"IT'S GUNNA BE OK SIR! IT'S GUNNA BE OK!"
Someone was screaming into my face from close range.
Everything black… Was I dreaming..?
As my eyes crept open, the cop looked like he was straight out of Super Troopers.
He was almost comedic, so I thought I was being punked.
Then I saw the two ambulance officers and a horrified looking security guard.
I wasn’t famous, so Ashton Kutcher probably wasn't waiting around the corner to jump out at me.
My mind started to race.
When the fuck has a cop ever yelled “it's gunna be ok!” in a situation where it's actually ok?
I tried to move. But there I was strapped down.
Ankles, thighs, wrists, shoulders, neck. Had I fallen down a cliff?
I mumbled “What’s going on?” as I tried to bust out of the restraint.
"You've been found unresponsive sir" the cop said while he is still leaning right into my face.
My next thought was that I've been drugged and raped!
I tried my best to feel if I'd been violated via a few creative butt clenches. If you make your mouth into a small round hole and breath in and out fast - this was my self-evaluation technique - but for the other end.
Everything seemed normal.
This was a plus.
Hmmmm, the match I'd been attending with the boys and some American girlfriends.
It was starting to come together…
To backtrack a little.
College football in the States is massive. All the students turn up and so do the alumni - especially for the California Derby.
But here's the thing: When we go to sport in Australia, we'll often have a pre-drinks session.
Cricket Match = pub crawl
Races = champagne breakfast
But in the States they have two pre-parties!
Not only that, we had a train trip in between, which we'll class as three. And here’s how they went down:
Pre-party one: A house party in downtown San Diego
It’s me and five of my university mates at a friend's house who we’d met months before while traveling in Peru. Note: we're out of university here - about 25.
The party is full of gorgeous American ladies who seem to like our accents more than anything else. Plus, the only dudes there besides us are these super loud characters - Jerry & Jose’.
They were cool to begin with but really screwed me over with the girls. Having said this, I love both spiced rum and tequila, so I came to forgive them at a later date.
Pre-party Two: The train to the stadium
I'd been on many booze trains in my time, mostly in Australia, and a few in Germany during the world cup in 2006, but this is without a doubt the train trip I remember the least.
Pre-party three: Tailgate
An American tradition where the supporters of both teams get together outside the stadium, they have beers, a bbq and a generally ripping time.
I have flashes of chatting with different bbq groups and not a real solid memory of my mates.
Turns out they let me go early - not dissimilar to when Scar drops Mufasa. I was too much of a liability to look after and it wasn’t the first time.
So here I am, now responsive enough to tell the cops I'm sweet and they can let me go.
My reasoning is that I'm Aussie and if you pass out in Australia the cops just boot you till you get up and move along.
Unfortunately, this was MURICA!
You see the security guard who was obviously not trained in first aid, found me nestled under a car tyre, assumedly to find warmth.
The guy couldn't check a pulse, so he thought I was actually dead!
Yep, so I'd come back to life in front of him and thus the freaked-out reaction on his face.
I was pretty skinny at the time and had semi-long hair.
He probably thought I was Booze Jesus.
"We're not letting you go sir.”
“You've got two options. You either go with these fine gentleman (the ambos) or with me to the police station."
Now, I'd seen a lot of the American prison show Oz and I'd already escaped one potential violation. This along with a possible shanking didn't sound very appealing, so I opted for the ambulance.
Reluctantly, I was placed into the ambulance.
A few k's into the trip I suddenly had a horrible realisation that getting taken away in an ambulance was a disaster. AKA This was going to cost me a shed load.
Case in point - my American friend had been punched in the face out the front of a nightclub a few weeks earlier and tried to avoid the ambulance. They forced her in and without health insurance, she was hit with $13k for a five minute drive.
So it was about 45 minutes into my ride…
I'm continually asking how much it was going to cost with a waver in my voice. The ambulance officer was a legend and I believed him when he said he didn't know, but I could tell by the look on his face that I was going to get jammed harder than a Michael Jordan backboard.
I thought I'd best make the most of it and asked for a whistle to soften the blow.
I got nil whistles.
We arrive at the hospital and I'm pretty sweet at this stage. It's funny how something like that can sober you up.
I just needed to get a check-up and then I can be discharged. But only after a farken psychiatric assessment.
Wow! More dollars no doubt.
So in comes an over-tired female shrink with over-sized round glasses and my sarcasm begins to delay the process further.
I answer a few more questions and am eventually let go, grass still wedged in my hair.
But not before the thing I'd been dreading...
I approach the desk and over comes a nurse with a tonne of paperwork to fill out.
Here it is, the big old buffalo bill. I flick through and can't see a cost. Apparently, that will be with the bill, I'm told.
I get to the page to fill out the deets, and there before me is my name…
This isn’t my last name, it's a common mistake that's been made all my life.
It used to piss me off. Not anymore!!!
Actually, the only good thing New Zealand has ever done for me and this was glorious.
Later guys! A $90 karma cab later and I'm back with my mates at our hotel.
We laugh it off with a few "you dickheads" thrown about from both sides, but in honesty, it's something that still freaks me out today.
We assess our drinking on the regular when we take on 101 tokens. I wish I'd had this back then, because how I coped at the time was shaving my face. Essentially to change the idiot looking back at me in the mirror.
You laugh it off because you think there's no other way to cope. But you can tell this is a fake smile - a show for the boys
Evidently my catfish beard grew back by the end of the week and I was back to making mistakes. It took me a while to realise it was a really really bad play and the potential severity of the incident.
AKA: security doesn't find me > Game finishes > People don’t see me > I get run-over>
& food for thought. Most likely a harsh reality for many an idiot, I was just a lucky idiot.
I have a stack of stories that lead me to making a mindful change to my boozing and hopefully this inspires some people to think about joining a smart drinking community and improving themselves.
Wellington is 'mostly' locked away these days. But I'm not perfect, none of us are. He will forever be a reminder that being a clown while on the drink can really get you into big shit.