I’ve Got 99 Problems and They All Berries

In the beginning of college, a weird fascination with three different types of booze was brewed to my leisure.  The first enthrallment was a healthy selection of any type of Malibu.  The sweet coconut taste usually reminded me of being exotic and sexy; kind of like a Corona ad or a Sandals commercial, I just wanted to stick an umbrella in my drink and get there.  Best of all, it was the perfect drink with its own set of training wheels; a 21% alcohol content. Me, Malibu, and any type of fruity chaser from my local gas station were besties without testies.  Then, there was UV Blue.  I would gag if I smelt the faintest whiff of blueberry essence but UV Blue created such a fabulous and addictive concoction with Minute Maid’s pink lemonade and a Cascada techno dance party.  The third type would love to punch me right upside my smiling face.  I introduce; 99 Berries.

99 Berries in college seemed like a good idea during the point of purchase when my “buyer” asked me what I wanted from the liquor store, and if I was under the influence of miscellaneous drugs.  When I was young and vulnerable, being asked what I wanted someone to buy me underlying the type of booze, I completely panicked and obtained the same personality as someone tripping on speed.  I wanted to make the right choice and I wanted to make it quick, ‘What type of booze do you want?’ ‘Um, I’ll take anything!’  I wanted something cheap and something that mixed well with the variety of juice offered at the caf, ‘I’ll take something a step up from nail polish remover.’   I wanted something that essentially, did the trick quick and in a relatively pain-free manner.  I wanted to drink to have fun.  I didn’t understand the purpose of the line “I don’t drink to have fun.”  Neither do I asshole, but why start a fire with a twig when you could whip out a lighter?

During college, I had the decision capacity of a chimpanzee.  Therefore, the answer to all my problems usually was shoving $20 in his palm and demanding, “99 Berries.”  This was the only answer during my freshman year of college, when hangovers were completely irrelevant and sniffing the contents of a Pine Sol bottle was my only alternative for alcoholic delight and the opportunity to see past sobriety.  This decision was about as dumb as the decisions the people make that create ‘The Hills’ episode names. However, it was far more creative, since 99 Berries could probably fuel a Transformer. I was in for a special treat.

The following story revolved around the purchasing of 99 Berries on a Wednesday and resulted in ‘cold turkey’ giving up drinking for an entire semester after consuming. I repeat; an entire semester. The story is as hilarious as comparing my life to Kate Middleton’s, since I am a far cry from class and anything Prince William would want to mess with. Under most accounts, a semester felt like an ice age to me.  This was my first semester of college, thus the last semester ever of my first year as a freshman.  My last semester of freshman year was a very monumental time in my life to toy with the effects of binge drinking. Why would I waste it being completely sober and playing DD for four whole months while everyone else was getting rip-roaring drunk, terrorizing their liver, and other various objects along the way?

The evening began innocent enough. The Metrodome in Minnesota offered “student night” every Wednesday for Twins baseball games. A bus would conveniently pick students up at our college and hall everyone right to the baseball games.  The tickets were three dollars and sold out every time they were offered at the box office.  Usually, I was complete pile of shit come every Wednesday and barely got my ass off of the couch while watching re-runs of E! News and moisturizing my weinis.’  I loved the Twins, but I would rather watch them in the comfort of my own phat pants through our HD flat screen TV.

Somehow, probably buried in the self-pity of my own pathetic Wednesday night, my girlfriends convinced me to go.  A couple of their guy friends from the basketball game were going and my friend, Drew had a crush on one of them.  Drew was a beautiful, bodacious blonde more driven than an eighties suburban with 100,000 plus miles on it.  She was a great friend to have whenever I was feeling as useless and unmotivated as a hard-hitter pothead.  “It would make you a sucky ass wing woman if you didn’t go.”  She told me, which didn’t make any sense because I’d rather skin a bear than watch her hit on anyone. I wanted to tell her I would never do anything for two things; her and a Klondike Bar.  I want Don Draper to feed me chicken kiev and sometimes I don’t get my way, so what?  I, like many other innocent human beings, were not going to get what we wanted, all the time.  The world did not revolve around me – if it did, I would surely be smoking a cigarette while writing this because I just had a wild night cap with Gerald Butler.

Since I was a swell wing woman and it was $1 Dome Dog night; I threw on a jean jacket, a baseball cap, and joined the forces of my horny, self-seeking friends.

When we arrived, I immediately regretted going.  I was a spoiled brat and would much rather attend a baseball game behind home plate, if anything else.  This was before Minnesota’s tax payers paid for the amazing new, outdoor field, and we were stuck with the huge dump tax payers had paid year’s ago: The Dome.  I’m serious, the name sounds just like a sex position in Cosmo’s Kamra Sutra calendar and was absolutely an awful place to witness a major league baseball game.  It was a large, disgusting establishment that was all concrete, stale air, and large fans that blew it around.  When I was inside, I felt like I was in a dirty bubble of trailer trash, sticky children, and cracker jacks.  The Dome was so large and awkward, huge sections people wouldn’t even sit in certain sections, thus completely de-constructing the wave (when it began around the 7th inning.)  The wave, along with ballsy (pun intended) streakers, is my favorite part about baseball games.

The student section was the worse part about The Dome, and for the first time since orientation, I was pissed I was getting an education.  For one, the people sitting in ‘student section’ paid three dollars to get there and drank their lives worth of booze beforehand to make it worth it.  The baseball players looked like mini clad wearing action figures, moving occasionally when a line drive blasted through the center of the field, which was a rare occasion.  After I ate my dome dog, I didn’t have any other reason to be there, besides scientifically existing as a clump of useless protons and electrons.  To top it off, the rancid onion aftertaste in my mouth was making me consider crawling under a seat or making the person cry sitting next to me.  That was until the person behind me was so drunk he was drooling on himself and to my expense, proceeded to vomit chunks of hotdogs my way.

