Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead — the Very Nearly Lost Weekend

Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead — the Very Nearly Lost Weekend

I write this so that those who follow might not suffer the pains that I did. This account could possibly destroy whatever regard my wife holds for me, but I have to share. For the kids.

My long-time friends Jon & Roger suggested a boys weekend, wherein Roger and I would fly to Denver to visit with Jon as his wife and their baby were visiting family out of state. I had a couple of reservations, as fairly recently, my family has been through a lot and I didn’t want to strand Heather or make her life more stressful than it already is. She assured me that I deserved to go and that she wanted me to hang with the boys.


Depart Salt Lake City International Airport (yes, international) after work. I’m a little hammered from the busy work week, but Roger hasn’t played with an iPod, so I let him peruse the library. We had a good time playing the built-in music quiz game. It’s pretty hard with 32 gigabytes of music.
Alcohol intake: 1.5 ounces Jim Beam and Pepsi (United only serves Pepsi products).

Jon takes us to a Mexican restaurant where I have a nice burrito and we catch up.
Alcohol intake: 2 beers.

While the burrito has soaked up the alcohol just fine, things are starting to go. Like vision.

One of the biggest draws to go to Denver wasn’t to just see Jon. It was to see the famed Horsey Bar. The Horsey Bar is the basement of Jon’s house. The Horsey Bar came with the stools.

Jon is the Sheriff of the Horsey Bar. He is proud.

There are things to do in the Horsey Bar. Like listen to vinyl. Jon had an Elvira album on vinyl. I played it for about 24 seconds. Then the bourbon started.

One of the things that goes along with alcohol is smoking. We were not allowed to smoke in the Horsey Bar. We went outside and became the sad people you see in the freezing cold outside your place of employ, huddled and ingesting their nicotine fix. It is cold in Denver at 2am in the middle of winter.

Usually, Jon is the modest drinker in the group. Tonight, he pulled out the stops and poured a boatload. You might notice that Jon is holding a jigger, but foregoing that and just pouring. Also, we ran out of ice. That is snow in the glass.
Alcohol intake: 4 double bourbon/rocks, 1 tequila shot and 2 ouzo shots. Good friends would not have allowed me to consume the ouzo. Ouzo is, in retrospect, the turning point. I also made an attempt at a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but stopped about 1 third the way through because I hadn’t had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in some years. I forgot how heavy it is. I apparently also forgot that I was wasted and should have stopped after the second bourbon. The brain doesn’t work so good at 3:41 in the morning.


A day that shall live in infamy. Not in my years of drinking have I experienced a hangover so painful and shameful. We had planned to head up to Copper Mountain to enjoy the snow… As we didn’t retire to our respective bed chambers until nearly 4am, we didn’t awaken until 9 or so and at that time, I experienced three separate horrific bathroom related incidents. I will spare the details, as they are too shocking and wrong to recount save that two involved regurgitation (and a reappearance of part of the burrito from last night) and one involved the moving of the bowels. One should not drink beyond ones ability to recover. Especially when one should know better. For the record, Jon and Roger were also slowed, albeit less so than I.

Jon made a great breakfast that I could not eat, due to said bathroom incidents. I did consume two bites of dry toast.

I went downstairs, past the vile smelling Horsey Bar and collapsed in the guest bedroom. At this point, I figured if I slept in the car on the way up to Copper Mountain, I’d probably recover enough to ride the pow. This was the first main delusion of the day.

It took me one hour to get my pants on. It took the others a little less time to load the car and stow the gear. I hobbled upstairs and Jon gave me a bottle of Gatorade with the admonition to consume it by the time we arrived at Copper Mountain. We left the house after noon. We would drive 90 minutes so that 2 hours of snow fun could be had, enjoy some apres ski time and then drive the 90 minutes back to Denver. Insane, even without the hangovers.

While I did sleep most of the way up, my condition had not improved and I elected to stay prone in the back seat. It was a sunny day, near as my alcohol-poisoned mind could make out, so I was actually quite warm. I slept until 3:30 pm and then stayed prone while drinking the rest of the Gatorade. It seemed that it was staying down, so I made my way to the village where the apres ski activities were set to commence. Upon arriving, I’m feeling like I have made it through the worst of the day and that it is time for solids. I order fries and a water. I’m still a little woozy, but I brave a few fries and call the boys to tell them that I’m alive. They call back and inform me that they’ll be down. At this point in the call, I put my head down to answer Roger’s well-meaning questions about my health and realize that I have underestimated the power of the alcohol. I realize that my stomach is still rejecting solids, and that I’ve got to search for an exit, so that the contents of my stomach can escape the last remnants of the vile ouzo. I end the conversation with Roger and bolt for the door, finding a snow-covered planter just outside. My body retches and I spray the snow with fries and water. I retch again, not caring who sees me and the rest of the fries and water are gone. There is a vague hint of the Gatorade. As this is happening I realize that it must be weird to see a grown man throwing up in public. Somewhere in the middle of it all I say “shit” and then walk back inside as if I just nonchalantly stepped out to look for somebody and grab a stack of napkins to wipe my face.

I’m certain that several people saw me ralph. If, perchance, any of you saw a paranoid geek with bad hair and a raggedy-ass beard spewing bits of potato on the snow at Copper Mountain, I apologize profusely. My legal staff will be sending you papers of reparation shortly.

Roger and Jon arrive and offer their condolences. They enjoy the rest of the fries. Their arrival buoys my spirits. My intake at this point consists of 4 glasses of water, sipped very slowly.

After an hour or so, we head back to Denver, me asleep in the back. By the time we made it home, showered (separately) and got dressed to get dinner, I was feeling better and hungry. We got dinner at a Thai/Vietnamese place and headed downtown to a great bar called The Thin Man. On our way home, we hit Wendy’s. Roger gets a kid’s meal and I get fries and a Frosty. We go home and watch some TV and call it a night. There is no Horsey Bar tonight.
Alcohol intake: None. I drink water the remainder of the night.


Today is a better day. I love this photo of Roger. I order a giant breakfast of french toast, hash browns and bacon. It is good. I do not see it again.

We have a discussion about how companies use foreign manufacturing and marketing to build their brand. All they are is a label. They don’t make anything. Places like Banana Republic, Restoration Hardware and West Elm all slap their tags/logos/branding on generic stuff and then market it to various economic segments. This discussion extends to Wal-Mart and how their low-price model may not work in countries/geographies that the wages are so low. I like this shot because Jon is talking with his hands.

After breakfast we head to the airport and arrive home safe. Seeing Heather, Leta and Chuck is awesome. I love my friends, but it’s great to be home and hangover free.

I feel, at this writing, that the Sunday night feeling I have is exactly like that of a college weekend, with less booze. I’m tired, I had a good time and I’m facing an intense week ahead. I suppose I should come up with a great line about lessons and learning, but frankly, I’m too wasted.

Thanks are owed to Heather for letting me have this indulgence as well as Jon and Roger for helping me during the second worst day of my life. God, it’s good to be home.