I’m still old.

Friday night, I got home from the gym, ate dinner, and showered. As I’m getting out of the shower I’m thinking ahead to putting on sweats and parking my ass in front of a TV.

“We’re going to be late.”

Shit. Reality set in that it was 9pm and we were just about to head out. Not just that, but we were to emerge into the dead of February winter.

I remembered back to college. At 9pm on a Friday night, I’d be pregaming (but still coming out of the shower; yes, I’d drink in the shower if need be). We would then go to Brownies, leave our coats in the car, wait outside in the cold on line for 20 minutes while the bouncers, who thought they had a real job like cops or something, slowly checked IDs and gave dirty looks to patrons who really couldn’t give a shit about them. I’d then stand elbow to elbow with hundreds of people (in a room meant to fit many less than that) whose combined cologne/perfume could reanimate the dead with its potency. I would then fight for the bartender’s attention (and lose, since I lacked breasts) for shitty drinks. I’d scream at the guy next to me, who wouldn’t hear me because the volume of the shit poor cover band was at a level that could adequately resonate in the SkyDome. Inebriated (or not), we’d head back to the car to my now uncomfortably refrigerated coat awaited. The designated driver, who endured the same scenario without the calming factor of alcohol, would then sigh as we incessantly whined for him or her to take us to Pat’s as if we were children asking “Are we there yet?” On a lucky night, we’d get to witness the effects of inertia on projectile vomit out the car window.

This used to be fun.

Luckily, my night’s outlook didn’t look so grim. We were going to see a comedian (which is good) with Jen and Tony (which we like). I had no reason to dread going out, short of the actual prospect of going out itself.

I was able to quell my growing disappointment in myself when both Meg and Jen expressed that neither of them felt like going out either. Tony, who had been at work since 6:30 that morning, nodding approvingly as he focused on not falling asleep where he stood.

Saturday found a similar internal debate between lifting the razor to my face to shave and diving head first into my warm, inviting bed, which mocked me from the mirror of the master bedroom. This time I would be stuck in a bar, elbow to elbow with people I don’t know. I could practically smell the smoke that would be caked into my clothes even before leaving the house.

It shouldn’t be surprised that I harbored a bit of resentment towards Tara for having the audacity of turning 21 in freaking cold ass February. So, I decided to enact my revenge.

My ex-roomate (I don’t like the term “ex-” there, it sounds like we broke up) Tony turned 21 last out of our group of friends. We made a big deal of it; his friends from NY came down and the whole lot of us found our way into Philly. It was there that I learned his friends are somewhere between devious and flat out malicious. Their goal was to get Tony to drink anything that was handed to him. It worked too. At one point we threw down a $20 bill for jello shots (a dollar each). There were like 16 of us, so naturally the other 4 went to Tony.

Perhaps the most sadistic ritual witnessed in this rite of passage is the shot. We took turns trying to reach our goal of finding a mixture of alcohol that most closely resembled cat urine. I forget which of Tony’s friends won the contest, but I do remember the shot was a Three Wise Men, named for the fact that the shot is made up of Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, and Jose Cuervo (I think, or some combination of alcohols with guys’ names). As you can imagine, the concoction is only a few molecules away from rocket fuel.

So as shivered in the corner of the bar (since it was roughly 5 below that night), I watched my dear sister-in-law celebrating. I, being a loving brother-in-law, decide it’s my turn to buy her a drink. I, being an asshole, made sure JJ, Chris, and Marie were all in sight of Tara as she attempted to imbibe the elixir of death.

Words cannot do justice to her reaction. She must not have expected her usually sweet and innocent in-law to choose from the most vile of spirits. Her eyes bugged out for a split second, only to be followed by the wrinkling of her entire face. I forget if she blurted the stream of expletives before or after the chaser, which also warrants mention. She had been holding on to a fresh Long Island Iced Tea. I point out the fresh aspect of it, since after she chased my birthday wish with it, it was nearly 1/3 empty (or 2/3 full for you optimist jackasses out there).

Here’s where the story gets funny. I felt bad (no, that’s not the funny part). I offered to buy her anything she wanted to make up for it. Her reply was “Anything as long as it’s not that shit.”

Does anyone reading this really think I didn’t view that as an open invite to continue the abuse?

I thought back to Tony’s birthday. Another of his sadistic friends bought him a Liquid Heroin. I don’t know what’s in it, but I honestly remember gagging as we all passed it around and smelled it before subjecting Tony to the torture. Historians would later argue that was the shot that put Tony over the edge.

“One Liquid Heroin please.”
“We don’t make that here.”

Her response annoyed me, simply because of the phrasing. It was as if there was some religious objection to making that shot.

“Shit. Ok, well, here’s the deal. It’s her 21st birthday, so I need something… potent.”

I actually expected her to reply “What’s potent mean?”

She scurries away and comes back with a shot. I pick it up and it’s warm to the touch. Apparently, the chemical reaction has already begun.

“What is it?”
“A Three Wise Men.”

Well, shit. I’m not about to dump it, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to drink it. Frankly, just holding it was beginning to make my eyes water. So I did the next best thing.

“TARA”

I hand her the shot. I grab JJ’s beer out of his hand and hand her that too. This time, she didn’t even get a chance for her eyes to bug out. For a second, I was worried I had inadvertently caused a seizure. She downs JJ’s beer. She then grabs Melissa’s beer and downs that too. I stopped her as she tried to wring out the bar rag to subdue the fire in her mouth.

Lucky for me this second shot had left her uncoordinated enough such that her attempts to hit me failed miserably. That was also about the last I saw of Tara. Happy Birthday Tara, next year make your birthday during the summer.

The other cool event of the night was seeing the Jackass crew there. In case there is any question, they are exactly like they are in the show. Steve-O ended up ripping his shirt and wearing it on his head, which left me happy to see the big tattoo of himself on his back. It was even cooler in real life. Their friends caused two fights that night too. It was amidst these fights that Meglissa (when they hang out, they become one entity, sharing one largely unfunctioning and inebriated brain) decide they need their picture of Knoxville. Phil and I went to take the actual picture, ready to race them out like the president under fire as the Andy Capp smoke ball came rolling back our way.

So, we survived. I still feel old since I had no desire to go out, but I did manage to have fun and stay awake. Perhaps I’m not as much of an old fart as I think I am.