One Thanksgiving Eve many, many years ago, I didn’t drink. I’m not sure why, as spending a night not drinking was very rare for me back then—especially on Thanksgiving Eve.
I have an inkling that it was another one of those days that I was trying to convince myself and everyone else that I was growing out of my drunken slut phase—even though I so totally wasn’t. I just had a habit of playing saint the day after a particularly slutty experience when I was feeling bad about myself.
I’d probably just that morning woken up in some random gentleman caller’s bed and not been able to find my underwear and then slunk(en?) off to my own apartment and hopped into the shower to wash away as much of the sin as possible before joining my family for the night-before-Thanksgiving festivities.
Sometimes a run-on sentence is the only way to get your point across, my peeps.
Ironically, it was this particular non-drinking Thanksgiving that I happened to be puking all day. Obviously, the natural assumption when you’re dealing with a drunken slut of a sister/daughter who happens to be puking all day is that the drunken slut of a sister/daughter had, well, gotten drunk the night before.
And possibly slutted out, but that’s not the point of the story. The point is that everyone in my family thought I was puking on Thanksgiving because I had drunk too much the night before. (And yes, that totally is proper grammar…see, you learn useful things from this blog, too!)
But I hadn’t.
If you’ll recall, every single member of said family—brothers-in-law included—is an asshole. So it didn’t surprise me when each one of them—every last fcking one of them—took a turn stopping by the door frame of the room in which they had quarantined me, trash can placed next to the bed (oh, what mercy you show, dear family), for the sole purpose of making fun of me by reminding me what a drunk I was.
First was my brother-in-law Justin, who was guzzling a Natural Light and rubbing his gut. “HA HA, Shay…what happened…d’ya DRINK TOO MANY last night?”
“No, dick,” I responded, feeling a surge of throw-up making its way up my throat and trying with all my might to turn my wretched face toward him so that he’d at least get a splatter or two of regurgitated cheesy rice on his shirt, “I keep saying I didn’t even—"
I puked. A really chunky consistency, and not one single drop landed on that dickwad’s shirt, dammit.
Next was my dad.
“Ah,” he started, leaning against the door frame as he swished his highball around sagely. “Must be all that drinking you did last night making you sick, huh, Shay?”
“How many times do I have to say it? I didn’t even—"
Then it was my little sister’s turn. “Did you mix drinks?” she asked, pretending to be all concerned when really, she was just excited because she had turned out to be quite the drunken whore herself and for today, by the luck of the draw, all negative attention was on me instead of her. “You know, beer before liquor, or however that saying goes…?”
“I’m a beast,” I said, leaning my head over the bed because I could feel something coming up again. “Even if I had been drinking, that pansy-ass saying doesn’t apply to me—"
This time, the retches were so bad that I swear my heart began to spasm and I was afraid I was going to choke on my own bile.
“Obviously,” my sis said, rolling her eyes as she covered her wineglass and turned to walk down the hall, far away from my prison, before I’d even stopped puking.
The last person to stop by was the bigger asshole of my two asshole brothers, whose presence was announced at least a minute before he entered each room by the clinking of the ice cubes in his Jack and Coke glass. He actually sat at the foot of the bed and began explaining the rules of a new drinking game he’d learned that year while he was away at college. I found it so damned sweet that he was hoping I’d get well enough to play with them that year…
“Bro,” I said, interrupting him as I started to grab my puke pail once again, “I can’t play. I’m sick.”
Here, he offered me his hand, and I was amazed by his sweetness. I couldn’t believe that he would risk getting sick by touching me just to offer me a bit of comfort. It hurt to move, but I stretched out the hand that wasn’t holding the puke bucket so that I could take his.
He slapped it away and watched as the jostle caused me to barf once again.
And that’s when he seized the opportunity to grab the camera he’d hidden in his back pocket and snap a picture of me, mid-ralph.
WHAT A DICK.
We still have that picture; it has become a family favorite. You think I’m joking?
My mom was the only one who truly cared. She stayed in that nasty, bile-scented room, rubbing gentle circles on my back as, between pukes, I caught her up on my gossip. My life was really interesting back then; it was pre-hubs and pre-kids, when I spent my evenings doing more than eating Reese’s before falling asleep at 9 (okay, 8:30) PM.
The latest story was about an ex-boyfriend whom I’d run into as I was leaving a bar with friends a couple of weeks back. He had seen me, started crying, and then walked to his car, screaming to the entire exiting bar crowd about what a whore I was.
I don’t even remember cheating on that particular boyfriend, but I’d say given my track record that it was completely possible.
My friends couldn’t get enough of the scene he’d been making, but dammit if it was before the dawn of video phones and they didn’t capture it on film. Otherwise I’d show it to you.
As I told my mom the story, she murmured something soothing that I didn’t quite catch, but that I assumed had to be something to do with her plans to march on the Capitol and demand stricter anti-stalking laws to protect people like her sweet, slutty daughter.
When I asked her to repeat what she’d actually said, she gazed lovingly at my pale, sticky face as she continued to pet my matted hair. “Well, Shay,” she said, “he’s kind of got a point.”
The next day, in a stunning twist that can only be described as miraculous and proof that God truly does answer prayers, every single asshole in my family caught whatever virus The Rock had been cooking, while I completely and totally recovered.
The first person to puke was my Natural Light-guzzling brother-in-law. I hopped into my car as soon as I heard and danced to his and my sister’s door, donning one of those white surgical masks—because it added just that extra touch of asshole.
“It’s probably all that beer you drank. But don’t worry,” I said as I kicked his puke pail just out of his reach before turning to walk out of the room. “It should only last about 24 hours.”
It was the only redeeming moment of that Thanksgiving.
It’s a moment that I include every single year in the thankful prayer that my family still says, hands joined in a circle around the table as we take turns telling each other what we’re thankful for: “I’m thankful for that year all of you assclowns got that virus from me. Remember that, guys? That time you said I was sick because I drank but it wasn’t true? Remember that?”
I’ve said it so many times that even the kids in our family—my own kids, my sisters’ kids, my brother’s kids…all of the ones who were born years after this happened—remember it.
It’s almost become as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as the turkey, the canned cranberries, or my mom bringing another new boyfriend to dinner at Dad’s and then eyeing Dad across the table to see if he’ll FINALLY get jealous after 22 divorced years of the same thing.
And for that, I’m thankful. J
It’d be great if you joined me next week when I post a day early on Thanksgiving Day. It’s one of my favorite holidays, but dammit if I still couldn’t seem to keep the asshole-ish quality of my writing out of my thankful list. Ah, well. It made for a fun time writing the post.
Hope to see you then!