Everyone remembers the significant moments they experienced growing up, like their first kiss, when they got their driver’s license or drank their first beer, which hopefully wasn’t the same day they got their license.
What follows is one of my moments.
It was my senior year of college at the University of North Alabama. I was living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment less than a mile away from campus.
The apartment could have been called a studio apartment because it only had two doors. One was the front door and the other was for the bathroom.
There’s a Storm A-Brewin’
It was Wednesday, March 20, 1996 and a big ice storm was bearing down on the city.
UNA was still mending the wounds of a 1994 storm that crippled the city and nearly killed Miss UNA, Jackie Rainwater, when a limb fell on her car (for the news report of the accident click here) and decided to cancel class for Thursday.
Since we already knew we didn’t have class the next day my girlfriend and I decided to get some friends together and go out to the closest bar.
We got there early because I wanted to get a seat at the end of the bar because I wanted to watch Mississippi State play Connecticut in the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament (aka March Madness).
With All The Fixin’s
My girlfriend and all of her friends were to my right. To my left was the opening to get behind the bar. In front of me was the bar’s garnish tray. You know, the thing with all of the limes, lemons, olives, etc.
I sat on the bar stool, my eyes glued to the TV hanging in the corner of the bar, oblivious to the crowd that had poured into the bar.
Every so often I’d look over to my girlfriend to ask if she just saw some play, which of course she hadn’t. In fact, I may have been the only person in the bar actually watching the game but I didn’t care.
Mississippi State was leading 37-25 at halftime and I was doing my best to pace myself so I would make it through the second half without falling off my stool.
But UConn’s second-half run started making me nervous which meant I started consuming drinks at a faster rate than I had planned.
UConn missed a late 3-pointer that would have tied the game and Mississippi State ended up winning 60-55.
I turned to celebrate with my girlfriend but she didn’t seem nearly as excited about it as I did.
“Great, Now What?”
The game was over and I was feeling pretty good but it didn’t take long for me to get bored.
My girlfriend was talking with her friends which meant I was left to my own devices and that’s never good.
Remember that garnish tray I mentioned?
Since the game I was interested in was over, my attention turned to the colorful tray before me.
First I started popping in a few olives but I quickly turned my attention to the maraschino cherries.
I believe this to be the precise moment that I relinquished all control of my body to the sinister Mr. Al. K. Hall.
That’s the only reason I can come up with as to why I did what I did because somehow I thought it would be awesome to see how many cherries I could stuff in my mouth.
I started stuffing cherries in my mouth as fast as I could and in a matter of minutes I was reaching maximum capacity.
That’s when I turned to my girlfriend, tapped her on the shoulder and proudly displayed my accomplishment.
She wasn’t impressed and coldly gave me a little smirk.
Girlfriend: Great, now what?
Me: (mumbling because I couldn’t form recognizable words) I’ll show you!! I’m gonna eat all of them!
How dare she not be impressed with my bar trick? I tried to give her an evil smile but my mouth was so full that my lips couldn’t touch, so I gave her the Stink Eye instead.
I stared at her as I started chomping away through the cherry conglomeration in my mouth. Again, she wasn’t impressed and turned her attention back to her friends.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I might have bitten off a little more than I could chew, literally, but I wasn’t about to give up.
A Cherries Jubilee
When the last of the cherries had been swallowed, I got my girlfriend’s attention and again she wasn’t impressed.
But at this point she figured she needed to keep an eye on me so we headed back to my apartment for the night.
When we got there she went straight to the bathroom and I went to the bedroom where I got buck-nekkid before hopping into bed.
That’s when I heard it.
My girlfriend, who was still in the bathroom, was throwing up.
I started laughed and yelled something to her to let her know I heard her and thought it was funny.
That’s when I felt it.
I believe this to be the precise moment that Mr. Al. K. Hall decided he’d had enough fun and relinquished control of my body back to me. And let me tell you that it is NOT fun when he decides he is done with you.
I was in mid-taunt when it happened and I stopped talking in mid-sentence.
It felt like I was starting to float, but not in the “Oooh, I’m in the clouds” kinda way. It was more of a middle of a hurricane kinda way. I closed my eyes
thinking hoping I would just pass out but that only made things worse.
I could feel a cold sweat coming on as I looked around for a garbage can. Fortunately there was one in the room, just a few feet away from my bed, but getting to it meant I would have to get up.
I felt my mouth start watering and knew I didn’t have much time, but I kept telling myself I could make it.
I wish I could tell I fought the good fight, that Mr. Al K. Hall let me be. I wish I could tell you that…
I See a Bad Moon Risin’
At the last possible moment I jumped up, grabbed the garbage can, buried my head inside and fell to my knees.
Just as my knees hit the floor my girlfriend came out of the bathroom and saw me in all my nekkid splendor.
I will never forget her description of what happened when we were telling our friends about it.
Girlfriend: I rounded the corner and all I could see was his naked ass in the air.
Surprisingly she stayed with me for quite some time after that incident.
It took me years to be able to look at a cherry again. To this day I still don’t like them and give away the cherry that usually comes on top of a milkshake.
But the one thing I wish I could remember about that night was how many I actually fit in my mouth.
I guess some things are better left unknown.