I was livid.  My heart started racing and we all nearly fell out of the student level trying to flee the scene at hand, which was going down to be one of my least favorite scenes in history.  If there is a diagnosis for it, I do believe to be extremely frightened and disturbed by vomit.  Actually, I can barely even write about it, it gives me the same amount of anxiety as I had the first time I went to kindergarten or poopied for the first time in a high school public bathroom.  I will do anything in my power to avoid vomit at all costs.  I’m still waiting for my fateful fleet at death, when I jump out of a window to steer clear of it. I still have yet to vomit from alcohol (hate me and call me a pussy drinker if you want to.)  Do people afraid of clowns go chat with Bowser about the weather? Nope. And I don’t vomit.  I still can’t watch the carnival scene in The Sandlot when all of the kids blow chunks after riding the Octopus.  This is coming from the soul of a little girl who walked out of Jurassic Park when the T-Rex was attacking the cars.  Whatever, I was pissed and even regretted eating my dome dog, which had been the best part of the evening thus far, until DrunkPuke marked his territory by putting another dome dog in front of my face in projectile vomit.

Unable to decipher if we were actually winning the baseball game, I went to the bathroom.  I imagined I could take up an extravagant amount of time so I could go back to the safety of my futon without spending another moment sitting next to a bunch of horny baseball fans.  I washed my hands for about 10 minutes, until they were significantly pruned, hoping the game was over when I returned.

The current batter had gone from one strike to a full count.  Oh baseball, you kill me.

“What?  Did the dome dog not sit well with you either?” My friend Sonja pried me from looking at my pruned hands by asking me this disgusting question.

Sonja was much like me in a sense she was repulsive, morbid and completely un-edited as a person.  She would go on rampages where she would get really drunk and adventurous and end up coming home with a rug burn down the side of her back because she met a native from Spain who liked it particularly rough and creepy.  She was very organically conscious and tried being a vegan for about four hours every other week, loved traveling, and was lactose intolerant.   However, she often ate ice cream when she had too much Spanish homework and depressed, then complained the entire evening for being uncomfortable and gassy.  She was one of my best friends.

“No Detective Sonja.  I was compulsively washing my hands because that’s more riveting than this letting people projectile vomit on me.”

“Oh, Brittany – get over it.  He puked, people are drunk.  This is fun – Go Twins!” She waved her dome dog in the air and sprinkles of onion fell on our heads. “I think I ate too much. I feel sick.”

When Sonja said she felt sick, she usually meant her lactose tolerance was verging on the point of over indulgence and she needed to stop eating.  This usually happened every time she opened her oral capacity for food.  Sonja was like a Koala, she just didn’t know when to stop chewing.  She shoved the hot dog in the cup holder and looked at me like she’d just pooped sideways.

I don’t know where the next brilliant ideas started to produce, maybe it was the 100’s of drunken college fans screaming at each other in the student section, but the guys cordially decided they wanted to get drunk back at their house after the game.  Since Drew had a crush on the point guard and Sonja and I had a burning desire to touch one of the guys arm muscles.  His name was Jordan, and he looked like something out of the Vampire Diaries; complete babe, that always looked like he wanted to bite me.  We were in.

We piled into a large SUV and haled ass back to campus.  When I first began my drinking career in college, it was exciting as the very first time I walked into Disney World.  I was so wound up; I was tempted to drink some warm milk and calm down. I was in the back seat on the ride to the dorms, twiddling my thumbs and tapping my fingers together.  That was what I did in situations where I was extremely nervous.  And I was crazy tripping to be drinking on a Wednesday night.  I’m truthfully a very boring person.  Unlike when Kim Kardashian says that, I actually mean it.

I tried to feel extremely coy as we ran into our dorms to collect Mountain Dew and Pepsi for chasers. My roommate, Valerie – was staying in and watching re-runs of One Tree Hill, the show I hated more than deep conversations about paint drying.  The show scared me, because I was worried if I ever started watching it for more than ten minutes, I would actually vomit.

I loved my roommate.  She had tight curls, sugary pale skin, and a cute Carrie Underwood obsession.  Valerie was dorm-trained very well and extremely tame.  By dorm-trained I mean, she was always there to welcome me, like a loyal puppy.  By tame, I mean she spent most of her time keeping our room very clean with her collection of 409, making flashcards, and she never soiled in the corner or stole my food.  Oftentimes, I liked to compare her to a cat (smart and quiet) while I was the flying eagle (free and ballsy).  Understandably, things were not any different on this Wednesday evening.

“Where are you going?” she asked, looking as me quizzingly.

“I just sat through an entire Twins game in the seats homeless people could buy with street money.  I’m going drinking.” I said, as if I had just told her I was going on a late night run to Taco Bell because I was on my period.

“It’s…Wednesday…” Valerie was so cute sometimes; I just wanted to put her in my pocket to coax bad decisions right out of me!  Although she was making a dreadful enough decision watching ‘One Tree I’d rather die.’

“There is a first time for everything!  Oh shit.” I zeroed in on my philosophy notes, collecting dust particles on my desk where I left them.  I had a monstrous philosophy test the next morning and notes I had only scanned through.  Of course, throughout Philosophy class, I hadn’t allowed too much of the content to absorb in my mind, so I didn’t know everything off hand.  I desperately needed to study if I wanted to dodge the possibility of filling in N/A for every answer. But it was a Wednesday, and I was never as exciting as most college people I wanted to be.  I had never drank on a weekday and my time was now.  It was blooming at my studying expense.  I closed my eyes and imagined myself in the library, drooling on my notes.  I decided I would rather surgically remove my eyes with a butter knife.  I had one Wednesday where I was willing on going out on a limb and many philosophy tests left in the semester.  The decision was made.  I shoved my philosophy notes in my purse with my chasers.

“I’m studying for Philosophy in between games of beer pong,” I announced.

“You are not.  Brittany!  That can’t possibly work!”

I laughed at her weaknesses and flashed her a bright smile. Sometimes, she was so naïve.

