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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night

Goodbyes are sort of bittersweet, aren't they? It almost doesn't matter what you're saying goodbye to. It can be the best relationship you've ever had, or that really annoying Serbian exchange student your parents imported during high school. In that instant just before you part ways, somehow things begin to look a little...rosier. 

Suddenly everything takes on a golden hue, and I've Had the Time of My Life comes on the radio. You kNOW you have to go, but then you remember the good times, and for a moment you consider staying.

In a wierd way, that's kind of how I feel about Bachelor Pad. While it was happening, all that needless drama made me want to rip out my eyes and stuff them in my ears. But I couldn't look away. Now that it's over, I'm already starting to miss Vienna's crazy little eyes. I miss Ames's vacant stare. Melissa's assault on that yogurt, and Kasey's...singing?

I'm no psychiatrist, but I think I've developed Stockholm Syndrome for a tv show.

But I need to face's over. It's time to move on. Sad, but at least I'll be able to go back to telling my friends the truth about what I do on Monday nights.

But first, one last look back....


The finale opens with the four remaining couples occupying space on the couch. Also, there's a giant elephant in the room. Holly just sent her boyfriend home on a note and a prayer so as not to piss off her ex-fiance, who also happens to be her ticket to $250,000. The awkwardness is so thick I can actually hear peoples' butt cheeks clinching. 

Disfunction, thy name is Bachelor Pad. 


Fortunately Chris Harrison arrives and breaks the tension by announcing that the next competition will be in Vegas, performing with Cirque De Solei. Everyone seems really excited.

Whatever, talk to me when you've danced with the Jabbawockees...

When they arrive in Las Vegas, the teams find out they'll be dancing vertically on a large metal wall. Michelle and Ella immediately tense up. The wall definitely seems a bit daunting, but they'll be held up by harnesses, and you have to think--these people do this for a living. How dangerous could it be?

I guess what I'm trying to say here is--sack up, ladies, it's a quarter of a million dollars.

The teams practice, and for the most part it's pretty routine. You have the part where Kasey and Vienna argue, the part where Michael talks about how hard it is to still be in love with Holly, and the part where Ella  and Kirk talk about how much they deserve the money. 

There were a couple of lines that made me laugh, though. They both occurred between Stag and Holly:

(While choreographing their routine)--
Holly: I'll kick you, and then you'll fall all the way down like 'ahhhhhhh'
I bet $50 bucks that in that moment, Stag was thinking 'you mean like you did to my heart?'

(During an interview)--
Michael: Holly and I just aren't syncing up right now.
Me: Who knew dancing on a large metal wall could be a metaphor for your relationship?


Michelle and Graham are the first to dance, and Michelle's anxiety gets the best of her. They do ok, but neither seem confident that they'll win. Kirk and Ella follow suit, and are equally unimpressive.

Then out of nowhere Kasey and Vienna actually turn in a pretty impressive performance. For a second, I think they might win something for once. Suddenly nothing makes sense anymore. Gravity ceases to exist and my dog goes floating by my face.  A pig knocks at the door and asks to borrow some sugar. But then the universe shifts back into balance, and Michael and Holly run away with the thing. 

Kirk and Ella are voted the worst 'wall dancers,' and are immediately ejected from the House. Ella feels like she let Kirk down, but she didn't. Both of them sucked. Still, they were both very likable, and I'm sorry to see them go.


Back at the house, Michael and Holly are tasked with the responsibility of picking one couple to come to the finals with them, and one couple to send home. It seems obvious to me that Kasey and Vienna should be kicked to the curb, but they've made it this reason to start believing in logical reasoning now.

Stag approaches K and V first. Kasey attempts to sell Michael on that fact that he and Vienna know they won't win if they're taken to the finals, and Stag almost buys it. I find myself thinking Kasey might be the best used car salesman in history. Every week he manages to sell someone a Pinto, and they pay Ferrari prices.

But ultimately Stag and Holly decide loyalty is more important, and take Graham and Michelle with them to the promised land. Vienna cries, lamenting that Kasey had been the one to form the alliance, and now he was being stabbed in the back.  

