The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 30 — DRUNK

Posted: August 18, 2013 in The NERVOUS STOMACH Series

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The NERVOUS STOMACH Series: Ego-Strategy 30 — DRUNK
Category: Life

Okay, I’m nineteen and they are changing the drinking laws tomorrow.  Today, I’m old enough to drink legally. Tomorrow, when the state’s fiscal year kicks in, my sip of beer will be a matter for the courts.  So today, I stock up.

I’m actually sipping vodka — Grey Goose Citron, which sounds like something I would like, because I like lemonade…but it doesn’t really taste like lemonade, it’s just bitter vodka like everything other alcohol.  I bought a full liter bottle (which set me back $30) but considering that it’s my last vodka for two years, when I become “street legal” once again, I decide that it’s worth it.

I’ve squeezed some sugar and lemon into my Grey Goose Citron, to make it seems more lemonade-y…since I’m really too young to be drinking such things, and it’s much too strong to taste good.  I only succeed in making it less bitter, but, as I’ve learned since I turned nineteen and began to drink legally, it gives me the pleasant buzz that I crave — the one that helps me forget that I’m different from everybody else.  And that I don’t know how to tell anybody that.  

I’m camping with my high school friends.  We’re at my parents’ cottage on the smallest lake in the my state — only thirty feet deep, only one mile long — but a lake, nonetheless.  My friends are making a campfire near the shore, of course carrying on about which girls from college they want to pork.  I have no such desires and, with the numbing distance of the alcohol, I’m considering telling Bob, my high school heart’s desire, that he is my high school heart’s desire.  Bob with his large, masculine hands that give me a backrub whenever we’re hanging out in his bedroom in front of the drum set.  Bob with the ruddy outdoorsman tan even in the middle of winter.  Bob with the brown eyes that threaten to swallow me whole every time he stares into my face and smiles.

All of which will probably shock them, but ‘what the hell’, I think, through my tipsy reasoning.

That’s when all actual hell breaks loose by the campfire.  I have stepped away behind a tree to do that thing that men do in the woods behind trees, when the guys started screaming.  I finish quickly and hurry back, to see them cornered in the cottage’s maintenance alcove by the largest black bear I’d ever seen.

We’d read all the warnings when we drove through town: BLACK BEARS SPOTTED IN VICINITY — SECURE ALL FOOD ITEMS. We’d even listened as the old farmer at the gas pump told us how he’d spotted two or three bears near his cow-barn the previous week.  “I gave ’em a blast from ol’ Sam,” he said, patting the shotgun that hung at the rear of his truck’s cab.  “That gave ’em somethin’ to think about besides tearin’ into my cattle.”

But we’d been to the cottage lots of times — in winter, with our cross-country skiis, in spring with our rubber raft, in summer with our cases of beer, and in fall, with our school sweatshirts and Yahtzee board — and the only invaders we’ve spotted have been flying ants.  So we pay little attention to the old farmer or the warning signs.  

But now we’re here and we’re drunk on this last day of drinking and a black bear has trapped my dearest friends — including Bob. 


I’m normally kind of shut down on rage — but Grey Goose Citron has empowered my expression.  A bear is threatening Bob.  The guy whose mental image keeps me from crying when my dad is stumbing up to bed after chewing me out.  I don’t need to know any more.

In a split-second, an episode from Scooby Doo runs through my head.  I was only five when I saw it, and I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but Shaggy and Scooby charmed some ferocious animal with classical music.  I consider I might do the same. 

“YAAAAHHHHHEEEE!” I scream (a very masculine, gutteral yaaaaahhhhhee — at least it seems that way to me) and I slap at the play button on the boom box. Unfortunately, it’s not classical music loaded in the player, it’s my PURE DISCO disk.  “I Will Survive”, by Gloria Gaynor, blasts into the night lake air.  The bear turns to look at the commotion. 

Something inside me snaps.  Maybe it’s seeing Bob backed flat against the cement blocks of the cottage maintenance area — maybe it’s the way the bear kind of reminds me of my dad and his belt when he’d had a couple of Tom Collins — or maybe it’s just the inspiration of great dance music mixed with great vodka.  Whatever the cause, I leap on top of the nearby picnic table and begin to taunt the wild animal. 


The bear looks at me and grunts.

“AND I LEARNED HOW TO GET ALONG!”  I shout into his face.


The bear abandons my friends and comes at me.

“OH NO, NOT I!” I scream at him.  Grabbing the half-empty Citron bottle, I shove it straight-forward into the bear’s open gullet.  The clear liguid glug-glugs down his throat as he swats a massive paw at my midriff.  I dive sideways, motioning to my friends to retreat. 

“I WILL SURVIVE!” I wail into the night, dancing and feinting back and forth for several minutes, avoiding his advances as I leap across the table, around the trees, down toward the dock, the bear lumbering along, swiping and growling, becoming more and more unsteady with each step, until he finally pitches sideways onto the ground.  Breathing heavily, he lies there wheezing, another Grey Goose Citron drunk.

Later, after the local veterinary clinic picks him up (he gives a grand burp when they lift him into the transport van), after the lake association interviews me for an article in the local paper, “Lakeside Letters”, after my other friends have returned to their parents’ houses,

Bob hangs behind at the cottage with me alone, rubbing my back, whispering over and over how grateful he is.


For FUN, I put my stuff at
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at 
I invite you to visit my stuff...



Currently   listening :
  Pure Disco  
  By Various Artists
  Release date: 1996-10-08     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s