“See you in the morning sweet cheeks!” And with that, I pranced out the door.

My decision to leave my grade point average and bunk bed behind was possibly the worst decision I’d made since I decided to go for a late night spray tan appointment and slept in my freshly washed white bed sheets.  However, my intentions were completely of good quality.  I wanted to go out for one night and spread my wings.  I was willing to sacrifice a few hours of studying to do so.

However, whenever I drink, I very rarely remember much of the first two hours prior to drinking.  I don’t understand the mathematics of that equation– but my pre-drinking study session was entirely and purely pointless before I even started.  My good friend, Betsy was in the same boat.  The boat we were about to sink with numerous shots of fruity tasting dignity-loss juice.  She was studying Spanish, but had a dyer crush on one of the boys who owned the house and refused to be left out of the mix.  We tried to go back and forth to help each other study efficiently,

“Yo traigo mi melones a mi casa,” Betsy touted, loud enough for the left side of her brain and the victims of Titanic to hear.

“Did you just say I’m taking my melons home?”  I looked at her, stumped. “Aquinas; reason and argumentation.  His ethics are based on the concept of ‘first principles of action.’”

“Esta es mi codo.”

“Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power.”

Our “study session” was turning into an interesting spectacle for everyone to be watch – and eventually become concerned about.  We were both pretty serious about our scholarly dedication for a hefty fifteen minutes into the evening.  She was wildly talking in Spanish with extravagant hand motions and I was pressed nose deep into my philosophy notes, reciting gibberish Aristotle quotes, trying to be inspired.  I was bound and determined.  I was going to completely ace the test and have a jovial evening.  The syllabus never said to rule out an ambitious night of fun and games.  Following the rules was a priority of mine.  When the 99 Berries came, I proudly closed my notebook.  I decided Aristotle would definitely condone my drinking choices for the evening.  99 Berries had desirable quality and therefore, gave me the power.



Betsy and I shot up like prairie dogs on desert lookout and joined the cluster of chicks surveying the bottle of 99 Berries like it was the first time we saw a pee pee.  We had four of us girls; Betsy, Drew, Sonja and I and one bottle of 99 Berries. Two girls one cup aside, we were ready to get started.

Kiwi Strawberry flavored Ocean Spray turned out to be a fabulous and not so fabulous choice of drink chaser.  Fabulous because it blended absolutely wonderfully with 99; not so fabulous because it blended absolutely wonderfully with 99.  We were taking shots like sailors.  I was surprised because I normally had a terrible gag reflex for vodka.  Throughout my whole life I did not consume pop because the carbonation always hurt my tongue.   So one can only imagine the issues and triumphs I go through on a daily basis trying to get an ounce of 99% vodka down the hatch.  I thank conquering my feat on the ocean spray and fruit particles in the vodka, which made beautiful music together.

The progressing of my drunkenness was very sporadic.  Since I took numerous shots of strong vodka within fifteen minutes of each other, I should have known that would happen.  It was as if none of us wanted to out drink the other one – but were dying to feel the (new to us) effects of booze.  It came slow, first to my feet, then the outer spot of my eyes and finally to my fingertips.  And before we all new it, in a matter of thirty minutes, the entire bottle of 99 Berries was gone.  It bothers me to this day that we finished and entire bottle of booze in the time span of a Friends episode.  But at the time, it was purely fun.  We didn’t care about our public appearance the next day, our roommates back at home, or anyone else who wasn’t drinking vodka.

We proceeded giggling at stupid things that we were studying for.  Talking in Spanish about Aristotle and his melons were extremely side-splitting.

“I have to talk about grocery shopping in Spanish tomorrow!  And I don’t even know how to say grocery shopping in Spanish!” Betsy said, flopping on the couch and laughing.  Her boobs bounced around with her blonde curls, making the guys in the house uncomfortable and thrilled.

“Me neither!  But Aristotle wouldn’t care!” In my drunken state, I found a way to shimmy Aristotle into every conversation, usually on the basis of him being completely awesome and totally care free. Looking back now, I do not think Aristotle would condone dancing on basement poles and spending shameless minutes staring at Jakes jeaned buttocks.  I ignored my thoughts and prying images of a wiser than me Aristotle and pretended they did not exist.  I kept imagining Aristotle watching down on me from his ancient Wikipedia tab and judging my actions.

In a 99 Berries haze, I watched my friend Sonja, who loves foreigners and rug burns, work the pole like a Russian immigrant.  The girl was unstoppable, and I couldn’t figure out where she learned to move that way.

“Get it girlfriend!  Would you hug your mother with that body!?”

I thought Sonja was going to be pregnant with spider babies from the webs on this basement pole or conduct a Listeria or mad cow disease from wherever it was that pole had been recently.  She was riding it like it was 1999 all over again, taking it in one hand and slapping and imaginary ass with the other.  She bit the air in my direction and made a growling noise.

“A cat?” I asked.

I really wished I owned a smart phone at this point.  This good stuff needed to be stashed under some serious Facebook files and tagged promptly when I needed to blackmail Sonja in the future.  At that moment, Sonja forgot she was seducing me, lost her grip on the pole, and sat jubilantly on her ass.  She looked up at me like a toddler and randomly started talking in a baby voice,

“Dah-dah?” Sometimes, when Sonja became intoxicated, she felt it proper to speak in an English infant voice.  Tonight was not her time to bring that personality trait to a close.  To top off her British baby accent, Sonja was so belligerent she could not recognize me from her own biological father, who lived in New Jersey, was conveniently a man, and had a beard.  I left her sitting there staring at the pole and secretly wished she’d start talking to it.