Et tu, Stagliano?


It's reunion time! All our favorite jilted contestants are back--Gia the Gorgeous, Rated R the Baby Rapist, and William the....wait, where's William? 

To make a long story short, Jake and Kasey play nice; Vienna plays pretend; and Blake just plays. Well, that's Melissa's view anyway, who admitted the she 'just isn't very good at reality tv.' Gee, you think? Although honestly, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Anyway, Jackie looks hurt that Ames dumped her, and Ames just looks confused. I just want to hug the poor girl and tell her that robots are at LEAST another 50 years from being able to feel real emotions.

The real story here is Blake and Holly. Blake finally admitted to America that he was crazy in love with Holly, and then he proceeded to prove it by donning the most god-awful checked blazer I've ever seen.

Oh, and he proposed.

She said yes. :)

This is of course awesome news, and leaves me feeling pretty great. Until Michael gets on stage and it's revealed that he didn't know the two were engaged until that very moment. 

Crickets. And butt cheeks.

I have to hand it to the guy though. In the face of the worst possible circumstances he was never anything but kind. Much respect, my friend.


The former cast members vote on which couple should win the money. If Kasey and Vienna had been in the finals, I think the vote might have been unanimous in favor of MIchael and Holly. But with Michelle and Graham, I'm less sure. She's a single mom whose dad just passed away, he does great work for charity, and they're cute together. I could totally see them winning.

But in the end, Holly and Michael win. They choose to share the money, and it seems only fitting. They endured a lot to get to this point, especially him. He may not have gotten the girl, but but the cash is a nice consolation prize. What's the saying? Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly makes misery more comfortable.


I don't have much to say about this, other than I'm super excited and I think Ben is gonna be the best Bachelor yet. Maybe if you're lucky, I'll blog about it ;-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Lets Get This Over With"

When the lights come up on this week’s Bachelor Pad, the remaining contestants are sitting around with a dazed look in their eyes. At first I think it might be sadness due to William’s departure, but then it dawns on me—I’ve seen that look before.

Every time there’s a natural disaster and some enterprising (read: exploitative) reporter does an interview with a family that’s just lost everything, you see that same expression. It’s hollow, as if the destruction they’ve witnessed has left them incapable of feeling anything at all.

In short, I think Hurricane Melissa f**ked these people up.

But just as Kanye West is about to declare that Barack Obama doesn’t care about Bachelor Pad people, Chris ‘FEMA’ Harrison strolls in to announce that the game has AGAIN changed. He informs the contestants that they’re to partner up, because from here on out they’ll compete as couples, and ultimately win, or lose, together.

“Oh, one more thing,” Harrison adds, “you MIGHT want to get to know your partner.”

Blake immediately gives Holly the googly eyes, but much to his chagrin she’s promised her loyalty (in the game, at least) to Michael Stagliano. Since Blake and Erica are the only two that don’t already have partners, they’re forced to couple up. Erica acknowledges that he probably wanted Holly to be his partner, but she thinks this ‘is the best thing that could have happened to Blake, because I’m smarter than Holly…and hotter too.’


Anyway, Erica is a little put off that the animosity towards Blake could get her sent home as well, but the prospect of getting some from a dentist puts her in a better mood. She does know that dentists don’t do lip injections, doesn’t she?

The next morning it’s time to play “The Nearlywed Game,” which as Michelle explains is basically a knock off of the Newlywed Game with a slightly different name, presumably so ABC doesn’t get sued. Chris Harrison, dressed in his best gameshow host attire, explains that he will ask each contestant a question, and also ask their partner to guess what their answer would be. For every match, the couple gets a point.

Kasey and Vienna are smug as ever, thinking that because they’ve been a couple for six months, they’ve got a leg up on the other contestants and are going to ‘smoke’ the competition. I remember them saying something similar about the egg toss, and before that about the hook up competition, and obviously that didn’t work out well for them…but even a blind frog finds a lillypad every now and then, right?


