7 Life Lessons That My Birthday Reaffirmed

On April 7th of this year, I turned 24. I know that, to most, a 24th birthday is just an excuse to get drunk and I would say that this is a wrong attitude. You never need an excuse to drink. The fact that you’re turning 24 just provides a cushion for you when you’re asked about your inability to control intake.

“Why is he drinking so much?”

“He’s turning 24!”

“Next four rounds are on me!”

That conversation never actually happened, but see what I mean?

My 24th birthday taught me a few things about drinking, and about some other, less important stuff too.

Dr. Pepper's Pitbull ad.

1. Shots are a fickle thing.

One day, I will get to the age where I feel the need to buy nicer brands of alcohol to treat myself on special occasions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no country music star. If I see someone drinking something other than warm bud light poured over a tractor hitch, I would let it slide, with no hard feelings. But when you ask me what I’m drinking for my birthday, if I answer anything other than “As much as I can, for as cheaply as I can,” kill my queen, before her pods spread more of me.

That’s why I bought Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to “pre-game” with. And before I go further, let me clarify two things. One, Wild Turkey doesn’t mix with anything. In the literal sense it does, because when you pour it into Coke, Coke doesn’t complain about the cross burned into it arm, but in the sense of taste, adding Wild Turkey to a mixer is the easiest way to make your drink into something otherwise. I won’t call it a “Turkey and Coke” because I’m pretty sure that Coke lost the battle enough to not even be considered an entity anymore, so I’ll label my first drink of the evening a “Turkey: 1 R.I.P. Coke.”

And two, it’s not great for shots either, at least for the first couple. Taking a Wild Turkey shot is the quickest way between Point A and Point Trashcan, as it’s not made for human consumption. That’s why it’s such a great whiskey. The alcohol content isn’t even that great, and it tastes like devil pee, so the allure is that when you drink Wild Turkey, you’re a rebel in the best way.

Wild Turkey whiskey.

The Prince of Darkness.

I mentioned that the Turkey is only bad for the first few shots, and that’s not a special thing. All shots, for the first three or four, taste like your trying to commit brain suicide, but you invented the method when you were previously drunk. After that, shots are just quicker ways to make you think that hugging your friends is an okay thing to do. That is where their danger lies.

I always think that, while I’m taking shots, that I can handle them, and this night was no exception. I was doing them constantly, and making toasts to everything. None of my friends had seen Scary Movie 5 yet, so cheers to that. We were all still alive, so boom, clink glasses, shots, why are we doing this, Daniel, shut up, it’s my birthday, don’t you have a dog, dogs rule, pour. Shots like to sneak up on you, and they’re really fun until suddenly you can’t tell where the stairs start.

This is all before we went out that night, and if you’ve never seen me before, I resemble a stick that’s slowly being transformed into a baboon, so the liquor is going to hit me fast. It didn’t for a while, and so I kept taking shots, because why not? I’m not drun- oh, God.

Stay Out Of The Road

You’re told as a child, by your parents, to stay out of the road. And later, you’re told, as a man, by your drunk friends, to “Go, go, go, before the countdown gets done.”

Crossing the street isn’t very hard, even when you’re intoxicated, because your instinct tells you that in the colliding battle between your flesh and bones and the nice, big robots that agree to carry them, those robots win every single time. At one point though, I thought it would be a great idea to let my friend Jon jump on my back, an idea we’d planned to put into action two seconds earlier when I yelled “JON, JUMP ON MY BACK!” Jon did, and rather than the heroic, saving someone-from-the-burning-building motion that I’d imagined, I collapsed into the road like a first day of wrestling practice with Jon on top of me like coming wasted to your third year of wrestling practice. I’d made the mistake of confusing drunk strength with drunk drunk.