I spotted Betsy sprawled out on the couch having a heart to heart with one of the basketball players.  He was really cute and resembled Tom Welling’s baby brother during his prime days on CW Network.  Momentarily jealous, I watched Drew accompany the pole with Sonja, who was already on two feet again.  Two feet as in wobbling so violently back and forth she could have rocked the Mayflower.  Sonja was trying to teach Drew how to give a strip tease,

“No, Drew – you are doing it all wrong!” Sonja yelled at her like a coach from Dancing with the Stars for Strippers.  “You dip it low, bend you back and flip your hair.  Get sexy with it!”  This was funny because Sonja was getting pretty serious, like a scene right out of Legally Blonde, only extremely intoxicated and in someone’s ancient basement.  I couldn’t help wondering if this was how Willow Smith came up with her ‘I Whip My Hair Back and Forth’ song.  “There, put your ass into it, just like that! Ok whip your hair back and forth!”

Suddenly, Drew screamed bloody murder over the bumping beats from the stereo system, and Sonja’s cat noises, “Owwww, my finger!!”

I was convinced the pain was another ploy for Sonja’s stripping future and she had bitten Drew’s finger for true kinky affect.  I was wrong. We were all at Drew’s side faster than it takes for another celebrity to come out with their own fragrance that makes ‘normal people’ feel pampered and sexy.  Her finger was gushing blood.  Literally, gushing.  It was almost to the point of a Grey’s Anatomy episode where blood is spurting out like a water fountain or a deranged Halloween costume.  Lucky for everyone else, the drunken side of me was a light blend combo platter of Superwoman and Dr. Susan Lewis.

We were in the bathroom in moments, and I was telling her to keep her finger high in the air to keep blood from rushing to it, which barely made any sense.  Giving wounds elevation was usually my ploy for sounding like a Medical Student; as far as I was concerned – I cured all.  I was acting like we were in the ER instead of a college guy’s bathroom, with nothing but pubic hairs, testosterone, and Lubriderm splurges littering the area.   I put pressure on it with excessive amounts of toilet paper and let cold water run on it until Drew couldn’t take it anymore.

“Don’t worry,” I assured as if I had scrubs on in place of my jean jacket. It was fun consoling Drew like this, since she was usually smarter than me.  “The blood will subside after pressure is applicated for about ten minutes.  Just keep it up, and sit on the toilet in case you feel light headed.”  Ok Dr. Lewis, make sure you take a lunch break.  After I had carefully placed approximately fifty band-aids on the wound we were back in the game.  I was insanely proud of my mature side, growing bigger and bigger every day.  The strength of my newborn intelligence was sure to be shared.  My mature side was getting another rise because all of this was happening within the first fifteen minutes of feeling the effects of booze, and on a Wednesday!  I was so proud of myself for being fun; I played a victory game of beer pong with my guy friends.

Even though it was only a Wednesday, it was Jordan’s birthday. He was one of those guys where I thought he was cute but only because I felt bad for him for some mystifying reason.  He was my average Buffalo Wild Wings loving college dude; jersey shorts, gym shirt, completely laid-back boy; decked out with college swagger, and fantasy football.  He was my college boy fantasy, I saw him on every college catalog, college website, college wet dream.  I had my eye on him after a few shots, only because Betsy was totally sealing the deal with Tom Welling and Jordan was so hammered, he was engaging himself in Sonja’s new Stripping 101 class on the bloodstained pole.  Or maybe he was just horny.  I came up to Sonja during her pole dance intermission,

“Do you think Jordan is cute?  I’m not usually one for shaved heads, but I mean – it is his birthday.”

“You mean, Jordy?!?”

I decided putting a ‘y’ after any guys name would immediately make them want to shrivel up like an infertile raisin, but I nodded.  She needed to stop talking in ‘Gerber Baby.’

Sonja decided to decipher my slow nodding as an invitation to plan an attack on Jordan and I’s budding relationship as an opportunity for her to play Patti Stanger; or not so budding since the only thing I’d ever asked him is if he owned a shot glass.  Completely forgetting about her pole dancing class with Jordan, she rounded everyone upstairs, except for me.  I was sitting dumbfounded on the couch downstairs.  Then, she pushed Jordan into the basement with me and shut and locked the basement door.  I was surprised but not nervous. This was like a seven minutes in heaven for college people, I could handle it.

Jordan entered from the basement door and looked at me sitting on the couch.  I had barely ever said a word to him, except for maybe a few “Oh, sorry – were you in line?” bits at the cafeteria on a Monday afternoon.  But this was a Wednesday night.  And it was his birthday.

“Happy Birthday!” I yelled, self-noting Jordan had a fabulous set of calf muscles.

“Thanks champ!” he dove on the couch next to me, and naturally, we started making out.  As in, making out like downright hungry animals.  I couldn’t believe myself. I wasn’t even hungry.  I knew virtually nothing about this human being and here we were, playing a game of human Pac Man.  I concluded he was the Pac Man and I was the red dots.  I was getting eaten alive.  I tried putting my palms on his cheeks to push him off, but no dice.  Happy Birthday cute stranger!  Horny and desperate may not be a great look, but it was my look! And I worked it.

Thanks to chugging ¼ of bottle of 99, it was only natural for four belligerent girls to suddenly end up in the front yard, hours later, with no recollection of the hours prior to, and rubbing Jordan’s back because he was vomiting all over the grass.  This was completely abnormal on my part, since I was eternally scared of vomit.  Also abnormal, because who wants to be coddled when they are sick?  Well, unknown to me, clearly the answer was this guy.

While everyone was trying to leave the house, I squeezed my outer arm to be welcomed with company of my purse.  I sighed an Ocean Spray breath of fresh air and thanked Aristotle.  At that moment in time, all that mattered was the fact I had possession of my most important belongings; my flip phone, my lip gloss, and my Orbit gum.

“Jordan, man – Happy Birthday softie!”  Tom Welling said as he walked out the front door with Betsy.  Apparently, calling a guy ‘a softy’ was nearly as bad as calling him a ‘little bitch.’  I wanted to remember that, in case I ended up hating my next boyfriend.  I wistfully watched the Betsy walk away with her hottie and I patted my softie on the back.  I felt incompetent as a woman because I was not leaving with that chunk of man candy. Tom Welling was so hot, I wanted to lather him with butter and fry him in a pan.  I winked at Betsy.

