One Friday afternoon in October of 1995, I went out and got drunk.
By that time, I was in between radio jobs. My new job at Valentine Communications was a week or so away, so I went to Diamond Dolls, a well known “titty bar” for some wine, women, and song…and a free buffet to boot.
(The “Dolls” was a classy joint, and apparently it still is. The women wore pasties on their nipples and surrounding area, which I’m sure was more of the city of Clearwater’s idea as opposed to the bar’s notions. Didn’t hurt that at least one of my female classmates at my high school WORKED THERE. But that’s another story.)
It was happy hour, so I wound up drinking LOADS of discount beer (think it was $1 a bottle). Sometime during this ingestion of a mass quantity of beer, I get the idea to go down to Lakewood High to watch my alma mater of Largo High play them on the gridiron, so I drive down US 19 hammered, but without any major deterioration of driving skill, thank God.
Located in the southern part of St. Petersburg, Lakewood High has had a pretty good track record producing players who wound up going to the NFL. Earnest Givins, Tom Carter, and William “Bar None” Floyd were all Lakewood alums, with Floyd playing, winning, and scoring a touchdown in Super Bowl XXIX earlier that year of 1995 as the 49ers routed San Diego 49-26.
The aesthetics of the game begin to amuse me. I usually can watch a game quietly by myself, but with a load of beer in me, the Largo High band playing “Rock And Roll Part Two” by Gary Glitter was turning me into a Caucasian version of Gene Gene The Dancing Machine. Shortly afterwards, all that beer is demanding to exit my body, and not in the good, downward way. I’m covertly trying to find a good way to vomit and not arouse suspicion.
I retch out the beer somewhere I can’t remember all this time later, but I’m not successful in avoiding trouble, because soon a police officer approaches. He tells me to go to my car and sleep it off, otherwise I’d be arrested for public intoxication. Needless to say, I do what the cop suggests. I had missed the game, though I knew it was airing on local cable TV. (Lakewood beat Largo that night 27-24 in overtime, if I remember right.)
I woke up just in time to see the crowd beginning to disperse, so I start up the car and head back to my Largo home of the time. I’m still a bit lit on the drive back, but it’s still not affecting my driving skills. I’m just a bit more amused by everything around me than I normally am, so I suppose that this makes me a happy drunk.
It’s also the last time I go out drinking all by myself, to this day some 20 years later. Now, it hasn’t stopped me from partying on occasion, but when I do, I make sure driving is not on my to-do list. If you have to party, do so responsibly. I’m thankful every day that this random night on the town didn’t wind up with me in bad shape. I got lucky…very lucky.