In Boozo Veritas #6 by Teege Braune
Staggering Down the Halls of Matriculation
The dichotomies between my own straight-laced lifestyle and juvenile obsession with the Beat Generation was not lost on me when I was a young man. Ever eager to give the middle finger to conformity, I wore colorful scarves to high school and read books during mandatory pep-rallies. Yet I knew that these surface transgressions served only to isolate myself from my classmates and peers. Authority figures, on the other hand, I feared and obeyed. Though I wrote and journaled more compulsively and with greater discipline as a teenager than I ever have since, I had little else in common with my icons Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs. I did my homework and went to my church’s youth group instead of engaging in the activities I romanticized like hitchhiking, drinking, using drugs, and having sex. While I may have taken great pride in being thought of as weird, I hated myself for being thought of as a goody-two-shoes.
College was to be a liberating experience. Things I planned to do and had no doubt I would accomplish in my first semester included losing my virginity, being initiated into a circle of intellectual and artistically minded bohemians, experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs, completing a memoir, and participating in marathon drinking binges, but as my fast approaching final exams reared their ugly heads, I had accomplished only the last of my ambitious list. Also, I had become addicted to cigarettes, something I had never really intended to do, but accepted because it was one more thing I now had in common with guys like Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson.
I managed to smoke pot for the first time in a parking lot behind my dorm, but as it turned out, LSD was not being passed around like candy, and though I was writing as much as I ever had, my schoolwork gave me little time for my own memoir. I was as awkward with girls as I had been in high school. I had a few friends, some of whom even enjoyed cerebral repartee, but even my fellow English majors, many of whom wanted to go into publishing or law school, didn’t necessarily share my love of the underground and avant-garde. The majority of my acquaintances and dorm mates were focused more on Greek life, the labels of clothes, and popular culture. The one thing I had in common with these people was that I liked to get drunk.
I started drinking because I truly believed it was a requirement of any serious writer. I had no illusions that my peers drank for vastly different reasons. Conversely, only after I was drunk could I forget that I didn’t have anything in common with the people around me and actually enjoy their company. Occasionally, my stupor would give way to a bravado that allowed me to drum up the courage to actually kiss an equally inebriated young woman. Alcohol bridged the gap between my desire to fit and sense of individuality. Mostly, I didn’t care if my fellow students and party-goers thought I was weird, as long as they didn’t think I was a goody-two-shoes.
One morning I awoke from a Sunday night bender on the floor of my dorm room with a dry, burning throat and throbbing headache. I opened the door to my mini-fridge and found, as if awaiting me, a tall, cold glass of orange juice. I drank it down in one avaricious gulp.
“Dude, careful. That’s probably a screw driver,” someone I didn’t know informed me.
“Good,” I said. “Maybe a little hair of the dog will help this fucking hangover.”
Having missed my first class, creative writing, I dressed quickly and ran to my second for which I was already late. I darted through the door just as my professor began her lecture on behavioral psychology, a subject that had seemed interesting to me before I had enrolled. Within the first quarter of the two hour class the vodka and orange juice filled my freakishly small bladder and the room began to spin in my invigorated intoxication. Interrupting my professor mid-sentence, leaving my books and bag behind me, I darted out of the classroom and into the hallway where I loudly heaved into the nearest garbage can. I don’t think anyone thought I was being particularly literary, but I have no doubt that my classmates considered me weird. However, I can safely say no one was calling me a goody-two-shoes.
Teege Braune is a writer of literary fiction, horror, essays, and poetry. Recently he has discovered the joys of drinking responsibly. He may or may not be a werewolf.