Many of you have asked me why I don’t drink. I could say that it is because pills are so much better but that would only be half the answer. The other half comes in hundreds, maybe thousands, of individual reasons. The Cake Incident is but one of those reasons.
Costa Rica is a lush subtropical paradise replete with an amazing array of wildlife, beautiful jungles with lush flora and fauna and white sand beaches that boast the best surf in Central America. It was in this idyllic setting that I almost either became a political prisoner, minus the politics, or became Jaguar kibble and bits. And bits. And bits. –Sorry, that was probably an OCD thing where I had to type all that because that was how it sounded in my head and if you all didn’t ‘hear’ it the way I did then the world would suffer a zombie apocalypse. And I didn’t want to be the cause of that.
We had been there for a week, surfing, almost dying while surfing, doing coke, playing with the monkeys and drinking excessively. Well I had anyway, my wife pretty much lay in the sun and did respectable people’ things. By this time I could tell that my hard vacationing lifestyle was beginning to take its toll and make her irritated and ragey. I figured it out by the way she was yelling at me and telling me to go pet the poison darts frogs and feed the coral snake. Because I’m perceptive like that.
I decided to go down to the beach and have a few more vodkas while I ate my dinner of the little green olives that came with my vodkas while I figured out how to make her stop wanting to kill me. Not drinking was too easy, it never would have worked. After a few more drinks I forgot what I was trying to figure out and went home in a ‘spectacular’ mood. By ‘spectacular’ I mean obliviated. But when I got home Wifey was all murdery again just because it was 3am, like I’m somehow responsible for the linear qualities of time and space. – I wasn’t responsible for that but I don’t think she ‘understood’ that.
That’s when it dawned on me like a cartoon thought bubble, “She loves chocolate and she loves cake! Both chocolate and cake seem to make her more happy and less murdery! If I could find her an amalgamation of the two, a chocolate cake if you will, she’ll be powerless against the delightful concoction! Not only will she forget about murder but she’ll probably turn into a motherfucking leprechaun and lead me to a basket of blood diamonds!” –I’m not really sure why I thought the last part; I get weird and delusional when I’m that drunk. Then I realized that I had seen such a cake while I drank vodka and she ate dinner the day before, and so I knew I had my solution.
It was without word or warning that I set out upon my quest to subdue Wifey with a chocolate cake, and possibly find a cashe of ill-gotten diamonds in the process. The only problem was that due to my inability to manipulate time it was now past 3am and I had very little motor control or brain power left in my arsenal.
I made my way through the jungle paths that connected our cottage with the rest of the hotel and the restaurant. After getting lost a few times and falling down a few times I finally found the open air restaurant. It was pitch black and completely deserted. This didn’t faze me at all. I simply climbed the little fence that separated the kitchen from the restaurant, fell down, climbed it again, then fell down on the inside part. I rummaged through a few refrigerators until I found the ‘forgiveness cake’ for Wifey and a bunch of cooked hamburger patties for me. I was already stealing food; I might as well have a bite too, right? So I sat on the kitchen floor and ate hamburger patties covered in ketchup until I started to feel sick. I then threw the cake (which was in a box) over the fence and somehow managed to get back over it myself.
I tried to make my way back to Wifey with my noble gesture but I got lost and felt sick, so I decided to fall into the weeds of the jungle 10 feet off the path and pass out until security from the hotel found me.
My plan worked to perfection. They also apparently knew how I’d come upon the crushed box of cake on my chest as well, due to the well placed and monitored security cameras throughout the property. After yelling at me in Spanish they brought me to my cottage and made Wifey promise not to let me out again that night.
I’m really lucky that they found me at all and even luckier that they didn’t have me arrested but they’re probably used to drunk people trying to steal cake for their pissed off wives. They didn’t let her have the cake though, even after all my effort. I’ll bet they were ‘on the take’ and ate the crushed up cake and that’s why they let me off, now that I think about it.
Afterward she seemed twice as murdery for some reason. Probably because she got screwed out of her cake by the dirty security men and it made her bitter. So in the spirit of compromise I promised to cut down a little, and did, for the rest of the trip.
That’s one reason that I don’t drink anymore; because it severely impairs my ability to steal cake.
In 1999 I was making good money from both the turnpike job and from being a bookie. I had also been on a string of good luck for the past several months. So I started getting really reckless with my gambling.
What could go wrong?
The problem with gambling is that when you win it all tends to go to strippers, coke and vacations dancers, rum and cokes and vacations. But when you lose it comes out of your pocket. But since I was a bookie, I usually had a lot of leeway.
