Back on the day that I turned 24, several years ago, I knew a thing or two about the world. I knew, for example, that taking 24 shots in one night would kill a man, even if that man was turning 24 that night.
But did that make me run and hide under my bed, instead of celebrating properly with my friends? Hell no. Instead, I used the power of my 24-year-old brain to figure out that 2+4=6. With that knowledge in hand, I went with my friends to the local bar, The Good Luck Bar, and took 6 shots in a row.
After that, I used my 24-year-old brain to figure out that 2+4 also equals 6 beers. So I proceeded to drink 6 beers.
After that, my 24-year-old brain became kind of fuzzy and dazed, as far as I can remember. I do recall though, that at a certain point, I decided to leave the physical bar I had been leaning over while intoxicating myself, and check out what the rest of the place had to offer.
I remember that it wasn't long into my search that I found a group of people talking amongst themselves, like a real bunch of assholes.
So I decided it was in everyone's best interest if I suddenly became hilarious and make these people crack up with the humor that would come from my 24-year-old brain.
My plan was going splendidly, until my dear friend David Benassi came up to me and put his arm around my shoulder. Clearly he was trying to feed off the amazing laughs that I was gettng from these strangers.
This is fine, I thought to myself, as long as he doesn't interrupt the process that is necessary to be hilarious.
But of course, that's exactly what he did. For no fucking reason at all, he went ahead and looked down at the ground. I noticed that he did this for a rather long time. And then I saw those big, black bushy eyebrows of his rise up on his forehead. He then looked at me, opened his mouth and said:
"Randy, you're not wearing any shoes."
At first I thought he was just being the worst person I had ever known and wished he would disappear for the rest of my life. But then I looked down, and saw the whites of my socks looking back up at me.
Suddenly, nothing made sense anymore. Shoes don't just disappear for no reason, as far as I knew.
I knew there was only one course of action I could take. I had to find my shoes. So with my body hunched over, I began to search every inch of the floor for them, while loudly asking out loud if anyone had seen them.
Occasionally, some joker or jerk-off ( sometimes both) would bump into me or brush against me while I was carefully studying the floor below me.
"Watch out!" I would cry, "I'm trying to find my shoes here."
A couple of times I found shoes that I was pretty sure belonged to me, but there were always feet inside those shoes.
In those cases, I would try to engage with the person in hopes of procuring the knowledge of how they came to be in those shoes. But whenever I tried this, you would have thought I had asked if they were anti-semitic or hated ice cream, based on their reaction.
I didn't care of course, all I cared about was finding my shoes so I could go back to continuing to enjoy my special day while also continuing to be absolutely hilarious.
At a certain point, I heard another person crying out the same thing I was. "Where are my shoes? Where are my shoes?" But his voice was very odd, it was as if he suffered a mental handicap or something.
When I looked up, I realized everyone was pointing and laughing at me. That's when I figured out that since I had first discovered that I had misplaced my shoes, everyone in here had become an asshole. This was disconcerting. But far less disconcerting than the fact that I still wasn't wearing any shoes.
At some point, I think when I was near the bathroom area, I felt a big hand grasp the top of my shoulder. I turned around and found a big man with a sour look on his face.
"You have to leave." He said.
"But... it's my birthday, and I don't have my shoes."
This response did not affect him in any way. And I could hear the rest of the bar-goers laughing and mocking me.
"I can't go until I find my shoes." I told him.
"You have to leave now." He firmly repeated himself.
I was prepared to argue my case further, but that big stupid meaty hand of his grasped my shoulder again, this time twisting itself in the cloth of my shirt, and then I felt the sensation of being pulled away.
I did not like this. I did not like this one bit. I told him so repeatedly but he did not seem to care.
For a moment, I was resigned to my fate. I had lost my shoes, and I would never get them back.
But then, like some sweet gift from the glorious gods, I noticed something blue and white in the corner of my eye.
My shoes! I realized in delight. There they were, right by the bar where I was taking all those shots and drinks. I suddenly realized what had happened. Someone, probably Benassi, or the dick bouncer with the meaty hands, or that guy who pretended he had also lost his shoes but really was just mocking me, or maybe those group of assholes who were talking to themselves before I gave them my hilariousness, or maybe one of the other bar-goers who joined in on the laughter towards the poor man who only wanted his shoes back, had taken my shoes off me while I was drinking.
I jerked away from the big man, I could feel his grip on my innocent shirt slip away, and I knew I only had a few seconds to make everything right again.
I darted towards my shoes. I prepared myself for the feeling of fat piggish fingers curl around my shoulder again, but it never happened. I reached my shoes and cradled in my arms.
Now I am safe, I thought. I have shoes, I am whole again. I'm no different than anyone else here, except perhaps for the fact that I'm not a complete dick.
"You have to go!" The big man said for the third time.
"But...but I have my shoes now, I don't want any trouble."
"It doesn't matter, you have to go." He said matter-of-factly.
I turned away from him, looking for any support from other bar-goers who may have been watching all of this and knew that something unjust was currently unfolding.
But all I saw were laughing faces and pointing fingers, and they were all laughing and pointing at me. And I suddenly realized that I didn't care to stay at this particular establishment any longer.
So I walked towards the exit with my head held high. And as the bouncer followed me out, I remember turning to him, with my shoes nestled under my bosom, and saying, matter-of-factly:
"You'll never be as smart as me."
I don't know what made my 24-year-old brain think that that was okay to say. If I could do it again, I would have said something else. I would have said:
"Fine, throw me out, but just know this. You'll never have shoes as sweet as mine."
Because those shoes were pretty sweet.