I polished off a pint of vodka in the early morning hours on a school night. Mum fought my pleas to stay home, despite my claim of a stomach illness.
I trudged off to class with a horrendous hangover. As was my routine, I usually slept through my first period study hall class. This time I could not keep my stomach in check. I managed my way up to the front of the room for permission to use the facilities. The stoic-faced woman gazed awkwardly at me and nodded her head. I suffered through a few gut-wrenching dry heaves, washed my face, and schlepped back to study hall.
As I walked past the teacher’s desk, I was summoned. She wanted to know if I had been drinking. After I told her that I hadn’t, she sent me to the principal’s office. Given my lest than stellar disciplinary background (including an earlier vomitous classroom wall make over), and the school’s newly enacted zero-tolerance policy, I was expelled from high school.
I knew I had fucked up real bad this time. My handlers indicated that I was to be sent off to a short-term drug/alcohol treatment facility. I figured the best option was to lay low and play the game for a little while. To savor my last few hours of freedom, I stayed up the whole night before I was shuttled off listening to the Eagle’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 and playing solitaire.
One of my favorite G.I. Joe characters as a child was Zartan. I planned to employ his ability to blend in with my new environment, and to make a seamless exit. There were plenty of group meetings where the counselor tried to get the kids to open up and spill their emotional guts. They made us hold an over-sized mirror in our laps and stare into the reflection for several minutes at a time. I didn’t do therapy, especially in the presence of those bunch of fuck-nuts.
All the kids were jacked up beyond belief. 90% of them lined up for their brain-altering chemical pill cocktails 3 or 4 times a day. In my mind, the only mistake I made was getting sent to this hell-hole. I figured I would ride it out for 30 days and then get back to business as usual on the home front. I was sorely mistaken.
The problem was that the corporation that owned the hospital also owned a long-term facility 1,500 miles away. Since I wasn’t playing ball, they recommended that I jet out to their higher revenue lock-up. The folks bought their sales rap, and off I flew for 15 months of intense bullshit.