Instead, I made a weak play, HEH, and being 27 points down didn't look so bad. But then Dominic Grillo got his third natural, TOUSLED. I mistakenly guessed that it had to be in the top 2000, a list I knew with a high degree of confidence. After the lost turn, the game was pretty much a lost cause. I did in fact bingo again, and the second shot burned a little more than the first. But the first had not had that much effect, partly because of the time elapsed since second bingo, and partly because of my full stomach.
When I had earlier made the decision to visit the new Starbucks in West Chester, I'd been a little worried that I wouldn't have time for a good breakfast. Jim had said the trip from his place was about 45 minutes. If that bore out, I'd have just enough time, but I'd be cutting it close. Thankfully, I passed a Manhattan Bagel along route 3 on the way. In addition to my usual bagel sandwich, I also ordered a blueberry muffin for additional insulation from the alcohol. I've never liked sweet and sour chicken, or pineapple on my pizza, but the sweetness of the muffin alternated with the saltiness of the bacon actually made for an interesting combination.
I only bingoed once against Richard Julian, but at 130 points for CERVIXES that was all I needed. But even though I followed that play up with 54 for JuRAT, I gave up some equity, let Richard get close, and only won by 34--shoulda been closer to 100.
CERVIXES for 130 made the rest of the game a lot easier, and I was glad my rules had specified a shot per bingo, not per high-scoring play, because after the third shot I was feeling really sick. Fortunately, the effect soon faded. Water helped.
It occurred to me after the game that if I was going to get a head start on macking on the teen, now was the time, since I could use my drunkedness as an excuse. The countdown until she turned sixteen had started to get old like back when we the entire country did it for Mary-Kate and Ashley, and I was getting anxious. Anyway, people always forgive whatever you do when drunk, except driving, or dialing.
...I'm Ducking Five-Year Probation
By the time I settled into my third game, I was undeniably drunk. I was a little surprised, because I'd only had three shots in two hours, and on a full stomach. At least I didn't have a headache, thanks to acetaminophen, and to Connie Creed. The night before, she had had a group of us over for dinner and Scrabble. The "mouse loaf" was excellent, the dog Buddy was devious and amusing, but what I appreciated most was that the house was so spacious that Connie and her husband never noticed that I had sneaked myself behind a sofa when I ostensibly left. It was a tight space, but I managed to sleep well enough. The only downside was that I was woken by the shar-pei licking my face.
Two bingos in that third game, the first being LAGERED, which prompted Stefan to give me a strange look. In my drunken state, I thought maybe it was a phony. Later, I asked Stefan about the look and he said it was because I'd picked the least common of the two anagrams. It wasn't until days later that it occurred to me that maybe the look was because LAGERED could conceivably a synonym for "drunk".
My second was an 111-point ATOMIZE, which got me back into the game after my opponent's 93-point TASTIER/FAQUIRS. The rest of the game could have gone either way, but I was helped by the fact that my opponent kept trying to set up a bingo, and the blanks were the last two tiles in the bag. So even though my opponent bingoed out with INgrAINS, I had built up enough of a lead to maintain my win.
I'm not sure if my opponent noticed the two shots I took, but she did notice that I finished one bottle of water and had Stefan get me another. I'd go through half of that one before losing track of it and having to get a third, and then a fourth. Later, Stefan would say that a real man would have taken the shots without the water. Well, I'll be waiting for Stefan to try the same thing. Since he had bingoed like eight times in the first three or four games I think, he would been hurting.
After the game I went over to my opponent and told her that LAGERED was good. I leaned in really close, whispering because other games were still in progress. She said she had held because she she knew LAAGERED. I felt a sudden urge to... to... Hmmm... No matter how you phrase certain things, they might end up hurting someone's feelings. And even though I don't mention the person, there's always some asshole who'll look it up and tell the person. Fortunately, if I just write I felt a sudden urge... and it's not that she was... and my tastes run towards... and it's just that I was... I should be able to figure it out in the future, when I write that book.
The Most Valuable Lunch Break Ever
Almost stumbled into The King (no, not the one from the burger joint) on the way back to my computer. He either didn't notice me or pretended not to notice.
