Being a thirty year old man with a slightly obsessive personality means that I have got drunk a lot in my life. Being someone who used to study Performing Arts before spending years as a wannabe writer means that I’ve done a lot of silly things while being drunk. I am certainly not proud of all of them, but some of them are kind of interesting. Maybe. I don’t know, that’s for you to decide, I guess. I have listed them in no particular order, apart from number one, which is probably the stupidest.
10) The Time I Got My Friend To Stub Cigarettes Out On My Hand.
You know what it’s like. You’re a guy, you get to a certain age, you realise you don’t have any scars (which, for some reason, in your drunken state, you feel is a bad thing), you ask a mischievous friend to stub cigarettes out on the back of your hand. Cue pain, massive blisters that last for 2-3 weeks and you telling everyone that you did it on a grill, because when sober you realise that actually, that was a really dumb thing to do. AND you can only see the scars if you really look for them, so it didn’t even work on a “Hey, ladies, look at my sexy scars,” level, which, let’s face it, it wouldn’t have anyway.
9) The Time I Threw My Phone Onto The Top Of A Building.
At the time, it felt really good. I was pissed off with some friends and so stormed off out of the pub I was in and went to meet some work mates in a club. I was getting texts from the people I’d left asking me to come back, was I okay, etc etc, as you would if your friend just left in a huff. My reaction to this was to throw my phone on top of the club I met my work mates in. Not turn it off, not ignore it, not any of those rational things, no. I flung it as far as I could.
Which was fine for a few days, until I needed a phone again and had to buy a new one. I hate phone shops, although when I told the phone shop assistant why I had thrown my phone on the roof of a building (yeah, I don’t know why I told her either), she said she would’ve thrown the phone at her mate’s head. At least I didn’t do that.
8) The Time I Did Tequila Slammers “Rich Style.”
I used to work with a guy called Rich who was from New Zealand. One time when we went out drinking, he bought us tequila slammers. I licked my hand in preparation for the salt. “Oh, no mate, we’re not doing them like that. We’re gonna do these how I do them back home.” Rich started to pour salt onto the bar and separate it into lines. “Right. Now, what you’ve gotta do is snort the salt, then you take the lemon and squirt it into your eyes, then you’ve gotta find your tequila and down it.”
If it sounds like it would hurt, that’s because IT REALLY FUCKING HURTS.
Rich and his friends “Back home” are clearly masochists of the highest order.
Possibly the stupidest thing about this though, is that even after I had done it and knew how bad it was, I managed to get talked into doing it a second time.
Seriously, it’s like the drinking equivalent of medieval torture. It’s the second closest I’ve come to a near death experience in a single drink.
Yes, the second, because the first goes to…
7) The Time I Drank Petrol.
Now, to be fair this was a total accident and kind of not my fault. Well, okay, it was totally my fault, but it was an accident.
My girlfriend at the time had a car and for some reason we had got her Jerry Can out of the boot. It was empty, so I pretended to be a tramp drinking petrol. As I made a comedy drinking sound, swung my head and the Jerry Can back, a rather large trickle of petrol went into my mouth and straight down my throat.
Drinking petrol is a very odd sensation. It sort of burns, but I remember that fading relatively quickly. No, the real thing that fucks you up with petrol is how it feels. You know how when you drink a neat shot of something really strong, and you sort of feel like you want to cough out the lining of your mouth and throat for a couple to a few seconds? Imagine that feeling, but in your oesophagus and stomach, and imagine it lasting for a couple of hours. It makes you feel VERY odd, and you can feel it in your stomach. It’s pretty uncomfortable.
I probably shouldn’t have carried on drinking after that. That was the night I stole my friends bike and nearly got hit by a car because I hadn’t turned the lights on, then returned to the party in full “Apocalypse Now” mode, saying the Vietcong were in the trees and they were going to kill us.
The hangover was hideous.
Anyone thinking of drinking petrol, DON’T. SERIOUSLY. IT WILL FUCK YOU UP.
6) The Time I Wrote All Over My Body In Permanent Marker.
Not a massive amount to explain about this one really. I got drunk, took my clothes off, and covered myself in permanent marker scrawls. Which didn’t wash off properly for days. So for the best part of a week I had things like “Feel my taste!”, “The man of atlantis!” and “Ask me for the shoes!” on me. I know it’s not much compared to the others on this list, but it was one of the longest lasting things I have done while drunk, and it was pretty dumb.
Also, the two friends I was with that night were also involved in…
5) The Time I Made My (Then) Girlfriend Think I Was About To Have A Threesome With Two Of My Best Friends.
Yeeeeeeeeah, this was certainly not the cleverest thing I’ve ever done.
See, me and my friends Bonnie & Clyde (okay, that’s not their real names) went through this phase when we were all free and single of going round to Bonnie’s place, getting really drunk, and taking our clothes off. There was nothing sexual about it at all, we just liked being drunk and naked. On the night in question, we hadn’t done this for years.
