||There have only been two occasions when I've imbibed that vile fire water you celebrate so innocently; oddly enough, both evenings were truly extraordinary but the jury's still out as to whether or not the resulting experiences were good or bad... I've not touched it since, regardless.
The first was an evening in 1987. I was dating this guy who I still believe to this day is a bona fide sociopath of the Ted Bundy variety; his ability to simply mesmerize women of any age (toddlers to grannies) was amazing to behold and just plain dangerous. He was a stockbroker by day and a hardcore punk of the first water by night; the day job was just an act and he was better at playing the "chameleon game" than anyone I've known before or since. I knew then that it was a situation where I was playing with fire, but I hardly regret what I learned from him during our fling. Anyway, we'd gone to see Barfly earlier that evening. After the movie, we decided it was absolutely right and necessary to go to Ernie Steele's (the only real blue collar bar left in the far-too-gentrified Yuppieville area of town where the theater was located) and poison ourselves with Tequila screwdrivers. Several hours later when the bar closed, we somehow managed to make it across town to my apartment although we were both severely damaged at that point (the world just wouldn't stop spinning, you know?). Shortly after our arrival at this welcomed sanctuary, my phone rang. Perplexed as to who would be calling me in the middle of the night, I answered and learned that a friend of mine had decided spontaneously a few days prior to quit taking her anti-psychotic medications. She'd not slept a wink in three days' time and was ranting, extremely frightened and paranoid. I told her to call a cab and come on over to my place for the night, instructing her to tell the driver that I would pay the fare upon her arrival. Luckily, my recently post-op transsexual roomie was away for the weekend with an unsuspecting paramour and I was somehow able to collect her, pay the nice-but-nervous cabbie and get her to wound down enough to sleep in the roomie's bedroom. I then staggered into my own room and passed out next to my snoring sociopath-of-a-boyfriend and slept it off , awaking the next morning without any detectable consequence, able to care for my guests cheerfully and unerringly. I take the fact that we all survived the night as proof that God protects fools and small children; it's the only thing that makes sense to me.
The second incident occurred in 1989. I ran into a couple of long-time friendly acquaintances (Tom and Jim) and we decided to stake out a nearby deserted pier and get smashed on a concoction christened "Spung" (equal parts tequila, espresso and Squirt guzzled from a canteen). I remember that the first few swallows made me shudder violently, but soon thereafter I was able to take a swig without batting an eyelash and was quite pleased with myself for demonstrating my dynamic adaptive capability (powerful stuff, that Spung). We talked for hours, sitting in the dark, water surrounding us. At some point the conversation turned to poetry and I recited something I'd written about six years earlier. Jim looked at me, startled, and said "I remember when that was on the cover of the Arts section of the University's newspaper, on Valentine's Day years ago." Shining with a look of admiration I'll not likely ever forget, he stage-whispered "You wrote that?" in a tone of voice that could only be described as reverent. It was then that I lost it completely and somehow managed to defy gravity... See, I'd worked my butt off writing dozens of articles for that rag for three years and here was someone who actually remembered and recognized the one and only toss-off poem I'd handed over to an editor that was short enough to fit into the only available space in the cover art she'd decided needed some text as a focal point for whatever reason - it was so inconsequential, really. I remember that I was sitting cross-legged near the edge of the pier and that I was laughing so hard at that point that I lost my balance, tipping over the edge of the pier like a friggin' Weeble (tm). I remember the sharpness of the cold water on my scalp, my face and my upper body; but I also remember a distinct physical sensation of being pushed out of the water as time stretched during those few seconds, back into an upright stance on the pier - it was unreal. Dripping like a wet cat, I looked at my partners in crime, their eyes wide with wonder. I realized that during the time I was inadvertently baptizing myself, neither of them had moved to pull me out - it simply wasn't something within their capability at the time. I looked over the side of the pier and noticed that the distance from the surface I was seated on to the water was at least a foot and a half; there was no logical explanation for the fact that I'd not tumbled in completely. Giggling like toy mice, we stumbled back to the local coffee shop hang-out and I immediately ran into my brother-buddy Jeff, who has always had the uncanny knack for materializing whenever I was in desperate need of a ride home; it was the first time we'd crossed paths in months. The last thing I remember about that night was sitting in a room lit only by a monitor, animated and cackling gleefully as I wrote several pages of profound nonsense clad only in a tank top and my undies - that's how the then live-in-significant-other-du-jour found me when he arrived home a few hours later. The next day he commented that, for him, it was a geek's dream come true, a sight to behold, finding me like that. Whatever.
I am braver than most, often just plain fearless, and tough as hell when it counts (and even sometimes when it doesn't, truth be known). But even if you don't believe a word of these tales, know this to be the absolute truth: Tequila terrifies me to this day and I honestly believe that it should be reclassified as a controlled substance not to be trifled with. Don't say you haven't been warned and know with certainty that I'll be sure to say "I told you so" if you imbibe and mayhem results.