November 28, 2020
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The Degenerate Journal Part 1 / First Snow

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“The names of this story have been changed and omitted to protect the people involved
and where possible the use of names has been avoided, but this story is as true as it can
possibly be given the copious amounts of alcohol consumed through the short period
that it chronicles.”

The curator of this project reflects:

“Back in 2008, I wrote and sent a call-for-entries to my friends & cohorts asking them to contribute travel stories & doodles & anything creative that could be printed. responses slowly trickled in and then I sort of lost motivation.

Anyway, here we are… And I want to free this journal from my shackles and unveil this project to the public, or at least to “friends of friends”.

Keep in mind, this journal is compiled of entries from folks in their mid-20’s… Thus acting as a kind of literary time capsule for our generation and specifically for my friends…I know I will look back longingly at these years when I revisit this journal in decades to come.”

So, with out further to do, I present the first installment of the Degenerate Journal:

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First Tracks.


I have always longed to find the perfect bar, a place where you can get a fresh
pint and read a book while enjoying the atmosphere of a slow evening. As such I have
spent many nights on ad hoc, solo pub crawls. The M.O. is simple, start at one end o
the city and walk into a bar, order a pint and sit at the end of the bar, open a book and
begin to read, see if you can concentrate on the book while taking in the surrounding
activities, the drunken couple about to have a fight, the obvious first date, to the friends
reuniting over excessive amounts of shots, and boasts of what they have been doing in
the long periods of time that they have been apart. Throughout the course of the night
you work your way from bar to bar, testing the atmosphere, seeing who you run into,
and where it leads you; the overall goal of the night is to work your way home catching
last call at a nearby bar. It was one of these such nights that led to my first tracks of the
2006-2007 ski season, and it is miraculous that we succeeded.

The beginning of the 2006 ski season was one fraught with disappointment, the
year before we had been blessed with a Halloween snowstorm that saw Killington and
a few other mountains open early, it was a delightful surprise not to be repeated. This
year we would wait, and wait, constantly checking weather reports with the nervous
anticipation of a virgin awaiting prom night. We passed through November without
the slightest hint of snow, and by mid December things were looking grim. It seemed
that we were in for the worst ski season in New England in the last fifteen years, and I
began lamenting the hours spent in the basement diligently poring over the base of my
board with a waxing iron, looking for any imperfections that may hinder my speed and
pop. It was Christmas time and with no sign of snow and the city cleared of obnoxious
college students I settled in for a night of traversing the local watering holes.
I began the night at the milky way, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to read,
but also that they have cold pints and it’s a good place to pick up a game of pool, it was
early and the place was fairly empty, as such I decided to move on to a slightly more
crowded area. I headed over to mission hill, stopping in at the mission for dinner and a
pint in a quiet corner, the night was slowly picking up and before I knew it the bar was
packed with the local Roxbury guys, as I knew too many of them it was impossible to
read, and I decided to move on to Flann O’Briens for the game of pool I had missed
at the Milky Way. Upon arriving at Flann’s i was bombarded by a rowdy group that I
had gone to high school with, shots were called for of different varieties, and the shit
talking ensued. Me and ghetto queen held the table for two hours straight, undefeated
before the whiskey finally started catching up with me and my aim went the way of
an Eskimos libido in winter. We decided that dancing was in order and that we should
move on towards Fenway  to find some new spots, Flanns had been a bit played out by
us over the last few weeks. We settled on An Tua Nua, but before I could go there I had
to stop at the pour house for a quick pint with some old beantown brawlers, and I told
the girls that I would catch up with them. By the time I arrived at An Tua Nua the place
was dead, excessively loud top 100 was blaring through the sound system for the three
middle age drunks in the place, there is nothing sadder that two middle age men hitting
on the same drunk woman. I figured the girls had got pissed and left because I was tak-
ing too long: it would be a while before I discovered there was a whole other part to the
bar I had missed, but for the meantime I decided that Allston was as good a spot as any,
and nearby.
However on the way over to Our House West, I sped past a cop, who proceeded
to start turning around, as there was no way to avoid jail if I was stopped I took some
evasive action. Cutting down a side street I sped through scenester central, streets that
would normally be full of too cool 20 something’s staggering from one party to the
next in too tight jeans were empty, even “struggling artists” go home for Christmas
I suppose. From there I hopped the Cambridge St Bridge, but to avoid main streets
quickly ducked into lower Allston (LA) and proceeded to squeal around the corners of
one ways, until I was safely in Cambridge. I parked and headed to Charlie’s kitchen, the old harbor from the storm.

