By Tim Hurley
"You fucked up." Those are the words my father used on the morning of January 1, 2004, that succinctly summed up my worst New Year's Eve ever. I was on Christmas vacation during my freshman year in college, it was New Year's Eve, and I wanted to party. Early in the night I met up with four buddies, who each assured me that they knew of some parties that would do no less than blow my mind. As it turned out, however, these "parties" were actually just a few friends drinking in one of their parents' basements. This was hardly fitting to our vision of an epic new year, so we decided to throw our own party.
We immediately made a liquor-store run and bought a new year's worth of rum, vodka and Keystone Lightdelicious. Now the only thing stopping our debauchery was finding a place to throw down. I knew that my father was taking his lady friend to dinner, and estimated (poorly) that there was a good chance they would end up back at her place for the night and not his. Problem solved, I thought, let's do this. At this point it was about 9 p.m., and we all started making phone calls to invite people to a proper New Year's Eve party that we were kicking off at my father's house while he was at dinner.
Now, I don't like those guys who somehow keep track of the drinks they consume for later bragging rights, so I will spare the details of what I drank and in what amounts. All I will say is that Captain Morgan and I set sail on a journey that really brought down the resale value of my liver.
The first hour or so, my New Year's Eve party was everything I hoped for. People were arriving, I was at a euphoric level of drunkenness and "Baba O'Riley" was on the box. Then the rum made its presence known. I knew I was in for it, so I went out on the front porch to save myself some cleaning up the next day. I then experienced something for which I have since coined the term "uncontrollable vomiting." Through concentration and prayer, I'm usually able to stave off hurling to a certain extent, but that night God didn't believe any of my false promises. I threw up everywhere, mostly on myself because I was hunched over on the front steps, but no one spot was spared. When party guests found out that the host was on the porch steeped in his own vomit, magically they all became experts on how to sober me up. Here are a couple of cures they thought would get me back to partying.
Cure number one: "He needs cookies and Pepsi." Good in theory, but due to my uncontrolled vomiting, the sugar cookies and soda did not stay down for long. Cure number two: "Buckets of cold water should sober him right up." In the already freezing temperature, guests formed a sort of old-timey fire line, filling pots with water in the kitchen, then handing them out to the porch, where the water was dumped on me. It soon became obvious that my condition was not improving; in fact, it had worsened, because now I was soaked with freezing cold water plus my own vomit. To cap it all off, my drunken friend Chris claimed that I didn't have a pulse, so I really started freaking out and demanding medical attention. It slipped my mind that if, in fact, I did not have a pulse, I probably would not be able to run around flailing my arms and yelling for an ambulance. My bad.
Instead of an ambulance, someone called Whitney, who was sober and willing to drive me to a hospital. When Whitney pulled up, a few drunkards had a hell of a time carrying me out and stuffing me into her 4Runner, because I was still freaking out about not having a pulse. The bright dome light was on in the 4Runner, which made me think that I was in an ambulance and thus snatched away from the cold grip of death. This enticed a feeling of euphoria and salvation so powerful that I threw up one last time, all over the 4Runner. The final purging sobered me up enough that I didn't need a hospital, I just needed my bed.
I went to bed, but the party was by no means over. The new year hadn't started yet, so guests raged on. Even though there was no one left to throw buckets of water on, they found other means to amuse themselves. One person thought it very entertaining to stick all of the steak knives into the wall, while another person had a great time rummaging through my father's vintage record collection. The party was at a point of chaos while I was still fighting off death. At this point, my dad returned home after dinner and dancing with his girlfriend. When he approached the house, one of my friends didn't let him in because he thought my dad was just some guy looking to party. Daddy wasn't happy, to say the least. Everyone was kicked out, and even my dad had to leave because he was so irate.