So I’m finally old enough to drive a car, and my fat buddy, J.B. wants me to drive him and his old man down to Panama City, FL, for vacation. "What? You’ve got a brand new Lincoln Continental and I ain’t been driving but a week!"

"Yeah, but I won’t get a license for another year, and my old man’ll be drunk the whole time. C’mon!" So, I’m in. It’s a free trip, and I like J.B. (J.B. stands for either "Jelly Belly" or "Jug Butt." We were never really clear on that, but the name is so attached to him that even his old man and old lady are "Mr. J.B." and "Mrs. J.B.")

We get lost, of course, on the way down there. I tell Mr. J.B. the situation; he’s in the back seat and already pretty tight. He says, "Keep driving. We're bound to wind up there sooner or later." (The all roads lead to Rome theory.)

The old man paid us well to stay out of his hair. I'd lay on the beach and J.B. would leave the room every 20 minutes or so and drop a cold beer from the balcony down into the sand for me, while I tried to pick up girls. Colt 45, if I remember correctly. It actually worked once or twice, but when they got a look at J.B., well, you can imagine. There was a set of twins from Louisiana one day . . . . I still have a photo of those two. And that's all.

Around mid-week, J.B. said he didn't feel good. Said he had a cold and didn't feel like drinking that day. "What!?" This was unacceptable. To spend a night on vacation sober? Actually, he said he didn’t feel like drinking beer. I asked him what he did feel like drinking, and he couldn’t make up his mind. So I ordered from the bar on the hotel phone; "Give us two of every drink you make." At first they wouldn't do it. But when they checked his dad's credit rating at the hotel, they relented. So here comes this waiter with three of those big trays full of all different colored drinks. I didn't know the names of any except the common ones, such as grasshopper and bloody Mary and the like. But we drank 'em all. Well, they were all empty when we got done; I think we drank ‘em all.

The horror of that hangover the next morning was indescribable. And seeing his dad coming out of his room that morning with a little blonde hooker . . . Twilight Zone time.

And then we go to get on the elevator to go down to get some grub and some drunken frat boy gets on with his girlfriend. It's raining and he’s fried. He looks me right in the eye and says, "Sure is great we’re havin’ weather, ain’t it?"

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