It was here the night took an unusual turn, whether they had gotten fake I.D.’s or were actu-
ally 21 I will never know, but I ran into a group of girls from the grade below me out
with one of my old compatriots. We drank until the bar closed and they kicked us out,
and headed across the street to Noir, upon arrival we were disappointed to find that
the bar was closed for a private party. So we did the next logical thing, we got on the
outdoor ice skating rink and proceeded to charge each other in a jousting fashion. It
was particularly amusing to see girls in dress shoes try to run across the ice as the men
knocked each other over with reckless abandon. After a few minutes of this we quickly
determined that we should leave of our own volition before it was too late, but before
parting ways I was invited back to the girl’s house with the rest of the group; I got the
address and told them I’d meet them there. After parking and retrieving a case of beer
from me trunk I entered the house, and quickly realized the errors of my judgment;
there were 3 guys there and 4 girls they were all busy making out in the living room
and the fourth girl who had invited me was sitting there alone watching tv. I said hello
and sat down, offering her a beer to buy time while I tried to think of a way out of the
situation, as I was very determined to remain faithful to my girlfriend. Spotting the lap-
top on the coffee table I quickly ask if I can use the internet, I don’t really know what
I’m doing but decide to check the weather report for northern New Hampshire, and
there it is, prom night staring at me from a computer screen, a foot and a half of snow
predicted throughout the following day. I’m so giddy I can barely contain myself, and
the poor girl to my left has no idea what is going on. I capitalize on the moment and
proceed to make the one phone call that I have been waiting months for. He answers.
“We’ve got snow”, I blurt it out before even saying hello, followed quickly with “we
need to go to NH now”, its two in the morning he protests, lets go tomorrow. I dis-
agree; there is no way that after this night of drinking I’m waking up early enough to
make it to the mountains, at any respectable hour. After a brief argument he capitulates,
there is no way either of us are waking up early enough to ride, and this is the first
storm we’ve been waiting for.
We load up the truck and proceed to hit the road, stopping in Charlestown to
drop off a friend who had been crashing at his place that night. We are half an hour
north of Boston when I realize were in trouble, he’s falling asleep at the wheel, wak-
ing up halfway into the next lane and hitting the turn signal late as if he had intended
to change lanes. I sit through another five minutes of this, absolutely terrified, before
I tell him to pull over; “I’m driving” I say with as much authority as I can muster at
three AM, he doesn’t argue, and I tell him he has to stay awake enough to give me
directions, I’m not totally sure where I’m going. Five minutes later and there is a loud
snoring coming from the passenger seat as I settle in for what is looking to be a long
and lonely drive. With nothing but late night fm radio, a pack of smokes and a stubborn
determination I press on through the night, reaching his parents house at five thirty in
the morning.

