The following excerpt is from my memoir describing what St. Lawrence was like after I had quit the ski team in the middle of my Junior year. Apologies in advance if this too dark for some folks, it’s my story and it’s the truth. Enjoy the preview!
Note: this is largely un-edited. My new editor is helping me in tighten it all up.
After having quit the ski team I felt liberated. The pressure that I had put onto myself to be a competitive athlete since the age of 12 seemed to lift the instant I walked away from the sport. At first it was a significant event in life to celebrate. I no longer had the responsibility to show up for Sunday morning long runs with the team. 6AM strength/gym sessions became a thing of the past. In a matter of just a few days I changed every habit in my life that I had maintained for the last several years. I began to replace the old habits with new ones such as Monday UBU-IPA nights at the Glass Onion, Tuesday Labatt Blue nights at the Hoot Owl, Wednesday night Flip Cup nights at the Tick Tock, Thursday night party nights wherever the party was at, and Friday and Saturday frat parties, mixers, and all out ragers. To cap it off I would typically spend Sunday nights in the library pretending to study with friends; studying had taken on a new form: blowing Adderall and drinking cocktails while reading books about the history of Economics and Rocks for Jocks, also known as Geology 101.
As the debauchery and transgressive behavior progressed for the remainder of my Junior year I felt a slight change occurring in my mind and body. The more substances I put into myself the less better that I felt. Perhaps my body was really starting to recognize the profound shift that I had put myself through since quitting the ski team. In the place of the natural endorphins that I was accustomed to receiving on a daily basis as an athlete I was manufacturing a new type of endorphin, paying no respect to what it could do to me in the long run. Until I graduated in 2002 my life became darker and darker each day.
My senior year at St. Lawrence got even more sinister. It was during my first semester that a buddy of mine introduced me to a new sensation. There was no doubt that I had spent the last year indulging in excessive behavior. However, the ante was about to be raised. One evening in the fall of 2001 when our semesters’ pledges were inducted into Phi Kap my buddy Chris pulled me aside and asked if I wanted a bump. Of Adderall? Sure, I was always down for some addy’s. “Nah” he responded. “Ive got something better.” Enter cocaine. The second that shit found its way into my system I was in love. At the time excessive drinking was still fun but it was losing it’s overall spark and glamour. Once coke entered the picture I had successfully re-lit the fire and my enthusiasm for a good party. Having not thought it was possible that I could sustain my current destructive tendencies through graduation I quickly latched on to my new solution.
Restocked with a new weapon I was convinced that the debauchery could now continue with relative ease for the remainder of the year. With my new-found partner in crime I thrived until the day I graduated. I had a new trick in my toolbox to keep the party going. Interestingly enough when I got more into speed all of the work that I had done around campus since freshmen year, in terms of my social exploits, started to wane. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the fact that I knew everyone and that I was “known” around campus. However, the energy that I had put into achieving that status was no longer as important to me as was getting fucked up. I cannot remember even a two-day stretch where I wasn’t hammered. Much of my senior year I did my best Nikki Sixx impression of his dark days in the mid to late 1980’s. I even had the leather pants to prove it.
One Saturday in the spring of 2002, during the final countdown to graduation day, I took the emulation of my 80’s rock star hero as far as I could go without going into full-on junky mode. It was just another typical day for me. Buffy and I had started the party early at the Phi Kap house by sipping mimosas (substituting the champagne for warm Natty Ice). Fortunately for us one of the sororities, Kappa Kappa Gamma, was throwing their annual Kegs and Eggs event at the Tick Tock, potentially the dirtiest bar in all of the north country of New York state. After getting good and fueled up off of our brilliant poor-as-fuck senior concoction we made our way down to start the real party. It was 11AM. As Buffy and I sat around the bar pounding Coors Lights (at this point we were the only ones at the party) I had the sensation that I could possibly black-out 3 times within a 24 hour span. With having already completed a third of that accomplishment just hours ago, after a full-on rager at Phi Kap’s off campus house, I paid no attention to the potential consequences. After that fleeting thought I snapped out of it and chugged another Coors Light. After a few hours of getting fucked up with Buffy and the Kappa girls I once again slipped into a blackout. Two down, one to go! The next several hours are lost from my memory.
Somehow that afternoon I had found my way back to campus. Not sure where Buffy went, I wondered if he had passed out in a ditch somewhere, much like I had done during the previous weekend. On that particular occasion I was so fucked up that Jamal, the captain of the SLU soccer team, pulled me off the sidewalk in the early afternoon after having passed out in broad daylight. It’s probably fair to say that he saved my ass in a big way that day. Thanks Jamal.
Coming back to the afternoon at hand, in a complete blackout mind you, I had made my way with a bunch of my boys to the Pub, one of main dining halls on campus. Apparently there was a concert being played there later in the evening. Luckily, after getting some food in my system to help appease and counteract the drinking I had been doing since 7AM, I began to crawl out of my blackout. The next thing I remember is being on stage, with an electric guitar strapped around my neck and the microphones/amps turned on, belting out a despicable version of the Poison anthem “Every Rose has it’s Thorn.” It was fucking epic. I had an audience of about 100 holding lighters in the air singing along to every note. “God-damn” I thought, I have become Nikki fucking Sixx. The story goes that I had summoned up the liquid courage while eating to think that it was a good idea to serenade the entire dining hall. I had the stage, the lights, the guitar, and the look to be what I had always wanted to be over the last year. A motherfuckin’ rock star. After my 15 minutes of fame were up I re-grouped with the boys and made my way back to the Tick Tock for another Saturday evening of chaos. And yes, once again, I blacked out. With flying colors I actualized the sensation that I had earlier that morning. In the last 24 hours I had been to the Tick Tock 3 times and I had blacked out 3 times. My justification for all the destruction that I was doing to my body was that for once I got the chance to be a rockstar. I had successfully completed the perfect day. I was overcome by an eery sense of pride.