Don’t try this at home or how I fell down a mountain and lost a shoe

“Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do,” today’s Daily Post commands.

This thought came to me immediately: Never attend a keg party held on the top of a mountain.

Sure, the bus ride to the foot of the mountain is a lot of fun.  Everyone is in a good mood, chatting busily about the excitement and good time that is certain to follow.

Did you know that you get drunk quicker at a higher elevation?  Those on the bus are discussing the finer points of alcohol consumption and altitude.  Because we are college students, and this is science, people.

Regardless, everyone will get crazy drunk tonight because the idea already has been planted in their brains.

You begin the trek up the mountain with great gusto and enthusiasm.  Now this is what college is all about, you tell yourself.  School spirit, camaraderie and beer.

About half way up, you wonder why you chose to subject yourself to such torture.  It’s a fucking mountain, for crying out loud.  When you fall behind the guys carrying the kegs, you know that you are in trouble.

This is the actual mountain that we hiked up.

Initially, they shout words of encouragement in a show of collegiate brotherhood.  Then they consider carrying you and your friend up the mountain.

“I should stop smoking,” you say out loud so that they think  your lungs are working at 30 percent capacity and not that you are woefully out of shape.

Then they start sizing you up.  It’s college, so I’m about a buck 25 or 30.  Ok, a buck 45 when you add the freshman 15.

Somehow, you make it up the mountain.  Taking many, many breaks and cursing yourself for signing up for this stupidity and torture.

Beer.

At the top of the mountain, you are rewarded with beer.  And hot dogs roasted over an open fire.  You are happy.  There is beer.  And food.

You party on into the night.  Songs are sung.  Kegs are kicked.  You venture into the woods to relieve your screaming bladder.  It’s rustic fun.

People dance precariously close to the fire pit.  Just like a participant at a Tony Robbins seminar, they don’t seem to mind the hot coals.  You take a time out to put out your friend.  You remember “stop” and “drop” but what was that last part?  You end up just beating her legs with your fists.

At some point, it’s time to head back down.

You learn a very important life lesson: It is difficult and dangerous to walk down a mountain in the middle of the night when you are drunk and don’t have a flashlight.

You wonder why you never thought to bring a flashlight for the trip down.

You are not walking but stumbling.  And falling.  Down a mountain.  In the pitch dark of the night.

The shoe looked like this.

You lose your left shoe and it falls down the mountain.  A brand new Nike low-top tennis shoe with a baby blue swoosh.

“I’ve lost my shoe!” you yell out to your friends.  “I’ve lost my shoe!”

One of them tells you that she has it.

You continue falling down the mountain, now on one foot.

Somehow you arrive at the bottom and climb aboard the waiting bus.

You find your friend, and she tells you that she was just kidding.  She doesn’t have your missing shoe.

When you and your friends get together, you still tell the story about the mountaintop keg party, especially the part about the missing shoe.

When you ask your friends if they brought you anything like, say, a cup of coffee or a newspaper, they tell you no, it must be on the mountain.

It’s a running joke with no end in sight.

It’s been nearly three decades, and you still haven’t gotten over that lost Nike.  You probably never will.

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2 responses to “Don’t try this at home or how I fell down a mountain and lost a shoe

  1. Confession: I was the ‘friend’ who said I had your shoe when we were stumbling down the mountain together. I’m glad this little white lie did not ruin our friendship over the years. But I am going to look for a Nike shoe with the blue swoosh in your size…if I can find it, you might get a surprise for your b-day next year. By the way, what size shoe do you wear these days? PS – I could’ve sworn it was a hi-top shoe…are you sure the high elevation didn’t distort some of your memories from that night?

    • Oh, Dee-Lite. No, it was a Nike court shoe. Low top. Even though I usually sported high tops (actually, three-quarters tops) back in the day. I never forget a sneaker. Size: men’s 9.

      Fear not, I have forgiven you. Oprah says forgiving is no longer wanting to change the past. Oh wait, I still wish it was you who had tumbled down the mountain and lost your brand new shoe 27 years ago.

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