I guess just about every southern boy feels like it’s his patriotic duty to drink Southern Comfort at some point in his young life. That sickly sweet concoction with the friendly label that's hard to resist. I guess that’s why Rob knows so many folks with a Southern Comfort story to tell. And, as he points out, most of them don’t involve repeat performances.
Do you think it’s really possible for a company to stay in business by only supplying the once in a lifetime alcohol experience from hell to teenagers?
I’m no different. Hell, I probably wore a Confederate kepi when I drank that shit, not to mention yelling a few “yee-haws” and a couple of “git nekkids” for good measure. I chose for my comfort experience a new years eve somewhere in the mid seventies.
It was cold, of course, and my pard Bill and I drove over in my 1967 Chevy van. Him with his conservative case of beer (dumbass) and me with my fifth of Southern Comfort. I certainly felt like he was passing up a chance to have some real fun. Definitely not the sophisticated redneck I imagined myself.
The party was in the upstairs rec room of an apartment complex. I remember it had a huge deck outside and there was a live band playing in front of the large stone fireplace. Things started out normal with the usual hammering back slugs from the bottle, taunting Bill into trying a shot here and there and hitting on girls.
The band was loud and we didn’t really know anybody. I don’t think we were actually invited, but there we were and we were ready to partay.
In those days Bill was wont to get in fights, or at least get them started. I don’t believe he actually enjoyed the fighting part but rather the stirring folks up to the point they lost control of themselves. I think he still likes that, to this day. I don’t really remember if he got the fight started at this party, but I’ll be willing to give credit where it’s due.
Regardless, a fight broke out over near the kitchen area and spread pretty quickly to at least a quarter of the room. I backed into a corner to watch the excitement and make sure my half bottle of SC didn’t get broken. I was feeling pretty warm and my wishes to my fellow man were all of the happy sort. I dangled my feet off of a table and took a few more swigs.
There was a kid I went to school with that was the epitome of pacifism. Never said a cross word to anyone in his life and would never raise a hand in anger. He came staggering over to my table with blood all over his face and down the front of his shirt.
“What the hell happened to you?” I asked.
“Shit, man,” he replied, “I came out of the bathroom and was in the middle of the biggest fucking fight I ever saw in my life!” Wrong place, wrong time, I guess.
The band was feverishly packing their equipment up and trying to get it to safety.
And, I was beginning to feel somewhat un-well. I slid out the door onto the deck. I’m still trying to finish the Southern Comfort but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to swallow. My stomach is starting to quiver and an earthquake began somewhere in my lower intestine. Volcanic action and tidal waves combined to heave me over the railing, craning my neck out and spewing caustic, alcoholic vomit all over the cars parked below in the lot.
Four or five heaves and I felt like a nap was in order. I curled up in the corner of the deck, my breath steaming clouds into the cold air, clutching myself and shivering, I went to sleep. I don’t know what time it was, but Bill came out and woke me up and said it was time to leave. I pulled myself to my feet and staggered down the stairs to the van and climbed into the driver’s seat. Somehow at this point, I wasn’t so worried about making sure I got the rest of my Southern Comfort to take with me.
I reached in my jeans pocket and pulled out my key ring and it came apart and sprayed keys all over the floor board on the drivers’ side. I fished around on the floor, dizzy and green around the lips and after an eternity found the ignition key and stuck it into the slot in the dashboard.
That is the last thing I remember of that night. My next memory was being shaken awake in the dark to Bill’s voice saying, “come on, man, it’s time to go in.” I was laying in the back of my van looking out the open side door. I moaned and lay back down. After a minute I heard Bill say, “fuckit, I’m going to bed.” And the door slammed. I closed my eyes and slipped into a coma until morning.
I've never drank Southern Comfort again, but I can still tell you exactly what it tastes like...