My junior year of high school was at a private Christian school. It was relatively small, probably around 80 students, if I remember right. I have some of my best high school memories from that year, but one, in particular, stands out. It was the school Valentine’s party.

As a teenager, I liked to stay just shy of real trouble. I liked the illusion of trouble without its consequences. Neither my friends nor I drank, did drugs, destroyed property, bullied other kids, or anything like that. But we did make other questionable choices. Mostly for effect.

Three of us hung out a lot: Stoney, Tony, and Eddie, and none of us had dates for the party (no surprise there.) Since we were all going stag, we figured we’d shake things up a bit.

Shutting down the house

Tony hooked us up with a six-pack of near-beer. I’m not sure I had even heard or used that term since then, so I don’t even know if it’s a real thing. Basically, it had all the awful taste of beer with none of the alcohol.

The three of us met in the school parking lot. Tony whipped out the six-pack, and we each grabbed a can, popped them open, and guzzled. The party had already started, but we weren’t the only ones in the parking lot. One of the seniors saw–and likely smelled–us. Her disapproval was unspoken yet clear.

News travels fast. When we entered the building three minutes later, I swear I heard a record scratch. The party came to a standstill before the door even closed behind us. All eyes were on us.

At least that’s how it felt.

Just because it’s not real doesn’t mean it’s fake

That entrance did more to confirm everyone’s suspicions than anything else. And mostly because we played the role well. If we weren’t drunk before that moment (and we weren’t), we were definitely drunk after (even though we weren’t.) We were, however, intoxicated on the thought that everyone thought we were intoxicated. To the three of us, this was the funniest thing ever.

We knew we hadn’t drunk any alcohol. But they know what they saw–and smelled. And that, to us, was hilarious.

It’s open for debate how much were we playing into the role we created versus actually being uncontrollably giddy and stupid. I just remember us laughing. A lot. And falling down stairs. But the more stupid drunk we acted, the more hilarious everything was. Which, in turn, led to us acting more stupid drunk.

The perfect storm, I guess.

Rumored consequences

Maybe I’m a black-out fake drunk, but I honestly don’t remember there being any teachers around that night. No one pulled us aside to have a chat or to kick us off-campus. I do remember one senior looking at us as we were laughing hysterically on the stairs and saying, “Great job, guys. Great job.” I don’t think she meant it, though.

I don’t recall how the night ended, but I do know how the year ended. Both my friend and I opted not to return to that school the next year. Rumor was, we wouldn’t have been allowed to return if we wanted. But that was just a rumor… and we all know how those things go.