We stagger in unexpected and stinking like the bars to his dad getting up, with
a cup of coffee, to start doing work around the house. After a brief explanation of
what the hell is going on, and surprisingly few questions, we go to bed down for a few
hours. Getting up two hours later, our bodies are in protest and I question the logic
behind our late night mission. Wondering to myself what precisely I was thinking when
deciding to head north in the middle of the night, mostly in the bag on a deserted high-
way, this wonderment quickly gives way to an illogical childlike excitement as I look
out the window and spot the snow accumulation. We head to the mountain with me do-
ing my best to catch up on some sleep in the passenger seat, its not really working, and
as we get nearer he points out a corner where he tells me people slide off the road into
a river every winter because of the two sudden sharp curves that people forget about
and don’t see coming. We proceed to the mountain, and purchase our lift tickets, $18
for the one trail they have open. We’re too psyched to care. It is beautiful, a foot and
a half of fresh snow is on the ground, and the months of pent up anticipation is finally
bursting out of us, we’re in a delirious haze, and yet every carve is attacked as if our
very lives depend upon it. The one trail that is open has surprisingly few people on it,
no-one was paying attention when the weather service forecasted this storm at the last
minute, and we can get into every bit of fresh snow available, cutting hard on the very
edge of the trail where the trees begin and a kicker is built. At two feet it has nothing
on the hundred foot table tops of x-games spotlights, but it doesn’t matter, its there and
so are we, and every trick in our arsenal needs to go down right now, it is epic.
We stop for lunch and decide to head back to the car for a bit of green and a
frosty. When we reach the truck we’re immediately blanketed with a feeling of doom,
right there on the driver’s seat, in plain sight are the keys to the truck, to make matters
worse they are right next to the greens, and our cell phones, WE’RE FUCKED! The
thought echo’s in my head, the feeling of crushing defeat surrounds me, there has to be
a way. I try everything I can think of to get in the truck, all to no avail. I finally settle
upon calling AAA and hoping that the truck driver doesn’t say anything about what’s
sitting on the drivers’ seat.
We head into the lodge to find a phone we can use. I explain our situation to
the woman at customer service, and she offers another alternative, she happens to keep
a metal slim jim for opening locked cars behind the counter. She says I can borrow it
as long as I leave an ID or credit card with her, so that she knows I’ll return it, I guess
the last guy walked off on her. I hand over my ID and I could kiss her, this woman is
our savior, there are very few moments in my life that I have been so thankful for the
existence of another human being.
We head out into the parking lot and proceed to try and jimmy the truck open,
I slice my hand open on the thin piece of metal, but after some finagling and a liberal
amount of cursing, we hear a click and it is music to our ears, we open the truck and
grab the keys, hide the green and run back to return the slim jim. I offer to buy her a
drink later when she gets off work as a thank you, but she says she doesn’t think her
husband would approve, it figures, the best ones are always taken. After returning to the truck for a quick midday burn, and some redbull we hit the mountain again. We’re
exhausted but we won’t give in, the snow is still falling and we’ve waited too long for
this moment to throw in the towel. Frontside 180’s are stomped with conviction until
we can barely stand. The mountain closes and we head back to the lodge, sitting inside
on the top floor of the A-frame lodge we’re steaming hot as we remove our coats, and
sit down. We sip ice cold rolling rocks and it the best thing I have ever tasted, while a
lonely guitarist works his way through a set of classic rock and country songs, crooning
away as time stands still. Everything is right and true in the universe. After collecting
our wits, we decide to return to the truck where red stripes await us, and after loading
up our gear, we crack some fresh ones and decide to hit the road. Singing along to the
radio we arrive at the bend that he told me about before and the truck begins to slide, I
panic looking over at the full beer in his hand as we head toward the guardrail. There
is no way that we can talk our way out of a DUI after we hit it and go over into the
river. I’m frozen; milliseconds are an eternity as he cuts the wheel back and we begin
to fishtail. We squeak by the guardrail with inches to spare and mercifully come to a
stop sideways in the middle of the road. Not a drop of beer has spilled, and the blunt is
still resting in the corner of his mouth. I’m shaking as I realize the horror that has just
been averted. He silently turns the car back into our lane and the truck begins crawling
along. I light a cigarette and finally find my tongue. “HOLY SHIT” it’s the only thing I
can think of, after a brief discussion of how lucky we are I pound my beer and prompt-
ly pass out in the passenger seat, hoping that if I’m asleep, I will awake again safely in
Boston.
Sure enough we made it back that day, and many more, though none were quite
as outrageous. The start of the 2006 ski season will always stay with me, and those
feelings of pure elation and mental harmony will continue to drive me into the moun-
tains, and into absurd situations, praying that in the end we all walk away. But it is
incredible to think of what can happen in twenty four hours when you throw caution to
the wind, have no plans and see where life takes you. While this is just a story of that
mentality on a small scale I think that it is important for everyone to have a period of
their life where they can say that they have done it, that they wandered aimlessly, and
endured the trials of failure and enjoyed the fruits of success, for there is nothing worse
in this world than an unchallenged and coddled life.
The names of this story have been changed and omitted to protect the people involved
and where possible the use of names has been avoided, but this story is as true as it can
possibly be given the copious amounts of alcohol consumed through the short period
that it chronicles.

Thanks for reading – Anonymous.

 

 

ALPH

ALPH was once suspended in third grade for drawing on the walls in art class. Not much has changed.

View all posts by ALPH →

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