Ah, College
"Screw(driver)ed: A story about passing out"

A quick background.

I wrote this story a few months ago after having an…interesting bout with vodka and orange juice. I refer to it as a "story," and that's exactly what it is, because I can't remember 90% of the truth of what happened that night and just pieced the story together from my friends. Anyway, this story should act as a strong warning to everyone. One of the things I forgot that night is exactly what that warning is, but it's still pretty funny. If you figure out the moral, please tell me.

Let it be said immediately that many fraternities are honorable institutions. The majority of them carry out community service projects that have helped a number of people on a scale that individual students in college could not alone. But fraternities are, at heart, made up of college students. And college students get drunk. A lot. Regardless of whether or not they collected money for children with cancer a few months earlier.

At my fraternity, we have a certain tradition called "Liquor Thursday." This particular tradition states, as you might guess, that we get together on Thursday nights and tutor students who aren't doing well in history classes. And if no one shows up to get tutored, we drink. Besides the fact that no one has shown up yet to get tutored, I also made up that part.

I almost never drink. I'm telling the truth. Alcohol tastes like piss. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Drinking is an uphill battle to get drunk before your tongue can remind you you're drinking poison.

I always laugh when people are talking about their favorite beer. When they do, they usually say stuff like, "You should try it. It's so smooth." or "It's got kind of a sweet taste." And when I hear things like that, it usually sounds like, "I sure am full of crap." and "Boy, I'm an idiot."

The exceptions to the rule, of course, are mixed drinks. If you mix enough fruity tastes with liquor, it will taste good. The saving grace there is that you usually have to mix in so much juice or whatever that your average mixed drink is no more intoxicating than a bowl of cereal. You'd still be able to get drunk, but only if you drank several gallons. Your bladder will rarely let you do this.

The exceptions to the exception to the rule are screwdrivers. Screwdrivers are perhaps the most diabolical drink ever created by man or, as I highly suspect, the devil himself. When you mix a screwdriver just right, it will contain a sufficient amount of alcohol to get you destroyed, but the taste of orange juice completely disguises it. Next thing you know, you're wearing women's clothing and you wake up in Spain. Which is okay, because you happen to be a woman and you're Spanish, but you probably just lucked out this time.

On that particular night, I hadn't planned to drink. I had a lot of statistics work to do for the next day, and it's hard enough for me to do math while completely sober and wearing pants.

I finally decided to have just one drink to take the edge off. Unfortunately, when I took off the edge, I apparently didn't notice that my dignity was in the pocket. I would be looking for it intently for the remainder of the night.

At a bar, you have the benefit of the bartender being able to judge exactly how much alcohol should go into a drink. After one drink, my inhibitions were starting to become unglued, so I let the second drink have a little vodka. (I still had some edge left to take off.) The third drink had even more. I can't actually call the fourth and fifth drinks screwdrivers. Instead, I would probably call it "vodka with orange juice on it." The orange juice was purely for coloring purposes.

It was sometime after these last drinks that I offered the line, "I'm fine. There's just too much damn gravity in this house!" Which would have probably been bad enough if I hadn't tried to swat the excess gravity away with my hands a moment later. And then fallen down.

It's a rare spectacle to see me that drunk, so everyone there that night found the need to take advantage of it. Specifically, two of my fraternity brothers found it particularly funny to try and push me over. As though my eventual collapse weren't a foregone conclusion already.

From there it gets kind of hazy, though I distinctly remember a number of my brothers being very amused that I was as drunk as I was. I was apparently so far gone that the "fraternity drunk" was telling me to dance and throwing change at me. Oh, and on no more than four occasions, I fell down and asked inanimate nearby objects if they were okay.

I must've been pretty wasted, because some of them answered.

I had reached one of the final stages of drunkeness. At that point, it probably would've been safer for me to juggle lit fireworks than to try walking all the way back home. But I certainly tried. I was just about to leave when I received an urgent call.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Yeah, it's your stomach. I just called to let you know you're going to be throwing up for the next hour or so. Just a quick heads up."

"Got it," I said. "So…how are the kids?"

"Look," it said. "I can't really talk right now. I'm sure I'll be calling again after finals are over. We'll chat then."

Somewhat upset that my stomach never called just to talk anymore, I hung up the phone and made my way towards the bathroom. Or at least away from anyone with nice clothes.

About ten minutes after you've had one drink too many, you will know it. The need to dance stupidly to every song that comes on is replaced by the feeling that you are on a boat and very seasick. But at that very moment, someone was using the bathroom. And someone was throwing up in both sinks. And my hands had forgotten how to use the knob to get outside. It wasn't a good night for me.

Finally, the bathroom opened up. I took the opportunity to check my face for pimples. Then I checked out the latest issue of Cosmo that was on the magazine rack in there. Oh, and I finished up by throwing up twenty-three times. Four attempts of which ending up in the actual toilet.

After removing a good deal of toxic material from my body, I felt like I was ready to take the trip home. I made my way down the front walk, but after my body tried to float into space a few times, I decided to just sleep at the fraternity house. Just as soon as someone picked me up and took me back in there.

Someone suggested I lay on the couch so I didn't hurt myself and so I could settle my stomach. Laying on my side, I realized that my stomach wasn't going to be settling anytime soon. I asked for something to throw up in so I wouldn't have to get up and one of my brothers, though somewhat grudgingly, set our brand new cleaning bucket next to the couch. I thanked him and then immediately threw up three or four more times.

From there, the haze gets even thicker. There are two last things I can remember about the night:

1) People playing a heated game of "What food was in Matt's stomach?" (If you'd like to play at home, the answer was "brocolli from Chinese food.")

2) A zany adventure with the cast of "Friends." (Though, in all fairness, that may have been a false memory.)

Then I threw up again maybe. I don't know. In any case, I ended up asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, my head was right in the bucket where I had left it. A quick search of the room turned up my dignity lying underneath the couch. It was soaking wet, having apparently been used as a substitute for a ping pong ball when we lost the ball we were using for Beer Pong.

I didn't recall much of the night before, but my brothers were happy to fill me in on it. I wasn't sure if I could believe any of them, but it was probably better than my recollection of the night. My memories of the night before were basically me drinking the five screwdrivers and then the rest of the night was just several hours of clips from "You Got Served."

I guess if I really, really think about it, there is, in fact, a moral to this story. Alcohol can be a lot of fun, but it can have some pretty nasty side effects if you don't drink within your limits. There's no denying it. But the only way to find your limit is to drink past it. And then throw up on it.

Basically, everyone's allowed one free screw-up night.

Anyway, drink within your limits. I have very nice friends and belong to a very nice fraternity, so it was no big deal that I made the stupid mistake that I did. If you happen to belong to a dick fraternity, there's a good chance you'll wake up with a lot more penises drawn on your face and a whole lot less clothing.

Cheers.