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One Heck of a Hangover

My base was the Presidio of Monterey. The Defense Language Institute, West Coast, to be exact. I was studying Spanish to be a linguist in the Navy. It was a 24 week course. I felt lucky to be there. It was lovely. And I had an aunt not 2 hours away in Cupertino. She was married to a retired Naval pilot. I was welcome to visit there any weekend that I was free. I went up often.

On one particular weekend I got there on a Saturday and for some reason they believed I was old enough and tough enough to hold my liquor. It turned out I wasn't. Saturday was spent swimming in their pool. At that time they would have been considered quite well off. It was a pleasant way to spend a weekend. That evening we only had a drink or two after dinner and then played some pinochle. No one was feeling overly zonked.

The next day was more of the same, but that afternoon they started feeding me mixed drinks and I was not passing up anything offered to me. It was going down very smoothly. It was holding off on hitting me. I was to take a bus back down to Monterey that evening for classes the next day on Monday. I remember nothing from that night from the 4th or 5th drink I had until I woke up the next day about noon. I had missed going to class and had no idea how I had found my way back to the barracks and my room.

You must really experience a massive hangover to understand how I felt. It was like I had died and come back as a military zombie. I examined my room and myself as best I could with the senses still available to me. My room was a total mess. I must have thrown up on virtually every surface in the room. My room mate was majorly upset when he came back at lunch.

I was still completely dressed but there were some major discrepancies. I had a slit in my slacks next to my front pocket made by what must have been a knife. My wallet, thanks be, was still there, but my watch was gone. Apparently my aunt and her husband had poured me onto the bus and just expected me to be fine. Nope. Not fine.

It was coming back to me, slowly. I vaguely remembered climbing up the hill of the Presidio on my hands and knees. Somewhere between Cupertino and Monterey someone had made an attempt to mug me. They had not been a effective as they might have been. I made it back with my wallet but they had taken all the cash, along with the watch. Thank goodness, those were the days before everyone had credit cards.

My problems were just beginning. I was at a military school. One did not skip class! I had missed Monday. What would you have done? I did the opposite. I felt so bad I stayed in bed another day. I missed Tuesday. My room mate came back and told me the instructor, a Bolivian native, was concerned but expected me back shortly. I stayed in bed another day. I missed Wednesday.

This time the message from the instructor was more frantic. He was starting to think he might be in a little trouble himself. He begged me to come back to class. I stayed in bed another day. I missed Thursday.

Do you understand what I was doing? I could have been up for a Captain's Mast easily. Wow, I had some cojones in those days! Or else, I was incredibly stupid. Take your pick. Finally I had pity on Professor Ortega and showed up on Friday. He greeted me like a long lost brother! Needless to say no reports were ever made. He should have done that the first day, and failing that he knew he could have lost his own position.

I have never drank that much again. Oh, I have been drunk more than once, but the hangovers never last more than a few hours. That binge was epic.

I still remember it fondly.

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