Beer Goggles: High School

One night, circa 2004, a 12 year old me was walking toward the kitchen of my mother’s house, located in the rear. As I approached the corner of the main house, I found my elder brother with a pair of his friends. They had a bottle of Gran Matador on the ground. He called me closer and instructed me to drink from this small glass he was holding then follow it up with a swig of juice to kill the taste.

I tried it.

PLECH! Horrible; tasted like crap.

What the hell did I just drink? After nearly gagging on what went through my esophagus, I stared at the 1-liter bottle and thought, “They’re drinking THAT MUCH of this?!” I thought my brother was nuts. I was completely oblivious for a 12 year old.

 

That was my first taste of alcohol. Sure as hell, it wasn’t the last. As I went through the later years of high school, drinking became mainstream. Drinking was ‘cool’. Going on drunken frenzies was ‘awesome’. Making out with the opposite sex because of the explosion of teenage hormones was subject to physical judgement. Being the object of ridicule due to whatever you did during your alcohol blackouts was acceptable enough. It became so prevalent that during our graduation practice — in one of our teacher’s rage throes at the anarchy and lack of discipline the entire graduating class was displaying — she specifically pointed our section for a special mention.

“Ano?! Tutulad na lang kayo sa L.K. Santos?! Na kapag sinabing iinom, iinom lahat?!”

How the school faculty found out, we have no idea. None of us crossed the law by going to school drunk. We’ve never left school earlier than our dismissal just to drink — although some of us absented themselves for one whole day to drink right after training for basketball. But none of us ever cut classes for alcohol. We had our jolly good times after school hours or after school programs. The part where all of us in our section drink was partly true, though. I had maybe 2 or 3 classmates who didn’t drink, but there were 40 of us in IV-L.K. Santos.

 

It was October that year when Erwin, the class clown and master alcoholic, celebrated his birthday at his house. He invited not only his circle of friends — who spanned out across the whole year level — but the entire section. He gets along with people without even trying so almost all of us who knew how to drink (30 out of 40 of us) bit the bait. I had a few years’ experience in this kind of stuff already so while the energy of the party escalated, I remained nailed to my seat — with no backrest, at that. I was out to prove my endurance.

Our section arrived first, so we had the first box of Generoso — which was the trend at the time. We were seated outside while some of my classmates drank inside. The ones inside got wild soon — some locking themselves up in the bathroom, walking in on another guy while he was peeing, crying, women lying down on another man’s lap and random screaming. While I remained glued to my chair, my companions at the table changed several times. I pointed, laughed, and talked, but never rose up.

By the time Erwin’s friends came around, our section was going wild inside the house, save for a few of us outside. When night time arrived, all I could remember was doing a sideways pelvic thrust dance while my friends were cheering me on. Blank. Next thing I know, I’m vomiting on the plants nearby. It turns out I was really in love with the stool I had been sitting on the whole afternoon. Before I regained consciousness and threw up, I was seen hugging my beloved stool. My friends carried me home. There was a lot to talk about at school the next day.

Erwin’s house became the usual place. Classmates’ birthdays were celebrated there. Any reason we could find to drink resulted in us crashing his crib; with his insistence. Post-field trip fatigue was also celebrated there. At that time, two of our friends Chu and Froi, had disputes over a girl — another classmate of ours. That dispute was resolved by each of us receiving one solid punch from Froi, just to get the thing over with. They were close friends, and we didn’t want to let some foolish little thing like a girl neither of them really got for themselves tear their bond apart. I wasn’t punched though; I shed tears over the drama (I was touched) and pretended to be asleep. Froilan was polite enough to skip over me.

Emotions poured fourth from thy soul in Erwin’s house. The property wall became a punching bag. We got our legs raped regularly by their dachshund Lassy. Many more manly tears were shed because of high school romance — now that I think about it, that part’s hilarious. One time, Jacob fell asleep on the table; only to wake up, grab the pitcher with a mix of Gilbey’s Gin and Lime, and drink the pitcher down. Then he went back to sleep, threw up a few minutes later.

With all the times we kicked up a racket in that place, Erwin’s mother never seemed to really mind. I’m guessing she’s gotten used to her son’s antics and just chooses to ignore them. She’s not too friendly, but we were polite enough to elicit a greeting. One time, Erwin’s uncle paid a drunk visit and started threatening us for the noise we were allegedly making. Erwin stood up for us and answered back. His mother stepped in to break them up. His uncle was restrained from a distance, screaming all sorts of profanities. Erwin, who didn’t need restraining, pulled his pants down and mooned his uncle. Hilarity ensued; we saw it, his mother saw it, even the neighbors saw it. His uncle saw it. He didn’t find it funny.

Another place we frequented was Hacienda Dugeno — the house of Froi. The happenings here were less emotional and while they weren’t as frequent as at Erwin’s, it was just as wild combined.

During his 18th birthday, he had his older sister sponsor Sober Club’s mobile bar, held at the back of their house. As with most bars, they had a gimmick where there would be “levels” of shots, with each level equating to wilder concoctions of liquor. Bragging rights were reserved for those who got to higher levels. This is where I had my first encounter with the Blowjob; the flaming shot, not the sexual act.

I got to level 6 before the betrayal of my liver and going to sleep. We had been sampling their entire arsenal along with the Level Challenge. JP got to level 7, made out with one of Froi’s sister’s friends and finished at level 9. Our classmate Taj got to level 9 as well, even though we were whacking him while he was drinking. So hardcore.

In an attempt to catch up with his cohorts King and Rod, one of our buddies (let’s call him Mark) drank levels 1 to 6 consecutively. Instead of him catching up, it was the alcohol that gave chase and he went blank. While I was laying on the carpet watching my classmates play with Froi’s PS3,  Mark came into the living room without a hint of recognition of anybody. He fell splat on the carpet beside me. I heard him start to gag, then he dashed for the door.

We found him the next morning laid out like bacon on the hood of the FroiMobile — their Honda City. He had been moaning his girlfriend’s name the whole night with his pants down. Not too scandalous, he had boxers on. However, we found this wet pile of shit (literally) on the stairs leading to the unused kitchen door. Disgusting stuff. Right next to it were his pants. Despite the glaring evidence, he refuses to take the blame for the ‘crime’ up to this day.

I also recall being woken up that night by my classmate Jasper, saying our friend King was about to get into a fight. I brushed it off and went to sleep. I then heard from them that Rodrigo had pulled out a fork from Froilan’s kitchen to use as a weapon. No fork stabbing happened that night however; the family patriarch stepped in.

 

Ahhh, high school. I have very few stories of my own alcohol-driven conquests, mostly because I no longer drink till I drop. I make it until the peak of my consciousness then leave it at that, enjoy the haze. Another reason is I easily fall asleep. I’ve fallen asleep on the gutter, on the table, on the carpet, on the chair; you name it. Just not in the middle of the street. Unlike my older brother, i haven’t halted a taxi with me in it yet just to throw up on the side.

I have more stories of my comrades, though. I enjoy watching the effects of alcohol on them. It’s no fun when it’s happening to you. But it sure as hell is hilarious when it’s happening to someone else.

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