Last Saturday, I managed to sleaze out of work a full three hours early and join a group of swinging dicks at Pitch & Putt for the "mancation" that Bash had organized. I'm not a golfer, and by the second tee, I finally swung hard and angry after missing four strokes completely, and the ball disappeared. It reappeared as a loud thump on a distantly parked car, and I feared for my life. 1.5 hours later, I was sweating Lone Star beer and celebrating my 200th stroke on the 9th green.
Fast forward a few hours and I'm slurring curses and smacking on greasy brisket. When I overheard Roger waxing books, I tried stealing his audience and making my suggestions his surrogate ones. He quickly said, "Don't read The Stranger" as though he'd been holding back his disdain for one of my favorite books the entire 4ish years I've known him. In theatrical outrage, I sprayed a mouthful of beer at him and comfortably sipped another one. When the mist cleared, Roger was staring at me with a rage I've never seen in him before, and through clenched teeth and tight lips, he said, "Don't spit beer on me again." Now if you've ever seen National Geographic, you've seen two gorillas fighting, and you know what's about to happen in this little narrative. The losing primate must walk away, disgraced and dethroned, and the viewer always feels sorry for the weaker animal. I couldn't be that gorilla and allow
defeat by intimidation. So when Roger told me "Don't spit beer on me again," I kindly asked, "Or what?" His anger had short-circuited his normally articulate brain, and his only response was the repeated "Don't spit beer on me again," this time seethier and with a cheeky tremble. I don't remember the rest of the exchange, exactly, but it had something to do with my taunting him with a "quack, quack" gesture of my dismissive hand and another "Or what?" He stood up, faster than I believed a drunk man capable and palmed my face. If, between his fingers, he'd seen the horror in my rolling eyes, I'd like to clarify right now, Roger, that the horror was in the knowledge that you were muzzling me with the same hand you mostly likely pleasure yourself with. He gave me a hard shove that craned my head back and tilted my chair on its back legs. I stood, spilling my cup of beer on my fashionable western shirt, and shoved him back. The other apes at our mancation stepped between us with loud "hey, hey, heys" and other howls and hoots of interference, and Roger stormed through Bash's house and left the
mancation. Mr. Bash called him, and because I had provoked the whole thing, I convinced him to come back by cooing and making kissing sounds into Chris' phone. Burn, Roger.
Fast forward a few hours, and it's Mother's Day. 7 AM to be exact, and I promptly vomit into Bash's toilet. My mother called at 7:15 to tell me
that the sisters were heading to breakfast at nine. I drove home with a protective vomit towel in my lap and didn't make it to Mother's Day breakfast. I'm a bad son. What I did instead was drive home and position my bathroom garbage can by my bedside. I made a violent deposit there every half hour for the next 5 hours. If I had to describe a living hell, that would be it. I nibbled bread and sipped water all day just so I'd have something more than guttural sounds to expel from my body. I even considered driving myself to an emergency room, but I understand there's a certain amount of sucking and flushing involved, and I thought death sounded like a faster solution. I'm not an accomplished drinker.
Fast forward a few hours: it's Monday, and I'm staring wide-eyed as a 70-year-old math tutor is seizing on the floor of the tutoring center. A student had rounded a corner with equally round eyes and shouted, "We need help!" I sprang from my seat and found the man convulsing on his side. I've been distraught ever since. My immediate instinct was to perform CPR, but he was having what looked like a seizure, so I stepped back and gave him room. I shouted into a room of 40 people for anyone with medical experience. They looked frightened and unsure so I ordered an ambulance from anyone listening, while I went back to the quaking man. A cell phone appeared at my ear, and the man stopped shaking and rolled over onto his face, breathing hard unnatural breaths that I counted for the EMS operator. The episode was over but the man was unresponsive, so I gave the phone to a watching student and tried turning him on his side. A big silent student knelt down to help, and I was relieved just not being alone. I left when EMS arrived, but I still haven't been able to shake my coworker's distorted expression from my memory. I hope he lives. He and another seizure after I had gone.