Some highlights from the competition:

-Vienna says she needs 22 dates before she will have sex with someone. Now, I’m not very good at math, but if she slept with Jake Pavelka, Dave Good, Wes Hayden, and now Kasey, she’s gone on a LOT of dates in the past few years.

-Erica says she only needs 3 dates to make whoopee, adding “I’m kind of a slut.” Since I appreciate honesty, I now take back the lip injection comment I made a few paragraphs ago.

-Holly claims it takes her 14 dates before guys get to see her O face, but Michael says only 3. This prompts her to add that she didn’t sleep with Stag for 32 dates. Either she’s exaggerating, he has a terrible memory, or he’s intentionally calling her a slut for getting with Blake in front of him. Regardless, awkwarrrrrrrrd.

-Vienna says the thing her exes miss most about her are her boobs. Kasey says her teeth. They’re both right about one thing—it’s definitely not her personality.

-Vienna thought Kasey had an IQ of 177. This would make him smarter than Einstein…the man who developed the theory of relativity and the atomic bomb. The very prospect is so mind-boggling that I can’t even think of a good joke to make about it.

-Blake and Holly admit they want to do each other, which prompts Stag to admit he doesn’t like Blake very much and sometimes ‘wants to punch him in his perfect, ridiculous dentist teeth.’ How long do you think it’ll be before Stag goes to the dentist again after this—a year? Five years? Never? Not only is Blake ripping out Michael’s heart, he’s probably sealed the fate of his teeth as well.

-Asked which contestant they hate the most, the house UNANIMOUSLY chooses Blake. On the upside, this probably gives him a better understanding of how his partner felt during the egg toss competition.

-Kasey was TWENTY-ONE when he lost his virginity. I’m not going to say anything else about that…just putting it out there.

-Asked who he thought was the most irritating person in the house, Kasey wrote Ericka. At first it appears to be a simple misspelling, and I find myself making fun of his super-‘jenius’ IQ. But then it occurs to me that maybe he put the ‘ick’ in Erica on purpose. I laugh.

-Graham says he lost his virginity at seven, but just as Chris Harrison picks up the phone to call protective services, it’s revealed that he and Michelle developed a strategy where they would give the answer 7 for any numerical question, and Michael for any non-gender specific question. Great strategy, and even though it feels a bit like cheating, no one ever said the answers had to be true.

-Graham and Michelle win, with Blake and Erica coming in second. The first place couple gets a rose and a date, while second place gets no rose, but also gets to go on a date.

-Oh, and Kasey and Vienna…they came in last.

Erica knows that because she and Blake didn’t win the competition, they’re on the chopping block, so she immediately starts politicking. I find myself agreeing with her as she tells Stag that his anger should be directed at Holly, not Blake, as she is the person with whom he has a history. But as a wise man once said, Stag is ‘putting the p*ssy on a pedestal,’ so he doesn’t listen.

A helicopter arrives to take Graham and Michelle on their date and everyone freaks out, despite the fact that this is roughly the 376th time they’ve used a helicopter on these shows. They’re off to a private screening of “What’s Your Number,” and it’s actually a pretty cute date. They seem into each other, and Michelle is wearing a bikini the whole time. So, you know, that’s a plus.

Back at the house, Vienna doesn’t want to have sex with Kasey. It occurs to me that no one in the house seems to be able to say no to the guy except her.  The V in Vienna might stand for vindictiveness, villainy, vanity or vampire, but in Kasey’s case, the one thing it definitely DOESN’T stand for…is vagina.

They get in a big argument about it in front of everyone…because, why WOULDN’T they; it’s only national TV for Christ’s sake…during which Kasey takes back his promise ring, and then threatens to leave the house and screw them both out of the money if Vienna doesn’t come downstairs and ‘snuggle’ with him. It’s right about now that I stop being surprised he didn’t lose his virginity until 21. His whole argument: ‘but you said you were gonna!’

I swear, I know 5 year olds with better logic.

