Gather round, kiddies. It’s time for another embarrassing Goldfish drinking story. Most of my embarrassing moments involve public speaking or drinking, and sometimes, both together.

I started drinking when I was about fourteen. I was a pretty messed up kid and I was trying to check out of my life completely. Alcohol seemed like a perfect way to do that.

My dad was an alcoholic. I say “was” because he isn’t anymore. One day, about fifteen years ago, he just stopped drinking. He quit drinking like I quit drugs–cold turkey. I can’t imagine that was much fun. I guess it runs in my family.

At the time though, my dad was an alcoholic. He had bottles of booze stashed around the house. I found them and started stealing from them. I’d fill up little vials with my dad’s booze. He couldn’t get angry with me for purloining his booze stashes since he wasn’t supposed to have it either. My mom didn’t know the extent of his drinking. I knew most of his hiding spots. My dad kept me stocked in alcohol all through high school against his will. He never said anything.

I kept a flask in my locker. I’d get a soda from the vending machine, drink a quarter of it and fill the rest with alcohol. We were allowed to bring soda to class as long as it was purchased at school, so I was able to stay steadily buzzed all day.

I thought my tolerance for alcohol was pretty high since I drank every day. I was wrong. This is the story of the first time I ever got well and truly drunk.

I had two best friends in high school–a redhead and a brunette. We were all underage and had nothing to do with ourselves. One boring Saturday night, we somehow managed to get a huge bottle of tequila. This tequila was quite stylish and came with a hat, or rather, a red sombrero.

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image from

Ouch. Being the highly sophisticated idiots we were, we decided to kill the whole bottle. Whoever finished the last drop, got to wear the hat. I got to wear the hat, because apparently, I’m highly competitive about red chapeaus. Who wouldn’t want to wear that stylin’ red hat? I was so blackout drunk I barely remember a thing.

The next day, I woke up with an extreme hangover, and minimal hints and flashes of the previous night’s events. I threw up and generally stayed in a state of extreme hangover impairment for most of the day. By evening, I felt better, so when my friends called me up to see if I wanted to go to Denny’s, I said sure.

Denny’s is a chain restaurant in the United States. They’re everywhere. They’re usually open 24 hours, and the food is cheap and barely edible.

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image from

When we arrived at Denny’s, the greeter’s face immediately changed from a serene smile to a grimace. She said she didn’t want any trouble. My friends assured her that we were sober and there wouldn’t be any.

As she led us to the table, everyone in the restaurant, mostly fellow high school students, started snickering. Several of them called me Red. I questioned my friends since I had not even a clue what that was about.

Apparently, the night before, since we were all drunk and bored, we walked up to Denny’s restaurant. I had absolutely no recollection of even leaving my friend’s house.

Denny’s was where all the high school kids who didn’t have cars hung out, because we lived in a very boring part of Detroit and there was nothing else to do besides go to a restaurant. We three drunkards walked into Denny’s where I turned into somewhat of an unruly child. I started singing, crawling on the floor under other patron’s tables and threw up on someone’s shoes while they were wearing them.

Somehow, I had torn a huge hole in the seat of my jeans. As I was crawling on the floor, depositing the contents of my stomach, mostly tequila, on innocent footwear, my ass was clearly visible. I was wearing red underwear. The nickname Red stuck through most of high school to the people who were there that night.

But, worse, I got kicked out of Denny’s.

Nobody ever gets kicked out of Denny’s. You could be a homeless person that smells like death from fifty meters who sits in a booth all day nursing one cup of coffee and you won’t get kicked out of Denny’s. You could brandish a knife and threaten patrons; they’ll call the police on your ass, but you won’t get kicked out. Denny’s doesn’t have bouncers. It’s not like a nightclub.

Yet, I got kicked out of Denny’s.

The staff at Denny’s have the patience of saints and I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for all the times I sat in Denny’s nursing one cup of coffee, barely tipping and being a teenage jackass.

That was the first time I was ever really soused, and the last time I ever drank tequila to excess. Nowadays, the only way I will even touch tequila is if it’s disguised in a margarita.

There are 42 comments

  1. Melanie

    And here I thought “red” was from the tequila hat.
    P.S. I can’t do tequila anymore either (unless in a margarita) and I can’t entirely remember why. I do have a faint memory of dancing sans clothing behind a bar, and not a strip bar, but a regular everyday drinking bar.


