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How to Save a Life

While this blog has documented many a humorous or bizarre situation which occurred in the Comstock era, there were also occasional moments of high drama. The following tale may lack the raucous humor of some of the other posts (particularly the fictionalized Saving Schultz) but certainly reflects one of the most messed up situations I ever personally witnessed or participated in. It begins with tragedy and ends with a farce. Gather round…

Some time during the time while Matt was dating Mandy, there was a major party planned at Comstock. I do not know who provided the beer ball, who launched it, or when it was. I know only that the night began with Matt informing me that I would have to “keep an eye on him” because he was going to get good and drunk. Since I didn’t drink, this was not an unusual request; I would bring my trusty 3-liter of Mountain Dew and witness the hilarity as everyone else got stumbling drunk. I did not count on the X-factor of the Franks. 

Matt proceeded to go around drinking and chatting up people; I lost interest in following him for a while and socialized with more interesting folks (Matt got boring after a few drinks). At about 1030pm someone ran up to me – I think it was Mandy or Carrie – and says “Quick! You’re sober! Come outside, we need a driver! A girl passed out drunk.” Naturally, I went outside, but I was quite unprepared for this scene. In the center of 8-10 people was a sprawled out very very underage girl, blitzed out of her mind and in fact unconscious. I had never seen her before in my life. Chaos was breaking out everywhere as it seemed she was pretty much unresponsive. Now, any responsible adult would have called 911; but there were none to be found. Certainly such an action would have resulted in a stampede of drinkers exiting the premises and probable arrests for the hosts. So, instead came the standard cry: “GET HER THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”

Big problem. No suitable drivers. Wait, I’m sober. So is Pete O. I want nothing to do with this situation, so I get Matt’s keys and give them to Pete. Quickly, the girl is loaded into the minivan along with Pete, me, and Klausen – it turns out that ‘Niki’ (probably not her name) is 14 and dating this 18/19 year old guy. Why the hell I got into that car I’ll never know. I was certain we would be arrested as we sped off. We had been sent with the instructions to “take her to Patrick’s brother’s house, he is a paramedic”. This did not seem right – I demanded that Pete head to the nearest hospital. Sure, we would be locked up on sight, but neither of us had been drinking and we really had no idea how she got into this state. In my naievete I assumed we would be cleared, and that the house would be cleared out before much damage could be done by the police. In any case, this didn’t look good. Pete drove towards somewhere (I have no idea where he would have taken us), Klausen cradled ‘Niki’ in the passenger seat, and I flipped out in the back seat; he was trying to get her to say something, anything, and it wasn’t happening. I reached forward and touched her neck… I swear I held my hand there and felt no pulse at all. That had to be one of the worst HOLY SHIT moments I have ever experienced.

Suddenly, Klausen got an inspiration. He shook ‘Niki’ violently and yelled in her ear:


I have no idea what kind of f**ked up home life this girl must have had, but the effect was instantaneous. I swear that she sat up instantly and began projectile vomiting. From limp and unresponsive to rigid and puking in 1 second flat. The only thing I can compare this whole thing to was the adrenaline shot scene in Pulp Fiction; and I swear that this happened 2 years before that movie came out. One, two, three… seven times she retched and fouled the front seat of Matt’s car. Gasping and choking, she was clearly revived after this purge. Instantly, Pete turned the car around. There was no way we were getting arrested if she wasn’t dying. It was off to the fabled house of Patrick’s brother, where the care of two EMTs awaited our alcohol-poisoned passenger. We pulled into this house – containing several large strangers that I (again) had never seen in my life – and deposited our cargo, leaving the drunk (and crying incoherently) Klausen there as well. I returned to the back seat, opening the window to relieve the stench of vomit, and felt sweet relief as we drove to the safety of Comstock … or so I thought.

For reasons which I cannot explain or contemplate, some time later I drove with Matt back to the paramedic’s house. I do not know who else came on the trip there, but when I arrived the count of lifeforms was as follows: Me, Matt (completely shit-faced drunk and incapable of conversation), Klausen, ‘Niki’, some other female friend of ‘Niki’, and 3 large burly EMTs including “Pat’s brother”. They asked me to come inside, with car keys, while Matt laid insensate in the minivan. I had a bad feeling about this, and it was soon confirmed. I was informed that ‘Niki’ had continued vomiting while at the house; this was good for her BAC but revealed the source of her inebriation to be the unmistakable fruit of the vine, red wine. Klausen and the other female informant had determined that the only person who had wine at the party was none other than the same Matt now lying in the minivan, awaiting his fate. They demanded street justice be delivered for the crime of providing so much wine to a 14-year old that she nearly died. A trial was convened on the spot and the EMTs gathered to judge. One of them, 250 lbs on a light day, was clearly ready to deliver a beating Matt would not soon forget, if in fact he retained any brain capacity post-concussion. “Patrick’s brother” and I sat across a table: it was clear that if Matt was to avoid a beating then I must act as his attorney.