Then, I was thrown back into the havoc of Jordan’s vomiting.  Happy Hump Day!

I morphed back into a little less intelligent Dr. Lewis; “It’s OK Jordan, let’s get you some water and Wonder Bread.  The trio of W’s, the cure to all!”

The next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes to the urgent friction of Valerie rubbing my forearm.

I imagined taking a large two-by-four, preferably cherry wood, and completely smacking myself in the back of the head, then the front, and finally my temples.  These were the first feelings I felt upon waking.  The sun shot through my window like a G6, piercing my eyes and making me want to pray for forgiveness.

“Brittany, Brittany…do you want to get up?  You have a Philosophy test this morning.”

I couldn’t even begin to express the extreme confusion I felt in the next few minutes prior to this statement.  First things first, I noticed I was completely naked, which confused me for many reasons. However, I was brilliantly tucked in, on my bunk bed, in my dorm, and breathing.  I felt air going in and out of my lungs.  This gave me more comfort than when I found my mother in Menards after I lost her for thirty minutes when I was six.

“Oh my God. Yes. Yes, I do.  What time is it?” I pulled my covers to my neck, covering my large exposed breast in the process.  Why was I naked?

“It’s eight.”

“Oh thank the Lord; I still have time to study before the test.” The test was at 10:40.  Tons of relieved feelings filtered into my mind.  What had happened last night?  Why did I find it tangible to drink like a fish hours before a big test? I hoped I wasn’t mysteriously depressed…Now that Valerie had shaken me to reality, we could briefly converse about the evening and re-evaluate my life.  I looked around like I’d done something horrific, like burned her One Tree Hill DVD’s.

“When did I get home last night?”

“Around 4AM,” Valerie looked up at me and started laughing.

“Um…you didn’t see me…naked last night did you?” My covers suddenly felt freakishly cold on my skin.

“No! Oh, no it was dark.”

“Thank God. I mean, people on the moon could have seen these suckers, they are so big,” I grabbed my boob under the covers and honked it like a bike horn. “I’m sorry.  Was I loud?”

Valerie was giggling like a little schoolgirl whom witnessed her teacher looking at Family Guy porn.  I didn’t appreciate this.  It made me uncomfortable.  It made me question my decisions as a respectable young adult.  This was one of the many moments I wasn’t laughing with somebody.

“What!?!?”  I demanded, as my brain expertly replaced images of me running down the halls of our dorm completely nakey, or trying to bring Jordan in with me, or worse…telling Valerie about how I secretly had a crush on Chad Michael Murray.

“Brittany. You fell into the closet last night when you were changing your clothes.”

Oh.  Well, that explained my intense pain on my progressively bruising thigh.  Also, it was hilarious; I was a klutz in exceedingly sober conditions and under most occurrences, I could barely make it a day without tripping.  I fall while walking up the stairs on a weekly basis.  I fall when I’m standing.  Falling into the closet intoxicated was only predictable.  Knowing me, it was only expected Valerie would fall witness to me falling at least once in her precious lifetime.

But I couldn’t help it; the guilt was already setting in.  I was feeling the intense effects of post-drinking remorse.  This was where I feel extremely bad for my actions, my decisions, and my wallet prior to a night of deep consumption. This is where I morph back into a respectable human being, and re-evaluate my actions. I usually voided them by writing in my diary, seeking God for help by attending church on Christmas and Easter, and eating copious amounts of food.

“I didn’t do anything….else….did I?”  I could feel my figurative tail hide behind my naked thighs. “Like you know, anything embarrassing.”

“Well, you were extremely pissed about the door because you couldn’t get it open.  You were outside screaming at the lock, so I had to come open it for you.”

“Oh no, I’m sorry Val!  I’ve never been one for graciousness.  Or patience for that matter.”

“It’s totally fine.  You were so hilarious; it was totally worth the wake up call. Trust.”

A sigh of relief fell over me like a thick, velvet Snuggie.

“So, let’s get to the good stuff…why am I naked?”

“You said something about Aristotle being cool with it.” Valerie shrugged. I fell into a fit of laughter.

While Valerie went to shower, I tried to be properly re-birthed into the world. I wished I could burst into a pile of ashes and be re-born into a fierce predator like the Phoenix.  That lucky asshole.

My mouth felt like the inside of one of those ugly crusty shells I always find on the Dayton Beach, the ones with rotted moss within the insides.  I looked over my naked, white, dehydrated body and debated how I was going to get out of this bunk bed.  Then I laughed to myself as an image of my naked body jungle-gyming itself down the latter infested my mind.  I fell under complete and utter bereavement.  I felt vile and disgusting; baffled and guilty. And worst of all, cold and naked.  I blamed Sonja and Aristotle for those being cold and naked; she never set a great example.  I desperately wanted to love myself again.

After lying in my bed for more than fifteen minutes, and deciding I wasn’t going to be born from the ashes, I attempted to climb down from my sloppy bed perch.  Amongst strong, passionate moments of head rage, I was replaced with images from the evening; losing in Pac Man to Jordan, and Jordan shoving his face in his own birthday cake after we made out until I was clawing my purse for my tube of Carmex to re-wax my lips.  I winced.  Usually when people shoved their face into their own birthday cake it meant two things; they were embarrassed they made out with a stranger, or they were embarrassed they made out with a stranger who thought she was Dr. Lewis.

The morning I was waking up to, would not go down under one of my proudest mornings.  In fact, I immediately filed it away into the file cabinet I’ve wanted to burn since I wore granny panties to my first day of swimming in middle school.

