Alcohol is a weird thing. We like it because it loosens us up, tempers our inhibitions and makes it easier for us to deal with social situations that might be a little too overwhelming otherwise. We like that it makes us more fun. Or, at least, makes us think we’re more fun.

Alcohol affects people wildly differently. It makes some people want to fight. It makes some people want to fuck. It makes some people want to joust each other with lawn care equipment in shopping carts. No matter how it affects you, better or worse, there is one thing that anyone and everyone who has ever gotten intoxicated has experienced at least once: Regret.

Maybe it was something little, like telling an off colour joke at the office Christmas party that didn’t go over well, or getting unreasonably mad and yelling at someone for saying they don’t like Calvin & Hobbes. Maybe it was something big, like having sex with your sister’s husband, or driving your dad’s car off a pier. Maybe it was something really big, like taking over the music selection at a party and making everyone listen to a bunch of Doors songs.

Whatever it was, the awfulness of the next-morning hangover is compounded exponentially when you start to piece together what happened the night before and realize what you did. And that you’d better swallow your pride, like the eight shots of Jack you swallowed to get into this predicament, and apologize for it.

Apologizing for something you did when you were drunk can be an especially awkward apology, because in addition to the shame you feel about what you did, there’s already the built in shame that comes with just being that drunk to begin with, and the fact that your memory of it, if you indeed have any memory of it, is hazy at best, and you’re not really sure how bad it got.

So, with all of that in mind, I’d like to take the opportunity I have right now to apologize to some people for some of the stuff I’ve done while drunk in the last few years. I won’t mention any names, but you’ll know who you are.

Here it goes:

I am deeply regretful for my behaviour last night. I am sorry for arriving so late and for leaving so early without telling anyone. I’m sorry I disappeared for 45 minutes. Then came back soaking wet and got dirty water all over your carpet and couch. I’m sorry for urinating on the side of your house and off your balcony and in your potted plant and in the urn containing the ashes of whichever relative it contained. I’m sorry for forgetting which relative you said is contained in the urn on your mantel.

I’m sorry for forgetting your birthday. I’m sorry for passing out on your lawn. And your kitchen table. And the hood of your car. And in your dryer. I’m sorry for hitting on you shamelessly. In front of your boyfriend. That wasn’t cool. I’m sorry for hitting on your boyfriend shamelessly. And your sister. And your girlfriend. And all your girlfriend’s friends.

I’m sorry for accidentally urinating on your shoes. I’m sorry for accidentally stealing your shoes. I’m sorry for intentionally urinating into your shoes. For breaking that beer bottle on your kitchen floor, and that other one on your living room coffee table. I’m sorry for getting belligerent with your landlord when there was a noise complaint. I’m sorry for trying to hit your landlord. I’m sorry for hitting on your landlord.

I’m sorry for making you cry at your own party. And for getting the police called. And for daring your little brother to jump off the roof onto that trampoline. And for the hospitalization of your little brother. I’m sorry for hitting on your little brother.

I’m sorry I told you I’m in love with you. I am in love with you, but this isn’t the way I wanted you to find out. I’m sorry I lingered in that hug a lot longer than I should have. And for how much butt touching was involved in it. I’m sorry I ate more than my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I didn’t pay for my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I threw the pizza into the pool because it didn’t have the toppings on it that I’d wanted.

I’m sorry I flipped over the Scrabble board because you played a good word. I’m sorry I did that with the Monopoly board, too. And the Risk board. And the Sorry board. I’m not sorry I did it with the Settlers of Catan board. Though, seriously? You should be sorry for making me play that shit.

I’m sorry for defecating in your garage. That’s not acceptable, no matter how long the line-up for the bathroom. I’m sorry for those inappropriate phone calls. And text messages. And emails, Facebook messages, DMs, postcards, and the mural of us interlocked in the tender act of passionate love that I painted on the side of your parents‘ house. Marv and Judy were really cool about it, though. Tell them I say hi.

I think that covers everything. For now, anyway. I’m sure I’ll have to do another one of these before too long. I hope you understand and can accept my apologies and we can continue to be friends. Oh, and if you’re looking for an apology for something I drunkenly did during sex, that one’s coming privately in a binder in the mail. It’s a little too personal for this forum, and, frankly, the number of apologies I have to make for that couldn’t fit in an article of this length.


Photo by Johnny Scott

Yeah, maybe I’ll DJ your event. What does it pay? What’s the bar tab like? How about the MDMA tab?

Where is it, a club? I usually only do unannounced warehouse gigs. That’ll be an extra seven hundred. You have to take care of decorating, too. I don’t do “decorations.” Where is this club? It better not be somewhere big and central, with a big neon sign that just anyone can find. I don’t spin for just anyone. Just to get directions to this place people are going to have to complete an elaborate scavenger hunt that includes, but isn’t limited to, the deed to a squash court, a jar of giraffe’s breath and a pack of cigarettes they stole from their mom. I can tell if it’s a mom’s cigarette or not.

