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Drunk Tank Hero: The True Story Of My Freshman Year

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drunk freshman

I started my freshman year a naïve Jewish kid from Long Island, and left as the kind of person your middle school health teacher told you not to become. Indiana University, famous party school, in a state where the drinking age might as well be twelve, and I thought I could come in and be a part of it. Don’t get me wrong: I am now, but, as I like to believe, no matter what your pledge master does to you, life is always gonna haze you the hardest.

Back when I was still a GDI, my buddies and I went to a “Gatsby” party dressed in some nice polos and expensive shoes like the tryhard freshmen that are supposed to be hated. It was one of those pay-at-the-door and get a stamp sort of things, but, without rush even happening yet, I had no other options. I drank the punch. I had some vodka. I had more punch. I was kicking a police car window.

Now I’m lying on the cold floor of a Monroe County Jail cell in what’s commonly referred to as the Drunk Tank. No windows, no clock; just me, four other college kids passed out on the floor, and a semi-awake stereotype of Indiana with a giant swastika tattoo on his arm. I was wearing a new Victor Oladipo jersey. I had no idea where it came from, as I didn’t even own an Oladipo jersey.

I was still a kid, yet my whole life seemed to flash before my eyes. I was thinking how I was gonna be spending the rest of my life working at a Burger King because of this, how I could never go to law school, how I would probably be forced to transfer to Suffolk Community College and leave all my friends behind. I puked as they were taking my mugshot. Since I’ve gotten out, I’ve searched everywhere online for it; it would be a hilarious picture to hang above my fireplace when I’m older. I also threw up on a corrections officer as I was getting my fingerprints taken. At least I got a little revenge. But in total, jail was nothing like Orange is the New Black. No ratchet lesbians hooking up, no smuggling cigs in my ass. Just puking and waiting.

I got bailed out. $600. My parents were mad, but they understood; I was a freshman. I got a lawyer. Apparently I was caught by the RAs, and when the police tried to subdue me, I was yelling how “you f*cking white trash hicks can’t do this, I am a big-nose k*ke from New York, and half my family are lawyers.” Maybe that’s why I also got a resisting arrest charge on top of the MIP and disorderly conduct. What they really should’ve charged me with was being a naïve freshman idiot who didn’t know his limits with alcohol.

But whatever happened that night is a part of life. It happens to the best of us. I like to tell myself that JFK, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Derek Jeter all got arrested for underage drinking. I don’t know if that’s true — I never looked it up — but it makes me feel better. My lawyer got me a deal where I did community service and the charges vanished, so if you live in Bloomington, thank me for the clean roads.

In other words, I’ve moved on. Later in the semester I rushed, pledged, and got initiated. I kept it secret; I didn’t want the brothers to know that I couldn’t handle my alcohol, but when they did find out after initiation it was all good. I’m a stand-up comedian and, to be honest, it makes great material. Even my parents joke about it. When I’m home for the summer, my mom refuses to make rigatoni alla vodka because I might end up back in jail.

When it comes to freshman year, you may wake up in your bed after a long night of drinking, you may end up in the drunk tank, you may end up without a kidney somewhere. Mistakes happen. Get them out of the way early so you don’t make them later on.

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