Saturday, September 24, 2011

Frat Life 101: The Drinking Game

Back in the days when I used to drink I never was what you'd call a big drinker. Usually I only drank when there was a party and you would never find me drinking on a Saturday afternoon as I sat watching a football game. As a matter of fact I was called a lightweight, both literally and figuratively. My weight stayed consistently at 130 pounds no matter how much I ate (and I could eat a lot) and it normally took about a beer and a half for me to be really buzzed and not much more to continue it for the evening. Guess I was a cheap date. What I was really, was a drinking novice and on one fateful night that status was taken advantage of by my pledge brothers. Don't let your dirty imagination take over here, I'm talking solely about drinking.

On that night that I still remember to this day (well, at least part of it) I learned a valuable life lesson, just because someone is your friend doesn't mean you should trust them, especially when alcohol is concerned. On a weekday night most of the pledge class was gathering in Joe's room in Logan Hall before heading to the house for our weekly pledge meeting. As we sat there Joe offered to trade shots of rum with anybody who wanted to. Since he had no takers for some bizarre reason I said I would do it even though this was totally out of character for me. Did I mention that I was a lightweight drinker? That point would be clear for all to see shortly.

Joe and I commenced drinking and very quickly we ran out of the Coke that was there for the chaser and kept going with just the shots of rum. At least that's what I thought. Unbeknownst to me Joe was switching bottles on me and he was only drinking water whilst I was consuming rum and it turned out to be a lot of it in a short period of time. How much you ask? Don't be shocked when I tell you that it was something like 19 shots in half an hour. Yeah, I know, I was smashed.

The rest of the night was a blur broken up by solitary moments of clarity. Some of what happened was related to me the next day and I have to believe it because I have absolutely no memory of it to this day. Somehow I walked with my pledge brothers to our dingy, rundown frat house (I say that with pride) and the members were shocked that I was in that condition early on a weekday night. They weren't happy once they heard the explanation either since it really went against everything they were trying to teach us about brotherhood.

I was laid down on the couch while the meeting went on although that didn't stop me from trying to interject my opinion. Afterwards my brothers were instructed to get me back to my dorm room so that I could sleep it off and not do any harm to myself. Man, they were pissed at the rest of the pledges, or so I'm told. I have no recollection of the walk to and from the house that night but once I was brought to my room they tried to put me in my bed and leave. Notice that I said tried. As they walked out I got out of bed and started to follow them out the door so they turned around and put me back in bed. Once again I followed them out the door and once again they turned around and put me in my bed firmly telling me to stay put.

Did I listen? Of course not. This time as I followed them out of the room they grabbed me and put be in my bed threatening to kick my butt if I got out of the bed again which prompted a drunken ramble from me about not needing them or anybody else, that I was alright on my own dammit. Needless to say this freaked out my roommate who had no idea what was going on. Come to think of it this night might have majorly contributed to his reason for asking me to allow him to switch rooms with another person but that was much later.

This time their threats against bodily harm took hold and I did not leave my bed. Instead I quickly sank into a deep, drunken slumber from which I did not come out of until after I had missed all of my morning classes the next day. I staggered over to the cafeteria and melted into a chair and decided quickly that it was in my best interest not to eat anything for a little while longer. As the members, pledges and sisters came to the table I had the details of my blacked out night filled in for me and I was repeatedly asked why I had chosen to drink in the first place. The honest truth was that I did not know why. In hindsight I can guess that I was trying to fit in and gain acceptance from those that I trusted the most only to have that trust abused.

My only question about that night was why the other pledges did nothing to stop this from happening. Why had none of them told Joe not to do it or even just informed me of what was going on? Where was the brotherhood? I guess we were all just learning about ourselves and didn't know when to say the joke had gone too far. As I said earlier I learned a valuable lesson from this experience and while I would trust the others with many things, drinking was not one of them. I vowed never to have a repeat of that night and I didn't. Well, at least not until I was in the Army in Washington, D.C. but that was much later and under entirely different circumstances and that's a story to be told in the future.

Published by Don Leach

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