Become What You Are

Ocean City, New Jersey, Year 2000. For reasons completely beyond my control, I had found myself living under the boardwalk with my old pal, the Corruption. I think it started with an innocent train ride to Atlantic City, but once we started drinking, things happened. I recommend this lifestyle to no one. You’d wake up in the morning and a vicious wind would be ripping up over the ocean, blowing sand into your face and scattering garbage everywhere. You’d lay there shivering violently, because you didn’t bring a jacket because it is, after all, August at the beach, until the Corruption would nudge the bottle of Wild Turkey towards your face, urging you to drink. The Turkey warms you, and you return to your troubled sleep.

Corruption kept me dosed on the booze the entire time. We’d be outside the Chatterbox at 6:47 AM, pacing around for the three remaining minutes before its doors opened and breakfast could commence, watching healthy joggers and the meandering elderly heading up and down the dawn streets, and when the door finally opened the proprietor would give us a knowing look, because we were clearly the two most Mutant Individuals alive on the island. Halfway into my first cup of coffee Corrupt would give a wicked grin and say, how’s the coffee? Then he’d flash the bottle and you knew you’d been dosed.

It happened everywhere. We’d be killing time on some boardwalk benches and Corrupt would elect to grab us some lemonades from the Promenade and after he returned and I’d already thirstily sipped mine down to the bottom he’d say, how’s the lemonade? Same grin, same flash of the bottle. Dosed again.

Sodas, Slurpees, Nantucket Nectars — if you left your drink alone with the Corruption for a second if was a sure bet it’d be spiked with Wild Turkey. In a dry town we were the drunkest men alive. We rode the rides, frightened children, lived off of Chatterbox breakfasts and boardwalk fries, and clocked unhealthy hours at Jilly’s playing Asteroids, Centipede, Ms. Pacman, and, of course, air hockey. We eventually went home, got sober, tried to explain where we had been to our friends. It wasn’t so much of a vacation. It was a war. Was it a war against reality? Against sobriety? Against ourselves? Who’s to say, but I do know this: we won.

Moira and Frost, at some wild party, 2001. This was the first time Frost ever got drunk, and the first time I ever took Roofies — at least knowingly. I wasn’t sure if it was really going to be Roofies or not. Moira had been given a drink by a suspicious individual. “Pretty sure this has Roofies,” she said, disdainfully eyeing up her drink.

“Ah what the hell, I’ll drink it,” I said. “I’ve never done Roofies before.”

Next thing I know I’m standing in the middle of the street, somewhere deep in Fairmount. Holy fuck, I think. It worked. I wobble my way home and put on a Swervedriver CD and the guitars sound wilder than ever. I go to sleep, totally confused, but satisfied that survived Roofies.

Kids: try this at home.

With Josh Carr and friends, insane Brooklyn warehouse party, summer ’01. Bones thinks the caption for this one should be “No, Carr, no.”

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!

–Charles Baudelaire


2 thoughts on “Become What You Are

  1. Remind me to tell you about the time we crawled under the acre-sized concrete slab that is Wonderland pier and spent the evening underneath the ferris wheel–until the cops came.

  2. I just remembered the first and last time I met Carr, at 8-12 on 5th St. We realized who one another was and immediately hit it off talking about Luther Blissett a mile a minute. He told me about some band in Florida and I told him about my thesis. Meanwhile, we were having so much fun that we didn’t realise our two amazon exes were circling each other making that low growl that cats make when they see another cat. Every few seconds either Carr or myself would raise our voice and that would startle them both and their backs would arch, they’d hiss and spit and their claws would come out for a second, they’d scrap and then go back to circling and growling. Bader and Sweet Lou were so visibly scared by those two (compounded by the fact that Sweet Lou had read poetry to [and made out with] a very wasted version of the girl that I was with on my 21st birthday while we were dating and it made Lou nervous to be around us sometimes especially when there was another of their kind there hissing and spitting along with her) and eventually they broke up the Bones-Carr party and they pulled the girls off of each other.

    It was only years later that we discovered both girls had the same reaction when we parted: “What the fuck was that bitch’s problem?” We were all like, nothing, what are you talking about? Neither of you said a word.

    Oh man remember when Carr’s ex Amy was so gassed in the head that she told Bader he couldn’t write and brought in the cavalry in the form of some other girl? We shut them down by using the big hush-hush secret between the two of them that they had fucked one another’s boyfriends at one point? Then we told them that they liked to play themselves and that it was funny. And that someone must have pumped their heads up so full of gas because they were gassed. We probably ruined their friendship. As far as we know the topic had never been breached. Lool.

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