“Sin, guilt, neurosis,they are one and the same, the fruit of the tree of knowledge.”
Years before Division Street became a series of upscale restaurants and hipster-themed bars (the sort where the person serving your drinks is not a bartender, but a “mixologist), Clinton Street was the hub of nightlife in that part of SE Portland. My best friend Reyna and I spent most of our evenings at the Clinton Street Pub, with only occasional forays across the street to Dot’s for greasy vegan food. CSP was cheap and hosted some of the best pinball games in town. It was not the sort of place one visits in search of The Beautiful People. The space itself was tiny and strangely laid out. The pool table was so close to the door, that once, during a particularly bad shot, I found myself chasing the 8-ball down the street until it’s quickening pace was abruptly halted by a speed bump.
One summer, CSP offered an ill-advised $10 Pitcher of Kamikaze Shots special. Always value-conscious, Reyna and I could’t resist this bargain. Usually we would draft one or two other comrades to share THIS INCREDIBLE DEAL with us. A ritual soon developed: We each took turns pouring a shot for each person at the table. While pouring, we were obliged to tell a “mostly-true” story. Of course, we never stopped at just one pitcher. By July, I had became incredibly adept at making the wobbly uphill bike ride back to my house. No matter how many kamikaze shots had found their way into my stomach, I always found myself soundly asleep in my own bed by 3 am. I had no reason to suspect that the evening forever hereafter known as THE DRUNKEST I HAVE EVER BEEN would end any differently.