Thursday, June 13, 2013

5 Years Ago...

Cop:    Where are you coming from tonight?
Me:      A show at The Cherry Lane Theater.
Cop:    What show?
Me:      FUCT
Cop:    Alright son, license and registration…

In June of 2008, I agreed to not perform in a FUCT run because Nicole’s due date was imminent and we didn’t want it to interfere with the birth of our first son. 

Thursday, the 12th was the first night of the performance.  George Wendt was in the audience.  I got to serve him his first beer at his first FUCT show.  A very pregnant Nicole was even in the audience with me.  FUCT was great.  I was about to have a baby.  Norm was drinking a beer in my audience.  Everything was awesome. 

The following night was Friday, and the second night of the show.  I attended this performance without Nicole, and afterwards, I went to Barrow’s Pub for our usual post-show party.  Around 2:30am, it was time to call it a night.  My brother, Michael was with me and as we took off, southbound traffic on 7th Avenue was moving surprisingly slow.  Before too long, it was obvious that the lanes were narrowing, and the side streets were closed.  Of course…a DWI stop.

I was drinking that night; a few beers at the show, and at least one or two at the bar.  I also smoked some pot, and while I don’t specifically remember smoking, I don’t specifically remember a time when I didn’t smoke pot after a FUCT show.   Thankfully, when I left the bar I did NOT take the final shot of Jack Daniels that was being toasted.  The BAC limits in New York are extremely low, so even though I wasn’t “drunk,” I don’t know if I could have passed a breathalyzer test.

My attempt to answer the officer’s questions without breathing in his face was even more difficult since he positioned his head through my car window and directly in line with my nose and mouth.

Cop:    Where are you coming from tonight?

(Great, I know the answer to this one…)

Me:      A show at The Cherry Lane Theater.

Cop:    What show?

(OMG…do I lie?  Do I say “FUCT,” and shock his nervous system with a name that sounds like one of the most vulgar curses in the English language.  If I lie, what if he asks a follow up question?  I’ll go with the truth and just explain that it is not really a curse because it is spelled with a “T”…)

Me:      FUCT

(I did it.  The truth will make you free…or…)

Cop:  Alright son, license and registration…

(Noooooooooooooo…The officer was leaning through the window and head is practically on my lap.  There was no way that he couldn’t smell the booze on my breath or the “bat and dugout” that I so carefully tossed between the car seats.  I’ve been figured out.)

My heart started racing as I felt the adrenal glands crank into over-drive.  My legs began to involuntarily shake and the sweat from my brow was at the critical point of beading and running down my cheek.  I turned towards my right pocket, take out my wallet, and open it.  I pinch my NYS driver’s license by the corner, and that’s when it happens…

Just as I’m sliding my driver’s license out of the wallet flap, I hear:

Cop: “OK, son, move along.”

Me: “Thank you Officer”

It was just after 3am on Friday night, and I narrowly escaped spending the weekend in jail.  When I arrived home, I rolled into bed around 4am.   I was wiped out.  The mix of alcohol, THC and adrenaline was still pumping through me, and before long, I passed out hard. 

7am - Nicole woke me up…her water broke. (Two weeks early).  “Are you sure you didn’t just pee the bed?” I asked.  Thinking back over certain times of my life, this is one of the moments that make me wonder why she hasn’t left me (yet).

Noon – Jackson was born.

If I was arrested the night before, Nicole would have dealt with labor without me.  I would have missed my first son’s birth.  Only on the third day of his life would Jackson and I meet as he was brought home from the hospital and me from lockup. 

I continued to drink during 2008, but stopped cold turkey on New Years, 2009.  For 14 months, I remained booze free.  In May 2008, I started again in the Dominican Republic while on vacation with Nicole and Jackson.  For over a year everything was fine, but I decided again in 2011 to call it quits.  After comparing my life, back-to-back with sobriety and with drunkenness, I realized that my family and I are happier and healthier when alcohol isn’t part of the equation. 

Tomorrow is Jackson’s 5th birthday and it’s been a fantastic and rewarding 5-year run.  That terrible birth-eve is also 5 years old. To this day, I don’t know why the cop let me go.  Maybe he was just testing me to see if I would fumble for my ID.  Maybe he was new and had self-doubt.  Maybe, he had no sense of smell from a childhood trauma.  Nevertheless, I was blessed/lucky to avoid the consequences of my stupidity.  There were a few more “wake-up calls,” but eventually, I woke up and called it quits.  In a month, on July 8, 2013, I will celebrate the 2-year mark, alcohol free, and drunk only on fatherhood.

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