Wednesday, July 01, 2009

19 Days and Year Twenty-Two

What does one do for their 21st birthday when you live in Sacramento?

That's right, drive to Reno with your roommate to gamble.

But he doesn't get off work until around 11:00, so you drive through the night, and get there in mid-morning. Still, we had fun, and the only time we really were getting tired, we came across (literally drove over) the carcass of a deer that had been killed by a semi. We were wide awake for the rest of the trip. I gambled away a total of $20 on roulette, and almost got a big payoff on $5 but bet the day of my birthday (20), and not the birthday itself (21).

Then we drove home and got to Sacramento before rush hour, and sacked out to rest up for my birthday party later that day.

The first alcohol I bought was a 6-pack of Heineken, and I didn't even get carded.

That night people were unsure if I was drunk or not (I wasn't), but I did do something... silly.

A friend from the Sizzler in Concord had come up for the party, and being an artist, created a drawing of the Beatles for me. It was given to me in a Sgt. Pepper's bag, and I carefully extracted the frame from the glitter and the tissue. She got miffed at me, saying that I was supposed to get the glitter (tiny gold stars) everywhere. I said okay, and proceeded to pour the bag of glitter over my head.

For the remaining two years in that apartment, John and I were finding gold stars everywhere.

And sometimes in the apartment that followed.

***

Later that year of course, Desert Shield and Desert Storm occurred and my mother got terrified that there would be a draft, and I would be sent away to war. The offensive, that I have come to call the Hundred Days War (really, 100 days, look it up) was brief and I remained in school. In school, and doing poorly as an engineer.

I had taken Pascal in High School (DVC), and then FORTRAN as a college freshman. Then in my fourth year, I took Basic. This threw me, seemed stupid, and I failed the class. Thermodynamics was nearly as bad, and so I changed my major. The next year I would start Geology. And also retake Thermodynamics (getting an A), and Fluid Mechanics for an Engineering minor.

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