The roller coaster week in question I was up close to 15k, counting what I figured people were going to owe me by the end of the week. That’s when I got greedy. I put 20k on something…maybe the Toronto Baptist Bible College’s badminton team… I can’t remember. I do remember thinking to myself, “Holy shit I’m going to be rich! I am the best and smartest gambler in the history of gambling! They are going to make movies about me and everyone is going to be like, “That Scott is the best gambler ever!” at the end! I’ll bet Scorsese will make me look cool…probably get Johnny Depp to play me. No, he’d probably want me to play me! My mind sure does use a lot of exclamation points! After I win this I’ll be up 30 fucking thousand dollars and I’ll buy tons of coke rum and cokes and all the strippers will stand back in awe of my ability to ‘make it rain.’ Maybe I’ll buy a Mercedes and a helicopter (I was never good at knowing my financial boundaries). Or I’ll buy 50 thousand (horrible math again) remote control helicopters and drop money and coke rum and cokes on all the strippers in Pittsburgh! I am so fucking awesome!”
But I lost.
I guess the Toronto Baptist Bible College got out badmintoned that day.
Then people who I thought were going to lose (and owe me) ended up winning. As I was now down serious money and drunk on adrenaline and vodka, mostly vodka, I made a few more bets that would have made window lickers stop licking their respective windows just long enough to comment on how stupid these bets were.
And I ended up down over 15k.
I thought to myself, “Fuck.”
The inside of my brain began to feel itchy, greasy and panicky. But I knew I had a way out because I am the legendary, genius gambler who Martin Fucking Scorsese is someday going to make a movie about. I just had to find a sure thing, double down and win my money back.
So pushing aside any uncertainty and fear, I adeptly convinced myself that I’d found an Absolute Sure Thing akin to ‘eggs are good for you’ or ‘Jesus Christ is a staunch republican who goes to gay marriages just to spit on the cake and shake his head disapprovingly,’ and put 15K on the Lakers who were giving 4 points to Portland in the NBA playoffs. Shaq and Kobe were finally starting to gel like some coagulated love-juice of unknown origin stuck to a giant purple and yellow dildo under a bunkbed at the Los Angeles YMCA in 1972.
Still, after I called it in I got itchy and sweaty again. Since I had to work that night I figured that I’d wait until the second half to check on the score. By that time I was sure that the Lakers would be up by 87 points and Kobe would have stabbed Scotty Pipen’s ego in the face with a floury of humiliating dunks.
I was in my tollbooth patiently helping customers figure out what combination of quarters came closest to 50 cents when I finally turned on my little 7 inch plastic TV.
And saw that the Lakers were down 18 points late in the 3rd quarter.
I gently ripped my poor little plastic TV out of it’s cute little cubbyhole and slammed it into the ground. I began stomping it while tears of rage were streaming down my face. During the next 15 minutes I wept, cleaned up the tiny pieces of plastic from my poor little murdered TV, threw up violently in the trash can, wept, took out the pukey trash can and told my boss I had to go home.
I then drove towards home in a semi blackout. I remember turning on my car radio to hear that the Lakers were still down 13 points and it was now the 4th quarter. I remember trying to stab my car radio to death with a Bic pen while still furiously weeping, then trying to clumsily punch the radio and making my hand bleed. I remember throwing up (mostly) out the window while driving 90 mph down the highway.
When I got to my exit I stopped at a local bar to drink myself to death. I ordered 5 shots of vodka on ice and tried my hardest not to weep or puke anymore in public while chugging the Stoli rather stoically. I ordered another.
I noticed that the game was on at the bar. Before I could pick up my chair to throw at the TV, I saw that the Lakers were now, magically and miraculously up 3 with only 2 or 3 seconds on left the clock and Shaq at the free throw line. Without boring those of you who don’t follow basketball, Shaq was about as good at free throwing as Israel is at hosting regattas.
I remember making lots of promises to God in those next few moments. Promises involving doing fewer strippers and coke rum and coke related activities and doing more soup kitchen volunteering and kitten rescuing related activities.
I know that at that point I would have allowed Shaq to anally rape me at mid court at the Forum to a standing ovation while the loudspeakers were playing We Will Rock You by Queen, if he managed to just drop those two shots.
I don’t know if Shaq heard my desperate thoughts and thought to himself, “I’ve never raped a small white man in the ass… that might be fun,” or if God just doesn’t want strippers to go to college but Shaq made both shots, completing the most improbable and unlikely end to a sporting event since Cindy Lauper forced Andre The Giant to perform fellatio on her at Wrestlemania in 1985.
Anyway, I got out of it. God only knows what kind of misfortune would have befallen me had I lost….but it probably would have involved at least some form of unpleasantness combined in some way with assholes.
Since that day I’ve been a hell of a lot more cautious with my bets. And now I only tip strippers enough to pursue their GED. And no more coke ….or rum even.
And I hope Shaq doesn’t read this.