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Back in high school, Fireball was my go-to. It was the Robin to my Batman, the cocaine to my Dustin Johnson, the Tiger Blood to my Charlie Sheen. I was a novice drinker and the sweet cinnamon taste of Fireball allowed me to pound shots like I actually knew what I was doing. As I entered college and my drinking prowess developed, I began to branch out and try different types of liquor, still knowing that Fireball was my ace in the hole. As such, when my fraternity had our fifth and cuff cocktail, Fireball was obvious choice.
For me, this cocktail had more significance than just the run-of-the-mill chance to get a dry hand job on the third-story couch; it was my first cocktail as an initiated member, and being the cocky little shit that I was, I wanted to use this opportunity to prove that I could outdrink anyone in the fraternity. Armed with my trusty Fireball, I selected my date: a girl who was known for her reckless behavior and propensity to drink in excess. I had all the intangibles to really show out to everyone.
I had compiled what I believed to be the Dream Team, and after attaching myself to my date via the cheapest zip-ties Wal-Mart could buy, I was ready to drink myself into oblivion. The reigning champions were the house power couple, Jimmy and Tina. Each one-half of the most explosive drinking team since Wade Boggs and Wade Boggs. Knowing they would pose a threat, my date and I stood next to them, planning to use them to keep pace. It was a bold move, but we had the mental fortitude to make it happen. As the alarm to start sounded, I started with four shots to my date’s one. A ratio that might have been too steep, but I couldn’t turn back now.
This trend continued, with my date’s level of concern rising as exponentially as my BAC. I assured her that I was fine and I wasn’t that drunk. A lie I would go on to tell to this day. About 20 minutes in and the Fireball was all but finished, and the end was in sight with our team looking like we were going to pull off an upset for the ages. Once again, being the cocky little shit that I was, I started talking some shit to everyone who couldn’t understand my incoherent words.
It was then, however, that tragedy struck. I thought the Fireball was my friend, but it turned on me worse than a Chipotle burrito, coating my stomach with a thick layer of sugar and corroding my insides. Before I knew it, I felt a generous helping of my dinner coming back up and pushed my date out of the way just in time before I projectile vomited all over her shoulder, nearly hitting the team of Jimmy and Tina. To make matters worse, as I recovered from my puke and rally, Jimmy and Tina stared me right in the face, gave a smile that said, “Fuck you,” and finished their fifth, unfazed by the alcohol running through their system. Understandably, my date immediately uncuffed herself and left the party muttering something about how she hoped her shoes didn’t get ruined, and I began to drink from the keg to try to forget that the night had ever happened.
Looking back on it, what hurts the most that night wasn’t that I lost the fifth and cuff, or that within 20 minutes I was too belligerent for the girl who prided herself on being the “fun one” in her sorority. What hurt the most was that I was betrayed by someone who used to be my companion. Fireball, you let me down that day, and I will not…no… I can not go back to the way things were..