The first time I got peer pressured I thought I was going to hear loud whistles and the stroke of midnight barrel down the street I live on, it didn’t happen that way at all. In fact, it was a really mute experience. There wasn’t a lot of action going on unless you count the alligator in the background doing rounds on the corner of an Alcatraz scented goodbye. I’m going to tell you exactly how it all went down. I was at a ripe age, must not forget the special ripeness that comes from bananas. I was 16 years old and about to be a sophomore in high school. I stood in the driveway dreaming of hot chocolates and seasoned chicken only to find the night would be a lot different, more drunk. I was going to a very big house. One of those houses that rich people live in and pay heavily to stay there. I lived in a pretty well off part of Kansas. Probably the only place people who aren’t from Kansas can’t imagine in their minds, Overland Park, Kansas. Geographically it was pretty rude. It made the map maker pinpoint all the suburbanite neighborhoods to the point that their wrists sharpened up like butcher knives. Then there was Leawood which was right next to Overland Park, a highly sedated form of sultry palm track and silky camouflage. The roofs were made with wood too good to be just wood, it was blessed and passed on to generations lower in the birth canal. The new smell of the eastern part of Kansas could be smelt from the manure fields out in the Flint Hills, new income, new breed of human. Kinder than the average Midwest town and totally what Louie Armstrong had in mind when he asked for something a little different than a vodka tonic that night in St. Louis.
When I first got peer pressured I was naïve, stupid, and small in my age. I thought Pepsi was the only thing I’d drink the rest of my life and French fries were the only thing I’d stick up my nose (I’m just kidding, get that drug innuendo out of your head right now bucko). My friend that lived right down the street told me that something was happening tonight, something big, something that would finally let my parents know I hang out with evil spirits that are shiny and have a pop top. The first thing I ever had was Captain Morgan though. Typical. Spiced rum made all the lights giggle up in high school. Oh yes, I can see it now. The lava flowing from every capital in America, buzzing like Christmas condensation and hogging up air like Vultures fleeing from a valley to full of living things. I would put it to my mouth and suddenly my lips came alive like a fable labeled fugly by the FCC. I never thought that life would taste so vile but a bottle became rolled out more so than round. The geometry made it impossible to use algebra. I went with several friends that night to a place that was illuminated by a lowered sun and when his dad pulled into the driveway the house had a crown. His dad had no idea what was about to go down.
She opened the door and we walked in. I remember being intrigued by the dogs she had. Whenever I see a dog, I don’t care who’s in the room, I go straight to it and pet it. The fur lets me know shits about to go down. Dogs dig my ass. Her parents were in Africa and I suddenly thought about my parents going to Africa and how ludicrous the idea seemed. My friends were ready to turn into beasts, lower themselves, open up bottles; the price of a full tank of gas. I felt like a tank of gas, my engines were revving and I knew that liquid was the only way to keep me moving. She told us everyone was in the basement. I was a shy kid and when I was around a lot of people, I turned into a monkey wrench, metallic and needing a little bit of a twist to make me have a purpose. It was sometime in the jungle of childhood when I was raised by wolves that were my own creation and people seemed scary. I walked down into the basement and it was huge. I had been there before. It was eloquent and in fine taste. It was interrupted by the sound of loud yelling and laughing that was too foreign for me to understand. It was language minus one and J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration for Lord of The Rings (Did you know he was further inspiration for Lord of the Dance?) Soon I would understand it without being taught it. I was standing at the bar, not knowing what to expect. I hoped for a step-by-step instruction but all I got was eye stares that weighed more than Atlas’ shrug. I was poured a shot and I slipped it back, pulling together the cosmos for a split second in sheer curiosity for the outcome and like that it was all slingshot far away. I felt it instantly. I could see that everything was funny, I entered a damn animal farm and no longer had Ernest Hemingway stabbed the keys on the typewriter, no, it was a fucking ostrich named Hawai’i Five-O. Colors were deeply magical, like sonar had a kid and called it chemical peace-fare. The peer pressure that night was loud, somehow could have been a soundtrack and entered me into the pupil phase of alcoholic dividends. I have given generously to the liquor industry over the past few years and whoever is in that department is probably buying something I can’t even think of. That industry will never die out. As long as the world keeps limping and coughing up problems (the world has a fever a record breaking 365 days a year), the world will always drink and there will always be a bunch of kids peer pressuring into the act. Live on. Dream on. Don’t dream on to the point that you miss what a professor said though because it probably will be on the test. Love so hard it smells like fried chicken and watch out for the twilight fans. Goodnight.