Not wanting to lose a shot at $250,000 because of a pouting toddler, Vienna eventually assents. Vienna may not be one of my favorite contestants on Bachelor Pad…hell, she might not even be one of my favorite people in a room full of convicted felons…but she accurately sums up how I’m starting to feel about this show when she finally succumbs and says: “Let’s get this over with.”

Blake and Erica’s date take them to the beautiful Spanish style Mission Inn in Los Angeles. Their date card says their ‘mission is romance,’ and Erica responds that she hopes she ends up in the ‘mission’-ary position. I chuckle, despite myself.

At dinner, the two find a pair of roses on the table. At first they think they might be for them, but it turns out their mission is now to save another couple. They think this puts them in a position of power, but I interpret it as a sign that the producers are ready for them to go home.

To make a long story short, after that…Sh!t. Gets. Awkward. While I agree with Erica’s main point that by staying away for the night, Blake might help save the team from elimination because people could interpret it as a sign that he isn’t trying to steal Holly anymore, the prospect of her trying to lawyer him into having sex with her is one of the least attractive things I’ve ever witnessed. She basically said ‘you should do me, and here’s a flow chart I made explaining why.’ It was bad.

Of course Blake, who by this time is falling for Holly in a major way, refuses. He laments that Erica is his second straight partner that could screw up his game by letting her emotions control her actions. The irony of this situation is that Erica is actually the one thinking straight. Horny though she may be, her sexual advances also have a clear strategic motive, while Blake is now the one letting his heart run the game.

When they arrive back at the mansion, Blake and Erica set about finding someone to give the safety roses to. The obvious choice is Kirk and Ella, but Kasey promises Blake and Erica that if they give him and Vienna the roses, they will be safe. For some reason, they listen.

Seriously, what IS it with this guy? He’s been in the bottom two for two weeks in a row, yet he CONTINUALLY manages to manipulate everyone into giving him what he wants. It’s like some kind of weird muppet hypnosis. Or maybe his IQ really IS 177. Either way, yikes.

When it comes time to vote, Kirk and Ella, upset that they weren’t awarded the safety roses, vote for Blake and Erica. Michelle and Graham decide to vote the same way. Blake and Erica vote for Kirk and Ella, as do Kasey and Vienna. This leaves Holly and Michael as the deciding votes.
Holly tries to persuade Michael that it would make more sense to vote Kirk and Ella off, but for Stag, it’s personal. He says that as his partner, Holly should have his back. He then leaves Holly to choose between him (her best shot at the money) and Blake (her heart). It’s very Sophie’s Choice…only, you know, WAY less meaningful.

In the end, Holly chooses not to hurt Michael anymore than she already has and casts the deciding vote to send Blake and Erica home. It clearly hurts her to do so, but both she and Blake know that what started between them isn’t over, and that gives them comfort. Hell, maybe next time they see each other, she’ll be 250k richer. That’ll probably pay for 14 dates (Bow chicka wow wow!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Tubing Incident

There actually isn’t much to say about my second date with Maria, other than it was wonderful. I was smitten, and we dated for a couple of months. But ultimately I still wasn’t able to give her the kind of relationship she deserved, and she decided we should take “a pause.”

We didn’t speak for a while. Even though we hadn’t known each other for all that long, the pain of not having her in my life was so great that I immediately reverted back to a near constant state of inebriation just to distract myself from it.

The following story happened in May of 2010, at the low point of my downward spiral. Today, my friends and I refer to it simply as “The Tubing Incident.”

 It was somewhere around 11a.m. on a Saturday in early May. I was busy sleeping off a pretty substantial hangover when my phone rang. It was my best friend, Justin. In what would be my first mistake of the day, I answered.

Me: Hello?

“Woooooooooo. Get up man, it’s time to hit the river!” Justin’s voice boomed on the other end of the line. He sounded like he might still be drunk from the night before; or maybe he’d just started drinking again immediately upon waking up. Either was a possibility.

Me: Yeah, about that…I don’t think I’m gonna go.

Justin: What!? I got you a tube in the back of the car and everything!

He got so excited for these excursions. I had a vague memory of promising him I’d come over a Car Bomb somewhere around 2 that morning. But the idea seemed much less appealing now.

