When I consider that I always knew the alcoholic trap was full of shit it makes me angry and then sad. Like I said, I was one of the lucky ones, and yet despite my apparent awareness (which helped me quit by the way) I was still held in its grip for over 20-years. Steadfast and secure…like an Irishman’s grip on his potato.
It was the monthly disco at the Mem, which was our cool name for the Memorial Hall. Mad Mike was on the door. I will always remember Mad Mike because one day he was so pissed he found himself in a prop bet that he wouldn’t drink a bucket full of someone else’s puke…or was it a pint glass? Unfortunately, I can’t remember the finer details of the prop bet because I was pissed, but I do remember that Mad Mike won the bet and he kept it down an all.
I had taken a gram of amphetamines. I had recently promoted myself from a line to a gram and was really proud that I hadn’t died or had a fit. But that’s not all…check this out. I had also stopped rubbing it on my gums and instead had started snorting it. Only using rolled up five or ten pound notes mind you. I got the idea after watching Scarface. The idea of rubbing it on the gums came to be after watching an episode of The Bill. I thought it would look cool as fuck. It probably did as well, but it stung like a motherfucker and didn’t give me any more of a buzz than when I rubbed it on my gums.
Anyway I was chewing away as I normally do. I was buzzing and couldn’t shut up. My knee was knocking the table and the poor girl whose knickers I was desperate to invade would have been bored off her tits had she not had been as drunk as me. We were only about 17 and I was about to screw her. She was so drunk she probably wouldn’t remember any of it. But with all of this speed I probably won’t be able to get it hard anyway. Say hello to my little friend! Who cares? I just keep on chewing, leg tapping mouth talking. Our parents must be so proud.
Then out of nowhere comes Skrag.
“Come on Ching, my son, you have a full pint. Tommy and I have finished ours.”
He was right an all. I had a full pint of Strongbow and black. I mean how could I drink it with all the chewing, leg tapping and talking?
“You know the score get it down you.”
I did know the score. It was a Valley thing. If you were in a round with someone and they drunk their pint before you did, then you had to drink the rest – there and then. It didn’t matter if it was dregs or a full pint; you had to bolt your pint. It was the honorable thing to do, the manly thing to do.
So I stood up and bolted it. It started to come back up straight away. I handed the empty pint to Skrag and walked rapidly to the toilet. I knew the score because I always suffered from travel sickness and had to keep from being sick in my Dads car. I mean lets be fair, it wouldn’t be right for him to put his fag out so he could wind the window down would it? I just kept swallowing my spit. When I ran out of spit I swallowed air. I just kept swallowing because I knew it would stop the Bow from firing its purple arrows all over the floor.
I ran into the bog, faced the left over shit and out it came. And it came, and it came and it came. I emptied my guts went back to my seat and the girl I was with put her tongue right down my throat.
“You’re a great necker you are.” She said.
That night I got smart. I got ahead of the game. I would dance and then go to the toilet to be sick before my pint was delivered. That way I had plenty of room to avoid being sick in front of the lads.
What a genius.
So what was my prize?
If I knew what I was doing was ridiculous, why did I continue to do it? What was my prize? What benefit was I deriving from acting like a twat?
You daren’t address the issue back then, because you couldn’t face the truth. The truth meant you were a little gay boy and that wouldn’t do. But nowadays I couldn’t care less. I intend to use the truth to try and help spare people from these types of experiences.
My prize started out as the ability to fit in and be accepted. Then it gathered pace and the more idiotic my behavior became the more people seemed to like me. Soon I was a leader and I loved it. That was my prize. If I ignored all of the warning signs and continued to drink and take drugs then I would continue to fit in. This is easy. Life’s a breeze.
Now if I stopped drinking. If I told the boys the truth, then I lose not just the leadership of the group, but all self-respect. There’s no way that I could do that to myself. And anyway everyone drinks too much: schoolteachers, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunties, so it can’t be that bad can it?
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