Let me shake the Bushmills off my breath and exclaim my gratitude to all who expressed grand wishes to me for my birthday. Though mired in a busy work shift, the two double neats of blue-collar Irish Whiskey afterwards made the whole evening end with dreams of having more energy and youth to keep it going until the break of dawn.
In reality, I’ve no wish to be the hyperactive ignoramus I was in my teens or the brash, drug-addled joker in a big car in his twenties. Thinking of having to again surmount some of the weird obstacles or negotiate the bizarre situations that I somehow always found myself in…god, no.
Like when in 1989, my freshman year, I came home with a girl to her apartment. She would subsequently be sent away by her parents to a boarding school but before all that, that day we fooled around quite a bit. It was heated and wonderful until she got up and left the room for something, I don’t remember but what I do remember was a photo album on the bottom of her nightstand. Me being the curious monkey that I am, I opened it and found that it contained a number of polaroids of her and quite a few different dudes at different times and at the same time, up, down, and all around. My frosh jock went bananas with every new hormonal emotion it could muster and in my heightened state of dirty discovery, I totally lost it. Instead of approaching the situation as an interesting case study in the sexual advancement of adolescents or maybe realizing she could be an authority on certain deviant questions I’d been harboring since the 7th grade, I suddenly told her I had to go and ran all the way to my friend’s house who, after me rattling off my story, stood up and asked me exactly which apartment number was hers.
Like the time when I climbed the giant turning searchlight atop Rocky Butte like some lunatic ape or how I hopped fences to have drinking contests in a rock quarry with dangerous friends and equally unsavory fifths of Thunderbird.
Or the time I was told to “sit on the curb while we ask you and your friends questions” by Portland’s finest while just past peaking on blotter and wondering if those blazing lights were going to burn my already melting skin. The cop was looking for kids “stealing shrubs”. What we all heard was “kids dealing drugs” which made our acid sweat through our pores as we just looked up and shrugged and shook our heads in frantic innocence. We were just trying to get the car parked before one of us began clawing through the upholstery. After searching the car for some bushes they left us to chase their garden bandit. I will never forget the lesson of keeping my mouth shut regardless of how well-worded I usually am because drugs and alcohol will invariably make me feel far better than I will ever possibly sound.
Birthdays are good, survival is great, days are long but time is short and with everything that’s already happened, I don’t want to go back. Also, so much more is on the way. Yay.