When I finally got down, I stood in front of my mirror and slapped myself on the hand for considering going into public.  I looked like I was just shot up with the wrong dose of Botox and slapped in the face with the fugly wand.  “You’re beautiful,” I lightly sang in my best Christina Aguilera rendition.  I debated completely botching my upcoming Philosophy test and basking in my own sorrows of white cheddar Cheese Its and Vitamin Water all day long.  A fire the size of a lit candle fluttered in my chest.  I couldn’t let that happen.  I was a college student, and Aristotle as my witness, the test I will seize.

Suddenly upon realizing I was very naked, I grabbed some clothes from the ground before Valeria came back from brushing her teeth to the Dormitory of Moulin Splooge.  Now, first things first; where were my Philosophy notes?  I busily began digging in my food bin, for reasons only known to my hung over stomach.  Hurricane Brittany, I would call it, out to blow stability out of my life.  Unlike most human beings, I liked eating immediately prior to a state of excessive intoxication.  A source of food was an immediate curable distraction for me.  I never understood how depressed people claimed to “lose so much weight.”  When I was depressed, I new I would end up looking like Oprah Winfrey on her off days.

But, after finding nothing but empty calories and food that would be found leftover at a homeless shelter in my pathetic bin, I moved to my purse.  It was smudged with cake frosting and failure.  No philosophy notebook.

I put my pointer on my forehead to somehow telepathically transfer intelligent thoughts to my central nervous system.  Naturally, I received nothing. I had no idea where my philosophy notes were and an hour until my large philosophy test.  Valerie came back in, looking as fresh and dapper as Cindy Lou Who.

“What did I come home with last night?  Was I carrying a red notebook that said, “Philosophy” and “Brittany Don’t You Dare Lose This, You Stupid Dumb Person?”

“Sorry Britt, no. All you had was your purse.”

“Hmm. And clearly no moral capacity.” I said under my breath, which stank of 99 Berries corpse.

“Want to go get Cheerios at the caf?” Valerie offered.  She might as well have offered a nugget of gold.

“Let’s go.”

I was too hung over to completely care about my lost notes, but I was slowly freaking out as the world stopped spinning at my feet. I left the dorm wearing a sweatshirt over what I wore the night before.  I looked like a LOST survivor; a LOST survivor who found the only happy hour on the island. I was totally playing and falling victim (something my wise mother told me to never do) complaining excessively on our way to the cafeteria, praying selfishly for success on my test, and not picking up my feet as I walked.  This was an odd feat for me, since I despised anyone whom was too lazy to lift their feet one centimeter more and put an end to sounding like Chewbacca walking through the quad.

Valerie took note of my bitter disdain, “Brittany, it’s going to be alright.  Skip the test! E-mail the professor and tell him you aren’t feeling well.  You can take the test later, right?”  Valerie…. always looking on the brighter end of my white girl problems.

I mumbled something about class regulations and the syllabus and stared at the ground.

We entered the caf and the florescent lights poked my irises intrusively. I hoped I wouldn’t have an awkward encounter with Jordan and have to talk to him about the chicken and dumplings they were serving.  Common.  Was this daycare in 1995? Get a clue, college.  The last time I had chicken and dumplings was when I couldn’t pronounce ‘maturity.’  However, the cereal stand was sitting in the corner of the cafeteria.  Little angels with dimply butts and arrows buzzed around the Cheerio slot.  A soft heavenly light shown from above, bathing my cereal savior with hope and recognition.  In moments, I was shoveling cheerios in my mouth like I was diabetic.  They tasted like sawdust and disappointment.

“So…you never told me what happened last night. You were completely outraged when you came home about something….cake, maybe?” Valerie peeled her orange and looked at me sweetly.  As if she wasn’t talking about the night I came home, fell in my closet, and screamed some gibberish nonsense about someone else’s birthday cake.

“Ya? This is more painful than getting a tooth pulled.”  I grabbed a small bowl for my Cheerioes. “I’m so embarrassed Valerie. I can’t find my Philosophy notes and I have a test in thirty minutes!  Is this real? Or am I still naked in my bed right now??” I put down my spoon in defeat.

“You were so angry…” she kept going. “I think you said you were mad a guy you made out with put his face in a cake?  Because, you were convinced he did it because he didn’t want to make out with you anymore. I don’t know, you were hilarious.”

“Are you serious? I was mad because someone shoved their face in their own birthday cake?” My mouth slung open.  I didn’t see anything realistic in sticking my face in a cake.  I saw boredom.  I saw impracticality.  I saw immaturity.  I saw distress.

What would people do if I was socially inept and crawled under the lunch table at that very moment?

Valerie just laughed and shook her head.  I know it wasn’t a big deal, but how could I be mad about something like shoving your face in a cake? He should be mad he ruined a perfectly legitimate lunch selection in yellow chocolate cake. I had to start getting my priorities straight.

Before I knew it, I was walking to class.  Walking to the class I was going to take a test in.  Still convinced I was drunk because I wasn’t feeling the deathly effects of my hang over quite yet.  I only felt a yielding dizziness and prominent dopiness.  I was too busy focusing about how glad I was that I wasn’t driving to class.  I was convinced I would do something traumatizing, like hit a pedestrian, or even worse, a squirrel.

Suddenly, I was sitting in classroom and completely frozen to my desk chair.  I couldn’t believe I was actually there.  I pinched my dehydrated skin and winced.  It was tender and fragile.  So tender, in fact, I almost started crying but dehydrated enough where the tears subsided.  I glared at my pen; angry this was the ink that was surely going to fail my test.

That test was almost as painful as watching The Yankees win the World Series.  I could not have rushed out of that stuffy classroom quick enough.  I could not stop imagining the sensation my head would feel once it hit my satin pillowcase, ten feet above ground in my bunk bed.  Upon enduring in a guilt-induced snooze, I counted my blessings.  I slept the deepest slumber of my lifetime and dreamt about waterfalls, gardens full of sliced bread, and hot misuses’.  When I woke up, I attacked my box of saltines, and stared at the wall.

