In my younger days, I’ll have to admit that I spent my fair share of time in establishments serving “alternative beverages. We used to call them bars, and some of them were pretty shabby. But after imbibing for a while, the decor always got better, along with everything else. I know I started to look better and the ladies got prettier, and my singing voice improved immeasurably,not to even mention my dancing. I must admit though, that there were a couple of occasions that I was overserved (I prefer unsober). However, that never became apparent until the next day when my mouth tasted like I had eaten a tin of tennis balls and someone was playing the kettle drums in my head. Somehow, while undergoing the transformation, my condition was never at issue, and I was happy that I could perform daring acts like laying on the floor without falling off.
I remember one such event, while transferring to Columbia, Md, which is about halfway between Baltimore and D.C. Our families had not joined us yet, so several of us were being put up in a local motel. One evening, four of us decided to go into Baltimore for a little bar hopping. I borrowed my bosses rental car and off we went. I remember having a good time until I tried to stand up. That is when I realized that someone had removed all the bones from my legs and that my attempts at conversation fell somewhat short of actually conveying anything distinguishable. However, with impressive stamina, we managed to hang on until closing time. Returning to the car, my friends insisted I drive because they were to drunk to do it. Fortunately, Saint Guinness, the patron saint of drunks smiled on us and promptly helped me break the key off in the ignition. Being in the pre cell phone era, we dispatched one of our number, a rather rotund fellow with an insatiable appetite, to find a phone and call a cab, no mean feat at two in the morning. After a rather extended wait however, the cab arrived, with our friend ensconced in the back seat. When we climbed in, all you could smell was onion. It appears that our scavenger had found a pay phone in a hamburger joint and, while waiting, purchased a bag of cheeseburgers, which he was all to willing to share, and which he kept waving under our noses. Somehow, we all made it back to the hotel , how can I say this nicely, with our contents intact.
The next morning was rather painful. As was our habit, we all met in the motel dining room for breakfast before driving to the office. My boss was quite amused at our condition until he asked for his car keys, at which time I handed him half a key. He stared at it and asked “Where’s the rest of the key?”
“In the car” I replied.
“And where’s the car?”
“I don’t know”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
I said “It’s still in Baltimore, but I don’t remember where. But I wrote down the location” whereupon I produced a piece of paper containing the names of the streets at the intersection where we were parked. Unfortunately, my writing had also been “unsober” and was therefore indistinguishable. When we reached the office, my boss asked Maureen, his secretary and a native of the area if she could figure out what it said. She asked me if I could remember the name of the bar we had been at and I said I thought it was called Sweeney’s, upon which she said, “then this must say 33rd and Greenmount.” My boss then said “you have two hours to have that car back here. I don’t care how you do it. Just get it.”
One of the local hires had a car so he gave me a ride into Baltimore and sure enough, the car was sitting at the corner of 33rd and Greenmount. We called the rental agency and they sent out a locksmith who got us going. My boss, who in reality, had a great sense of humor, had me retell the story several times over the years. In fact, at his retirement party, I presented him with a little box. Upon opening it, he stared for a moment and then, laughing, removed half of a key, and the adventure was relived once again.