Here's a Thanksgiving memory that is etched in my monkey brain:
It was 1988 and I was living in Roanoke, VA in a great apartment that I could barely afford. I was going back to Aunt Rageaholic's place in Kingsport, TN for Thanksgiving and my cousin Sam was supposed to pick me up on his way back from Norfolk, he was in the Navy at the time.
It was late Wednesday night and I was killing time in a dive bar near my apartment named Spike's. Spike's was a favorite haunt of the looser gals from Hollins College and folks from around my neighborhood. The joint was packed and I was on my fourth or fifth beer. I was whoopin' it up and not behaving myself and I remember I climbed on top of a table and I was toasting everybody in the place and generally making an ass out of myself. The front door to the bar swung open and my cousin walked in. He pulled me of the table and we ran to my place, got my bags, and hit the road.
The next day was an uneventful Turkey day and we gorged ourselves as usual and smoked dope like it was going out of style and drank far too many Budweiser beers. Good times, good times. Oops, sorry, hey, you kids reading this, don't ever ever ever smoke pot or drink to excess. I mean it. I'm not kidding. Wink wink.
Since I was scheduled to work the Saturday after Thanksgiving and since my cousin was due back at his Navy base the following Monday, we hit the road for Roanoke on Friday. For some reason some of my cousin Sam's friends, the perpetually unemployed yet who always had money for booze and pot, Tyus brothers, rode along with us. As we drove up Interstate 81 that cold afternoon we joked and laughed, listened to loud music, and yes, we smoked pot and drank to excess. As was their wont, one of the Tyus brother did something he thought was funny, he flipped off a driver in a car that was riding alongside of us.
Well, the guy who got flipped off did not think getting flipped off was too funny so he started chasing us and shaking his fist at us. He tried to run us off the road and in doing so he endangered himself and a lot of other people who were driving on the Interstate that day. After about 15 minutes of his menacing behavior it was clear he was not going to stop until he got his vengeance. All of us in the car were freaking out and screaming and shouting at Sam do do something, after all he was driving.
The crazy guy gained speed and he began to drive up alongside us with the intention of forcing us off into the median. But from somewhere in his pot addled booze soaked brain my cousin Sam got a brilliant idea. Just as the crazy guy pulled up Sam slammed on the brakes and we came to a dead stop in the middle of the busy Interstate. The other driver slammed on his brakes as well but he stopped further up the road. We saw him come to a stop and Sam quickly revved his car and we began to speed past the crazy dude. As we flew past him the Tyus brother who had offended him so badly threw a nearly full can of beer at the guy and he hit him in the head. Seconds later we saw a swarm of Virginia State Troopers heading our way. Wisely we slowed down to somewhere near the speed limit and we just kept going. From out of the back window I could see a bunch of troopers surrounding his car.
Oddly enough none of them ever came after us and we got to Roanoke none the worse for wear and tear. Until later that night that is because what happened in the Interstate earlier that day somehow infected all of us with some kind of rage virus. Among the things that happened later were the Tyus brothers got into a fist fight, my cousin Sam and his brother Idiot got into a fist fight, my cousin Idiot and his housemate got into a fist fight, and my cousin Idiot and his girlfriend got into a major argument. Finally around one in the morning I remembered I had a date later that night with a gal I worked with, we were supposed to go see the U2 movie Rattle and Hum so I got Sam to give me a ride back to my apartment.
I worked the following day with a huge hangover and to top off the craziness of the past few days, my date stood me up. That was one Thanksgiving weekend that I was glad to see go. Now looking back almost 20 years later I'm surprised I made it through that weekend alive what with the road rage incident, the fighting later, and the drunk driving and all.
Thankfully I learned my lessons from all that craziness. I don't drink near as much as I used to, I never ever drink and drive, and I quit smoking pot about 15 years ago. I never did see Rattle and Hum but I did listen to the soundtrack many many many times and here's a song from it that gives me chills when I hear it: