In high school I would often go out on weekend nights with friends to a movie or some other normal teen event. Invariably, we might try to go to a bar - or else head to the beach (the joys of growing up on Long Island) where we would drink. My drink of choice in high school was vodka (I wouldn't develop a taste for beer until I went away to college).
This particular evening, we were well on our way to being hammered, my two friends and I, with me far out in the lead (did I mention I was a lightweight?), when my friend, Chris, decided it was time to wrestle. He swung me around on the beach, where I landed hard on the sand and my high school ring, which had only recently arrived, flipped off my finger.
I exclaim, "MY RING!" Chris immediately feels bad that he has cost his drunk friend his new high school ring and begins to sift through the sand, looking for the ring. My other friend turns his car toward the beach and puts on the high beams to assist in the search. I flop down next to Chris and begin to pound the sand, trying to "help." Miraculously the ring surfaces in Chris's hand. We decide that's enough for the evening so we get back in the car to head home.
I was in the back seat with the remaining vodka, which did not survive the trip to my house. My two loyal friends "pour" me out of Gary's backseat and push me in the direction of my parent's front door. I manage to get through the door and up the stairs to my room, of course located at the end of the hall, next to my parents room. I may have bounced off the wall a bit down the hall.
I land on my bed and that's when the room starts to move without me. I realize it is in my best interest to get up and head for the bathroom. So I bounce back down the hall to the bathroom where I proceed to pray to the porcelain god. In my stupor, I decide that I am clearly making too much noise and decide to move to the bathroom downstairs.
It is here my mother finds me.
She looks down at me and says, "You've been drinking, haven't you?"
I have the nerve to look up at this woman who gave me life and state quite defiantly, "No."
To which she responds, "But you smell like a distillery."
I counter with my repeated denial, "But, I haven't been drinking." I may have included some allegation that it was someone else who spilled on me. It's not clear.
Somehow I get back to bed and the next morning, I was drinking - coffee at the kitchen table. My mother let me wear sunglasses at the table. And she was considerate enough to speak softly.
The high school ring? I lost it a few years later as I got out of my car . . . in the parking lot of a bar . . . it went down the sewer drain. But that's another story.