I forget where I found him.
It was probably on the floor, lying with his eyes and mouth open, drooling on the carpet.
His face was pale, his voice quiet, and his body no longer moving. I had never seen someone look so dead before, never seen someone who was so thoroughly trashed out of his mind that he couldn’t even focus his eyes. He looked up at me and mumbled something about the velocity of an electron, pointed at the wall, and then continued to drool on the floor.
I forget how much I had drunk. It must have been at least 10. After 10 you forget unless you make a true effort to remember. Cornell was a strange strange place compared to my home, filled with people I didn’t know and parties I barely remembered. During the course of the night I had been to several bars, sang “You've Lost That Loving Feeling” to the passengers of a bus, and randomly visited people who I didn’t know, following the couple of people I knew.
I got back to the frat house to find merry making in full swing. Drinking games, bongs, marijuana, the full shebang. Someone even mentioned cocaine. I had never heard someone mention cocaine before when I thought they were serious about using it.
I forget who told me to help him, or if decided on my own. I dragged him into the large multi person shower, reminiscent of a locker room with 6 shower heads. I was bigger than him by about 50 pounds, so I hoisted him up into a standing position.
“Now make him puke,” said my commander, a guy named Stew who had done more weed in front of me than I had seen in my entire life. His voice was raspy from the smoke, and he held a small bong in his hand. As he said that he pulled up a baggy and refilled the bong, lit it, and took another hit.
How do you make someone puke? The patient turned around waveringly, pointed his finger at me and with dazed eyes told me, “If the ssssspiinnn on the eeellleecctron isssn’t righttt, then the uniivverrrseee wooon’ttt reeecorrrect itttseellfff for plaavnovvss constant . . .”
I spun him around and began pushing his stomach in and up, rolling his stomach in my hands to try and induce nausea. It took a bit, but he lurched forward and spit a little. Again, a lurch and finally a bit more splashed onto the floor. Onto my shoes. Fuck.
“Here, use this, it’ll work better.” Stew handed me a bottle of mustard.
“Mustard, what the fuck is that going to do?”
“Just squirt it into his mouth, trust me.” By this point Stew was having a little trouble standing himself, and went and found not only a chair, but a beer to accompany his bag of weed.
I stood my little friend up and turned him around. He started to lecture me about how quarks were the answer to all of nature, and we should worship the quarks, but stopped when I shoved the bottle down his throat and squeezed a hefty amount in. He lurched forward and spit mustard all over the wall, and again on my shoes. I quickly started giving him a drunken Heimlich maneuver to get him to throw up, to no avail.
“Lucky fuck, I wish I was having my 21st birthday again,” Stew said after another hit. He smiled and looked up at the ceiling, reminiscing of days long past.
“He turned 21 today?” I asked, heaving him to another splash of multicolored fluid on the floor.
“Yeah. Who knows how much he’s had, he was going for twenty one shots I know. Hey, look at it this way. He may live thanks to you, but tomorrow I guarantee he’ll wish he was dead.”
I had milked him dry, so I wiped his mouth and my shoes, and dragged him into what Stew told me was his room. I looked at his bookshelf and saw Electromagnetic Fields textbooks, a book by Richard P. Feynman, and a Quantum Theory book with the Borders price tag still on it. Physics major. No wonder he was trying to tell me something. Rolling him onto his side, I waited out a lecture on how he knew the answers to the universe because of the way electrons danced to techno. When he finally passed out, I wandered off to find my bed for the evening.
Before I left the next day I asked if anyone knew if he was still alive. Someone said they saw him breathing when they got up, so he should be fine. There is no way in hell he remembered me, and I to this day don’t know his name. I saved his life.
Happy 21st Birthday.