Right around the third coat of beerfume (you know, the spritzes of Natty Ice that give you that just-partied scent when you wake up in a stranger’s basement at 2 p.m. without your left shoe), I realized that something was up. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, so I helped the girl next to me hold her cup while she did complicated things like sit and look at the ceiling. She giggled in a gurgle-y sort of way, overbalanced and spilled most of the rest of her cup into her own lap – something that she found very amusing, I think. She was definitely laughing, but she was drooling a bit, too.
After two of my friends won their third game of beer pong but before someone tried to do a ‘neat trick’ involving a flaming ping-pong ball, an open beer bottle and a lot of shouting, I got an inkling that the something that was up might be up with me, but I couldn’t really concentrate, because one of the victorious duo knocked me down as he flew across the living room to douse the fiery bottle-ball arrangement in beer pong ball water. It was pretty neat how six months of volunteer firefighter training kicked in even after six bottles of German lager.
A couple of weeks later, as I peeled a man I had never seen before off a friend’s toilet seat and deposited him in the cigarette ash-littered hallway so that I could pee (because I’d been woken up at 6 a.m. by the New Year’s Eve revelers still rocking the house with Girl Talk and retching noises), I finally figured out what had been bugging me that whole time. Well, as best as you can figure anything out when it’s six in the morning and you’ve got to pee but are trying to pick your way through two rolls of unspooled toilet paper, blue vomit and a mysterious puddle that you don’t think is from a leaky pipe.
Three hours later, as I lay awake, red-eyed from all the smoke in the apartment messing with my allergies, I knew I had it. I also had a strong urge to murder the couple that was dry-humping against the door to the small room I had locked myself in earlier that evening, even if it did smell like spilled champagne and potted plants. But I mostly had it: the answer to the something that had been bugging me for weeks.
It turns out that I’m ‘that guy.’
Oh, you all know the one. He is there at all the best parties, off in a corner or talking to his friends in the center of the room or complaining about the fact that Blind Guardian still isn’t in Rock Band even though he doesn’t play (they really should be though – they’re like Queen plus Metallica. How awesome is that?). He’s the one to offer to go grab extra cigarettes or Krystal’s (the Southern version of White Castle that is somehow even unhealthier and cheaper). You know him. The Sober Guy.
Now, let me explain, folks, before you throw the paper down in disgust (and you might want to consider putting some paper down. That bathroom puddle was still there a day later and it was starting to ripen). I’m not THAT Sober Guy – the one with all those hoity-toity convictions about booze and morals and the price of tea in China. I’m all for a good time, and, really, morals are so 17th century anyway. And I don’t even know the price of tea in China, but I do know that Starbucks charges too much for it.
No, I’m not That Sober Guy. I guess it’s confession time. I’m The Sober Guy who doesn’t drink because – get this – I don’t like the taste, the way it makes me feel or the cost involved in getting drunk.
I didn’t ask to have the throat of a sickly six-year-old girl, but anything over 10 proof feels like acid going down, and Bill Nye taught me that acid isn’t something I should drink. I didn’t ask to not enjoy feeling lightheaded, confused and overly sentimental about everything, but that’s just how things shook out. And I certainly didn’t ask to be the only student at Boston University who couldn’t afford two iPods (or one) or to go bar-hopping three nights a week.
That’s just who I am, and after figuring that out, I have learned to be proud of being The Sober Guy. Somebody has to do it. It’s not always easy – sometimes that rum and Diet Coke sounds mighty tempting, but why ruin good Diet Coke? And somebody has to go get the Krystal’s. Somebody definitely has to go get the Krystal’s.