The First Time I Got Drunk – A Parable


Seems an odd thing to blog about, I know.  However… this incident happened in the 80’s and plays a big part in who I am.  Rather than sit here and regurgitate 80’s crap you are already familiar with like: stickers, video games and Madonna (and we 80’s heads love all these things!) I thought I’d share a bit of personal nostalgia.

Sharon Howard will be guest blogging here on The Great 80’s soon.  Stay tuned for that.  Her blog is awesome for a  lot of reasons.  Two of them being: She writes and lives in England! 😀  Her guest blog will reflect on growing up 80’s in England.  I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

Now, on with the show!

Rational people usually learn that if they do something (A) and it turns out a not so pleasant experience (B), then (A) no longer fits in their lifestyle because (B) is no fun.  Right?

Right… for rational people this applies.

For people like me (slightly neurotic, alcoholic (sober!), obsessive, and with an alarming lack of common sense) rational thinking is was a foreign concept.

Let’s  take the first time I got drunk.  I was thirteen, gangly and had a severe lack of self-esteem.  On the flip side of that: I was taller than the average bear, athletic and silly. These traits offset each other, which I believe lead to the perception that I was a) normal and b) not to be messed with.

It was a cool night and my sister and I happened to finally get to hang out with Julie who did not live on the street.  Hell, she didn’t even live in the same neighborhood.  Julie’s brother Charlie got us two six-packs of Budweiser from the Cannonball Tavern.  I sat there staring at the cans of beer.

Should I? Shouldn’t I? What’s gonna happen?

After about three hours of drinking and acting like imbeciles.. the three of us walked back down to my neighborhood.  I think I uttered the words  “I’m straight” at least 25 times (implying that I was not inebriated).  The three of us made it to the neighborhood park where we sat on the steps.

We sat on those steps because I had a moment of clarity. I was 13, drunk and I had to go home.  The short version of this was: I was deader ‘an dead meat.  As I sat there I had a revelation.

We could walk to the candy store and get Lemonhead’s, soda and play pinball. THAT would get us (or me at least – I was feeling very narcissistic at this point) feeling better and home safe.

Well, the whole night just went downhill.  I managed to make an ass out of myself in front of a boy I liked.  I fell (twice) and cracked my head on the step (which I just told my mother about this past Thanksgiving).  When I made it home, my mother was still awake and asked me a series of questions which required me to answer with a lot of words that contained the letter “S” which came out like “shth” of sorts.  Shthe knew there was shthomething wrong with me.  Shthe had to! 

Well, my mother didn’t beat me.  I really thought she would.  In fact, she never said anything to me. I wonder about this. Maybe she didn’t know?

For the remainder of the school year, I had a lump on my head the size of an egg (and probably a concussion) and was called “two-can Sam” by everyone.

Have you ever done something that embarrassed you?  How did you handle it? Do you laugh about it now?


Pinball Anyone?


I was reading Pat Henzy’s 365 Days of Illustration blog a bit ago.  The post of the day regarded pinball.  Pinball!  I loved pinball in the 80’s.  Arcades were huge in the 80’s. One arcade I remember most of all was in the back of the Roosevelt Mall in Northeast Philly, PA.  It was called Champions.

So, as I sat here relaxing after a November NaNo fest… I was reading blogs and I told you already where the post idea came from.

There was a pinball game I absolutely loved.  I am sure most people of the 80’s pinball era loved it as well.

The game called HIGH SPEED.

The first time I ever played the game of HIGH SPEED was at the lottery store down the street from where I lived (the cool thing about living in the city – easy access to arcades and candy stores!).  This lottery store is where I honed my pinball skills, drank carton iced tea with a straw and started hanging with boys that were older than me (a little too old!).

The goal of the game was to rack up points of course.. but the one thing we all loved the most and were envied for and envious of was…. when we got that red siren at the top to go off.  That was when hell broke loose and two or three more balls would shoot out and we had to keep ’em going for as long as we could.

Looking back, the best part of the era was the friendly competition between us kids and just the hanging out, really.

Did you have any favorite arcade/pinball games as a kid?