Sobered Up

Not sure if it comes out in my writing, but I have never cared much about being popular or succumbing to peer pressure. It’s kind of a weird stance seeing as I do things like making music and writing this blog and owning a small business in the Government contracting space…all things that would benefit me financially if I were more popular. I know and understand this, yet still can’t bring myself to truly promote my “talents”. If nothing else, that keeps me balanced, I guess. Doing well financially based on my work is fine, but if I were also doing well financially on my hobbies, I’d have to get really creative to find ways to give back more than I feel I’m taking. Sure, I wish more people could see or hear what I do sometimes, but if it’s meant to be, it will happen, and not because of me promoting it.

three cocktail drinks
Photo by Prem Pal Singh Tanwar on

No surprise then, I’ve always been this way. Sure, there were days as a kid that I wished I could have cooler stuff, more money, and these luxury items in life. There were a few times where peer pressure won and I did something stupid, it was never lost on me that what I did was stupid though. I may have played the nut role and pretended I knew nothing of it, but one would need to be oblivious and quite possibly a sociopath to not know when they’re doing something stupid. As much as I’d like to share some of those really good stupid moments, I have a security clearance that I need to keep so I am still able to make money with work. Otherwise, I’d be fully dependent on these ideas of mine and no talent for promotion.

I Don’t Usually Do This

I’m not a big drinker, and though I’ve never been a big drinker, there were some days in high school where I felt the need to “get right” for the day. For whatever reason, my dad bought some Alize, and at the time, rappers were rapping about it. I saw it in the fridge and tasted a little bit. No harm no foul…but then I started tasting a shot of it every day before school with my orange juice. I enjoyed the taste, and it was clear my dad wasn’t drinking it fast enough for my liking. Despite how future “booze houndy” that may sound, that was the only underage drinking I ever did in America. With that, there was only one other time I drank illegally.

I drink to make other people more interesting

Earnest Hemingway

I was relatively new to the base in Japan, 19 years old, and didn’t have anything to keep me entertained besides headphones and sex. So, though it may seem like this is a peer pressure moment, I actually went to this bar willingly with my friends. We were celebrating my buddy’s birthday and it was well known that I wasn’t a drinker. I was supposed to be the designated driver that evening. In Japan the legal drinking age is 20, but it didn’t matter because they weren’t checking ID’s. Several rounds went by and I refused each time. Finally, my buddy Frank said “Money, stop being a bitch and at least take one shot with me for my birthday”. Then my buddy AR piggybacked on it and they began informing me about the different drinks. Rum and coke was the first one, second one, third one, fourth one…and as I sat there, I felt sober. I was at a table with some women when Frank and AR came back with shots for everyone. We didn’t sing happy birthday; we just violently yelled it at him before taking a shot of Bacardi 151. 

Terrible Decision

I had no idea what I was getting myself into with that stuff. After drinking what was probably coke with a few splashes of rum all night, I consumed what felt like gasoline going down. I stood up and immediately all of that liquor caught up with me. I had 2 more rum and cokes before settling on water for rest of my time…in an effort to sober up so I thought. When leaving the club, my friends settled on a taxi, I decided once I got outside that I was sober enough to drive so I left them at the club. Yeah, I was that stupid guy for one evening. My rationale for driving drunk was a familiar one, it’s not that far and I’m not that drunk, plus I’m not those other assholes. But in reality I was. I rolled my windows down and proceeded to the base. I knew the gate guard from a briefing we both went to, so he told me “Money, it’s a checkpoint half a mile that way, so park over there and walk the rest of the way”. I said cool, but I had to take a leak, so I kept driving. I made it back to my dorm, went inside, used the bathroom, and went to sleep. 

Differing Outcomes

I woke up fully clothed around noon laying face down across my bed. The door to my room was wide open with the key still in it, and my car door was wide open as well. There was no tragic ending for me, outside of the really stupid decision, I didn’t hurt anyone, damage any property or piss myself. However, this other guy I worked with got caught up in that check point that I conveniently avoided. He was the designated driver, but decided to kill a Bacardi wine cooler right before leaving whatever party he was at. He wasn’t even close to drunk, but he had that one drink, so the security forces arrested him for DUI. Every morning until the next DUI, he had to ride a bicycle to every gate on Kadena, AB (it was 5 at the time) and update the X number of days since last DUI sign at each gate. Before him, it was a new DUI every week. Suddenly, folks got their act together and he ended up changing the sign for 3 months. 

That guy ended up getting kicked out of the Air Force for that DUI, I went on to have a really good 11-year career filled with awards and recognition for stuff. That’s the first and last time I’ve ever driven while truly intoxicated. I learned my lesson before I heard about him getting caught up. I felt guilty when I woke up that day, and I felt even worse when I found out what was going on with him. He and I weren’t friends, but I know he cared WAY more about the job and his military career than I did. He was one of those people that strive to impress their bosses and things like that. I was more of the type to challenge my boss to a fight…and I did a few times. It’s wild to me sometimes when I look at my life and how it is turning out compared to what it could have been. I rarely wonder about his life, but when I do, I always hope that he landed on his feet. I felt like the punishment he received was too harsh for the impact of his crime. Maybe I’m just projecting my feelings because I got away with that terrible thing, when he didn’t.

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