I wasn’t the best student. My grade school, high school and college report cards are littered with many more C’s than A’s, and every once in awhile a D would creep in. Hence, in the Spring of 1996 while at Bowling Green State University, I determined I would need to stay the Summer in order to take a science class that I would have no shot of passing during the regular school year, but heard that the Summer version was much easier.
My schedule ended up being four classes: The Solar System, Canadian Fiction, Begin Guitar Non-Major and Radio Workshop. In Canadian Fiction we read authors like Margaret Atwood. Beginning guitar for non-majors was just that – the basics of guitar: chords, basic scales and a little note reading. I have no idea what Radio Workshop was, but The Solar System was my hurdle. It was held in the Physical Sciences Laboratory Building, which meant we were sitting in reclining chairs in a dark room staring at a high, round ceiling. I fell asleep. A lot. I barely passed.
In addition to classes, I worked as a night guard throughout the campus, wherever there were students, activities or conferences that needed their front desk attended. By the time I figured out I needed to stay for the Summer, I had already set up off-campus residence at a apartment in the Fall on Frazee Ave. with my roommates Ben and Charlie, but I needed something to bridge the gap. Enter Jennifer.
At the time, I was seeing a girl named Tracey who, it just so happened, was friends with Jen. They were going to be our neighbors, and Jen was planning on staying the Summer as well, so we contacted the rental agency and secured the apartment that Ben, Charlie and I would eventually be moving into. This worked out great for the both of us – I be moving into my apartment and be set-up for the Fall, and Jen would just have to move one door down, and the price was right – about $300 for the whole Summer. Total, not each. Keep in mind, these were cheap, crappy, slapped together apartments with no air conditioning, dirty carpets and walls and tiny bedrooms.
Most of the Summer was pretty boring. We both had classes and jobs, and at times it got so hot in the apartment we would just hang out in Founders Hall were I would work occasionally just because it was air conditioned. Since the school was mostly empty, there wasn’t much of a bar scene. I spent many a free afternoon and evening sitting alone in BW-3′s eating wings and playing trivia, which was to both get out of the heat and get away from Jen’s pet ferret, which was not the best smelling animal.
One night after dinner, both bored out of our skulls, we decided to partake in a game of Quarters. If you’re not familiar, it’s very easy. Quarter. Glass. In one bounce, quarter into glass, take a drink. To this day, I don’t like liquor, so I had beers. Jen had liquor. I can’t remember what, whiskey? Tequila? Maybe she remembers, though I doubt it based on the story about to tell.
We sit down at the table to play, and since I’m ladies first kind of guy, I let Jen take the first shot, which she nails so I have to down a beer. Rule at the time was, you shoot until you miss. So, Jen takes another shot, misses. My turn, swish. First one in, Jen downs a shot. Another turn, another swish, another shot. And again. And again. And again. At some point, I should have called it off, but I think when I suggested, Jen called me a derogatory name and demanded we keep playing. So we did, and I went on a Quarters run unlike any in history. My recollection is that I hit between 17 and 19 in a row. This happened in about, oh, twenty minutes.
Around this time, a friend of Jen’s, who will call Bob because I have no idea of his name, knocked on our door. He was walking to the bars and wanted to say hi. He saw that Jen was ridiculously drunk, and after I explained the situation, suggested maybe we should be concerned about her well being. Jen stumbled over to the couch, flopped around a bit and began slurring her words, eyes rolling around in her head like they were floating in a sea of liquor. It was around this time Jen mumbled something about needing to use the ladies room, but was clearly incapable of making it there on her own.
Bob and I determined that we would need to carry Jen to the bathroom, so we did. Jen was completely limp, losing the color in her face, so it basically turned into a scene from Weekend at Bernie’s as we dragged her into the bathroom and sat her down on the toilet. Bob and I shared many WTF the glances, and at this point it got scary. Jen started moving in and out of consciousness, and we discussed either calling an ambulance or rushing her to the hospital. However, again Jen started calling us names and told us to just help her take care of business, business being the old number one.
To set the scene, I was standing to the left of Jen, holding her steady, and Bob was directly in front of her, with his back to the tub. It’s at this point I’ll warn:
Jen’s head leaned back and her eyes closed. Oh shit, she’s passing out. Bob smacked her cheek a few times, trying to wake her. And did he wake her. As her head whipped back forward, vomit began spraying like a untethered firehose. In a matter of seconds, Bob was covered neck to knees in Jen’s dinner and booze. I had escaped most of it, Jen was hit more from the ricochet off of Bob than from herself.
Essentially, Jen’s stomach pumped itself back to life, and within moments her color and consciousness had returned. Bob, of course, was none too happy with being the recipient of the majority of the projectile. Over the course of the next hour or so, we managed to get more and more of a response out of Jen, who we cleaned up and helped to her bedroom. Bob showered and borrowed a t-shirt and sweatpants (I think), and took off shortly after.
It was finally around midnight that I got everything cleaned up and finally went to bed, leaving my and Jen’s bedroom doors open so I could keep an ear open. Over the next several hours, the still inebriated and exhausted Jen kept saying my name over and over again, and everyone once in awhile I would respond, “what?” Nothing. Of course, with a 7am wake-up for an 8am class, it was my fault for even agreeing/suggesting (not sure who’s idea it was) to play Quarters on a weekday.
Both of us steered clear of alcohol for sometime after that. It took Jen a few days to return to normal, and as I was not much of drinker to begin with, I might have gone the rest of the Summer without having another beer.
If there is a moral to this story, it is this: it’s all fun and games until someone dies playing Quarters.