Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Kitchen Timer Game

There was a period of time where this group of guys I hung out with would drink an entire bottle of tequila while listening to music and bullshitting, and then go out to the Kent State bar scene. This period lasted long enough to where we became used to handling massive amounts of tequila and still function socially, but not long enough for any of us to actually die from the staggering quantity of El Toro we were consuming. When other casual friends of ours would go out with us for "a full night", they would pay a terrible and horrible price. Lemmy and Ozzy Osbourne would have thought twice about hanging out with us. It was insane.

One night my roommate from two years earlier, Jim, came out with us, and we pre-gamed by playing "The Kitchen Timer Game". This was an idea we had where shots would be poured for the group, and taken back when the bell sounded from the timer. The timer would rotate around the group, with each person setting the time according to their whim. For example, if The Apeman wanted to keep it together, he might set the timer for 25 minutes. The timer would then be set up with the clock hidden from view, and only the "tic-tic-tic-tic" audible over the endless stream of underground rock coming from the oversized stereo. When the bell went "DING!", everyone stopped whatever they were doing and knocked back their shot. Pavlov's Dog had nothing on us.

The problem would be if a few guys in a row would want to get after it. Suddenly you're doing a tequila shot 4 minutes after last choking one down. Then it turns out whoever set the timer last wants to teach the guest a little lesson and see if he can take 4 shots in 14 minutes. You can see how this would denigrate very quickly into survival of the fittest... On this particular night, Jim (the ex-roommate) was hanging in there. I seem to recall we went to Mother's Junction around Midnight, and it wasn't until we walked up the steep staircase that I noticed he was becoming unhinged. "Hey man, did you notice the way Jim's eyes are kinda swimming in his head? Maybe we should get him a futhermucker to put him up and over."

A "futhermucker" was some unholy combination of alcohols and grenadine that was like a flammable mug of gatorade. They would serve it in a giant frosted beer mug. It would have been an excellent drink to serve your date on Prom Night when you were 16. It should have been called "The Date Rape A Tronic". It was like Kool Ade that would rip your fucking face off. It was exactly what a guy that had 5 beers and 6 tequila shots needed. "Here man... Take this... It's like juice."

We left at closing time. Not so much as "left", as were told to "get the fuck out!" by the bouncers when it became apparent we weren't ready for the party to end. Jim, myself, and another guy decided on the walk home to swing by a house where Joe, a friend of ours, was supposedly having an after hours party. Let's digress to put in a quick description of what the "after hours party" is supposed to be, and what it actually is.

What the after hours party is supposed to be: A gathering of like minded souls interested in continuing the grand spirit of the night. An equal split of attractive women and cool guys. Sort of like a scotch ad in a 1978 Playboy magazine. What the After Hour party is: Nine guys that didn't hook up at the bar are now going to get shitfaced beyond the point where they are now. Three of these guys will pass out on the couch. One will barf in the house somewhere. There will be lots of shit talk. The music will be oppressively loud. The music will also be either Neil Young or some Krautrock you've never heard of. One girl will show up momentarily, but she's just going upstairs to her boyfriend's room. Lots of half finished beers will be left on countertops.

So there we were... Three guys going to the alleged after hours party. When we get there, we discover the lights are out. That's not strange since it is 2:55 am. However, since we have made the trip, we decide we should wake Joe up and have a few beers. As no one has answered the doorbell, we decide we should send someone up on the roof to climb in Joe's second story bedroom window. We'll climb in, Joe will laugh at the folly, and we'll keep the night going. It's a solid plan. As Jim the ex-roommate is obviously the most intoxicated, we elect him to be the one hoisted up. It made perfect sense at the time. It was all going pretty well, until Jim's balance failed him and he fell backwards from the roof. When his head hit the sidewalk it made a "crack" sound like a baseball being ripped into centerfield. Not good.

Jim was going to need medical attention. I say this not as a medical professional, but with the confidence that comes from seeing blood flowing like a gusher from a man's scalp. There were wounds that were less gruesome on Normandy Beach on D-Day. We walked back to our apartment, and convinced The Apeman to drive over to the student medical center. As we started to make the drive, Jim started to talk kinda crazy, like he was a 4 year old boy. At the time, I wasn't that concerned, as the bloody towel he was holding to his head attracted most of my interest.

The people at the med center gasped when the saw him, and rushed him back to an examination room. After about 15 minutes they decided to transport him to a real hospital. They had him strapped to a stretcher with a neckbrace, and started to left him into the ambulance when he started screaming in pain. "Ahh!!!! Ahhh!!!" The student med techs quickly set him down, and stammered, "What is it? What hurts?" Jim then started laughing and rocking back and forth like a mental patient. Then the crazy talk started again.

The ambulance driver looked at Jim strapped to the gurney like he was transporting Hannibal Lechter. "Look, you guys are coming with us to talk to the doctors at Robinson. I'm not dealing with this..." I was elected to be the guy to explain what happened to The Authorities, and climbed into the ambulance. The ride to Ravenna was distinguished by Jim screaming every five minutes and then immediately slipping into talking like a 4 year old. Meanwhile, I am nervously saying to the paramedics, "Heh heh heh... OK Jim... C'mon now.... Quit screwing around..."

When we get there, Jim gets rolled into the ER, and I'm stuck reading the 4 year old People Magazines in the waiting room. It has to be about an hour/hour and a half later when a doctor emerges, and brings me back to a room near where Jim is holed up. "Ok... What is he on? I know he's on something... Just tell me what it is..."

"Look, I'm telling you, all he did to my knowledge was drink a hundred shots of tequila.", I plead.

"I'm not going to bust you. Just tell me what he's on so we can help him.", the doctor said while giving me his best "Let's be on the level here Son" look. After 15 minutes of going around and around, I get the doctor to tell me what the issue is. "He keeps saying his name is Billy and he is 4 years old. We can't discharge him like that." I assure the Doc he's not on PCP, LSD, or any other letter combination drug. I did have to explain the kitchen timer game, and I will admit it was a little uncomfortable in the harsh fluorescent hospital lights. "So...ah... then the timer goes off and you ah... have to do your shot, see.... ah.... Let me talk to him...Maybe I to him and work this out...."

I walk into the exam room, and Jim is laying there with his head bandaged like a mummy. "My name is Billy. I'm 4 years old."

"Cut the shit man. It's 630 in the fucking morning, and these guys won't let you go until you tell them who you are and how you got here." The doctor and I look on as Jim repeats his Billy thing. I then remind him, he's supposed to go to Daytona Beach on Spring Break at 7am and he's about 45 minutes away. "You're going to miss your bus, and your trip is off man." That did it.

"Jim Head. I live on Water Street in Kent. I'm an art major." Boom. Ten minutes later we're out of there and into the Spring glare of an early morning.

Cut to two days later. I'm watching MTV. Remember how they used to broadcast live from Penrod's in Daytona? They do a wide shot of the pool, and jumping up and down double fisting beers in the center of the shot is a guy with a bloody head bandage. The fucking guy made his bus I guess. I'll tell you this though. We never played the kitchen timer game with strangers again.


At February 28, 2010 at 9:21:00 AM EST , Blogger Uncle said...

great story....


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