The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snippet of Life - A Night Unremembered

Once upon a time, in a magical land called San Francisco, a ship pulled in to a Navy installation at Hunter's Point In the Bay for repairs and so the crew could visit the land. San Francisco was very magical at the time, the time being 1969, maybe more than it had been any other time since before the Great Earthquake in 1906.

One of the sailors on board that ship (let's call him Douglas), along with another sailor, decided to visit as many bars as they could in one day. They had a plan. Each would buy one drink for both in each establishment and then they would move to another bar.

The rest of the story is a bit hazy, boys and girls. Even though Douglas knows they must have started somewhere, he could not remember where the next morning. In fact, he only knew about three establishments out of all the ones they visited that night. Bobbie, his companion that night, was what is called a "lifer." Bobbie had chosen to have a military career. He had been in the Army for 3 years, the Air Force for four years, and had said he'd found a home in the Navy and would finish his career there. Douglas should have known better than to go along with Bobbie that night. Bobbie's rather large body mass indicated he could absorb more alcohol than skinny Douglas could ever hope to.

Douglas does remember starting out on Market street and then going up Geary. But he doesn't remember how many bars they visited before they got to Geary. He only recalls three of them that night. The first one was called the Phone Booth. At that time, it was a place where young men and women would sit at tables. On the tables were telephones. Each table had a number and any phone could dial any other table's number and the people could then chat. That was then, today (as I understand it) it is still open but caters to the Same Sex crowd.

The next place Douglas remembers was one they didn't even buy a drink in. In fact, they walked in, turned around, and walked right back out. There were only men in this bar. But they all smiled at and welcomed the two sailors. Douglas felt a bit like a rabbit in a wolf's den. So he and Bobbie did what any smart rabbits would have done, they got out of there in a hurry.

The next several bars are unknown. Douglas only recalls that there were a number of them. He also recalls that, at some point, he settled on one drink to order at each place. It is best, they say, to not mix different kinds of alcohol but just to stick with one type if you plan on drinking a lot. (And Douglas planned on drinking a lot that night) Though he did not order just one. It was something called a Whiskey Sour. A Whiskey Sour is a pleasant drink, a bit like lemonade, as he recalls. It came with a maraschino cherry in it... which he always ate when he finished his drink.

The last place Douglas remembers was a very friendly place. They were celebrating something, perhaps a young man's pending marriage and they were giving out free drinks. Amazingly, a tray of these free drinks were Whiskey Sours. Douglas did his very best to help empty that tray.

Douglas does not recall just how many drinks he consumed in that bar, let alone that night. Things were pretty blurry by the time they found that last bar with the free drinks and his vision never did clear up that night. In fact, aside from being given the come-on by a hooker (of suspicious gender) when they first got onto Geary Street he could only recall bits and pieces of what happened at that last bar.

He recalls feeling a bit woozy and in need of relieving his quite full bladder. After finding the restroom, he remembers having to keep his neckerchief out of the way while he emptied the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl in front of him. He also remembers thinking he was bleeding or coughing up his stomach lining. It took him a little time to realize it must have been a lot of maraschino cherries.

He vaguely recalls staggering out of the restroom, telling Bobbie he was going back to the ship, and staggering on out of the bar.

Over the door to the bar was a canopy which extended out to the street. Douglas thought that the polls holding up the canopy were sturdy enough to steady him while he waited for the taxi he hadn't called. They were sturdy enough. But he wasn't. He slowly slid to a sitting position next to one of the poles. And there he sat until a Shore Patrol truck pulled up.

The two, very sober, sailors who had been in the truck sized up the situation immediately and "offered" him a ride back to his ship. They were even kind enough to pick him up and place him somewhat gently in the back of the truck... where he bounced about as the truck hit every pothole and careened around every corner between downturn San Francisco and Hunter's Point.

The journey took forever, or maybe only a few minutes, Douglas doesn't remember. He does remember being carried on board his ship and being placed on the deck near the watch station. The kindly petty officer, or maybe the officer, on duty sent the messenger of the watch to locate someone from his quarters to come help him get to his compartment. To this day, Douglas does not recall who were the two guys who came to collect him. Douglas, at that point, could not even lift his head.

He had sat on the deck while he imitated a bobble-head doll (which had yet to be invented) as he tried in vain to hold his head up and carry on an intelligent conversation with the people who were ignoring him except to laugh occasionally. He recalls that the lights in the ship's passageways were much too bright and that he sort of slid down the ladder (stairs to you landlubbers) with one sailor holding him by the wrists while another held his ankles.

The next thing Douglas recalls about that night was waking up the next morning with a massive headache and feeling sicker than he had ever felt other than that time in Taiwan when he had lost track of where all his money had gone and where he had been or how he got back to the ship (which would have had to entail a ride in a leaky, noisy, smelly boat with a bunch of drunken sailors) after leaving the Ship's Party at some long forgotten bar.

Douglas actually went back out into town that next afternoon to visit a friend of a friend down in Berkeley. Douglas was young then and recovered well. This was only one of many nights that would remain only vaguely recalled afterward.


Paul E. Giroux said...

Another tale well spun ..... thanks Douglas

Steven said...