When I was in high school, I was a very good student.  I was on the honor roll, in the Honor’s Society, FCCLA (Future Leader’s of America), and the cheerleading squad. Although cheerleading did not have any indication I was intelligent or motivated, it proved I had honest and true school spirit.  I think that counted for something.  Anyway, the fact I had just taken a test nearly under the influence of alcohol, I was feeling pretty shitty about myself.  I tried to remember my walk to class and couldn’t, in fear if I did, I would run out into the fall chill and search for my pride (unfortunately, I left that somewhere on Dale Avenue).  I slowly closed my eyes and squeezed them shut, like actresses do in the movies when they discover their best friend married their high school sweetheart.

Our dorm room was not the best place to nurse a hangover, either.  Since our room faced the North-West, we had intense sun blasting into our eight by eight foot complex from 3 P.M. until it sunset. Of course, this was usually when I wanted to utilize my nap time.  The blasting, painful rays of sun alone stopped me from ever considering. It was always hot in our room, no matter the temperature outside, thanks to the large 1960’s vents on our ceiling pumping out fumes from hell.  Not to mention, squirrels and wildlife always peered in our window since we were on basement level.  Like anyone, I don’t enjoy a Peeping Tom.

Hours later, I heard a knock on my door.  I climbed off of the dent in my futon and opened it to Betsy, looking equally as awful and outraged about her personal decision making abilities as I was about my own.  She was holding a Target back with an item inside.  She widened her eyes at me.

“You’re alive!” I almost hugged her.  The last I had seen of Betsy the night prior was when she was on her way to have a slumber party with basketball star, Tom Welling.  I wanted to ask her if they had a pillow fight with his cute little basketball pillows he was sure to own.

“Barely. Brittany. Last night. Wow.”

Usually in college, my friends and I used fragmented sentences to describe our greatest feelings of awe and slight terror.  This day was not any different.

“Um. I. Know. Wow.”

“Like. My test today? I skipped it.”

“You did!?! I went to mine! Why did I go to mine!?  I swear Betsy; I saw eight multiple choice answers and the rest of the class saw four.”

She laughed and looked at me like I was a complete idiot for actually following through with a test after polishing an entire bottle of 99 Berries with only three other women.  Betsy was funny that way, she was always so sweet but seemed to have a foreskin outer layer of pure elite stature. In this case, she was smarter because she had skipped her midterm.  She reminded me of those Sour Patch kids.  She said some things that made me feel like she just sliced off my ponytail in my sleep, and then she would look at me with that Swedish porcelain face, and I would melt.

“Well, I have something for you.” She lifted the Target bag like it contained ten pounds of rabbit turds.

I wish it had.

“Please tell me it’s a hot pocket.  I could really use one right now.”

“Um. It could have been.” She gave me that Sour Patch look again. ‘How-could-you-possibly-turn-this-entire discussion-back-to-food-at-a-time-like-this’ her foreskin read.  Then she smiled; I softened.

Turns out, the bag contained a generous amount of someone else’s vomit. And my philosophy notes.

The grossest part for me was that I had mistaken it for a Hot Pocket Sideshots sandwich.

Betsy informed me she had returned to the basketball house that morning to retrieve her Spanish translator.  She had located my philosophy notes and wanted to make sure I didn’t need them.  Well, the gesture had been sweet but I couldn’t quite figure out why she didn’t throw them away, as opposed to showing up at my front door like a Girl Scout with a box of Peanut Butter Patties.

When Betsy left, I had to seriously take a moment to reassess my life.  I was like a science experiment gone completely wrong.  I needed to re-hypothesize. What better place to do that besides a treadmill?  So I mounted my trusty treadmill steed and started walking at level three.  I did not believe I could have physically handled a higher task and I didn’t care if people were waiting for a treadmill. They needed to leave me in my own peace and personal assessment; if they knew what was good for them. Like Jeremiah once said, I checked the clock and it was ‘my time.’

So I strolled along and made a generous deal with myself.  I had not been so disappointed with who I was as a person since I didn’t test out of first level Spanish.  I understand for anyone else looking in, my little blunder was not such a big deal.  So, I went out as a freshman in college and drank some booze with some girlfriends, had an innocent make out field day with a guy I’ve seen once or twice, and took a test completely un-prepared.  Whatever, it happens to everybody.  And I was a freshman. A freshman!  Freshman are idiots!

But the Philosophy notes were what bothered me.  They, covered in a stranger’s vomit, really gave me that upsetting edge.  It was kind of like potty training a dog.  They pee outside; good dog.  They pee inside the house on your new upholstered chesterfield; bad dog and now it’s time to rub your nose in your own urine.  I know the puke was not mine, but being presented with my hard work lathered in someone else’s regurgitated insides, made me feel like I was being shoved into my own warm pee.

I negotiated my options.  I could either regain my inner reputation with myself by trying to be more responsible and ruling drinking on only weekends and risk making the same mistake, or I could bag drinking for the remainder of an entire semester.  That was a long time, since finals week counted for a semester in itself.  I felt confident in the notion I could last that long without drinking.  I didn’t understand where that second ultimatum came from-but the green light said ‘go’ and it seemed mature enough to me.  For once in my life; I craved maturity and sobriety.

I jumped off the treadmill with a brand new perspective and lots of angry people who had to watch me go on a treadmill joy ride for thirty minutes at program three.  Deep down inside, I flicked them off and walked out of the work out venue, ready to be sober.  If I could, I would have fist pumped Lindsay Lohan.

It’s easy to think “oh, Brittany will never go through with this…a freshman in college…her last semester…no way.”  But yes, yes way.  I went through with it.   I didn’t drink even a sample my entire second and final semester of my freshman year.  I didn’t even go up and smell the open neck of a Karkov open bottle, in fear inhaling vodka vapors would break my alcohol fast.  I was extremely dedicated to my sober craft.  I debated taking up a very sober hobby, like knitting or learning chess.  I immediately ruled those out when I decided when I started drinking again, I would no longer be able to participate in either of those activities.  Thus, wasting my time.