I had the urge to hug, kiss, or grope pretty much every female that came into my sight, with a few exceptions. It's a good thing most of them left for lunch. And to laugh. It was hard resisting the urge to burst out laughing.
Oh, you cocksucker Dominic, LUMINATE* is no good!!! Oh, but then, PILON* isn't either.
I couldn't find my water. My second water. I just grabbed one, figuring it was mind, and then I noticed lipstick. Ooooh, not my water!
Fourth bathroom trip, hard to stay on my feet, swaying back and forth.
My relief for the 90 minute break before we resumed cannot be overstated. I drank so infrequently that relatively few shots, only five, fucked me up, and I needed as much time as possible to recover. I figured that by 4:00 I'd be okay, and I had plenty of leftover beans, rice, and plantains to cover me for the afternoon. I did think I tasted something funny though. I had left the container in the car since the temperature was suppose to drop around 40. I had no choice, though, everyone had already left for lunch and I couldn't drive (or walk much either).
Fifth bathroom break, feeling steadier. Not at 100% though.
A certain player came back from lunch, and she was looking mighty fine. I had to resist the urge to sidle up to her from behind, hold her close, and press my manhood into the back of her jeans. But that wouldn't have been... appropriate.
I commented to Stefan and Mitchell Brook that when I got drunk I had the urge to hump anything. Mitch started to ease away, and I qualified my statement to females only.
Sixth bathroom break, urine almost completely clear, near as I could tell.
I did not manage to finish my leftovers before David Lieberfard indicated he was ready to play and Matt called out "Play Scrabble!" That was okay, though--it was probably better to space the food out anyway rather that get all full. I went ahead and downed the DoubleShot I'd bought at the Starbucks earlier to counteract the depressive effects of the liquor. Finally, I took two more pills as a preventative measure.
Against David, who ruined my 7-0 in my Bayside breakout, it wouldn't have mattered if I had been amped up on Matt Graham's brain pills, let alone under the influence, given the tiles that I drew after my big blunder. I was so worried about whether LAT was good when I tried ARISTAE that I totally missed WA*. The only real line had been an open N, and David blocked it. Playing off the A pretty much guaranteed a bingo, but I was still down 57, and with the crappy tiles I drew for the rest of the game I ended up down 203.
Can't remember exactly when, but it was Cecilia who asked the salient question--how was the alcohol affecting my place. It was hard to say. Clearly, in my first game, the alcohol hadn't kicked in enough, and the mistakes I made I pretty knew I'd make drunk or sober. WA* against Lieberfarb is a harder one. I certainly make that type of mistake every now again, but would I have made it at that particular time had I been sober? Either way, I have no regrets--I am very happy with 4-3, and I have no immediate ratings goals to achieve. Mark Miller asked if I was going to try and reach 1800 by June to qualify for Division 1 at the NSC, and I replied that no, not really. I mean, I'd certainly try to do my best at BAT, but I don't think I'm yet an 1800 player, so I'd basically have to get lucky.
Bathroom = 7.
Not a bingo, but still a freaky word I could have played against David's opening PUT, BUNRAKU to the U. A good BKU dump I suppose.
Behold the Bold Soldier
As bad as my game against David was, the fact that I only bingoed once, plus lunch, surely helped me against Steve Oliger. But I bet it was really the fact that in the days before the tournament, I had finally disabused myself of the notion that CEEIOST = ECOSITE* and learned the true anagram. I actually though of COSIEST when I saw CEIOSST on my rack, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't even bother look for a spot hook before spotting the open E and playing the bingo I was more sure of. Evie-Stee noticed me taking the shot (I think all my other opponents had been oblivious) and commented that he had thought I was joking. Well, actually, when I made the post, I had been joking, but in the couple of days between then and the tournament I had decided to make life imitate art.
After my game against Steve I rushed to the bathroom, where I almost tipped over. Then I remembered I hadn't taken my shot after REJOINEd. I went ahead and took it right away and I hoped that I wouldn't be have to disqualify myself. Cecilia said I should take two. Umm... no!!!
The two shots from that fifth game had really fucked me up, and I played an absolutely horrible game against Diana Grosman. I drew seven power tiles, but I squandered the X and botched my Q play, and I made too many dinky plays when I had better options and trailed for most of the game. I had the game lost, and only dumb luck in drawing AVEnGES to bingo out for 95 won me the game. Gotta luck that love factor! Had I been Diana, I would have been pissed.
