This is the story about the first time I got drunk.
Ah, I see I have your attention now. Oh, hey Mom. Ooo, and Dad. Nice to see you two joining me this week. Curious, are we?
I was sixteen. My neighbour and good friend at the time, also 16, was home alone for the weekend. His mother and eventual stepfather were gone to a horse show (they operate a stable and at the time were very active in showing paint horses). One detail that remains a bit foggy is what were my parents up to this specific weekend? I don’t think it was summer yet so they would not have been gone to the trailer but I’m uncertain why, if they were home, I was spending the night next door. A couple buddies having a sleepover doesn’t strike me as the usual modus operandi for sixteen year olds. And I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have had the stones to get drunk if I would be returning home the next day to the questioning looks of Ma and Pa. So, the evidence would suggest that my parents were gone too. Suffice it to say, two teenage boys, neighbours, friends, were alone for the weekend and mischief ensued.
That mischief would come in the form of screwdrivers, the liquid kind, thanks to an endless supply of orange juice and a nearly full 66oz bottle of vodka. Unlike swimming, getting drunk for the first time is best done by diving in head first. There are two moments from that night I remember very well, and by very well I mean in a completely foggy, unfocused, but damn sure they happened kind of way. The first is that we watched a lot of Cheech and Chong that night. We were up until the wee hours of the morning, as you can imagine, and staring at a screen was all we were still capable of doing. I don’t think I laughed at one single thing while watching as most of my efforts were spent trying to remain conscious coupled with attempting to figure out which way was up. It did seem a most appropriate movie to be watching nonetheless.
The second thing I remember, and this occurred earlier in the evening when my first inebriation was in that sweet spot of giddy coupled with clumsy, was trying to listen to music. My neighbours had a house cleaner who came once a week and cleaned the entire house. She had been there earlier that day and unbeknownst to us had disconnected the stereo system speakers to clean behind them or some such. We, feeling happy and energetic thanks to our first few drinks, were eager to listen to some music, in particular the new record my buddy had recently purchased. Unfortunately, no sound emanated from the stereo. After a few minutes of button pushing and investigation we finally determined that the speakers were unplugged.
The scene that ensued saw each of us sitting on the floor with a giant speaker in each of our laps desperately trying to insert the speaker cable ends into the spring clip terminals. This turned out to be an incredibly difficult task you’re your vision no longer sees anything as stationary. Luckily the same chemical reaction that caused everything to appear fluid also caused everything to be exceptionally funny and so for the next twenty minutes we laughed our sorry asses off before finally succeeding in connecting four copper wires from receiver to the speakers.
Our success demanded reward and that of course came in the form of more alcohol. It also came in the form of the aforementioned brand new record album which we could now play for our listening pleasure. That album was by the hottest band of the era. If you said Duran Duran you win a free branded headband! Now I honestly don’t know why we were so eager to listen to Duran Duran or why Seven and the Ragged Tiger was “new” to us, these embarrassing questions are lost to the ages. The fact, though, remains that we cranked “The Reflex” and “New Moon on Monday” to eleven and air banded the shit out of it thanks to central vacuum attachments courtesy of our nemesis, the cleaning lady. It was an epic performance for which I once again thank the great spaghetti monster in the sky that smartphones and Youtube did not exist during my youth!
Which brings us to this week’s musical selection. As much as that album is forever intertwined with losing my insobriety virginity and “New Moon on Monday” struck me as a fantastic song back then, I have since determined that assertion to be bunk. There I must go back to an earlier album to share with you my favourite Duran Duran song. I’m kicking off the weekend with the title track to their first monster album, the one before the one that instigated much of the ridiculousness mentioned above. This is “Rio”, the title track from Duran Duran’s 1982 album of the same name.