Me: Dude, I feel like ass.

I could hear our other friend Kip in the background. “He isn’t coming is he?” Kip wasn’t a big fan of mine sometimes; nor I his. It wasn’t because we didn’t like each other. It was just that we were easily the most strong-minded, stubborn personalities in the group.

Justin: Come on, man...I got a bottle of vodka. Kip has 99 Bananas...

Me: 99 Bananas? Sounds like a gay porn…

Justin: Just come. I promise as soon as you hit the water, you’ll feel better.

In what would be my second mistake of the day, I listened.

I pulled up to the launch site around noon. Kip was pulling the tubes out of the trunk of the car, and Justin was filling up a Mountain Dew bottle with vodka. In that moment, the very thought of consuming alcohol made me want to gag, but at the same time I knew it was the only way I would make it through the day. Hair of the dog, as it were.

I was prepared for the water to be cold. The river is always cold. But what I found out upon putting our tubes in was that in early May, it’s REALLY cold. My initial reaction was to get out, climb in my car, and high tail it back to my bed. In retrospect, this would’ve been the right call. Instead, I took my first shot of the day. Mistake #3.

The plan was to start near the radio towers, and float down to the zoo. All told, the trip was supposed to take about four hours. What we hadn’t accounted for was the river being extremely low, and the water moving much slower as a result. After we’d been out for about half an hour or so, we realized it would take closer to six hours to run our full course.

Things were pretty uneventful for the first couple of hours. Justin and I passed the vodka, while Kip stuck to his 99 Bananas.

Me: So, Kip, can you actually taste the penises? Like, is it penis FLAVORED? Or is that just an advertising thing so your people will gravitate to it?

Kip wasn’t gay. He actually had a serious girlfriend. But he was drinking a liquor made for college girls, so I couldn’t resist making fun of him.

Kip: Fuck you dude; it’s good. And it tastes like bananas.

Me: That’s what I said...penises.

Justin told us about his recent foray into online dating. He called it ‘expanding his target market,’ which I’m pretty sure was just code for ‘I live with my parents and I’m having trouble meeting women.’

Justin: This one girl’s profile said she liked bad jokes, right? So I’m thinking, I got this. I mean, I’m the KING of bad jokes.

Kip: Agreed…

Justin: So I sent her an email with the subject line, ‘bad joke.’

Me: Ok…what was it?

Justin: What kind of bees make milk?

Kip: Oh no…

Justin: BOOBIES!

He started laughing hysterically, which made Kip and I laugh as well. Not because the joke was funny, but because Justin had this contagious laugh. It was somehow guttural and high pitched at the same time. It couldn’t be ignored.

Me: So did she reply?

Justin: Not yet.

Kip: How long ago was that?

Justin: A week, maybe.

Me: Yeah…maybe next time don’t lead with that one.

Justin: Well, no one’s been responding, so I don’t know if it’s because of the joke.

Kip: What else would it be?

Justin: Well, the first sentence of my profile is that I live with my parents.

Me: It’s WHAT??

Justin: I figured I should be honest.

Kip: Dude, no. No no no no no. Why…why would you…no wonder no one is responding!

Justin: Well, they’re gonna find out eventually anyway right?

Me: Well, sure. But that’s something you wait until after you’ve met someone to tell them. You know, meet for dinner, spend a couple of hours charming them, and THEN drop the I live with my parents bomb. And hopefully by that point they’ll be interested enough to overlook it.

Kip: Yeah, I gotta agree with West on this one. Ha…hi, I’m Justin, I live with my parents. Wanna go out? Nice.

Justin: Actually, my screen name is B is for Bob.

Kip: Huh?

Justin: They don’t see Justin first. They see B is for Bob.

Me: B is for Bob?

Justin: Yeah, all one word.

Kip: So….BisforBob…wait, doesn’t it look like Bis for Bob then? Are you sure they don’t think you’re bisexual?

Justin: Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that.

Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, oh my God, you’re never getting a date again.

