodeo before, my college roommates. They regarded my return in the same way one regards the return of the dog after having let it out back to pee. They just nodded their heads, opened the door, and let the creature back inside. I wasn’t even bleeding this time.
Even now there are hundreds of questions to answer about what went on that night:
Were those men drunken angels, taking care of a lost stranger? Were they demons, trying to make me do the reefers? Did I invite myself back to their house to continue to party? How did I get separated from the group? Did that cop know I wasn’t wearing pants? Did he care? I like to think the best of all of these.
Every time I’ve been to Boise I’ve seen the same advertisement hanging above the airport’s down escalators. It’s a picture of a mastadonic potato on the back of a semi, with a welcoming phrase on it. I think I have a more genuinely encouraging idea to put there instead. It’s my stupid smiling face giving a thumbs up. Next to that there’s a smalltext version of this entire story. Then, in large Impact font it just says “I DIDN’T DIE”. I think that speaks more about the Boise experience than any mutated tuber ever could. Because I don’t know what happened that balmy September night, but I do know one thing, I can consistently rely on the kindness of strangers in Idaho.