Monday, October 26th, 2009, 12:04 pm
I was in a good mood. My Nittany Lions had just dragged a squirming and squealing Wolverine squad behind the woodshed for a long-overdue stick beating and now I was at the bar with my girlfriend and her gang to watch the Penguins. I was sipping yet another beer and enjoying the evening when Dave came up with a bright idea. He ordered a shot of vodka and five shots of water. We each downed a tumbler of clear liquid to see who got good ‘ol H20 and who got hit with the hard stuff. I knocked back my shot and it was cool and crisp and decidedly non-alcoholic. It was Lindsay’s brother Jason making a face as he set his shot glass back on the bar. And there was much rejoicing.
So much so that we did it again. Six shots, but only one chamber loaded with live round. A less lethal version of Russian Roulette and once again I selected a glass, waited for the toast, and tilted my head. This time the stuff in my mouth was hot and cleared my sinuses and as I set the glass on the bar I gasped and said, “Yeah, that’s me”. And there was much rejoicing.
So we did it again. Seven shots this time, one vodka and the rest water. I had second choice and and I picked the shot furthest from me. One-two-three-DRINK…and again my eyes watered as a thimbleful of vodka went down my gullet. “Me again,” I said and everyone laughed. Especially Lindsay. I glared at her and she laughed harder and I took a long pull at my beer.
I should say that I’m not much of a hard-liquor drinker. I tend to drink fast regardless of the liquid before me and so I don’t always moderate my intake when I’m drinking high-octane stuff. A couple of times I’ve gone from witty bon vivant to sloppy staggering caricature in 45 minutes because I lack experience in dealing with booze in a mature manner. So when another round of shots came around I ran through a quick mental checklist to ensure that I still had both hands on the wheel. Did I feel like I was going to fall off the stool…no. Was I able to string words together in sentences my fellow man could comprehend? Yes. Did I want to physically assault some random stranger who was considerably smaller than me? Yes No. In fact I felt pretty good, totally in control. So I had no worries when the bartender brought yet another platter weighed down by seven shots. This time I had first choice, I looked them over with a careful eye, trying to determine which one was not like the others. This time I picked the shot closest to me. One, two, three…
“Oh god damn, GOD DAMN!” I said as I licked my lips and dropped the glass on the bar. And everyone laughed. Including Lindsay. Especially Lindsay. She was practically rolling around the floor. I took note of this.
The Penguins were laying an egg and watching New Jersey when they have a lead is like watching ice melt. Attention turned from the TV to the bar and, again, shots were delivered. Now I didn’t worry about which glass to choose or which draught of colorless liquid was from the tap or the bottle. I let everyone pick their shot first and trusted in the numbers. Choosing that first shot was a one-in-six chance. Just a roll of the dice. The second was a one-in-seven. As was the third. Of course each separate occurrence must be taken independently, the shots don’t care who drinks them, so once again I was facing a one-in-seven chance of picking the vodka. But that also meant I had a six-in-seven chance of choosing water. Those are pretty good odds. I lifted my glass to my lips with quiet confidence.
And a second later I was slamming it on the bar sputtering, “OK, yeah, that’s me again”. Lindsay was in hysterics for an unseemly amount of time as I tried to calculate what the odds are of losing/winning a 1-6, 1-7, 1-7, 1-7 quadfecta. “I think it’s one in 2,058,” I said. I pondered a bit and figured that’s like losing to a one-outer on the river. Two hands in a row. I think. I was a little bit intoxicated and math ain’t exactly my strong suit. I don’t know if I used up my reservoir of good or bad luck with that run…probably bad, considering how I felt yesterday when I woke up.
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