There's Significantly More Milk In This Story About Teenage Drinking Than You're Expecting
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
i wasn’t cool in high school. i’m sure that’s not surprising to any of you. i mean, i was okay? i had friends. people liked me. but i was, by no stretch of the imagination, “cool.” my mom was significantly cooler than i was, and i know that to be true because of all the times people asked if we could go to my house for the weekend so that they could hang out with my mom.
honestly, the fact that social anxiety is not one of my numerous neuroses is a small miracle.
JUST DAMNED AND DETERMINED 2 THINK I'M GREAT, I GUESS!!
anyway, i have the problem that all chronically uncool people have, which is that i can never seem to navigate myself into situations where being cool is an option. you know? like i never just “wind up” at a party or the cool kids table or in the Fun Group on school projects. that just never happens. guaranteed, in high school, if the whole group was splitting up into two cars, i would end up in the car with mostly parents.
i have made my peace with this. me and all ur moms are best friends. i’ve seen ur baby pictures, SHARON.
anyway, as a result of this, i didn’t go to a lot of parties in high school. i went to some, but really not a lot. it was more like, sometimes i went to a friend’s house, and then a party would break out, and i would happen to be there.
once, our star football guy and i got drunk at the same party, and he said, “i feel like we have a lot of the same thoughts, we’re going to be friends now,” and then we never spoke again.
actually, i thought his name was “future” for almost an entire year before finding out that’s just what they called him because he was good at football. he was just named evan.
that’s pretty generally what high school was like, for me.
i threw a grand total of three parties during my high school career: my 18th birthday, a random new year’s shindig, and a homecoming party. i’m calling it homecoming, but it wasn’t actually homecoming. actually, it might have been nothing like homecoming, because i am realizing as i write this sentence that i don’t ... actually know ... what homecoming is.
so GET OFF MY BACK ABOUT IT, TODD.
anyway the thing about my high school was we had this big football game every year, and afterwards everyone would go to local hotels for the weekend and party. i ... didn’t do that, because i wasn’t cool enough to get invited to the hotel parties when the game was held at my school and i stayed with my parents when they were held at our rival school.
my freshman year of high school, the game was held at our rival school, so i stayed at home. my best friend at the time, who we are going to call linda was spending the night with me. we asked if we could go to one of the parties, and my mom was basically like, “lmao u tried :(.”
as it so happened, a couple of boys that i had been friends with since middle school were also coming over, because our parents were friends.
i mean, we were also friends, but i am 100% sure that if they’d been given the choice they’d have gone elsewhere. i know this because one of them, who we are going to call napoleon, told me so.
the other two, a pair of brothers, casper and teriyaki, were at least a little more subtle. there was also some other kid there, whose name i forget but i remember very clearly that he did a really, really bad scooby doo impression where he just kept saying, “ruh roh!!!” over and over. he didn’t even do it in the scooby doo voice. BUDDY, THE WHOLE POINT IS THE VOICE. anyway, forget about him, i’m never going to mention him again because who even was that guy?
on the one hand, i was offended that merely being in my presence was not considered the epitome of a good time, but on the other hand, like, i’d met me. i got where they were coming from.
however, i was presented with the opportunity to know, very clearly, what was Cool. the boys wanted to go to a house party. we were in a house! i could have a party! what’s Cooler than having a party?
oh my god, so many things. i can name like fifteen right now without any cognitive stress at all.
“we can have a party here,” i said, without considering that if they said yes i’d have to figure out a way to, you know, have a party. i mean, the dangers of teenage drinking aside, there were just a lot of logistical hurdles, here. to name a few:
my parents were downstairs.
i had no alcohol.
i had, at that point, never been to a High School Party(tm) and had no idea what it was supposed to be like, which was a bad position for the party planner to be in.
“cool,” said napoleon, and because my entire opinion of him was a rapid and exhausting vacillation between “let’s make out” and “i would bring balloons to your funeral,” just like that i was like, WELP!! OKAY!! GONNA THROW A PARTY. i’m sure this will be fine!!!
spoiler: none of my plans are ever fine.
“i’ll go get us something to drink,” i said, very boldly for someone who did not know how to make a mixed drink and had not yet worked out how i was going to get anything passed my parents.
“want me to come with you?” asked linda.
“no no, i’ll be fine,” i said, because i still had not come up with a plan and didn’t want linda to realize when we got to the kitchen that i was flying by the seat of my pantaloons. linda was my best friend, but as a high school freshman my entire personality was just jenga tower of insecurity whose structural integrity depended on my never showing doubt or vulnerability ever, at any time.
gone were the heady days of wearing my billabong t-shirt with the orange butterfly on it, here were the days of j crew and plucking my eyebrows.
i went down to the kitchen, passed the living room where my parents were unabashedly playing a rousing game of Drunk Scrabble.
Drunk Scrabble is a lot like Sober Scrabble except spelling doesn’t matter and all words are real, even the made up ones, as long as you can define them.
though most of the adults were ensconced in their game, my stepdad had snuck into the kitchen, presumably to escape the madness. in an attempt to look both Casual and Unruffled, i went to the fridge and rooted around like i wasn’t in the kitchen to commit a crime.