After a boozy night out, Bonnie, Clyde, Bardot (my then girlfriend, also not her real name) and myself all went back to Bonnie’s to carry on drinking. Bardot and me were planning to stay the night there, and when Bardot went to bed, old habits came back and the remaining three of us got naked.
Then Bardot walked in, as it turns out she hadn’t gone to bed, just to the toilet.
She walked in to find the three of us naked in Bonnie’s bedroom. What else was she going to think was happening?
I’ll spare you the grizzly details, but amazingly Bardot was still my girlfriend for about a year after that.
4) The Time I Fell Asleep On The Pavement Opposite My Flat.
I’d been at a party until about four in the morning. Apparently I got very annoyed about something and started shouting a lot saying things like “Say goodbye to my cock!” I don’t remember this. I do remember phoning several people and leaving a variety of voicemails while I was walking home. Then I remember being woken up by a guy asking me if I was alright. I had at some point decided to lie down on the pavement on the other side of the road from my flat and had fallen asleep (why I couldn’t wait til I made the few extra steps inside and to my bed, I don’t know).
First thing I did was check my pockets. Astonishingly, I still had everything. Except for my keys. It was well gone five in the morning now, and I didn’t want to wake my Mum up, so I went to the park we live near and fell asleep on one of the benches. Mmmm, trampy.
I woke up again at just gone seven, absolutely freezing, realising that I should probably get at least a couple of hours in my bed, as I’m pretty sure turning up to work after sleeping rough is a bit of a faux pas. I decided that I had to go back and wake Mum up anyway. As I walked up the street to my flat, I found that my keys were on the pavement where I had been sleeping when that guy woke me up.
I felt really stupid, but also very lucky. And yes, work was pretty awful, but it wasn’t as bad as…
3) The Time I Started Taking Ecstasy At About 1.30am When I Had Work At 10.
As bad ideas go, this is right up there with, oh, I don’t know, drinking petrol or something. Of course, at the time it felt great and made total sense. I was out for a mates Birthday, the night was still in full swing, yadda yadda yadda, all good fun.
Until the next day. You know how it feels when you’re at work and you have a really bad hangover? Imagine that times, I dunno, A THOUSAND, MAYBE? Working while coming down is one of the worst feelings ever. Oh, and I work in a shop, so there’s nowhere to hide. I had to deal with people all day while feeling like my body was being pulped and reformed into toilet roll or something.
I spent the next two days in bed. I felt hideous.
(It was kind of worth it though. That was a good night.)
2) The Time I Made One Of My Best Friends Think I Was In Love With Them When I’m Not.
There isn’t really an amusing story with this one, I’m afraid. It was just a case of “I’m really drunk and can’t get my words out right,” which meant that a text which was meant to say, “I’m really pissed off with you for various reasons,” ended up coming across sounding more like I was professing some sort of long held longing for them. It’s strange how the odd word here and there can completely change the meaning of something. I’m still not sure they believe that I’m not in love with them.
1) My 27th Birthday.
My Birthday is in late March, the 27th in fact. Having a Birthday in late March sucks. It sucks because every fucker has a Birthday in March, coz all our parents got down to too much Summer lovin’. Bastards. Anyway, by the time my Birthday rolls around, everyone’s usually Birthdayed out, coupled with the fact that the 27th is usually just before people get paid. This combination of factors almost always leads to a quiet Birthday.
My 27th was different though. EVERYONE came out. It was amazing. I wasn’t used to this, and so got very carried away. I pretty much constantly had three drinks on the go because everyone was buying them for me.
This resulted in a great night, that ended a little… Well, a bunch of us ended up at my then girlfriend’s house (no, not the same one as the petrol and threesome incidents), to continue the fun. Well, I say fun, I mean I was talking to Audrey (again, not real name), not making any sense and then I blacked out and fell face first into her bedroom door. When I came to, I took off all my clothes and started chasing everyone around the house like some sort of alcoholic Benny Hill or something. Then I went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and blacked out again, falling face first onto her hard tiled bathroom floor. I did this two or three times.
Someone called an ambulance. Paramedics came round. I was amazed by their purple gloves. I sang Human League songs at them.
In hospital, I really pissed off a nurse by refusing to take my t-shirt off, “Because then you’ll see my nipples and they’re really ugly.” She responded by telling me that I would do what she told me to. Then she found the biggest needle she could and shoved it in my arm. Fair play. I was being a real prick.
I had concussion for a few days afterwards. Tip: Don’t go to work if you’re suffering from concussion. It’s horrible.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little trip down my embarrassing memory lane.
By Paul Askew
Paul Askew writes and performs poetry, and is editor of Ferment zine. He regularly inflicts his imagination on audiences in Oxford and London. He’s starting to be allowed to do so in other places too, so watch out.