Drunk strength is what allows mothers to push cars off of their children and Jackie Chans to fight off the kicking style. It’s a magical transformation of the body that transcends explanation when you can suddenly pull off fantastic feats of endurance, agility and power. And then, at a certain point, drunk strength becomes drunk drunk, where everything becomes impossible to do. When drunk drunk kicks in, your body becomes less than useless. Challenging people at arm wrestling at the bar (I did), becomes an embarrassing endeavor where you think you might have a shot, lose spectacularly, and then celebrate your win by shamefully stumbling back into your chair and marveling at the loss of your superhuman abilities. When you become drunk drunk, every moment becomes the second act of Spider-Man 2.

Note: While not having a lot to do with physical prowess, I did have vodka poured into my mouth on the side of the road. I’m not sure why my friend had vodka just sitting, hidden in the back of his car. It was like the deus ex machine of a story already destined to end with a hangover, but I’m eternally grateful that he had it, as it is sure to amuse potential employers for years to come.

daniel-drinking

Never Trust Drunk Writing

Ernest Hemingway once said “Write drunk; edit sober” and I can get behind that. When you’re sober, adding Terminators to the plot is always a bad idea. When you’re drunk, you why not Terminators?

There’s a reason he didn’t say “Write hammered; forget about it for a few days.” Hammered writing should never be trusted. When you write at the point of no sober return, the next few days become Psycho, where you’re actually committing these murders, but you really have no idea. I often have terrific joke ideas when I’m drunk, that I absolutely have to write down and save for later.

Ernest Hemingway drinking,

Me, not Hemingway.

Let’s look at a few from that night, written exactly as I found them in my notebook:

Haha, memes, how about them

Yeah, Daniel. How about those memes, huh? I’ve written jokes for a few years now, and if there’s one secret I can impart to those reading this, it’s that In order to get maximum funniness, you need to tell the subject to the joke, and then immediately go into the final part where you riff with the audience about how crazy it is. The audience will assume that you told a joke, but the hilarity was so loud that they missed some of it.

Arm wrestling

Yeah. Thanks, brain.

I hate at least two people at every bar

Do I though? In what was a mediocre idea for the shortest list ever, apparently there were two people at the bar that caused me to think about other times that I hated two people at other bars, enough times that it was a literal trend in my decrepit mind.

Go Karts Are The Best

That first evening was ended with vomiting and the next day began with a headache. To alleviate that headache, we made a trip to Denny’s, where I created a stomach soup of Wild Turkey and “eggs.” After that, there was a sort of gathering, where I tried to pretend that standing up from a chair didn’t make me dizzy and took another Wild Turkey shot, because I have the willpower of a fucking child.

The next important location? Fun Depot.

Getting to Fun Depot was the first problem. We used a friend’s iPhone to get us there, but the technology mistakenly sent us toward this taco place called White Duck, even though we put in the Fun Depot directions. I know that something like this would usually make me distrust computers a little, but if Siri thinks that a building that serves great tacos could be called “Fun Depot,” then Siri old buddy, you’re alright.

Siri

Fun Depot also has a loose religious theme. It never can quite muster the courage to make its attractions about stories in the bible, but it will post bible quotations all over the place, so that visitors can combine the joys of an exciting day with the joys of feeling guilty about it. The quotes don’t really apply to anything either, so they’re fun little diversions during the games, just in case you were wondering what Jesus might have thought during Putt Putt.

The first activity was go karts, which is always a situation that could possibly lead to death. The appeal of go karts, at least for me, lies in the fact that they’re always in the position to explode at any moment. Every go kart used in a public setting is a loosely combined collection of scrap metal, bolts and flammable liquids. I’ve never ridden a go kart that didn’t feel like it was going to shatter in a gentle breeze or erupt as soon as I hit a padded corner, and yet they never do. There isn’t a lot of magic in the world, but the fact that those shambling, mini vehicles don’t blow up in my face as soon as I press on the gas is a miracle in its own right. It must be all of those bible quotes.

My girlfriend says that this is a bad picture but I half disagree. She still looks hot, but I look like promotional materials for an ostrich abstinence program.

My girlfriend says that this is a bad picture but I half disagree. She still looks hot, but I look like promotional materials for an ostrich abstinence program.

