It really was the beginning of all my troubles. My parents certainly didn’t realize that they were teaching me how to be a drunk. My wife and I talk about our parent’s generation, we don’t blame them for our actions but it was definitely a different day and age.
We often talk about how we were molded into our parent’s activities. If they wanted to hang out at the bar, we got to hang out with them. If they wanted to go bowling, we went bowling with them. If we wanted to do something, it was usually answered by; we’ll see if we have the time or the money to do that.
Quite the opposite occurs today. We as parents are molded to our children’s activities. At least that is how my wife and I have chosen to raise our children. I am involved in a lot of youth sporting activities as well and it’s my opinion that it’s the status quo.
Back to my youth, you’ll notice in the picture included in today’s entry you’ll see me on the left with my friend Steve. We were about 10 or 11 at the time and we were sitting at my parents bar in our basement with my grandma and my little sister and we were pretending to be drinking. It was the environment I grew up in, alcohol and cigarettes were the norm so what’s a kid to do?
Through the week I was hanging out where my parents worked watching everybody drink. On the weekends I couldn’t start riding my dirt bike until I helped my dad unload his beer out of the truck at camp and even when we were at home and we weren’t at the bar there was drinking going on, I thought it was what you did.
Hence I still remember the first time I got drunk. Not my first drink but the first time I really got lit up. I had often as a kid gone hunting with my dad when he and his buddies would think it was cool if they would give a young boy a beer at night, telling hunting stories and learning how to be a man. Again, it was just natural instinct. After all we do want our parents teach us to do, right?
We had just moved to a new neighborhood and I was 13 or 14 and I had just met a couple of the older kids that lived up the street. It was a Saturday night and they were talking about how they could get some booze to party for the weekend. Of course I wanted to fit in and I just happened to know where there was a whole lot of booze, hard liquor as a matter of fact. My dad kept the home bar stocked because you never knew who was going to drop by.
So that night I filled two of my mom’s Tupperware containers with hard whiskey and I met up with the new gang. We were sitting in an old abandoned car by the pines that we hung out at and I was determined I was going to show my “new friends” that I knew how to party.
I downed most of that whiskey myself that night but would pay for it dearly. Matter of fact it’s probably one of the first times in a long string of incidences that God stepped in to save my sorry butt.
I got so drunk that night I could barely walk, I slid down a tree and rock strewn hill that had to be 50 feet tall and laid there at the bottom until my new friends could get to me. They then had to carry/drag my dead weight back up the hill and they put me in the neighbor’s abandoned chicken coupe for me to sleep it off because they didn’t know what else to do with me. I got very sick that night and the next day felt like I had been beaten with baseball bats. I didn’t remember much but thankfully I had my new friends to fill me in on all the details.
It was just the beginning of many years of pain, hurtfulness, legal issues and close calls.
Who knew little Jimmy would grow up to be a professional drunk and an absolute menace because of it?