This was written 1.5 months ago. I plum forgot about it. I’m trying.
First night home – less than 12 hours in Jersey – and already I find myself acting as transportation for drunk freshmen. Or closer to an ambulance, really, as the kid I ferried eventually wound up in the hospital. He’s fine, now, despite what I imagine to be a pretty terrible hangover and possibly a new scar. Certainly not dead. My brother was actually worried about that one.
Detached older brother that I am, I was nowhere near Anker’s little soiree while this kid (let’s call him… Barry) was getting drunker and drunker. I didn’t know the circumstances surrounding his quick descent. Piecing together the story as I drove him home, though, it was easy to see just what he was about: rising college sophomore, recent (first) girlfriend, overprotective parents, high school image to shed. I knew Barry without knowing him, because he was more an archetype than a fully-fledged human-being.
“Just… just listen,” he kept telling Anker and me as we struggled to get his uncooperative ass in the car. He had nothing to say, of course – Barry was black-out drunk – but the question begs some scrutiny. Listen to what, buddy? To the sound of your body scraping the pavement when you jumped out of our car? To the feral cries you made when we tried to tear you from the back seat? To the telephone ringing at 3:30 AM, or the angry message from your parents that followed? There were loads of things to listen to. To each I respond “WTF?”
I guess every party has that one kid who goes overboard, who for whatever reason drinks too much and becomes a burden for everyone else. I can deal with drunk. What bothers me is the refusal to take responsibility that occasionally follows. This kid’s parents actually blamed me for what happened, claiming I was culpable for their son’s condition. Like I controlled his drinking; his behavior. Excuse me? At 19 years of age, Barry’s life is legally in his own hands. And after one year at college, he should know his tolerance. That he didn’t understand his body well enough to make even semi-smart decisions has nothing to do with me. So cry me a river, Mr. and Mrs. Barry. You listen to your son. I plan on raising chinchillas.