It’s not pretty, and it doesn’t end well.
I moved to Grand Rapids in February 2010, and starting working as the General Manager of Crush and Eve (nightclubs) at The B.O.B. The first invitation I got from my staff to hang out with them was for that upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. Unlucky for me, I had Wed, Mar. 17 off.
I met a few of my bartenders bright and early at 7a in downtown GR at McFadden’s (now Waldron Public House). Within 5 minutes of walking through the door, I had an Irish Car Bomb set in front of me at the bar, with a sidecar of a second shot of Jameson. I chugged the former, then shot the latter. That was me loosening the wheels so that they could easily fall off the bus. The bus derailed quickly after that, spinning in and out of blackout episodes.
I don’t remember the half-mile walk to the next bar, Flannigan’s, but I know I was there because someone showed me a photo of me posed with almost my entire staff.
My next fuzzy memory was getting shaken awake by another colleague, Lou, who was a manager at another venue inside The B.O.B. I was hunched over on the curb along Ionia in front of another bar, Tavern on the Square. I don’t even know if I had been inside, but there was a small puddle of my own vomit next to me so it’s likely. It was 11a.
Lou had to literally pick me up. With his arms under mine, he Weekend At Bernie’s-walked me back to his apartment. I remember the walk, barely. Then, I woke up about 6 or 7p in a stranger’s bed. It was a female’s bed, but there was no one next to me. My clothes were still on. Even my shoes. I had no idea where I was.
I quietly walked through an apartment I had never been in before—partly because I didn’t know how I got there, and didn’t know if I was there unwanted. I sheepishly whispered, “Hello…?” until someone answered me. It was Lou. I found him playing video games in his bedroom. He had put me to bed in his sister’s bed. She was gone for the weekend.
He filled me in on some of the details about why I ended up in the shape I was in when he found me. He was very patiently waiting for me to come to so that he could rejoin the rest of the staff back at McFadden’s. Despite everything I already went through, I was not ready to throw in the towel.
I forced myself to throw up, splashed some cold water on my face, rallied, and struggle-walked back to McFadden’s. When we got to the front of the line, security denied me entry. They told me they had to ask me to leave hours earlier. I was a deer in headlights because I didn’t believe them. I had zero recollection of what must’ve transpired just a few hours before. Lou told me it was for the best, and that I should probably just call it a night, and go home. I did.
That weekend back at work, the staff congratulated me on “one hell of a day.” I guess that means I passed their initiation, but I knew I had clearly failed.
Yesterday, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with 2 beers, and with people who make me a better person.
Today is the annual St. Patrick’s Day street party downtown, Irish On Ionia (which wasn’t a thing back in 2010). A very good friend and professional colleague of mine conceptualized it, and manages every year. I sent him a text yesterday wishing him a smooth event today. And, you can better believe that you will not find me on the curb in my own vomit later.
If you’re out celebrating today, please be safe, and drink much better than I did.