Miss(ed) Manners: Blackjack
So, today is my little brother’s 21st birthday. He’s passing under the final bridge to adulthood, and that bridge my friends, is made of booze.
He’s already got the right to vote, a responsibility and priviledge that I’m fairly certain he’s completely unaware of. I’m assuming he’s gone through puberty, though he won’t let me check. He can drive, he can work, he can stay out all night. But truly, how important are these things? What more measure of a man can there be than to behold his grown visage face down in a puddle of his own vomit, a testament to the horrors visited on him by his so called, “friends?” How much more adult can you get?
I’m taking him out tonight, our plan of attack is one that I started scheduling nearly six months ago. Every detail meticulously thought out; though, for the most part every detail seems to involve, “drink this” or “expose that.”
The hallowed tradition of an American 21st birthday is one that goes back nearly forty thousand years to the later neanderthal tribes of Northern New Jersey. Tying down their now adult pack-member, the large foreheaded beasts would force one animal skull-full of fermented berries after another down his open gullet.
Little has changed over the eons, we all know this. Standard fare today is the classic “21 shots” rite. Some may institute a time limit, though this is usually overlooked as the sight of seeing your dear friend semi-puke a few times will generate some clemency in your heart.
For those that don’t know, the semi-puke usually happens right after a shot, the taker having tried to swallow the drink full, but his stomache, being so filled with liquor, bile and sadness, tries to force it all out. The semi-puker looks like he’s just been punched in the stomache by a midget. Not fun.
Everyone has their own 21st birthday story. They usually end with you clinging the base of a soiled toilet, crying out for the pain to stop and wondering when you’d eaten a salad. You also find out really quick who your real friends are at the end of the night. Here’s a hint, if they’re laughing at you while you hurl gallons of stomache acid at a light post, look into changing scenes.
My own 21st birthday story is no different. Sparing you the details I’ll just say that I tossed out some stomache nuggets on the floor, got carried home by my girlfriend at the time, who as it turns out was exceedingly strong and traversed the eight blocks in a near sprint with me in a Fireman’s carry. We must have looked like the drunkest wrestling match ever as I clamored to make it to my useless feet amidst my protests of wanting to go drink more.
To be honest, I wasn’t amazingly pleased with the results. When I woke up I was still drunk and about four hours late to a new job I’d recently started. I stumbled around Union Square smelling like paint thinner and throw up, it wasn’t very chic and I certainly didn’t feel like a man.
Is there a better way to enjoy the mandatory excess? Is moderation even allowed? Will I send my little brother back to summer job with a massive head wound? Only time will tell.
A while ago, I mentioned to a friend that instead of starting out tonight with the intention of ruining his gastro intestinal system via enough alcohol to kill an elephant I would try and aim to have him remember some of the night. He actually got angry at me for even suggesting it.
“Everyone’s gotta puke on their 21st birthday, it’s the law.” Which it is, in some counties in upstate New York.
To me, the whole, “must puke” idea has smatterings of a frat house hazing. You had to go through it, everyone else does too. Everyone talks about their 21st birthday and throwing up all over the place with some sort of deluded pride. But when you get down to it, no one’s excited about that, there’s just a little bit of shame. Like when your parents walked in on you beating it to a picture of Barbara Bush, the kind of shame that no amount of schnapps can kill.
I’m the second of four children. My older brother used to beat the snot out of me, literally. I was snotless for a good five years, it wasn’t all that bad. When Danny, my little bro, came along I beat the snot out of him too, because I’d gone through it, so should he, right?
Not really. Where does it end? Who says, enough is enough, I want my little brother to enjoy himself tonight, I want him to possibly meet a nice, older woman with a penchant for barely legal skinny white boy ass, I want him to party, not puke.
Who says that? I do. Because I really don’t like dealing with pukers, it grosses me out, man.