Gosh, and Begora, etc… Happy St. Patty’s Day. ‘Tis time for the wearing of green, the drinking of excessive amounts of alcohol, and really bad Irish accents. Over the years my Irish accent has become indistinguishable with my Pirate one. Probably related to the fact that National “Talk like a Pirate Day” has surpassed St. Patrick’s in terms of relevance to my life. Not that I was ever that into St. Patrick’s day to begin with. I hated Corned Beef, and having to wear green was always traumatic. Especially when the 17th fell on a Thursday.
No, the 20 Prospect clan has only a little wee bit of Irish in us. Hardly enough to mention. Still doesn’t stop me from enjoying a pint o Guinness though when the mood strikes me. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) the mood strikes less and less these days. No, I can no longer handle my licker, and the Demon Whiskey has got it’s claws into me more than I care to admit. Now I tend to get bloated, and sleepy after a couple of beers. O’ death, where is thy sting?
Oh, but in my youth… well, I guess even back then I was never much for the green beer, and the debauchery. Although in 1988 I did manage to get drunker than I have ever been in my life on a St. Patrick’s day. It was a happy drunk, but it scared the beejeebers out of me, as it was the one and only time in my life that I blacked out. After that, I don’t think I drank for several weeks, which at age 19 is saying quite a lot.
The day began sunny and warm, not unlike today. 60 degrees was unheard of in Potsdam on March 17th. I had cabin fever in the worst way, and my brain was itchy all morning, when a friend from down the hall asked me if I wanted to go downtown for Nickel progressions. Now, I should explain the concept of Nickel progressions. A bar sells little plastic cups of the cheapest beer available for the princely sum of $0.05 starting at 8am. Thereafter, the price is raised by a Nickel every hour. We’d gotten a late start, what with having classes and that whole education thing going on, and by the time we got downtown the beers were selling for 25 cents. I’m amazed we could scrape together enough cash to even consider going inside, but somehow we managed it.
I’m sure that this sort of thing still goes on today in college towns across the country. Although it seems like people tend to frown on such things more now than they did back then. The 80’s were a simpler time. Why back then we still believed that Michael Stipe had something worthwhile to say.
It was such a glorious day outside, we did the only thing that seemed appropriate. We spent the afternoon in a windowless, smoky bar drinking “Red, White and Blue” out of plastic cups. At some point the sun set, and night came on. The crowd inside kept growing until it seemed like the entire student body was crammed into the place. Being under the legal drinking age, we didn’t like to leave a place once we’d snuck inside, on the outside chance that we wouldn’t be able to get back in. So we sat and drank. Stood and drank. Danced and drank. After about 7 or 8 o’clock things get a little fuzzy. I vaguely remember being arm in arm in circle of sorority girls on the dance floor singing along to some sorority song about sisterhood. I remember letting one of them draw a Petey eye on my face with a green magic marker. I remember getting hungry and hearing that the kitchen was closed. Then I remember the simple logic that told me it would be a good idea to go back into the kitchen myself and “fix something to eat”. I remember a bar tender screaming at me as I was deep frying still frozen chicken wings in the fryer. At that point you’d think I’d have gotten my lights punched out, but he just looked at my stupid pitiful face, and told me I should get out of the bar now. I told him it sounded like a very good idea.
Then I remember walking outside into the darkness, and seeing 2 police officers on the sidewalk. They asked me if I was OK. I assured them I was, and then they told me to go home and go to bed. I took their advice and started walking, stumbling, and weaving my way back across the river to campus. How I did not end up at the bottom of it with the fishes is a mystery to me. After that I don’t know what happened. I awoke the next morning, as people started poking their heads into my room, and laughing at me. Scott returned from class, and began to fill me in on the details of what I had missed. We lived on the second floor of Ross House, right downstairs of a girl’s floor. Their RA had the room above us, and was an acquaintance. Apparently, she found me at her door around 9 pm, trying in vain to put my key into the lock. She led me downstairs to Scott, who put me to bed. Only to have me get up at several points and wander aimlessly around the dorm in my boxer shorts looking for the bathroom. Luckily, people were there to point me in the right direction, and amuse themselves at my expense.
It took a full 24 hrs to recover enough to attend class again. Thank God it was the weekend and I did not have any exams. In retrospect, that was the first, last and only time I ever went out drinking on St. Patrick’s day. I think I managed to get a lifetimes worth of debauchery squeezed into that one night, as I have never had the urge to repeat it.