Last night, I attended a bachelor party for a friend who shall remain nameless because, really, he is innocent until proven guilty. But this isn't about him anyway.
I was not planning on getting trashed (I actually ended up as D.D.) but I did plan to toast the groom at least once. When I arrived at his house, the "bartender" poured him a Screaming Nazi (equal parts Rumple Minze and Jagermeister) and, since I hate licorice flavors, made for me a Fire & Ice ("equal" parts Rumple Minze and Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps). I said congratulations and cheers to the groom and we knocked back our shots.
The libation poured in well enough but quickly became the alcoholic equivalent of napalm in my mouth. It wasn't the alcohol, it was the cinnamon flavor. I quickly swallowed in order to get it down but could only manage half of it before my esophagus clamped down to staunch the flow of liquid that had just peeled about three layers of skin off the back of my throat.
At this point I was unable to determine if I had swallowed or aspirated what I had managed to push down but knew I had to take some action. Instinct took over and my mouth said "SPIT IT OUT!!!! IT BURNS! IT BURNS!" but the brain overruled Instinct, having noticed that the sink was on the other side of the counter and was refusing to look like a pansy in front of friends who would most definitely give me shit about it for the rest of my life, and said, "Nope. We have to swallow."
Well, now, I was in a quandary. Instinct is saying to the brain, "Are you NUTS!?" To which the brain replied, "Not at all, you know I'm right." Without hesitation my tongue interjected screaming, "JUST SWALLOW THE DAMNED THING AND MAKE THE FIRE GO AWAY!!!!" and told my eyes, in no uncertain terms, that it was at this point they should start crying. A command, I am glad to say, I was successfully able to resist by completing the ingestion of Satan's Hellfire. A feat that was no less difficult than... well... I can't think of anything that compares. Let's just say it was a highly forced reaction that had to shove Instinct to the ground and beat him to a bloody pulp before it could be accomplished.
Awareness was starting to return to the rest of my body. My eyes opened, my hand realized it was still holding the shot glass and put it down on the counter, my throat burned, and my lungs quickly and urgently notified the rest of my body that they were no longer exchanging that wonderful life-giving element that is oxygen. Brain kicked in saying, "OH SHIT! OH SHIT!" in a panicked state, followed quickly by, "BREEEEEAAAAATHE!!"
It was then that Brain realized that it had just kicked the ever-living crap out of Instinct, thus rendering the lungs unable to perform their basic function. Brain rushed over, performed some quick CPR on Instinct and injected him with 10 cc's of Sodium Whamalamitol, bringing Instinct rapidly back to consciousness. "We have to breathe," said Brain. "I think I know how to do that," responded Instinct. "Then do it, man, DO IT!" But although Instinct was conscious, he was not quite aware yet and had to ask, "In or out?"
Brain jumped into action. He rushed over to the lungs. "In or out guys? Come on, stay with me!" The lungs were beginning to weaken and weren't lucid enough themselves to tell. Sensing the urgency, Brain yelled back to Instinct, "PICK ONE! JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN!"
It was at this point, approximately 3.2 seconds after swallowing the last of the shot, that I drew my first, ragged breath. I seriously had to make it happen. The lungs had perked up but were still having difficulty and had to ask Instinct, "What now?" A question to which Instinct had to place a bit of thought into answering, having recently received a concussion. "Out. Yeah, out. that's it."
The lungs complied but it was almost as difficult to push the air out as it was to draw it in. It took a few more breaths before things were starting to return to any semblance of normal. Once I was finally able to draw an unrestricted breath, the first words out of my mouth were, "Never again."