big in Japan, April 2006 | gabriel ricard

Big in Japan, April 2006

Since I was making a conscious effort to stop turning water into four ounces of hydration against a liter of moderately-priced vodka between 2005 and the bloody, confusing end of 2007, I was as sober in New Jersey as anyone who pretends social drinking isn’t a huge waste of time could ever hope to be. I wasn’t Big in Japan, but I was Tolerated in Cherry Hill, which was more than anyone who struggles with their inside voice deserves. And no one knew that song anyway, so I was just some idiot who couldn’t stop muttering about its stirring comedy, or singing selected lyrics when the middle-aged Nazi in the back of the ambulance asked me if I had been drinking that day. The only other thing that really occurred to me to say was to continue insisting that they had the wrong person. Which was true, and that poor guy definitely died in a bathtub that wasn’t even his, but I guess I looked especially tired. Eyes that closed so hard sometimes, they would scrape a little against my front teeth. Which was also basically why I just kept talking about my moves and cheese to choirs of Freddy Kruegers and legions of Trekkers from a remarkable community theater hell in the cell that just happened to be occurring that same weekend. Shortly before an unrelated parade of Sunday evening sports fans caused the ambulance to rise and then fall into a water tower of all things, the driver ran one hand through a lengthy, pointless beard, with the other hand trying to pull the steering wheel to get at some of the infected mosquito bites on his circus tent back, and told me that I might have a drinking problem. Ridiculous, I responded, shortly before swimming out through the back doors. Obviously, I was sober enough to know how to not drown under hilarious circumstances. And sober enough to know I could absolutely take at least one more drink, if things were going to continue to be more than I could stand.

Photo by u90b1 u97ec on

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