Constantly being sober eventually became very entertaining.  I remember thinking it was going to be extremely difficult, especially surrounded by a ton of drunks my age.  But after politely passing every night my friends went out and drank, my drink diet worked flawlessly. I heard so many obnoxious conversations I would have never bothered to remember. I saw many drunken hook ups unfold before my own eyes.  I even made a few Facebook friends I remembered to request along the way.  And best of all, I got a lot of sleep.  When I drank, I usually averaged about four-five hours a night of quality sleep.  When I didn’t drink, I slept like a lemur.

I felt so inspired by my motivation as a sober college student, I wanted my own Mormon commercial. Except replaced with my own slogan.  “I live in a dorm, with my BFF.  I go to 8 A.M. class and really love baseball.  My cat’s name is Cookie and I love charity. I’m a sober college student.”

My friends were so annoyed with my soberness (except for the Designated Driving part), that they threw a big party in my honor on our last day of finals.  They bought me a big bottle of Svedka, and made a mixed creation in a Nalgene to accompany me while we sun bathed on Dowling Beach (i.e our version of the-part-of-the-quad-where-sluts-tan-and-boys-play-Frisbee).

I was so tentative with my first sip of booze, I felt like Alice when she had to sip the liquid so she could shrink to the size of a thimble, and climb through a door into Wonderland.  None of that happened, of course, but I did wake up the worst hang over of my life the next day, even since turning twenty-three and not being able to enjoy two Blue Moons without waking up with cotton mouth the next morning.

I hadn’t even drunk that much the night before, but day drinking always got to me.  It’s physically impossible for me to enjoy any kind of drink during the day without feeling the effects for a week there after.  I swear it is because the booze bakes under the sun in my stomach like a batch of hangover cookies.  In fact, I despised day drinking.  Drinking in broad daylight is almost worse than the nightmare I had the other night about being pregnant with Levi Johnston’s love child.  I think I’m actually physically incapable of getting properly intoxicated during hours of the day children are going to daycare and being dragged around on leashes by their anal retentive parents. I’m not about to blame this on the children but my body puts up a barrier from all trades produced by the Sir Robert Burnett Company.   I’m beginning to think maybe it’s the way the sun is angled towards my body.  In true sun rising fashion, the sun burns from the east.  Somehow I know this throws my equilibrium off, thus the ability to properly focus on the plan at hand. I’m not a scientist people, but a girl can hypothesize!  However, I have done some casual social drinking research in my lifetime and if something is throwing me off in my ability to do so, I’m blaming it on the planet. Or Bristol Palin.  Mid-afternoon, the sun is so high you can barely see your own shadow.  Is that the environment I wanted to put myself in when I heavily consuming alcohol from various items like paint shooters, tubes, and body parts?  I don’t think so. Where are the dark corners in the brisk afternoon to hide my keen attempt to out dance Usher?? I cannot and will not survive embarrassment like that.  After having my equilibrium thrown off by the sun’s position and not even knowing I exist by shadow recognition?  To top it off, oopsies I just made out with a body double for guy locked in the basement in The Goonies.  What would my mother say???  More importantly, what would Justin Bieber’s mother say?  Besides, days are for extended catnaps and sleeping in.  I like to wake up in the morning, rub the crust from my eyelids, scratch my ass like a real pile of shit and spend another hour or two enjoying the view via eyelids thankyouverymuch.

I stood in the community shower for at least two hours that morning.  I let the hottest water pelt my back like an army of needles and sat on the little bench inside the stall, crying.  If I ever say I have a high tolerance for pain and it bothers someone, all they need to do is remind me of that very moment.  I will surrender and take it back.  I would have rather completed eighty hours of community service with Chris Brown than ever deal with that kind of pain again. Sober was the longest span of time since my senior year of high school where I went without drinking.  For those four months, I have not seen clearer, felt more invigorated, and craved more attention in my entire life.  Seriously, I wanted a medal or something.  I still do.

By momentarily quitting drinking, I discovered what life was meant to be, before alcohol.  I discovered I was not a quantity person, I was all about quality.  The less fabulous booze is always better than more terrible booze.  I discovered simplicity is truly key.  I discovered I wasn’t a big party girl.  Although I liked to have a good time once in every good while, I could finally define myself as an overly laid back person that would rather take after Valerie on a Wednesday night, as long as I never had to watch a single episode of One Tree Hill. 

I did not however, discover I loved that show.

     I share my imperfections and vulnerabilities with other people.  It makes me feel comfortable with myself and at ease with others.  I wasted a lot of time in my twenties worrying what other people thought about me, worrying who I was offending, who I was influencing.  I was tired of wasting that time.  I was tired of utilizing time one twiddling my thumbs and hoping everyone thought I was the bees knees, when I could have been filing my inner eyelids – or removing my freckles with nail polish remover.  That impossible quest towards perfection in my youth was not for me.  It was difficult, tiring, and not worth the time or money.  That’s why 99 Berries was perfect.  It was cheap.  And it lasted one night.

If I were given the choice to live my life where I found deep, raw happiness, I would do that above all alternatives even if it meant living like a teenage Disney actress for a night or two, or experimenting with my bang cutting ability.

Or, drinking 99 Berries.

I do however, allow my imperfections to teach me valid lessons and in spirit of letting my experiences teach me something, here is this: if the alcohol is above 20% booze content, leave it on the shelf and seek out your Malibu.  Like Aristotle once wisely noted; “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies,” and one of those should not be the contents of a 99 Berries bottle.

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University of Saint Thomas graduate. Minnesota-bred and happy to talk about the weather any time you’d like! Strongly believes any situation can be bettered by a slice of generously buttered toast or Phil Dunphy. Would get arrested to touch Justin Timberlake’s face. Always trying to be a better person by not wishing horrible karma on people driving slow in the fast lane. Hear more: @twitter @instagram


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