Boy, is his ass lucky that I don’t drink and was fairly quick with my reasoning. It’s also probably a good thing that Patrick’s brother was not aware that Matt was allegedly boning Patrick’s girlfriend. I began by vouching that I had “been with Matt the entire evening” and had not observed him interacting with ‘Niki’ in any way. Furthermore, I reasoned, how were we to know that he had administered wine to her personally? Could he be held responsible, if he set his wine down and she obtained it? It seemed reasonable, I thought, that the person who brought the 14-year-old to a drinking party bore more moral responsibility for her condition. Fortunately, Klausen was out of earshot as I tried to divert any possible culpability with Schultz, although I did clearly hear his protestations that he was going to “kick Matt’s ass for giving her wine” in the other room. One of the EMTs wisely kept guard between Klausen and the exit door, else Matt would have received a premature sentence of an ass-kicking in the van. Given Matt’s state there was no chance for him to use his legendary quickness to escape a cudgeling. For a full 30 minutes I wrangled verbally with the “prosecution”, using every excuse possible for Niki’s state: Matt may have left the wine on a counter, I saw Matt drinking beer, someone else gave her the wine, maybe more than one person had wine, Matt was never outside while Niki was found there, etc… Finally, it came down to this: the guy said to me “I don’t really know you. Why should I believe you?” I reasoned with him, I was an honor student and a non-drinker. I had no reason to support or condone the provisioning of alcohol to some 14-year-old girl (who I had never met), and I claimed that Matt wouldn’t have done such a thing either. I also reasoned with them that they really weren’t the kind of guys who would be pummeling a reckless drunk, and Klausen would calm down after he sobered up… in any case, it would be best if the whole matter left their property. With a stern warning and a sigh, the accusers relented and I was permitted to depart with Matt’s sorry ass intact. His only punishment was the fact that he had to clean up a vomit-stained van the next day. Other than to acknowledge that I saved him from a beating, we have rarely discussed this for two reasons: one, I doubt he remembers anything; and two, every TV show has told us that a good defense lawyer never asks his client if he is guilty. I might not like the answer. I will stick with my perfect record: 1-0 in the court of street beatdowns.


18 Responses

  1. Once again it takes you a long time to post, but it is a good tale when it arrives, and once again one I had only little knowledge of the details. I was confusing this story with the other time you saved Matt’s life in the Tops parking lot. Of course this is not the only time an underage girl appeared at Comstock, only emerging from her invisible carapace when she was too plastered to stand.

    Why was Klausen crying when you first arrived?

    I don’t recall where I was during all this, but I must have been there. I don’t think I knew of what occurred until the next day.

  2. I have little or no recollection of the parking lot save of which you speak. As far as Klausen goes, he was upset by the trauma and due to his inebriated state was alternately raging and breaking down in tears over the situation. Believe me, this was no ordinary “girl gets drunk” situation – we were having trouble detecting any reaction or breathing at first, and Klausen was upset about the near-death experience.
    I should note that this was not the same girlfriend as the 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend to whom I was introduced on a different occasion. I believe that was Mandy’s friend and his decision to break it off with his baby momma (maybe it was someone else’s, not clear to me) and see this freshman may have contributed to the eventual de-balling incident. I can say with certainty that I will never lack for the experience of living in a trailer park, having met and interacted with that crew.

  3. A very good tale, although suspiciously different than the one I posted. I must then posit that there were in fact two separate yet equal instances, diametrically opposed yet eerily similar, much like the two Spock’s in the ‘Mirror Mirror’ episode of Star Trek.

    Looking back on those days I still find it a miracle that we were never ticketed, fined, arrested, deported or ingested given the overwhelming stupidity that surrounded us. I think it fortunate that our relationship with Clan Frank ended when it did!

  4. It often makes me wonder, given all the crap that did happen, what would actually have happened if the Ides of March party was allowed to proceed.

