Let’s preface this story.
I grew up a square. Cultured, yes. But largely, a square. Did a bit of private school, played high school sports in the 90s/2000s(which means drug testing), went to church every Sunday, and never had a girlfriend in high school. Did I go on dates? Sure. Did I ever get emotionally attached enough to commit my allegiance to a specific female? No.
That means no drugs, no sex, no alcohol, no tobacco… hell, I didn’t even get to shoot REAL fireworks off until my parents went on vacation one summer while I was in high school and the lady who was supposed to watch us left to go to the grocery store. Not worth a full explanation but let’s just say my brother has a scar on the part of his face between his nose and the corner of his eye from a bottle rocket fight that he (obviously) lost that day.
This story takes place just a hair over 7 years ago. Labor Day weekend 2002.
I was a freshman at Purdue living in McCutcheon Hall on the 7th floor.
If I’m not mistaken we got Thursday and Friday off that week(don’t call me on that, I can’t remember clear enough).
Long part of that story short, a lot of people went home(as did I), but just as many stayed in the dorms.
I remember coming back to campus about 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. I didn’t have a roommate(he got kicked out of Purdue for basically doing what the kids at IU do everyday), so after putting clean laundry away, making sure nothing was spoiled in my fridge and realizing I already missed the football game, I started wandering the floor looking for friends. I didn’t go far.
To be honest, I can’t remember this kid’s name, but I’ll describe him to you(not like you care what his name is, so we’ll call him Eagle). He was about 6’5″, skinny, played basketball in high school at Zionsville(hence the nickname Eagle for those of you playing along at home), which is a pretty big school northwest of Indianapolis by about 30 minutes. I had him pegged as a square as well. Never saw him with girls. In fact, I had tried to hook him up with a girl and watched him squirm under the pressure so bad that he dropped his Gatorade. Never heard of him partying(or going to one, for that matter). In fact, the weekend before this particular day, he and another friend spent an entire day in my room playing Final Fantasy VII on a cracked XBox. I learned how he got the wherewithal for that on this day.
I catch him looking at his 20″ TV intently with the volume off. I knock on his open door and he turns to me. We converse and he basically just comes out with “There’s a barbecue/keggar at Cool’s house, wanna go?”
Shocked(and obviously going), I head back to my room and grab a sweatshirt. When I turn around, he’s standing at the door. We head downstairs to my truck and start to leave.
Before we get out of the parking lot, he pulls a bag of weed and a small glass pipe out of his cargo shorts and nonchalantly asks if I want to partake. I almost shit, pissed, and puked at the same time. I had NO IDEA he smoked. Frankly, if you’d have asked me to describe him before that moment I’d have been dead wrong on almost every front.
We talk about pot for a few minutes, I tell him I’ve never done anything. No drugs, no sex, no booze, etc. He laughs. He’d never had sex either but he wasn’t a “stranger to danger”. Get my drift?
To be honest, I was probably gone after the first bowl. We smoked three before we hit a gas station. I bought two hot dogs(from a gas station?), a “Fountain Dew”, and a gallon of water. Don’t ask why(most of you already know).
We get to the party about an hour after we’d left the dorm. Cool’s house was probably a 5 minute drive. Do the math.
Cool, for the record, is a badass. He’s a Marine helicopter pilot now and lived across from me in the dorms. He’s from Mishawaka(sp?) and his parents bought a house off-campus for his older brothers who went to Purdue before him, so obviously he spent a lot of time there as well. Cool was in flight school, ROTC, and later on in college was a bouncer at Where Else(a decent watering hole on campus). One of the cooler guys I’ve ever met. I’ll call him “Cool” because frankly, he’s cool AND now a Marine pilot. I’d hate to ruin his career.
So we pull up to Cool’s about 5pm and roll out of the car. By roll, I mean that I was so high I forgot how to get out. I remembered how so crisis averted, I suppose.
Cool meets us in the driveway(which was about 300 feet long and two lanes wide, not to mention completely full of cars). To say this party was a big deal is to put it to shame. I’d say an easy 200-250 people in and around this house.
I’m high. I’m new at this. I’m nervous, right?
Cool’s first words to me were “you’re high, aren’t you?”
Cool, I’m carrying a 32 ounce fountain cup, a gallon of water, and I have ketchup and mustard stains on the corners of my mouth, not to mention I am almost laying on my hood(I killed those hot dogs.Just saying.)
Cool nonchalantly pulls out a pack of Marlboro Blend 27’s(which were the shit back in the day), takes three from the box, and hands one to me, one to Eagle, and slyly sticks the third cigarette between his teeth.
Again on this day I had the privilege of saying “I’ve never done this”.
Cool drops his lighter in surprise, bends down to pick it up, and says “let me guess, you’d never been high until today either.”
I admit as much.
Cool lights my cigarette, tosses Eagle the lighter, turns to walk away and says “wow, man. Enjoy your first cigarette. Today’s going to be a good day, dude.”
For the record, I couldn’t have picked a “nicer” cigarette to break myself in with. Having now smoked for the last 7 years on-and-off, I’m glad it wasn’t a Newport.
We finish the cigarettes and walk to his house.
The house itself was nothing special. 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bathroom ranch sitting on about an acre and a half, I’m guessing? It had a big deck(easily the width of the house and about 20 feet from the back door in length). There was also an in-ground pool, a hot tub, and a fire pit.
Again, for the record, this was the best kegger I’ve ever been to. They had 4, count them, 4 DIFFERENT kegs on ice. I still don’t know why but I’m guessing it had to do with the fact that there were more girls than guys at this particular venue. Given that I went to Purdue(which I’ve heard referred to as “Guy-due”), it was a sight to behold.
I lose Eagle at the sight of bikinis and wind up standing on this deck, shaking my head. Cool comes out from inside, walks up beside me, and hands me my first red Solo cup. I look at the cup, look at him, and he immediately closes his eyes, shakes his head, and says “tell me you’ve never had a drop of alcohol, have you?”
I admit the truth which is met with a smile and a “wow, you’re busting cherries today, huh?”
He immediately clears the way to the keg, quietly(much respect for not embarrassing me) shows me how to operate a keg(including how to tap it), teaches me how to pour a beer, and offers up a toast(which I’d say about 75 people partook in).
Beer. Cold beer. Cold Bud Light. From a keg. Need I say more?
From the first sip, I was good.
We have about 2 cups of beer while standing there, bullshitting.
We progress to beer pong with two girls in bikinis and played for a few games. Cool offered a piece of advice I keep forgetting in the heat of the moment but will always remember as gold: “drink the beer involved in the game, but don’t drink outside of the game, you’ll last longer.”