ALCOHOL AND TOILET WATER, HOLD THE ICE
PARTY ON WAYNE, AND PARTY ON GARTH Your first night of college is supposed to be the start of the four best years of your life. A time for kids to find out who they really are and party their asses off at the same time. Me? I spent mine in the hospital. My decision to attend UMASS was a spur of the moment thing. It was the beginning of winter. I was no longer happy living in Philadelphia. My girlfriend (at the time) was depressed and unwilling to get help. I was living at home again after a year in my own apartment and a summer living at the shore. It was time for a change. I had visited a friend of mine at UMASS several times and decided I would like to go there myself. I registered for some classes, found an apartment (online), and made my plans to move to Amherst. I was taking over a lease from a grad student who had suddenly relocated to Boston (almost two hours away) and had made plans weeks in advance to meet him in Amherst to sign over his lease to me. The morning I was supposed to drive up to meet him, I awoke as sick as could be. Knowing that if I didn't make it to Amherst that day, I might lose the apartment, I enlisted my mother to drive me to Massachusetts. I had a fever, a sore throat, and a terrible headache and was in no condition to drive. By the time we made it to Amherst, I was so sick I could hardly move. The old tenant was still in the process of removing the last of his belongings. When my mother saw that his bed was still in the apartment, she paid him one hundred dollars for it so I would have a place to lay down. When he was done removing his things, we signed over the lease, and headed for the hospital. The diagnosis? Strep throat and a case of pneumonia. I spent a few days in the hospital before returning to my new residence. I had survived my first night of sickness in Amherst. It would be far from my last. IF YOU'RE GONNA SPEW, SPEW INTO THIS Remembering the first time I got really sick from drinking, and I mean really remembering it, the events that led up to it, the sick feelings, and the day after, were enough to keep me from ever becoming a serious drinker. Maybe it's because my first night of heavy drinking happened to coincide with the first time I got really sick from it. I'm sure lots of other people get several nights of solid drinking under their belts before spending that one night, spread out on the bathroom floor, clutching the toilet bowl like a prized possession, but not me. I'd had a drink or two before that night, but that was about all. My doctors had warned me of the dangers of drinking for diabetics that don't know how to properly regulate their blood sugar to account for the alcohol, and it had done the trick. Further, they didn't properly teach me how to regulate my blood sugar for alcohol until I went away to college at UMASS. I managed just fine for years without alcohol (thank you marijuana) but when I finally learned how to drink without putting my health in risk, I decided it was time to give it a try. At the time I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a development called Puffton Village in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was my first time living alone (without roommates). I invited the girl I was dating and my good friend over for a night. One of them brought along a bottle of Black Haus (80 proof blackberry schnapps) and we decided to drink. I lined up some shot glasses on the counter in the kitchen, filled them with booze, and downed a few. It was pretty harsh, but nothing I couldn't deal with. Maybe I'd blown this whole drinking this out of proportion. Ten minutes, and eight shots later, I was feelin' A-O-K. This is where I feel that the advice of one of my two companions (both much more seasoned drinkers than myself) would have been helpful. Perhaps one of them could have said, "hey, just so you know, you probably don't want to lay down on the bed and close your eyes if you feel dizzy at all." But they didn't say that. And I did feel dizzy, and the bed was right there. It only took me a few short moments to figure out for myself that I had just made a mistake. The room began to spin, slowly at first, but quickly became disorienting. Having seen many friends make a beeline for the bathroom while drinking in the past, I followed suit. Wasn't it just my luck, the bathroom was spinning too. In fact, the hallway leading to the bathroom had been spinning as well. My stomach soon joined in. With everything spinning out of control it was time to grab the base of the toilet, and hold on for dear life. Strange how it took 8 shots for the liquor to go down, and far less for it to come back up. Within seconds I was well on my way to emptying the contents of my stomach into the bowl. I soon began how to wonder how I could throw up everything I had eaten that night, that day, and that morning, yet it seemed to just keep on coming. When it finally stopped, I crawled into bed, weak, pale, and with a resolve to never feel that way again. Over my