The summer between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school my parents went to the Caribbean and left me home alone for 24 hours before I flew to Ireland with my grandparents for the summer. It will come as no surprise to anyone (mostly because you were probably THERE) that I had a party. This was back in the day. Back when I was still dating a guy that everyone called Chuck because his last name was Norris, back when my driver's license was shiny and new, and when I thought Rumpleminze was the best thing that ever happened to booze because "you couldn't smell alcohol on your breath - it just smelled like Certs".
Yes, I did throw up a lot of peppermint schnapps that year. Why do you ask?
ANYWAY, I had a party. I had the kind of party where people made plans weeks in advance to "spend the night at a friend's house." Alibis were carefully constructed. Beers were stashed. No one could find a babysitter to save their life that night - every one of them was on my deck listening to Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley and fishing cans of Busch out of a garbage can by the back door. There were no fights - our crowd just didn't do that sort of thing. We had all grown up together and, as happens in small towns, we had all dated each other pretty extensively. Maybe just slightly incestuous, but no one was getting laid so it didn't really count.
My point is, that was one of the wildest parties I have ever had, where I woke up in the morning and people were asleep on the lawn, on the deck, in their cars.....I woke up at dawn - fully clothed - in my parent's bed with Chuck Norris. When I went out to survey the damage and triage the clean up, there was, surprisingly, very little to do. And what was left to clean up was taken care of by the remaining party-goers before they gave me hugs, told me to have a safe trip, and went home to sleep it off.
So my experience with people getting drunk and acting like a bunch of idiots is, quite frankly, limited. There was that one time that Eric threw up Fruit Loops out the car window, but I think that is a story for another day.
Fast forward to this weekend. On Friday night, we had a DJ at the bar, and it was just like having a party in the rec room while my mom was out of town, only no one stayed after to help clean up. I was waiting for someone to suggest playing "3 Minutes in Heaven" in the walk-in cooler. The only thing missing was some Mountain Dew and a fooz ball table. Everyone in the bar had a legitimate, legal ID. Whether the ID was actually THEIRS is a whole different story. Because no one in the bar was acting like an adult. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, and I would be hard pressed to come up with specific examples of why I suspected that some people were not actually 21 despite their ID and being able to recite the matching birthdate. But something was just....not quite right. They didn't quite have the lingo down, ordering "soda and Crown Royal" instead of "Crown and Coke". Speaking of Crown - they were drinking massive amounts of Crown Royal (but surprisingly, no Rumpleminze. Maybe the young folks these days have been warned by their parents about how terrible peppermint schnapps is, and how it must be avoided AT ALL COSTS. And Crown Royal comes with the pretty purple felt bag!) The girls were loud and obnoxious, the boys boisterous and rude. I saw someone giving someone else A NOOGIE. At the bar. We actually had to take people's drinks away for wrestling. Someone started a slap fight. And then a guy started yelling at a girl, and a glass got broken, and people were wrestling, and I had had Just About Enough. I turned up the lights and told the DJ to stop playing. The party? Was over. Mom had come home to ruin all their fun.
So we cleaned up and I went home, and I awoke at dawn. This time I was not in my parent's bed with Chuck Norris, and I was not on my way to Ireland in a few hours. And I definitely did not have Rumplemintz breath.
But I did have a renewed purpose in life. My children - those poor, dear children - will never get away with anything. I know too much. I remember too much. And I'll probably still be working behind the bar.
And I have their birthdates memorized.