Laser Tag Is The Almost Best

After go karts was laser tag. Laser tag fulfills everyone’s inherent need to feel like they’re good at firing a gun. If you fire a real handgun, and you suck, your sucking is evident through the lack of a non-exploding surface in front of you. It’s a not so subtle way to tell you that your Republican household won’t survive the burglary. If you suck as laser tag, all that happens is your opponents chest doesn’t light up or beep. There isn’t a lot of emotional turmoil that comes with being bad at shooting harmless light at people. If you miss, oh well. The neon, plaster spaceship setting around you offsets any attacks that depressing reality might attempt on you.

Now, I know that I’m great at most things. I was push up champion in ninth grade. Eat that, all people. But I’m only mediocre at laser tag. For every hit I make, I receive one, if only because I’m a tactless combatant. My main technique is to stand directly in front of someone and fire haphazardly until my own light goes off to tell me that, if this was real, my body would be somewhere behind me and my innards would be somewhere near the door. It’s the equivalent of not knowing where land mines are, so you just drive your tank into the field, since tanks are supposed to be pretty tough and you’re feeling lucky.

You Have To Make Yourself Happy

In the time between Denny’s and Fun Depot, I went to FYE in the Asheville Mall, where I picked up the 1960 version of The Lost World. I had never seen this full movie before, only the last half, one morning on TCM and I was interested enough to pick it up. Was it over priced? Remarkably so. But was it my birthday, and I traded in being cheap on liquor for spending too much on a lizard fighting movie that no one cares about.

Googling "the lost world" gave me this. Holy shit, guys. Look at all this magic.

Googling “the lost world” gave me this. Holy shit, guys. Look at all this magic.

After Fun Depot, we went to Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, which if you’ve never been, is the best place to eat. I won’t say it’s the best chicken place, because Rocky’s supersedes simple categories and becomes the Ric Flair of restaurants. It earns my highest compliments, which is that I like it, even when it makes dumb puns on its sign. One pun said “TGI THIGHDAY”, and my first response was thinking that, in no way, did those words consent to this. But as soon as I tried their chicken and waffles, my opinion did a 180. They could write “A MOTHERCLUCKING GOOD TIME” or “DEFINITELY NOT WAWFUL” and I’d say “munch munch munch Oh, Rocky’s, your wordplay is so DELICIOUS.”

Rocky’s has notoriety for the spicy levels of chicken that you can put into your mouth, but I always go with plain. Some of the spices seem made to give the nearby hospital a reason to put out hiring notices, and I like my chicken like I like my 1960’s dinosaur remakes: with very little preparation involved. I got my chicken and my waffles and enjoyed. You never really eat at Rocky’s. There is simply great food in front of you and a little while later, it’s gone and you feel fuller.

The point is is that both of these things make me very happy. They’re very simple: one was a way to keep me alive and one a way to increase the number of films that I might never watch, but both fulfill me. And on a day like my birthday, I needed to take time to give myself something. I’d be happy otherwise, but I’d be happier with both of these in my life.

It rules so much.

It rules so much.

Poopcake

I’ve always thought that a cake shaped like poop would be great. All through college, I watched girls get cakes made that were shaped like penises and I wondered what it would be like to get a funny cake that didn’t make me feel all of these weird, emotional longings for a strong, rugged touch.

My girlfriend made me a cake that looked like poop. I’m sorry if you don’t have the sensibilities that lets you enjoy things like farts and poops. I’m sorry that your light has died and your plan for fun is arguing about what’s artificial sugar and what’s boring and your idea of wild sex is reading the back of the condom box to your sleeping partner. I know that you’d like to think that, by not admitting that poo is funny, that you have a refined taste in comedy, but you need to understand that it doesn’t matter, because no one likes you. No one at all, you awful bastard.

The Poopcake was great. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but here it is. I hope you enjoy the picture of it as much as I enjoyed the taste of it, which is impossible. I apologize.

poopcake

-Daniel

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3 responses to “7 Life Lessons That My Birthday Reaffirmed

  1. I want some poop cake so bad right now….
    This was hilarious. I hope it’s not just one of those “you had to be there” things because I had some lolz that put cats to shame.

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