          1. Melanie

            Yes. There were some fun times and spontaneous alcohol induced adventures. Not all of them were safe, or legal. I’m pretty sure dancing topless at a bar is frowned upon. I know this because it was frowned upon at Mardi Gras too.


  2. rarasaur

    I had no idea Denny’s kicked people out– that’s moved up my list to worst fears. I love my cheap, barely-edible Denny’s. Going to a one that isn’t mine isn’t an option, so if I ever intend to vomit on people and crawl on floors, I’ll have to find a strange Denny’s to do it in. :D

    I had a friend in a very similar circumstance. I broke into her locker, hid her flask, spilled her soda, and caused general destruction of her drinking till she reported me for bullying. At that time, we had that policy where’d the police would talk to you about being a bully — and so even though the principal thought the claim was ludicrous– I didn’t deny breaking into her locker and throwing away her stuff, so they were called. I didn’t rat her out on the alcohol, though. When she finally quit, a year later, she broke into my locker filled it with gladiolas — my favorite flower. It’s that kind of sweetness that alcohol abuse kills in people and it’s such a shame when it starts so young– because the ones drinking forget what it’s like to trust people and get perspective.

    Long story short: I’m glad that your early life didn’t kill your sweetness, insight, and perspective. You rock.


    1. goldfish

      Wow. Well, I’m glad things worked out for your friend. Filling your locker with gladiolas is awesome.

      It worked out for me, too, eventually. I’ve never been an alcoholic, not even when I was drinking every day. I forced myself into drinking more than anything, just to numb myself. It was just a symptom of a much larger problem.


  3. djmatticus

    Yes, disguised in a margarita with a nice shot of Grand Marnier to accompany it. Yum!

    Ah Denny’s… I have those stories too. I was never drunk, but it was the hangout in my little town for all the bored teenagers (and twenty somethings) with nothing better to do. We had sword fights out front. We took over half the restaurant. We had food fights.

    We never got kicked out…


  4. JackieP

    Ah, I had almost forgotten Denny’s. A place where me and a girlfriend would take the guys we met, after closing the dance halls in Texas. It was safer then going to their places. Or ours. ;-)

    I used to drink Tequila, once drank a guy from New Jersey under the picnic table. Literally. He ended up under the picnic table while I just had a really great buzz. He thought he was tough being from New Jersey. The wuss.

    I don’t drink anymore either.


    1. goldfish

      Denny’s was our after bar place, too, when I got a little older.

      After the night I talk about here, I was never really able to stomach tequila again. Just the smell of it made me a little queasy.


  5. likeitiz

    I can’t even take tequila disguised in a margarita. I feel it doing down like a knife in my throat. Yuck!

    I thought “red” was for the red hat. I thought maybe you forgot you won the hat or something. Red underwear? Really?


  6. Maettina

    There’s nothing I hate more than when you wake up and you can’t remember what you did, but sometimes it’s better. I had some alcohol crazy nights and the day after, waking up hangover as hell, I had to deal with the sudden memories of what happened: “Oh my god, i did this”…”No, even this…”…”Please, not that too”. That’s horrible. :)
    Have a good day!


  7. Aussa Lorens

    Haha this is an amazing story– I’ve definitely had those mornings where you wake up and are told about the various places you went the night before but TOTALLY don’t remember. Or when you wake up with holes in your pants– I’ve definitely done that (climbing fences always seems like a good idea after a few drinks)– did you ever find out what you’d done to rip them?!


  8. donofalltrades

    Oh Goldy, you rascal! It really is a feat to be booted from Denny’s. Denny’s is the hub of putrid whitetrashery in many parts of the country, so kudos to you doing something all out. I too started drinking when I was 14, well, 14 if we don’t count the beer I had at 7 or the wine I liked to drink starting at 10. I did it purposefully to get buzzed though at 14 and I still drink today, though my preference is to do it at home on the couch. I’m glad you’re still able to enjoy a margarita from time to time though. I still don’t fully trust a person who doesn’t drink at all.


    1. goldfish

      Well, yeah, I used to finish the cups when my parents had parties when I was little, but I don’t think that really counts.

      I still drink from time to time. Usually for social occasions because it brings me out of my shell.


      1. donofalltrades

        I drank a whole can of Busch Beer after a baseball game when I was 7 and passed out under my dad’s pickup truck. I remember the beer being so good and yet so terrible at the same time. The taste reminded me of kissing my grandpa because he often had beer remnants in his mustache I think. Lol. Wait, that sounded gross.


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