next few years at UMASS my resolve would be tested time and time again. The following is a list of places I can remembering throwing up while in college, after proclaiming I would never again become ill from drinking: my car, outside of a bar, outside of a pool hall, on the walkway to my apartment, on the front door of my apartment building, on the front door of my apartment, in a friend's car (out the window, luckily), on my roommate, on my girlfriend, in the bathroom, on the bathroom floor, on a friend's bathroom floor, on a friend's futon, at a keg party, in the hospital, in a sorority house, outside of a Chinese restaurant (scorpion bowls are the devil), and on my shoes. If anyone ever questions why I don't drink these days the answer is simple. Go drink eight shots of fruit flavored schnapps in ten minutes, lay down in a dark room for a while, and ask me again in the morning. TOILET WATER: AT LAST, YOU AND YOUR DOG CAN SHARE EVERYTHING Last week I talked about McDonald's (and other fast food chains) and their ability to slowly kill people with their fatty, chemical laden food. As it turns out, drinking a soft drink (even a diet one) from any restaurant might kill you even more quickly. A recent study concluded that at several restaurants (in Florida), the ice used in soft drinks contained more dirt and bacteria than the toilet water in their restrooms. This probably explains why you often have free access to the ice machine, but need a key for the restroom (that's where they are keeping the good stuff evidently). This means that patrons who want a nice cold drink to wash down their burger and fries would be better off going to the bathroom and filling their cup with water from the toilet, than they would if they ordered a soft drink with ice. The ice was actually found to contain E. coli bacteria in many cases (the source of which is human waste). Drinking from the toilet and defecating in the ice machine, that just isn't right. Everyone says not to drink the water when you go to Mexico, yet every year millions of vacationers suck down drink after drink containing Mexican ice. This just in: ice is made from water. Take a minute to let that sink in. No one ever said it was safe to drink out of Mexican toilets though. There is a simple solution (aside from drinking toilet water) which is to order drinks with no ice. However, if the ice is full of human waste, can the drinking cups really be that far behind? I've worked in several restaurants (stories for another time) and I know that if cleanliness is next to godliness, then food service workers are all atheists. If people knew what went on in their favorite restaurants they would probably throw up on the spot. Maybe they should just start making the ice out of toilet water. Until the problem is fixed, (and don't hold your breath) I will certainly chuckle every time I see someone take a sip of a cold, ice filled drink, and exclaim, "This tastes like shit." You can check out the article on the ice study at: http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060220232209990007&ncid=NWS00010000000001 WHAT IS A HUMAN LIFE WORTH? One million dollars? One hundred dollars? Enough toilet paper to wipe your ass? Ding! Ding! Ding! It might be okay to drink the toilet water in Florida, but for god's sake, if you use the last of the toilet paper, replace it! Over the weekend in Moss Bluff, Florida, a 56 year old man beat his 58 year old roommate (also a man) to death because there was no toilet paper in their home. In fact, the man was beaten so severely that he had to be identified by his finger prints. It's kind of hard to replace the toilet paper when you're dead. Maybe just a good beating would have taught him a lesson. If I was going to kill my roommate (or anyone) over something so trivial, I would at least lie about it, "Yeah officer, I killed the guy, it's because he said all cops are power-hungry assholes and I just couldn't stand him bad mouthing law enforcement like that." People get killed every day over something trivial. A crack head needed five bucks, someone wanted their moped, someone scorned a lover, they went hunting with Dick Cheney, and so on. Those killings at least serve the murderer in some way. They get some money (no matter how small the amount), they get a new ride, they get revenge, but why kill someone over lack of toilet paper? Why not at least make them go get some more toilet paper and then kill them when they get home? If you kill them first, sure you made your point, but you did it with a dirty ass. That's never the best way to make big decisions. Wipe first, think later. I'm sure he'll have plenty of time to think about his decision to kill his roommate while in prison, where I'm sure his new boyfriend and cell mate Bubba, will not tolerate his ass being dirty any more than he does. You can check out the article at: http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles?id=n20060221062009990012&cid=936 THE GROOVE IS IN THE HEART And the Truth is in the Spoon. See you all soon.