And there better be severed fingers involved to get in and get a stamp. I want every person who pays to get in here to know that the show they’re seeing is worth more than one of their fingers, and they’re lucky to be here. Actually, make people cut off the fingers of the people they arrive with. I want best friends to be looking into each others’ eyes and crying as they chop off the other’s pinky, so they never forget the magnitude of one of my shows. Oh, but I also need a 200 person guest list for my friends. My friends are too cool to show up to stuff that I don‘t get them into for free.

Now, what I do on stage is an art, so I need to be left uninterrupted for the whole two hours I play. Except when I’m being brought my free drinks and free MDMA, which I expect every five minutes and every half hour respectively. I expect there to be a row of security armed with tasers in front of the stage at all times to stop anyone who tries to request a “song”. I don’t play “songs”. I play mind-altering electro soundscapes that will challenge, like, the perception you have of what music, like, is. Except I do play some Kanye songs, too. It’s all part of my art. You wouldn’t get it even if I tried to explain it.

But for the sake of what’s written on the posters, which of course you’ll be designing, printing, and putting up — at a height of no less than nine and a half feet — yourself, I play Miami Shuck Jive, but not Miami Shuck Juke. What do you think this is, 2012? Ha! Also, I do underground dub-dick jungle mixes, not underground dub-dick jungle remixes. I’m not a fucking hack. Other styles I’ve been known to dabble in are Chicago hitchhike, Elektra dadfuck, chillwave noisechunk, and Salt Lake City bassdrone polyfunk.

There better be a whole lot more chicks at this party than dudes, because I plan on getting mad laid. Put out some big troughs full of water for them to drink from, because they’re going to be pretty dehydrated from all the drugs they’re doing. Fill the water with drugs, though, too, because they’re probably not going to be doing enough for my liking. I don’t have a real job or dress well, so I need a chance with some ladies who are halfway to the moon and back on ketamine and see me standing behind a laptop on a stage, otherwise this carefully constructed illusion of cool that I’ve constructed just crumbles.

So, yes, if these basic conditions can be met, I will hold up my end of the bargain. My end of the bargain, which may seem on the surface like simply showing up and turning on a computer, but which is really so much more. Because you need me. You need me there to not simply play music that people want to hear, like a band or satellite radio would do, but to play the music that I know people should be listening to, whether they like it or not. Right?

Well, you need me there to bring in crowds of entitled suburban white nineteen-year-olds who have spent all the money daddy gave them for the weekend on their American Apparel outfit for the night and won’t buy more than one drink because they split a 26 of vodka in the parking lot and can’t handle their alcohol even at the best of times. No?

Okay, well, my car seats four and I can give some people a ride there.


Photo by Sicran via Flickr

When I was about 12 years old I was climbing a particularly tall tree in my neighbourhood and, after reaching a never before achieved height and looking down proudly at all which lay below me, a branch buckled and I fell from the tree. As my panicked brain tried to process what had happened, branches assailed me from all sides, and the ground rushed up at me, my life flashed before my eyes. At that point my life consisted mainly of pooping and trying to see ladies’ boobs, but it was all there. With a lot less boobs than I’d have liked.

I was snatched from the waiting maw of death, though, by an especially sturdy branch about six feet from the ground, which the hood of my jacket happened to snag on, and I hung there for a few minutes letting the entirety of the situation sink in. I realized even then that this was something I’d never forget.

So it frustrates me to see so many parents today coddling and over-sheltering their kids. How are children supposed to learn valuable life lessons and grow to have a knowledge of actions and their consequences? If you don’t let a child run around and play outside because you’re afraid they’ll scrape their knee, how are they supposed to ever really learn about safety? About pain and how to cope with it? If you don’t let a kid jump off a tire swing into a lake, how will they ever learn about the exhilaration of taking bold risks? And the rewards that can come from taking them, like landing on a fat, juicy trout? If you never let a child choke themself until they pass out, how will they learn the delicacy required to do it later in life when they’re also in the throes of orgasm?

The tree incident could have ended very badly for me, but it was that very danger of harm that helped shape me into the man I am today. A man with an intense hatred for trees, and habitual and criminal attempts to burn down national parks.

Entire generations of kids are being raised to be weak-willed, meek, scared, politically correct adults who will never know the simple joys of eating an entire tray of cheese cubes on a whim, boxing a kangaroo, or having sudden, unprotected sex with someone you just met, who just 45 seconds before you had been physically struggling with over a cracked onyx panther statue you had both climbed into the same dumpster to retrieve.

When I was falling from the top of that tree, I wasn’t thinking, “What have I done? Why didn’t I just stay inside with my Pokemans, or whatever kids are playing with these days?” I was thinking “I did it. I may fall to my untimely death without seeing a whole lot of boobs, but I set out to climb to the top of that tree, and, by gol, I did it. I climbed as high as my soul could carry me, and slapped the face of God Himself with my little, embarrassing child-dick.” (I was a precocious lad)

So, parents, let your children run free. Let them play and have fun and discover all that life has to offer; the good and the bad. Let them get lumps on their heads and dislocate their shoulders and pop an eye out of its socket and lose a few fingers. They may be in pain for a while now, but you’re doing them far more harm in the long run keeping them cooped up and coddled.

