In my early twenties I lived in a house not to far from the local college with three other people. Two houses down a few friends of mine rented a house and there was yet another home occupied by pals.
Good times were had by all who occupied that street. It was an eclectic group of characters who partied often and fun was had every weekend.
There were four Johns who lived in the various houses. Every John had a nickname to distinguish himself from the rest. The house I was staying at was occupied by one who we called 'Drunk Canadian John'.
Drunk Canadian John was indeed from the country to the north. Hailing from Montreal he exuded a lot of Canadian stereotypes for Americans who've never visited our neighbors. He had a strong build, blonde hair, a tooth missing as the result of a hockey stick, and he loved bad beer. If you ever insulted the quality of his beverage of choice he almost took it personally.
They say stereotypes are based on truths; however I've been across the border many times and I've never met anyone the likes of John.
When I first met John one of the first things he said to me was "I have a lot of bad habits." He wasn't lying.
John was indeed a functional alcoholic. Every night he would buy a case of Kokanee and pound as many as humanly possible until bedtime. When it came time for shut eye John would go out to the porch and light up a bowl. After he was done he would put a dip of chewing tobacco in his lip and then go to bed.
It doesn't stop there.
John would wake up and pour vodka into a flask and nip on it throughout his day at school. When he got home he would then repeat his Kokanee spree. When John was short on cash he would replace the case of beer with boxed wine.
I'm not exaggerating folks. John was a man who didn't have ulcers. He had holes in his stomach.
The funny thing about John was you rarely could tell if he was drunk or not. He never slurred his speech and his motor skills never seemed to suffer. The only way you really could know if John was wasted is that he became loose lipped. For a man who seemed to value political correctness as a fascist ideology things could and often did go awry in social situations.
There are many stories to be told about the man with a cast iron liver, but one always sticks in my brain even after these many years.
Shannon was another roommate of mine. She was an angry girl who fancied herself a mystic of sorts. She would read people with the aid of Tarot cards, believed in spirit guides, and took a keen interest in the paranormal. Shannon also hated men and wore that fact like a badge. Even though she had a strong dislike for the opposite gender she couldn't stop sleeping with them.
One night I'm sitting in the living room watching the news. Shannon bursts into the house and collapses on a chair. Sensing she needed someone to talk to I asked her what was wrong.
"I was at a gas station and two redneck guys hit on me," she said. "I didn't respond at all to them and then they have the gall to get pissed."
She was really upset by this and proceeded to tell stories of how so many men have hit on her and made her feel scared and/or helpless. Since I couldn't relate I imagine I didn't have the best things to say, but I tried to console her.
This went on for a half hour. She would tell a tale of a guy who tried to pick her up and I would sit and nod my head and try to apologize for all men. She didn't buy that all men aren't scum.
Dr Phil I am not.
The living room door flew open and there stood John with a half empty bottle of vodka.
"You know girls don't put out in this town," he yelled. "They're a bunch of sissy little prunes."
I looked at Shannon in horror as John plopped on the couch. He had more to say on this subject.
"When I lived in Montreal I used to get laid," he exclaimed. "I used to get laid no problem. All the time in fact, but girls here they should be putting out more."
He went on to paint a picture of how Montreal was occupied by women who looked like Playmates and got naked on a frequent basis. Shannon nodded her head and smiled wryly at him as he went on about his Canadian conquests.
Enter my other roommate Joe. Joe is a smart fellow with liberal values who at times felt compelled to speak out for the underdog. When he sat in the living room and listened to John's speech of how girls in that town should feel obligated to sleep with men less attractive then they are Joe decided to make his opinion known.
"Yeah," he cried. "I don't get any either."
Shannon got up and announced she was going to bed. I went outside and tried to comprehend the absurdity of the situation that just unfolded. The timing of the incident was like something out of a bad sitcom.
I never did take that road trip to Montreal that Joe and I had planned.
"The Canadian spirit is cautious, observant and critical where the American is assertive." - V. S. Pritchett