The trip continued like that for a while, taking shots, smoking cigarettes…by about 3 o’clock the water wasn’t even cold anymore. Of course, that could’ve been due to the fact that we were all getting VERY drunk.

We came to a fork in the river and decided to take a break on a nearby rock. As we were trying to decide which direction to go, I slipped on some moss and fell, landing with my shin directly on top of a stone. Even in my inebriated state, it HURT. Bad. I decided that to dull the pain, I should take a few more shots. Mistake #4.

Not long after getting back on the water, we met up with another group of tubers. Let’s describe them as ‘country.’ Normally, we probably would have ignored them and continued on our way, but three factors were working against us: 1) We were drunk, 2) there were girls, and 3) they had beer.

So we linked up for a while. They were nice enough, but they probably came to regret offering for me to ‘help myself to the beer.’ One thing you may not know about me is that even though I’m not very big, I can put down some alcohol. After my first couple, I started randomly challenging the guys to chugging contests. Even in my mentally incapacitated state, I put every single one of them to shame.

Eventually we parted ways with our redneck brethren and journeyed on toward our final destination. There was just one problem.

I’d had enough of it.

Apparently we were within a few hundred yards of the zoo when I paddled over to the far shore of the river, climbed out, and started stumbling into the woods.

Kip: West, What are you doing?

Me: Ah’m done! Ah’m done, n' Ah’m goin’ home!

Justin: Dude, the zoo is right there. I can see it.

I pointed aimlessly into the woods and said, ‘NO…you guysh go ‘head. Ah’m gon’ go to my car n’ go home.’

Justin: Your car is 5 and a half hours back THAT way!

Me: Wha’r’you talkin’bout? Ish right up there.

Kip: Um, no…it’s not.

I stared at them blankly for a moment, then turned around and started walking again. Justin turned to Kip.

Justin: What should we do here?

Kip: I guess just let him go. Katie’s waiting for us at the zoo.

And so let me go they did. I had no shirt, no shoes, and no wallet. I was clothed only in swim trunks and a life vest. The last time any of my friends saw me for more than five hours I was walking into a dense forest with no clue where it ended and no idea where I’d end up.

My next memory is of walking along a sidewalk, and looking down at my feet. They hurt, but I couldn’t figure out why. I stopped and looked around. There were houses, a four lane road, and a gas station on the other side of the street.

Where am I, I remember thinking, and how did I get here?

I walked across the street to the gas station, thinking they could help me. But when I got there I still couldn’t put a sentence together coherently enough to ask for assistance, so I left.

I walked up and down every street in the vicinity, trying to make heads or tails of where I was, but I couldn’t do it. It was still afternoon when I started, and by the time I made it back to the gas station the sun had set.

I wandered around the store for a while, probably looking like the strangest homeless person anyone had ever seen, wearing only swim trunks and a life vest. I was still quite drunk, and on top of that, now I was getting hungry. I had no wallet to pay for food, so I took a bag of Doritos and started eating them right there in the store. I walked out without paying, but unlike most thieves, who would at least have the courtesy to leave the scene, I just sat down on the curb outside and continued eating.

Apparently, the owner took umbrage with this, and called the police.

Not too long after that, two police officers showed up. Cop#1 was considerably older than me, but Cop#2 appeared to be about my age. By then, I’d finished the chips, thrown the bag away, and was wandering around inside the store again.

Cop #1: Sir, may we have a word with you? 

Luckily, by this time I’d sobered up enough to at least interact somewhat coherently, so I followed the officers outside.

Cop #2: Sir, did you steal a bag of chips from this store?

Me: I don’t have any chips.

I remember being proud of myself for not lying. I didn’t have any chips.

Cop #1: The owner says you’ve been wandering around this area for several hours. What are you doing?

I decided to be honest. The only problem was, I didn’t know what I was doing.

Me: I was tubing with my friends. We got separated.

Cop#2: Tubing? Where at?

My brain still wasn’t functioning well enough to explain the day’s events, so I just pointed and said, ‘zoo.’

Cop#1: The ZOO?? That’s miles away. How the hell did you get here?

Me: I dunno.