“hey, is wine good?” i asked, super-casually.
my stepdad blinked at me. “it’s okay,” he said.
“cool. cooooooool. anyway, just here for some, uh,” i glanced at the fridge, “milk, just had a sudden.....craving.........for some milk....i see we have some, so that’s, uh, good, i’ll just pour a glass of, of--”
“that’s the stuff!!! haha. yeah. gotta get that .... cream...y..........”
i am the reason i don’t want kids.
we stood in silence for a little while, me miserably drinking a huge glass of milk and skip patiently sitting at the table enjoying his cocktail. a small eternity crept by. i tried to drink my milk as slowly as possible so as to have an excuse to stay in the kitchen, but without anything else to do it didn’t take long before i was facing the bottom of the glass.
my stepdad smiled at me. i smiled back.
i poured another glass.
“yum,” i said, wretched.
he lifted his cocktail in a little cheers and we went back to drinking. i watched the clock. how long does it take one grown ass man to drink a diet coke with kahlua and tequila? i mean, god, it’s not like i was throwing this milk down like a frat brother drinking during rush week. we were at “tea with the queen” speeds and i was still totally crushing him.
i started to panic. how many milks was i going to have to drink? how would the milk mix with alcohol? how much calcium is too much calcium????
i couldn’t go back upstairs without booze. my pride was on the line, and also, even if it wasn’t, if i gave up now i’d have choked down like half a pint of milk for nothing and i know that sunk cost is a fallacy but at a certain point there's no way out but through, you know what i'm saying?
i poured myself a third glass of milk. i looked down at it and it felt like it was looking up at me. i imagined myself as a fat-faced oreo, slowly sinking to the bottom of the glass. was it possible to drown from drinking too much milk? is that how drowning worked? i could hear all those terrible milk lobby ads in my head, mocking me with increasing malignancy. got milk? got more milk? got three glasses of milk? mmmm. creamy. drink up, idiot!!!! you're a milkwoman now!!!!
finally, finally, just when it looked like i was going to have to go back for more, skip stood up. he set his empty glass in the sink, kissed the side of my head, and went back into the living room.
It Happened To Me: I Drank 2 And A Half Glasses Of Milk I Didn’t Want And I’m Not Sure I’ll Ever Look At Dairy The Same Way Ever Again, Unless It’s Cheese, If It’s Cheese We’re Still Cool
in our kitchen we had this one counter that was the Booze Counter, which had on it the booze that my parents regularly drank--rum for my mom’s rum & pineapple juice, tequila and kahlua for my stepdad’s diet-coke-and-tequila-and-kahlua*, whatever wine we happened to have, and vodka, but i think that was just for the aesthetic than anything else because i’ve literally never seen either of my parents drink vodka in their lives.
*i know!!! it’s so gross!!! it’s so gross. don’t talk to me about it, i don’t understand either.
below the Booze Counter was the Booze Cupboard, which had a whole slew of alcohol that my parents, as far as i knew, never touched. there were all kinds of magical things in it that, as i understood it, my parents did not like. i assumed the booze cupboard was for the reject booze that they did not like and were hoping would disappear if they left it alone long enough.
that made sense, right? right.
i grabbed the first bottle i could get my hands on from the booze cupboard. it had a blue label and an umber liquid. whisky. cool kids drank whisky, right? was there a hierarchy of Cool Alcohols To Drink At Illicit Teen Parties?
whatever. i grabbed the bottle and a bunch of diet cokes and shoved them casually into my shirt like a woman pregnant by a very square alien.
“what are you kids doing?” asked my mom as i passed by, and, in a blind panic, i said, “i DON'T KNOW, NOTHING, I WAS JUST GETTING SOME MILK.”
it turns out that a bunch of mostly drunk adults don’t really care why their teenager suddenly grew a Space Baby, so my mom was like, “....ok, weirdo,” and went back to drunk scrabble while i sprinted up the stairs.
the party went pretty well, if by “pretty well” you mean that napoleon threw up all over my mom’s flower bushes, linda asked casper and teriyaki’s mom if she was going to murder us in the woods, and six months later my mom found an empty $400 bottle of johnny walker blue hidden in my sleeping bag (why did drunk molly put it there? sober molly doesn’t know).
i tried to blame it on one of my brother’s college friends, which absolutely did not work. it didn’t work even a little. my mom gave me the mom face and i caved immediately and told her the truth, which was that we mixed her $400 whisky with diet coke and napoleon didn’t throw up because he was suffering from laryngitis, like we’d said.
“yeah,” my mom said in that voice that moms have that’s like why didn’t i follow my dream of being a whitesnake groupie instead of having children? “yeah. nobody thought he had laryngitis. next time you want to have a party just be a normal teenager and steal beer out of the back fridge so you don’t drink my nice shit.”
"that's what you keep in the back fridge?" i said.