Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Year's Eve 1963

21 year old Ron Tipton passed out New Year's Eve - Ft. Meade, Maryland

Yes, that is yours truly in the picture above.  And yes, I am on the floor, barfing in a roaster pan.

Want to know the story behind this picture?  Sure you do!

The place is a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house in Glen Burnie, Maryland 1963.

I was in the Army and stationed at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.  The previous November I turned 21 years old and thus legal to drink.  I was due to get out of the Army January 27, 1963 after a three year enlistment.  What a better time to celebrate New Year's Eve.  Indeed!

I had purchased my first car shortly after my birthday in November.  I offered to drive my friends to the New Year's Eve party in Glen Burnie.  I was going to be the Big Man.  Oh yes,  Big Time Ron.

"Big Time Ron" back in the barracks (sans pants) 1962

So we get to the party which was attended by my Army buddies, most of whom were straight.  My friend Ron (yes, another "Ron") was my passenger.  Ron was also gay but we were both in the closet at that time so our gayness wasn't a factor this New Year's Eve.

I drive up to our friend's suburban house and park outside the driveway.  Ron and I go in their house and the party is already underway.  We brought booze with us.  I offered to start the drinks going.  I had a big bottle of vodka and orange juice.  I heard how you made a Screwdriver was a glass full of orange juice and a shot of vodka.

The first drinks I mixed I followed that recipe.  Tasted like orange juice to me.  Where was the kick?  So the next drink I filled the glass almost to the top with orange juice and put in TWO shots of vodka.  Still tasted like orange juice to me.  You DO KNOW where this is going don't you?

Fast forward to about an hour later and I'm filling my glass with vodka and putting ONE shot of vodka in my glass.  Oh it was so pretty to see the orange juice slowly sink to the bottom of my tall glass just like a lava lamp, albeit a deadly lava lamp.

After a few of these "screwdrivers" the last thing I remembered was shouting at the console TV in the living where everyone was watching for the New Year to come in.

My next memory was waking up on the floor with a blanket covering me, bright daylight, and my mouth felt like my Army battalion had bivouacked in it overnight.  OH MY GOD!

Then, THEN I tried to raise my head.  I felt like I had an anvil in my head.  I felt like my head was the Notre Dame belltower and Quasimodo was ringing the bells celebrating his plugging Esmeralda.

The way I felt "The Morning After"
Actually, I felt like Quasimodo.

I always heard getting drunk was FUN.  This wasn't FUN.  I felt like I was run over by a Sherman Tank.  My mouth....I was so thirsty.  And yet I couldn't imagine drinking anything.  The thought of anything going down my mouth and landing in my stomach made me retch.  WHERE WAS THE FUN?

I continued to lay on my friend's living room floor (thank God no one let me drive back to the base that night) until about two o'clock in the afternoon.

When I finally got up, with a throbbing head, I asked what happened. My friend's wife (said I became very "vocal" (I was very shy back in that day) and was shouting at the TV. Apparently (do you think?) I was a bit of a damper on the party because of my out of control behavior.  More embarrassment, she said not to worry.

She said I threatened to kick the TV screen in (this was one of those Fifties console TV's that was low to the floor).  She also said I was throwing up all over the place.  More embarrassment.  She said I finally passed out on the floor.  Someone (I wonder who?) took off my shirt and pants (which had vomit on it - just lovely) and laid a sheet in the middle of their living room floor, covered me with a blanket.  She said I was continuing to retch (nothing left to throw up) so they got a roasting pan out for me to throw up in.  I wonder if they ever roasted a turkey in that pan again.

They put me in the middle of the living room floor because they were afraid I was going to hurt myself (according to them I was lurching all over the place).  Someone took this picture of me in my shameful state as proof that I was BOMBED that night and made a complete ass of myself.  They said otherwise I would never have believed it.

They were right.  I wouldn't of believed it.  But here it is, the Proof Positive.  Ron Couldn't Handle His Booze.

This is the first time I've made this picture public.  I'm not embarrassed now.  I'm not proud of this picture but you know what?  I've never been drunk since.  Oh sure, I've had some "buzzes" on, in fact some pretty good buzzes but I've never been Falling Down Drunk since that New Year's Day 1963.

Know why?  It wasn't fun.  Lesson learned.

Me at my 50th Class Reunion October 7th, 2009 - and my friend The Martini
Two martini's gives me a good buzz - fun


anne marie in philly said...

yep, BTDT. 1973 and in college. once was enough to convince me to never get that loaded ever again.

Ron said...

Once was enough for me too Anne Marie! I could never make a good alcoholic.

Ur-spo said...

Scandalous reprobate living, at its worst! :-)

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
You want "scandalous reprobate living at its worst"? I dare not write about my New Year's Eve activities after I came out. Sizzling.

Hula Hank said...

I wish I could say that once was enough for me...

In my wilder days, I woke up in more DJ booths, street planters, rose bushes and bathroom floors than I care to mention.

Nowadays I try to limit it to waking up in a bed (not necessarily mine).

Let's hear about this scandlaous reprobate living at its worst!!

nitewrit said...


Fortunately I have never had that kind of experience nor a hangover. Now, I did almost kill my wife with a mixed drink. I read the recipe in the drink book. It said, "Eight parts whiskey to one park vermouth." I didn't know what "part" meant, so i concluded it must meant "shot". So I preceded to pour in eight shot glasses of whiskey and one shot class of vermouth, sprinkled this with a few shakes of Bitters and gave it to her. She drank it and a few minutes later felt sick. She staggered to the bathroom to throw up, passed out and banged her head against the toilet tank in her fall. She broke the toilet tank, but thankfully she was okay...when she came to.

I decided maybe a bar tending career wasn't my thing.