I think I annoyed her even more by grumbling about my draw. She replied that I had nothing to complain about. In truth, I couldn't remember even having complained, so I slurringly conceded the point. Later, when looking at my scoresheet, I realized that like AMC there was a reason for my grumbling--my early racks sucked: AIIIOOS (exchange), CGRRRSW (exchange), EIISTYW (weak YETI for 13), AEIIISW (weak IWIS for 7). Then I drew the X and the game improved, but my weak YETI had set Diana up for SKINS, 42, and I proceeded to trail until my out bingo. I think I had reason to complain--I mean, if you're drunk, the least the tile gods could offer is several natural bingos in a row, right?
So, amazingly enough, I got to 4-2, the (small) part of my mind that wasn't totally fucked up had a brief thought about the ratings boost that 5-2 would yield. A very brief thought, because, like I said, most of my mind was gone, and I was totally blown out by Bobbie Buttery Nipple, oops, I mean Butterfield. So much so that, after the game, I couldn't remember if I had taken the shot after my one bingo. Heck, I can't even remember what that bingo was. Jim said I had taken the shot, and I guess I'll never know if he was just telling me that to save me from having to take another shot. Besides the bingo, I can't remember the game ending, or signing the scorecard, or what happened to the scorecard. Don't remember much about that game really.
What I do remember is that about halfway through, the liquor finally caught up with me and had to rush to the bathroom and assume a kneeling position. I remember that I was low on time, and as I heaved again and again, I kept thinking that I needed to hurry up and get it all out before I went over on time. I also remember an intact acetaminophen tablet, and I now regret that I didn't have the presence of mind to wash it off and save it. Waste not, want not!
I had scheduled a tentative appointment with my Philadelphia masseuse, contigent on my being able to make it to 3rd and Lombard. Jim, who had showed up at the last minute but found the field even, had returned and observed my progress during the final game. He probably remembers more about the game than I do. Anyway, he agreed to give me a ride over to 3rd, but that was a good 40 blocks away from my car.
Stefan and Terry agreed to help me out, but they wanted to stick around for the awards and Jim wanted to leave, so I told him to go on, we'd figure it out. Meanwhile, I had other worries. As Matt was beginning his announcements, I felt the second "wave" come over me, and I had to rush to the bathroom again. I made it inside the door in time, but not quite to the toilet, so after my second prayer session, I had to clean up the floor too.
The Driving Lesson
Stefan can't drive a stick shift. Terry said she sort of could. Cecilia could, and I immediately thought we had figured it out until I realized that her car was a stick shift, so that didn't help. Finally we (or I, I can't remember) decided that I would coach Terry while Stefan followed. The details are fuzzy, but there was a lot of gear grinding and stalling out. I kept trying to walk Terry through the steps, "Press down on the clutch, put it in first, ease up off the clutch as you step on the gas." However, I kept saying "...step on the break". I'm sure that didn't help, but Terry figured it out enough for us to jerkily make it from my parking space on Locust to 42nd, then past stop signs and lights to Chestnut, and then right on Chestnut. After a light or two, I decided that we were probably better off if I just took us down to 4th. It was a straight shot and I'd be going no faster than 25-30 MPH. The actually danger was nil, but I still had to avoid getting pulled over. Terry asked how impaired I was, and I couldn't really answer, but I could certainly shift gears a lot more smoothly. Later, after we parked, Stefan, who hadn't realized we had switched, said he had worked why the jerky motion had stopped all of a sudden.
After my massage, I walked back to the car and promptly crawled into the back, fervently hoping that I could manage to fall asleep for a few hours before I had to use the restroom (given all the water I'd had). Shortly before midnight I awoke and felt well enough to drive to find some food. Food was essential, given that I'd only had breakfast and lunch, and then lost most of my lunch. I think I thought I felt okay to drive. At least short distances, slow. All I had to do was make a left on South, then a left on Front, then a right on... and then a right on Columbus to the Wawa. My head didn't hurt, nor was I dizzy, but still when I saw the cop car turn on his lights ahead of me and run through the red light I perked up. Nah, I wasn't really worried. I was sober enough. The very fact that I could pull up to the Wawa without cracking up uncontrollably for the name was proof enough. "Wawa"--what a hoot!
