Eran Thomson Book - A Laugh Threatening Situation - Chapter 8 - Mexican Thunderdome

A Laugh Threatening Situation – Mexican Thunderdome

A Laugh Threatening Situation

Chapter 8 – Mexican Thunderdome

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If you know what a “tequila lockout” is, you can thank me. I invented it.

If you don’t know, your liver can thank me.

I paid my way through college by working in bars and restaurants where I learned the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. So naturally, I got good at throwing parties.

One of my most popular parties was the tequila lockout.

It worked like this: Your ticket into the party was a “handle” of tequila. A full handle is a half-gallon (1.75 liters), or 39 shots.

Your ticket out of the party was an empty handle.

But here’s where it gets interesante. One full handle got two people in. One empty handle got one person out. So half the people who came were inevitably trapped inside.

Two men enter. One man leaves. It was our version of Terrordome.

But we weren’t fighting to the death. We were drinking toward it.

Tina Turner never showed up, but Jose Cuervo always did.

As you can imagine, inside the Tequila Dome it was madness.

Whenever a bottle got close to empty, people would wrestle for it, the winner guzzling whatever was left and holding their handle up like it was the Stanley Cup.

A popular strategy was to try and hold onto your handle with an iron grip and quickly pour shots for other people. Of course, lots of people were doing this, so it helped to show up with the good stuff. And back then this meant Cuervo Gold.

When the Cuervo was gone, an empty bottle was still gold, but if you put it down for even a second to dance, go to the bathroom, or anything else, you’d never get your hands on it again.

Sometimes people would manage to get a hold of an empty, but not be ready to leave, so they’d stash it. We’d find bottles days, even weeks later in the backs of closets, in the toilet cistern, on top of kitchen cabinets.

If you couldn’t find an empty bottle to get out and go home, you were in for a long night.

At some point, we always served a spaghetti dinner, which always ended in a food fight.

And in the morning we served a pancake breakfast.

So getting locked in wasn’t the worst. Unless you just had to get out.

And one night I just had to get out. I needed to puke but the bathrooms were in constant use, so I made my way through a raging party towards the front door. This is where I encountered a big burly dude I didn’t know who had taken it upon himself to be the bouncer at my party.

He put his hand on my chest. “Where’s your empty handle bro?”

I explained that he was a guest at my party and I needed to get outside immediately. But he wasn’t having it.

“No handle. No exit bro.”

Rules are rules, but by now I can taste the tequila worm crawling up my esophagus. And I for sure don’t want to puke inside my apartment.

So I jammed my face into the tiny gap between the door frame and the open door, made a funnel around my lips with my hands, and set José free.

The bouncer let me out after that. I promptly stumbled across the street and spent some quality time face-down under a tree on our neighbor’s lawn.

By the time I woke up and got all the grass out of my mouth, the party was going off. The burly bouncer was gone, since replaced by my roommate so my bottle-less reentry was easy.

I headed for our top-floor balcony where I saw this girl I liked. And for some reason, I thought it would be hilarious to act like I was going to throw her off. So I scooped her up and held her over the railing, pretending to drop her, repeatedly.

She was laughing, but I went into a sort of trance. While she was dangling perilously close to death, or at least severe bodily harm, I was having a vision. I can only describe it as looking into a two-headed periscope with each tube looking up and out to a different future.

On the left, I saw myself in jail. Not a literal death per se. But a creative life cut short.

On the right, I saw myself living an adventurous life free of the guilt and constant remorse that would come if I dropped her.

I saw at that moment that I was one dumb, drunken accident away from ending my life as I knew it. And possibly hers.

I was at a fork in the road, a sliding door moment, and whatever I did next would determine which way my life went. If I’d slipped there was a good chance she could have died, and an even higher one she would have been injured or paralysed.

I carefully pulled her back over the railing, put her down gently, and apologized profusely.

She told me she thought I was hilarious, but I knew how close we’d both come to having our lives changed forever.

But I wasn’t laughing.

Life Pro Tips

  • Don’t have a tequila lockout party.
  • Always make sure the bouncer at your party knows it’s your party.
  • Don’t get drunk and hold someone over the balcony and pretend to drop them.


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