Blastitude 9
ISSUE 13   FALL 2002
page 15





by Jack Jackson

††††††††††† Even as a child, I remember hearing the phrase ďsocial alcoholicĒ and thinking that it was a zillion times better than being a ďreal alcoholic.Ē† I mean, a social alcoholic, at the very least, is social, right?† A true-blue alcoholic is someone who goes to work drunk, beats their children, operates forklifts madly, kills lots of people industrially, and then comes home and murders a bunch of people on the highway.

††††††††††† But a social alcoholic, well, they just act stupid in front of their friends on a regular basis.

††††††††††† For six years, Iíve been a social alcoholic, and those were the years after I turned 21.† Honestly, I probably wasnít a social alcoholic until I turned 22, but the year I was 21 had a lot to do with my eventual social alcoholism.† And for those six years, I accrued an endless list of friends.† I still surprise people I meet with the amount of people I know.† I canít go downtown without running into at least four or five random personas which I have become acquainted with at one point or another.

††††††††††† Itís easy to make friends when youíre drunk.† Just smile, tell a joke, nod your head, agree with anything, and then buy another drink.† They will walk off, thinking youíre a funny person, and even feel glad that youíve talked to them, because youíre the go-getter, the socialite, the person who has connections to anyone and everyone.† They might even want to fuck you someday.

††††††††††† And I drive home drunk on a regular basis.† Regular meaning every single time Iíve driven home.† I donít think Iíve been way drunk each time, but certainly those times when Iíve teetered around the highway and been pulled over for speeding.† I canít believe the trooper let me off with a warning that last time, and I canít believe I didnít destroy those mailboxes last year.

††††††††††† Iíd never kill anyone with my car.† Iím too professional, too social for that.

††††††††††† But then there was that day last week I woke up.

††††††††††† I lost that perfect string of reality.† It had become a muddled ball of twine, and I couldnít remember if Iíd been on it or if Iíd left several years ago.† Having talked to other friends, I now understand that forgetting large portions of the evening and confusing memories with fantasies is a natural part of being drunk.† But I hadnít begun to experience the sensation until just two weeks ago, and it was a little disturbing.† It also went a little deeper.

††††††††††† Not only did I wake up not understanding what was reality and what was fiction, but I didnít know if I was awake or not.† Sometimes I would go back to bed, trying to infuse my brain with the invented reality of my dreams.† Sometimes I wouldnít know the difference.† Worse yet, I didnít really care.

††††††††††† I began to wish for the dream world.† I wanted to be a part of it.† I wanted to be drunk all the time so I could be there, every second of the day.

††††††††††† On last Wednesday, I awoke, and the only thought through my mind was ďmy face is melting.Ē† It wasnít hot outside, my face felt fine, but my brain kept feeding my thoughts with ďmy face is melting.† My face is melting.Ē† I almost spoke it aloud, at work, but the repetition droning† of ďmy face is meltingĒ stopped me.

††††††††††† I touched my face, and it didnít melt.† My face is still on my skull.† It hasnít melted off yet.

††††††††††† There have been three times in my life when I threw up on my own bed.† Iím not an animal, and I know that you should throw up in a toilet.† When you pass out, however, and you wake up to throw up, you have little choice as to where you throw up.† Iíve certainly thrown up in a toilet often enough to understand the principle, and sometimes Iíve thrown up pure bile and prayed to a God I donít really believe in and then He spares me and I live to eat tacos another day.

††††††††††† When I throw up on my bed, I throw up all over my bed.† I donít miss one bit.† I throw up on the comforter, the sheets, the pillows, and the headboard.† I ball everything up, and set it outside for when I wake up.† Then I sleep on my little couch and wake up not only with a hangover, but also with a stiff neck.† Then I have a monstrous shit which nearly fills the whole toilet with turds.

††††††††††† Just wash the sheets and remake the bed, and youíre back in business.

††††††††††† That first time I threw up bile, I really did think I was dying.† I didnít know what that thick yellow stuff coming out of my mouth was.† It tasted horrible, and I suspected it was some sort of precious bodily fluid.† I wasnít about to swallow it back down, though.† I wouldíve rather died than try to ingest bile.

††††††††††† The other vivid memory is of feeling every pore in my body opening and sweating at the same time.† That was, strangely, a good sensation.† After each painful bile heave or dry heave, a cooling army of sweat beads would renew themselves on my skin and made everything a little bit better.

††††††††††† Last night I called some friends who live out of town on my cellularmaphone because I have an inordinate number of minutes on my new billing plan.† But, the minutes are only inordinate after 8 p.m.† I didnít start calling people until about midnight, just to make sure the minutes would be considered nighttime minutes, and while I was calling people, I realized it was also the weekend, so it didnít matter what time I called.

††††††††††† Although yesterday wasnít St. Patrickís Day, we celebrated as if it were, because celebrating it on Sunday isnít much fun.† I do find myself downtown drinking on Sundays often enough, but being hungover on Monday at work is an exceptionally bad way to start the week.

††††††††††† So I started my phone calls with what will now be a yearly tradition on St. Patrickís Day Eve, which is to call my friend Jesse really late and really drunk.† Last year, he was still living in Lincoln and when I called him at two in the morning, he was arguing with his girlfriend about how she didnít like that I call their apartment a lot.† After that phone call, Jesse told me that his girlfriend really hated me, and that he couldnít talk to me anymore.† Thankfully, he broke up with her and he lives in Napa Valley now.

††††††††††† So I called Jesse again last night to tell him to have a happy St. Patrickís Day, and he didnít answer because he was drinking at a bar.† I left an unintelligible message on his voicemail, and he returned the favor at three in the morning.† His message was about how he was driving home and how it was two hours earlier there, and how once you get those extra two hours, you never want to give them back, and then he talked about how since they make booze in Napa, it only makes sense to drink a lot of the booze thatís there, but sometimes he drinks Miller High Life instead of wine because itís cheaper and the cost of living is high.† There was something else about how the West Coast is the better of the two coasts, but how he also liked the East Coast and he was looking forward to going to Dwight and Maggieís wedding in Maine and something about swinging through Boston one of those days.

††††††††††† So, the point is that you can have a symbiotic mutual social alcoholic friendship and you donít even have to directly talk to each other.† It can happen through voicemail, and that seems to be okay.

††††††††††† In between the time I left a message for Jesse and the message he left for me, I called up Conor in Omaha on accident because I was trying to call Colby in Chicago.† ďConorĒ is right next to ďColbyĒ on my list of speed dial names on my cellularmaphone, and since I was drunk, I either didnít notice or didnít care.† But when Conor answered and I apologized because it was so late, I didnít just say goodbye and retry calling Colby.† Instead, I was social for about three minutes and we talked about some stuff that I donít remember. †Oh, I do remember he said he was in Austin and I asked him if heíd run into The Flying Luttenbachers while he was there and he said he hadnít.

††††††††††† And then I really did call Colby, but Tiffany answered and she was the only one home.† She was practicing cello or violin and was wanting to get back to it since she had the house to herself, but she talked to me for about ten minutes and I expressed my excitement that Head of Femur, her new band, would be coming to town soon.† She gave me the information that Colby had gone to a birthday party for Courtney, Jonathanís sister, and so I called their house and talked to Molly before she found Colby and I talked to him.

††††††††††† Colby didnít really want to talk to me because he was at a party and Iím sure he was trying to dig on some chicks, or possibly I was harshing his scene.† He wanted to know if I wanted to talk to Rob, but I didnít feel like it.† I was becoming tired and I had whiskey dick so I didnít even bother surfing the Internet for pornographic materials.

††††††††††† I woke up to answer a call from Colin, and he wants to go drinking tonight at an Irish pub, but there really arenít any true Irish pubs in town.† He suggested the Tam Oí Shanter, which has an Irish name, but theyíve turned it into a strange place.† The foodís not good anymore and they put a shuffleboard table right in the middle of their main dining area.† They also knocked out a wall and added two pool tables, a dart machine, and one of those damn Golden Tee golf games.† When I think of an Irish pub, I envision a bar, and only a bar, and you have to have a gray, scraggly beard to get served.† There is no pool table.

††††††††††† And on Monday Iím sure some people will want to have the cheap beer at Crane River.† Throughout the rest of the week, someone will want to drink somewhere else.† Friday nights, if you can believe it, are my least favorite night to drink.† Itís like how the weekend is when you take off from work, but I also take off from drinking, if only for one evening.

††††††††††† But Fridays are also the night that the Classics Department has FAC and Iíve often found myself spending the whole day downtown, drunk, eating, drunk again, then even going to some after-hours party.

††††††††††† It never, ever ends.

(picture not of Jack Jackson)


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