  5. wow bluerazor, that is one creepy story. i actually shuddered while reading it…the idea of a dead girl in one’s car…..ugh…unthinkably horrific. (Not to make light of it, but this could conceivably make a dramatic beginning for a Stephen King novel.)

    But I think the Powers that Be made sure you were there to do the dirty work of damage control….Or if you’re nihilistic, you could say it was a a random stroke of luck you were there that night AND somebody thought to threaten the girl with her mother’s wrath. All random chance; the ball decided to bounce to the right rather than the left, the idea of which disturbs and unsettles me only slightly less than the actual story.

    Thank goodness you were not inebriated as well or that night may have turned out completely different. i don’t even like to think how it may have ended up. (think: butterfly effect.) i myself have always been the designated driver, in college and beyond. I like to watch other people act like idiots and then blackmail them later. (jk) the only time i ever tried to get drunk, and tried to get stoned, was freshman year, and to this day i have not lived down how idiotic i behaved. another story for another day.

    This was an effective cautionary tale. I may actually repeat this story to my daughter to scare the p——-s out of her. She’s not drinking age yet, but never too early to put the fear of God in them young’uns.

  6. Technically, I did not do anything for her, since Pete was the driver. Pete did not care for me, and I had neutral feelings about him, but we were forced to be Team Sober that evening. I did however have possession of Matt’s keys.

  7. You know, Anna brings up a good point. Our stories could really be used as strong cautionary tales of what not to do in college. I have mixed feelings of course about ever showing these to my son before he is 30, but something to keep in mind.

    While we are all grateful for the way things turned out as a few of us would probably still be grabbing the bars at Attica if she didn’t make it, I have to wonder about the value of saving Schultz from the beat down. One might speculate that had he received it, he may have looked as his life and chosen a road that led to medical school rather than riding a couch or laying cable or whatever he is currently doing in Baltimore.

  8. Or, he might have become hooked on prescription drugs as a way to dull the pain, leaving him… well, probably leaving him in the same place but with fewer teeth.

  9. what’s wrong with laying cable? I used to do that part time during my summers off. good pay.

  10. ….and if you believe that, have I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you for an unbeLIEVably low price.

  11. Do tell! I’ve been in the market for a bridge for some time. My fetish for cassions knows no bounds.

  12. I remember hearing about this after the fact. I was either not present or upstairs at the time. I’m surpised Pete was sober, as I have have been drinking with him many times and it seems a very rare state of affairs for him. C’est La Vie.

    Having dealt with many people of 14 years old or younger there’s very little you cna do to curb this, if you let them out of the house. In fact telling them about this might urge them on to try, as they might think it’s cool.

    Of course I deal with a very select group of students. Many of my Freshman are already alcoholics or pregnant. One of my freshmen has three kids already. It’s just the way of life down here.

    Let’s also face certain facts. We may look back with a little caution, but we really enjoyed ourselves at that time.

  13. Yes, telling your kids these stories is a license to misbehave. After all, they would think, we got away with (X, Y, or Z) so they can too! That would be flawed logic, because obviously you can only get lucky so many times and we used up all the luck. They’d better walk the straight and narrow path. Unless they turn out intelligent, in which case they might be able to beat the system too. Here’s my rule of thumb: If you are dumb as a rock, you should not try anything remotely risky.
    And I agree with Dan, while I think anyone could identify a few items we would have done differently, for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing.
    Finally, I distinctly remember Pete was sober and I have no idea why that was the case that particular evening.

  14. I would certainly not change anything either. I would have gotten involved in more things/ pushed the envelope more. We are who we are in part because of what we did.

  15. You forgot to log in there, apparently. As for the last statement, let me also say “It is what it Is” and “We are who we’ve been waiting for”.

  16. that’s a cool quote, bluerazor.

  17. Do you mean Aaron’s words, the pithy overused “It is what it is” or the Barack Obama quote? Or was that just sarcasm in the Comstock spirit? I actually screwed up the Obama quote, it is “We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For. We Are the Change that We Seek.” But I think it was a reasonable paraphrase.

  18. I meant “We are who we’ve been waiting for.” I am not trying to be sarcastic – I really think that’s a great quote. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” sounds even better. “We are the change that we seek” is nice too, although I wonder if he “borrowed” that from Gandhi, famous for one of my favorite quotes: “WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” When I read that, my heart dropped to my stomach. It was so true on so manyl levels and in every situation I could think of in my life, that it stopped me cold in my tracks, so to speak. (Uh-oh, Anna’s dreamy idealistic self is coming out. Better smack her upside the head and get her back to reality!)

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