I thought maybe a power bar and banana or something, but then I noticed they were serving hot meals. Even though I didn't feel particularly hungry, I knew in the wee hours I'd be suffering hunger pangs and would be better off eating as much as possible. Mostly sober I might have been, but sane? That was another question. Because nobody sane would seriously consider a meal from a convenience store like Wawa, not real food like mashed potatoes and roast pork. Naw, I really shouldn't diss on my man Wawa like that. It's not that it was bad, or obviously fake or nothin like that. It's just that I couldn't bring myself to believe that a convenience store would serve real food.
Still the "mashed potatoes" surely contained starch, which probably helped get me through the night.
At some point I remembered that I might have had the high bingo at 130. I had never bothered to check. Ah, probably not, not in Division 1.
I sat there and ate and debated whether to go up to Delilah's on Spring Street or not. I knew I was already going to be hurting for sleep, but I wanted to let myself settle down a bit more before getting on the free way. But I didn't really want to drive north, away from Maryland, even a few miles. Barbara had told me about another club near the Wawa. She thought it had been called Richie's or something like that. She was a little confused--it was actually Club Risque, which I had visited about eighteen months earlier after my first Philly tourney, but left after being ignored by all the dancers for 30 minutes, concluding the the club was lame. As I debated, some of the pork and potatoes must have made it through my system, because I had a mad urge for the toilet. The Wawa didn't have one, aarrghh!!! The next closest place was Show N Tel, an adult book store/club/peep show. It cost a couple of bucks to get in, and I don't like to pay for the "privilege" of using the restroom, but I had to do what I had to do. I just pretended I was in Europe.
I decided not to drive to Delilah's and give Club Risque another chance. It wasn't so lame after all, except for when they played Janet Jackson, and by the time I left shortly before two I felt fine on the freeway, and not that sleepy even.
By the time I rolled into the parking lot adjacent to work it was around 5:00 AM. I was actually glad for daylight savings time, because it meant it would stay darker later. I had to sleep 'til at least 10:00 if I was going to be able to function. Around 7:00 it was light out, but the sun had not yet risen. An hour later, I could see the sun, and light was starting to stream into the car. An hour later, it was hitting me right in the face, and I hit upon a new idea. I used one of the cases of Tradewinds tea
I decided to just wait until 11:00, lunchtime, to have breakfast, and went into the office for an hour. I could barely notice the headache, but at 11:06 when I bent over to pick up my backpack I felt pressure in my forehead and some dizziness. I was reminded of the last time I had been drunk, in 2003. Coincidentally enough, Scrabble had also been the reason then, but in a different way. A girl I'd met online had invited me over to her place after dinner and suggested playing Scrabble, and also stopping to pick up some Jose Cuervo. I made up some wacky rules involving the letters in "JOSE CUERVO", and I spotted her around 100 points, but I didn't really care the Scrabble. I just wanted to see if she would... well, to put it politely, how far she'd go when she got drunk.
I took a long lunch so I could finish composing my log. I was anxious to boast of my drunk-ass 4-3 achievement. I also continued simming my games, and I noticed that the writing on my scoresheets became slightly worse with each subsequent game, and then dramatically worse during my final game against Bobbie (the one where I lost it). Go figure.
I left work early to catch up on sleep. On the drive down, I had an image of the half-empty bottle of Rumpleminze in my mind that I'd given to Stefan, and just thinking of the drink gave me a sick feeling in my stomach.
Later, I was feeling a little hungry, and I was flabbergasted to find that I was I actually had a mild craving for that roast pork and mashed potatoes from Wawa. Nooooooooo!!!
Holy, crap! Even though I beat Oliger by 96, I gave up some serious equity towards the end there--I think the alcohol definitely had an effect in my playing YETI here. Right? I couldn't possibly have missed the right play when sober, right? Right? I hope not.
Average Equity Loss Per Turn
2 - 12.5
3 - 5.7
4 - 6.5
5 - 5.2
6 - 10
7 - I have no idea; scorecard riddled with errors.