The following tale is as true as my memory allows. It occurred four years ago in the City of Indians, where we often drink too much and do stupid things. I’m sure that life is nothing like that where you live. While not directly related to the birth of little baby Jesus, the story is ultimately His fault, because He failed to come to my aid in a timely fashion. Up your nose with a rubber hose, little baby Jesus.
It all began at the company Christmas party, a place famous for the bad decisions it inspires. I chalk it up to a year's worth of proletarian frustration exploding into a burst of revolutionary stupidity. This party, however, did not seem likely to descend into proper bacchanalia. I sat in a downtown bar surrounded by boring, witless people who spoke constantly of nothing. As nature abhors a vacuum, so I abhor the vacuous. I escaped the inanity by drinking and drinking and drinking. And, when the party was over, I remained in the bar with two of my least offensive fellow workers (one of whom had given me a ride to the party), and I drank and drank some more. Since it looked as if no one else was going to do anything stupid, I had decided to handle it myself. The bartender who was serving us concocted the strongest drinks this side of Dr. Cream. "I pour them like I drink them," he said.
(It is at this point that I should mention that I had taken a little pill earlier in the day. Being the Mikey of drug abuse, I typically take whatever anyone gives me. The little pill had been given to me by someone who suffered from severe depression. It’s called Klonopin. It should be called Pullthepin, because it doesn't interact well with alcohol, and I'm composed of little else.)
Some people say that you should never discuss politics or religion, but the people who say that are probably sober, and they certainly aren’t riding the wave of a mind-bending drug designed for serious loons. Your drunken narrator let loose with a tendentious tirade regarding capitalism and other nightmares. It was the sort of declamation that can only conclude with a grand exit, preferably involving a swirling cape and a puff of smoke. I left the bar on foot, miles away from home, and I walked and walked and walked. I was determined to make my way home without assistance of any kind. By the time my journey crashed to its conclusion, I had walked for four hours, and I had seen and done things:
I spoke to a man in front of a liquor store who had an unfamiliar accent. Whenever he said "life" it sounded like "laugh". So when I told him about my troubles, he said, "Don't throw your laugh away."
A light snow had begun to fall, and I felt the chill of night nipping at my wrists, so I sought solace on the pavement in an underpass. The yellow street lights smeared the tunnel walls with sepia. I laid down upon the sidewalk and closed my eyes. In my head a voice said something like, “Wow, you’re really going to go to sleep outside in the freezing cold, aren’t you? I’ve always wondered how people are dumb enough to die this way. Thanks for the demonstration, Señor Chucklenuts.” With that, I reluctantly opened my eyes and groaned to my feet.
It wasn’t long before I found myself urinating in the street. Literally. Urinating while standing in the middle of the street. I don’t remember how the decision was made. I only remember the moment of realization. The Bolshedick was sending a stream down the double yellow lines. The occasional car whizzed by as your humble (still drunken) narrator whizzed. I briefly glimpsed the horror and bemusement on the faces of the drivers and passengers, and I did not care.
Then, there was a long period of walking through neighborhoods festooned with Christmas lights. I stumbled along the colorful desolation, not recognizing the streets. I was reluctant to approach anyone at this point. I knew that the sight of a desperately addled hedonist who might piss at any moment could be enough to ruin anyone’s holiday spirit. The further I delved into the neighborhoods, the quieter they became. I thought at one point that I heard the scabrous death rattle of infinite night resounding through the work-dead world, but it was probably just indigestion.
Finally, I could take no more. I had been walking for a very long time, and I was no closer to home or sobriety. The pill/whiskey combination had a death grip on my brain. My feet were protesting their innocence. My world was pain and confusion and dread. I saw a drug store on the corner, and I felt it owed me one, so I entered and lurched to the counter. "I just want to go home," I said to the uncomfortable woman behind the register. "Please get me home. Please." And she did. She called me a cab, which I took back to my palatial estate. Then, I passed out.
Ever since that night, I’ve been nearly Scientological in my aversion to “anti-anxiety” drugs, because I can’t love anything that hates alcohol so much. I’ve also never been to a company Christmas party since that night, because I know that death is always waiting under the mistletoe.