It occurred to me the other day that there are dim recesses of my past that have yet to get a humiliating public airing on this blog-style forum. Having posted something the other day about my years as a seller of children's shoes (that's not some sort of hideous euphemism, I really was a shoe salesman), it made me think that maybe I should unearth some more of these hidden gems (or nuggets of shite, depending on your point of view) which may well give you something more of an insight into the past of your humble Baldy narrator. Today's choice? The time I was hospitalised with alcohol poisoning.
Let us weave our way back, friends to a time in the past that was commonly referred to as "the mid-nineties". The year is 1995. Cast your minds back, gentle reader, to a bygone age when a new animated film called Toy Story was blazing a trail up the film charts with its revolutionary computer animation, a time when a fresh-faced new sitcom called Father Ted was beginning to its mark felt and that seminal track, Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers, was holding a steady position in the middle ground of the Top Ten. It was a transitional time for yours truly. School had finished but university was still a ways off (having decided to take a gap year in order to experience the working world and build up a bit of cash*). Hair was still very much in abundance atop the Fella's bonce what with the Great Shedding still being a few years away and centrally parted it was (see "you're just taking the piss now, aren't you?" in this post).
The job of shoe fitter was firmly underway (secured thanks to my mate Jacqui) and the standard rituals of working life were becoming commonplace i.e. we all liked going out after work and getting absolutely rat-arsed. Being a feckless youth of a mere eighteen years of age and already quite the boozehound, I had no real sense of the word moderation. So we decamped to the pub nearest to the staff entrance of Selfridges (the Henry Holland, usually to be found full of Selfridges workers) and I proceeded to tuck away something in the region of six pints of rather strong lager in a two hour period. Bad enough you may be thinking, but it didn't end there...
We moved on to a nearby bar and this is where my memory of events ceases. The rest was pieced together in the days following the event. In the bar, shots were the order of the day. A variety of tequilas punctuated by straight shots of Jack Daniels led to me dancing on the tables**. What a shame there was no music playing in the bar. I was in a bad way by this point but still moving under my own steam which was at least a potentially promising sign.
The night was over and we weaved our way to Bond Street station (I was by far the weaviest). All was fine until I reached the ticket barrier, took out my ticket and passed out face down. Fortunately for me, my fall was broken by my nose (which fractured at this point). As luck would have it, an off-duty passing paramedic came over (no, seriously, this is really what happened) and decided to call for an ambulance. There was some talk of having my stomach pumped but fortunately I manged to empty it all over myself in the ambulance.
As is traditional in these circumstances, the parents were summoned. Once they arrived, their worry and fears dissipated at the sight of their apocalyptically drunk son insisting it was "Manuary nineteen seventy...seventy...seventy...." and laughing idiotically while being given a tetanus injection in the arse (I didn't especially need one at that particular moment in time but the nurses needed some small measure of revenge for being forced to look after a pissed-up moron).
The next morning, I awoke to discover that my nose was around three times as wide as it had originally been, necessitating the bending of the glasses to actually fit them on (and to cause the least amount of pain while wearing them) and also that I was unable to move my neck. A brief return trip to the hospital saw me return with a newly-fitted neck-brace to counter the whiplash I'd suffered when I hit the deck the night before. Needless to say, this incident took some living down both personally and professionally (the hilarious cries of "What's that up there?" and "Oh look, down there" were consistently amusing).
So have I learned from this lesson? Have I become a more moderate or even abstinent drinker to show that I've learnt and grown from this experience? Have I bollocks. Anyone fancy a pint?
* A technique which I thoroughly recommend as it made me appreciate the wild excesses of university life that much more, as opposed to those of my friends who went straight from one academic environment to the next. I'd had a brief taste of the outside world and I wanted the partying uni life to last as long as it possibly could....
** This was back in the days before I realised that any kind of whiskey/bourbon made me unaccountably violent and I swore off them forever.