I wonder sometimes what kind of man I would have ended up being if I hadn’t had the freedom to fall out of that tree. Likely not the adventurous, risk-taking, barrier-busting dynamo I did turn out to be. Possibly still emotionally crippled and afraid of intimacy, though. And the whole waking up every night screaming thing is kind of a toss up. Maybe wouldn’t have punched that street performer yesterday.

But one thing is for certain; the next time an opportunity to do something awesome comes along, I won’t balk at it just because I could potentially get hurt. Life is meant to be lived, and when I finally do die as a result of some harebrained caper, I don’t want there to be any regret in the scenes of the movie of my life flashing before my eyes. Although at this point it’s still mostly just pooping and trying to see ladies’ boobs. And I really haven’t seen as many boobs as I’d like.


Photo by Sean Perkins

I’m going to Hell. At this point there’s no two ways about it, no changing my blasphemous ways, no making up for past transgressions, no last minute deathbed recantations. I’m a sinner, and that’s that. I’ve done some pretty heinous and sacrilegious things in my life, and I’ll be punished for them in the afterlife.

But, you may ask, how can I truly believe in something so unabashedly superstitious and fanciful as Hell in this age of learnedness and scientific enlightenment? I’m a pretty smart guy, you might say. What makes me so convinced that Hell is real and that I’m destined for it? The answer to that is because I’ve visited it.

It happened to me unexpectedly, as we quickly approach Good Friday in this inauspiciously marked year of 2013. I had just stolen an armful of day-old loaves of bread from a corner bakery and was slinking my escape through a nearby alley, when I was suddenly confronted by two stray, feral cats and a mangy, rabid bitch. As I fled my loping four-legged pursuers, slices of bread littering my panicked trail, I began to wildly evaluate the questionable choices that had led me to this climactic moment in my life and, should I be unable to evade these vicious beasts, what these choices I had sown would mean when it came time to reap.

Seeking cover in a damp hedge, I appeared to have lost the hairy harriers, but I had nary a moment to recall my wits before exhaustion overtook my frenzied mind and I swooned. When I came back to myself I was no longer within the muddy confines of the bushes, but standing at the foot of a twisted, towering gate. I became acutely aware of the lingering smell of patchouli, and the faint sound of a Barenaked Ladies song being piped in from somewhere. A man in a patchwork cloak, worn corduroy trousers, and a tattered top hat who introduced himself to me as Verge explained to me that these were the gates of Hell, and he was here to take me on a tour of what was in store for me.

The lobby of Hell was huge and had no seating. My guide explained to me that it was from this first room that the temperature in all of the other rooms in the entirety of Hell was regulated. The walls were lined with hundreds of thousands of thermostats, each one of them being squabbled over loudly by a bitter middle-aged couple for all eternity. I shuddered and begged to be taken away from this horror.

That was the first level of Hell, it was explained to me as we boarded an elevator full of stone-faced men and women in business suits forever unwilling to claim responsibility for the unwavering stench of coffee farts that hung heavy in the air. The Barnaked Ladies song was louder now. There were nine levels in all, I was told, and I was to visit them all as a grim prelude to what I would suffer through for all of my mortal wrongdoings.

Taco Hell

What followed is almost too horrific to recount. An inescapable labyrinth with the constant smell and sound of frying bacon but all that can be found is raw cauliflower. A room black as pitch where all those that you so longed to see unclothed in the world of the living taunt you mercilessly with their nakedness. A vast pet store filled with puppies even more adorable than those of the surface of the earth, but all you can afford are bagged fish. A ghoulish multiplex theatre that only shows Nicolas Cage movies, but never The Rock or Con Air. A waiting room with only golf and bridal magazines from 2004 where the sending text meter on your iPhone constantly gets stuck just before completion. A never ending dinner table full of distant relatives asking what’s going on in your life. One level was just a Taco Bell.

Then, the deepest and most terrible level of all, where a demonic PA system pumps out the bilious strains of ‘American Pie’ on a continuous loop, the cancerous chamber of Satan himself. The Prince of Darkness is half encased in ice, his hideous visage a melding of three ugly, hate-marked faces, each spewing vile, guttural syllables that I only half understood and which made me weep and retch. One face discussed the results of last night’s hockey game, a second the results of last night’s football game, a third the results of last night’s baseball game.

I awoke, screaming, back in the hedge. I ran home. Had that all been real? Just a dream? I scrolled through the flood of meme pictures in my Facebook feed. I turned on my television and began flipping through the various reality show recaps and news blitzes. It was then that I truly realized there was no doubt that Hell existed.


Photo by Gregory Jordan via Flickr