Cop#2: Well where are your friends?

Me: I dunno.

Cop#1: You just don’t know much of anything, do ya son?

Me: No, sir.

Cop#1: You know we could arrest you for public drunkenness right?

Me: Yes, sir.

Cop#1: Holy shit…the zoo. The zoo! You’d have had to walk through at least a mile and a half of forest just to come out on this side of town! Where are your shoes??

Me: Ummmmm, not sure.

The officers turned around. I honestly think at that point Cop#1 had made up his mind to arrest to me, but then something miraculous happened. Cop#2 put his hand on Cop#1’s shoulder and said ‘look, why don’t I handle this one?’ For some reason, Cop#1 agreed and left.

Cop#2 turned back to me.

Cop#2: I’m assuming you don’t have a phone?

Me: No sir, s’why I came here.

Cop#2: But you never used the phone here?

Me: Honestly, this is the first time in several hours I’ve been able to think straight enough to talk.

Cop#2 started laughing. “Good lord, how much did you have to drink?”

Me: Hard to say, really…

Cop#2: Well, look, I’m gonna let you use my cell phone, but you need to get in touch with someone, or I’m gonna HAVE to arrest you for public drunkenness. Ok?

Me: Ok.

Cop#2 handed me his cell phone, but in that moment, my mind went completely blank and I couldn’t think of a single person’s number. I knew if I told him that I was done for, so I did the only thing I could think of—I called my own cell phone and pretended I was leaving a friend a message. I hoped it would buy me enough time to remember someone’s number.

(By the way, I listened to the message I left myself the next day. It’s still one of the funniest/most embarrassing things I’ve ever heard. The mix of drunkenness and fear in my voice was priceless).

Cop#2 and I sat there talking sports, girls, and drinking for about half an hour before he said ‘doesn’t look like your buddy’s gonna call you back. You want to try one more person?’

I nervously took the phone. For a second I was sure that despite his best efforts, Cop#2 was going to have to arrest me. But then, by the grace of God, I remembered my friend Joseph’s number. I called, and he answered.

Joseph had been on a date, but had already been forced to cut it short to go pick Justin up from the zoo. Apparently when they got out of the river, Justin stayed behind to deflate the tubes while Kip went to find Katie. Within seconds of leaving him, Kip completely forgot Justin was there. When Kip didn't immediately see his girlfriend, he started to walk up to a cop car and ask for a ride home. Luckily, Katie came along before he did. 

When Justin walked out of the woods, neither Kip nor his ride were anywhere to be found. He didn't have a cell phone, and he was tired, so he laid down on a bench and passed out. A jogger came running by shortly thereafter. He must've been concerned that Justin would drown in his own vomit, so he said "Hey man, Jimi Hendrix, know what I mean," and kept going.  Eventually Justin borrowed someone's cell phone and called Joseph.

Over breakfast the following morning, we all agreed never to take that much alcohol tubing again.

Post-script: I ran into a Maria about a week later, when her restaurant was catering an event outside my office. We agreed it was good to see each other, and decided to meet for coffee. Like an idiot, I told her this story. Let’s just say she was not impressed.

Fellas, here’s a helpful hint, even if your girl acts like she finds the boy act cute, she eventually wants you to grow up and be a man. Telling her stories like these do not help her to see you as husband material. But even though she rolled her eyes and called me a moron, there was still something there. Our story was far from over…

But more on that later.

A few notes:

1)      That episode marked a turning point in my life. After that, I never did anything that stupid again. Did I do stupid things? Sure, but I never again pushed the limits of the law or fate as far as I did that day. It was my rock bottom.

2)      I am eternally grateful to the cop that didn’t arrest me that night. He had every right to. Hell, he probably should’ve. But he didn’t. Sir, I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but if you do, know that if you ever need anything I am in your debt.

3)      Almost exactly a year later, I went back to the store and paid for the chips. I would’ve gone sooner, but I was too embarrassed. I walked in and gave the cashier two dollars. She looked at me with a confused expression. I said ‘this is for some chips I stole a year ago,’ and left.