Tequila Lary

One trip to Mexico and suddenly he's creeping me out

Lary's finally home from Mexico. "It feels good to be human again," he says, as though he ever were. It's an odd thing for him to say, too, since the entire time he was away with Grant's family, Grant kept e-mailing me to say how surprising it was to see Lary "act like a human."

"I swear he was human," Grant insists. "He sat at the same table with my family and didn't break a chair over anyone's head or anything."

I have to admit that's pretty astounding, and the only explanation I can think of is it sounds like Tequila Lary struck again. Tequila, after all, is the most notorious of all behavior-altering alcohols. It's way worse than your average alcohols, and I consider myself an expert on this subject seeing as how I used to live in a trailer park two miles north of the Tijuana border. It's noted, fairly, that in the past I've proclaimed myself an expert on a lot of things for this same reason, including the effects of too much coffeecake on the bowels of a bunch of diabetic geriatrics, but I'm serious this time. It's the tequila, I'm telling you, and the fact that I lived in such close proximity to the country where it's made, that burdens me with this knowledge.

First, it was literally cheaper than water to buy your supply in Mexico rather than to brave your fake ID at an American liquor store in my same neighborhood. So mix that with some audacious kids in a Baja bug, and that right there is nothing but a big recipe for prom vomit. I remember one football game my freshman year when I got so drunk I had to leave the bleachers 50 times to stand in line at the toilet. The next morning, I woke up with a bunch of strange hair caught in my watchband. Soon my roommates recounted, to my horror, how I'd steadied my progression through the bleachers by grabbing the tops of the heads of the other spectators on either side, as if they were all just human knobs on a big balustrade.

Regardless, I made a ton of friends that night, because tequila altered my behavior to the point where I was evidently a lot of fun to be around. I remember thinking I better stay away from that stuff, because I didn't want to give people the impression that's what I was really like. To be constantly like that — all outgoing and able to charm people out of being pissed at me for pulling out their hair with my watchband — would be an effort beyond my ability to fathom. So when all these new friends tried to refresh our acquaintance on campus in the upcoming days, I simply gripped my books, hid behind my curtain of hair and plowed past them like a skinny little linebacker. Damn that tequila! You never know what's inside you until that stuff brings it out.

For example, when my sister drinks tequila, she grows bat wings and shoots acid out her eye sockets. Seriously, you do not want to be within swinging distance of that girl after one too many shots. One night, after a pitcher of margaritas, she hit me over the head with a potted palm tree. "Did I do that to you?" she whimpered as she held my hand while the doctor bandaged my head the next day.

"Hell, yes, bitch! Lay off the tequila," I hollered. But no one could convince her to quit drinking tequila until she bought her own bar in Nicaragua and simply tired from the stuff after watching her patrons transform into drunk, ass-itching blow monkeys night after night. Lary was there, too, but when he was there he hardly tore the place apart at all. He simply sat on the end stool and quietly played buffer to all the other crazies in the place. My sister, who has known Lary for more than a decade, couldn't believe it. "Is he all right?" she asked me.

"Are you feeding him tequila?" I said. "Because you gotta stop doing that. Tequila Lary creeps us out. He's all polite and asks how you are and acts interested in the answer."

But she didn't stop. She kept him plied and then got him to help her cocktail waitresses move her furniture and fix the saloon doors that lead to the leaky toilet. "I love Tequila Lary," she proclaimed.

"No, what you want is Jäger Lary," I insisted. "Jäger Lary would have stolen you some new furniture, impregnated your waitresses and installed a Turd Cam in your toilet. That's the Lary you want," I implored, but she was too busy admiring his work to fear the complete breakdown in civil order I predicted would occur if Lary continued to be polite and considerate.

And now Lary is no help. He likes tequila, he says, and brought boxes of the stuff back fresh from the duty-free counter in Cancun. "Stay away from that stuff," I warned him over the phone, but I could hear him sipping as we talked. "Did you know they make a tequila liqueur now? [sip, sip] It's my new medicine. [sip, sip] I missed you, by the way. How was your holiday?" he asked, sounding interested. Damn that tequila! You never know what's inside you until that stuff brings it out.

Hollis Gillespie is an award-winning humor columnist, NPR commentator, "Tonight Show" guest and author of two acclaimed memoirs, Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood and Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories. To register for her writing workshops, The Shocking Real-Life Writing Seminar, visit www.hollisgillespie.com.

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