Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Personal History: The First Time I Got Drunk, Part I

Note: This post is threatening to get too long for one post, so I'll be splitting it into two pieces. This mainly because I'm too lazy to finish it in one sitting, and I have a feeling you wouldn't want to read it all in one sitting. Also, I've been drinking. 

Maybe it's because I actually am drunk right now, but I'm going to tell you about the first time I became legally (that is, in the eyes of the law, not of legal age) intoxicated. 

I must note that in high school I never drank. Never ever. Oh wait...I had maybe a small sip of sloe gin, but that doesn't really count. (I may revisit the sloe gin story another time.)

Here are some reasons why I never drank prior to entering college:
  • I didn't run with a crowd that was into drinking
  • I didn't like the taste of alcohol, even though (I was told) the taste of alcohol wasn't exactly the point
  • I was a geek/nerd/whatever, and most geeks/nerds/whatevers didn't drink
  • I was a militant teetotaler
When I was like 10 or so, my brother and I went to the house of our friend Ken, who lived next door. Ken snatched a few beers from his parents' fridge and we went to the more wooded area of his back yard to drink them.

We stood there between a chain-link fence and a bunch of tall evergreens, and I was terrified. But terror is often overruled by peer pressure, so I cracked open a can of Budweiser, but not before giving that can a good look:

Is there a Queen of Beers?

To a 10-year-old this can has a hell of a lot of writing on it in script that's nearly impossible to read. Look at that banner with the fine print that's unfurled at the top: who the hell is going to read all that? That's a lot more information than I would have found on my usual poison of the time, Dr Pepper. Does the brand expect anyone to spot this can at the deli and read this:

This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness, and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price. Brewed by our original all natural process using the choicest Hops, Rice and Best Barley Malt.
...and go, "Shee-it! I'm putting this down this got-damn Miller High Life and getting me some Bud! I need that there Beechwood Aging!"

I forget whether the can had the current tab or the old-style ones that had to be pulled off the entire can (if you're younger than 35 you like have no idea of what I'm talking about), but the thought has lead me to a digression about the Pathmark supermarket and its generic, so-called No Frills brands.

I have never gotten drunk on any of these.
Pathmark's No Frills was the generic brand you could get at the supermarket if you wanted to save a couple of dime on, say, canned peaches or peroxide. What made the Pathmark No Frills brand so awesome was that the label was all white, with an all-caps description of the product, which proclaimed to the world at large that you didn't care that  Heinz had 57 varieties, you were willing to cover your fries with a red liquid from a bottle labeled just KETCHUP. What I remember most about the No Frills brand, the products for which were in a isolated area of the store, like a leper colony, was the beer, which was called, uh, BEER, and was so no-frills that the cans were completely smooth on top because they didn't even have a pull tab. In other words, you had to pop the top of the can with one of those can openers you'd use on a drum of Hi-C.

Pathmark eventually replaced No Frills with a somewhat warmer Pathmark brand (on the left in the above photo) that didn't look like it came from a welfare office or was given to survivors of a flood.

I opened my can of Bud and I had the tiniest sip, and what touched my tongue tasted like nothing I'd ever had before: bitter and fizzy, all I could think was "Piss Cola." Ken cackled maniacally and claimed that he was soooo wasted, even though I could clearly see that he positioned the can so it poured out onto the grass as he was "drinking" it. I think my brother drank at least half his can.

I wouldn't go near another beer until I was 20.


  1. Your blog is sounding more like a confession rant of things you never thought you'd get caught doing by mom & dad.

  2. hahahaahahahah

    AND I didn't know No Frills was Pathmark :o

    Miller High Life is the only beer I will not drink.