LETTERS TO THE DUDEFEST FORUM
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Going Autopilot
Scrooge
July 19, 2014

Dear Dudefest Forum,

 

What’s the highest number of bad decisions you’ve ever made in a row? I bet I can top it. Have you ever woken up completely naked in an unfamiliar environment with no knowledge of how you got there? Don’t worry, I hadn’t been roofied and had my kidneys harvested by a black market organ trafficker—if only it were that simple. Nay, gentle reader; there is a dark spirit that dwells inside me, a Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyll, which takes over whenever I get too handsy with a bottle of booze. Though he and I have never met, my friends have come to know this beast well. They reverently refer to him as the “Apache,” because he refuses to adhere to the standards and expectations of a culture to which he does not belong. Also he loves to dance, and nobody can understand him when he talks. As soon as he comes out to play, my decision-making skills are nowhere to be found. This is a cautionary tale; never trust your blackout autopilot.

 

February 2013—I was on a study abroad program in Italy. During the break halfway through the term, the homies and I decided to hit up Venice for Carnival. The girls of my group planned ahead and booked a mid-price hotel for three nights in the center of the city—the dudes, scoffing at the female’s profligate spending, chose to stay at an impossibly cheap camping facility three miles inland (mistake #1). When we first arrived at our hostel, Murphy’s Law immediately kicked in and it started snowing. Sure enough, our cabin had no central heating and only a thin wool blanket per bed: not unreasonable supplies for campers, which, I repeat, we were not. The showers, however, were surprisingly hot, but would turn off unless you hit the hot water button every minute. Naturally, we took to drinking to stay warm (mistake #2). It had been a while since I’d made a public ass of my self, and I felt pretty confident my alter ego wasn’t going to pop out.

 

We took a dizzying series of trains and waterbuses in order to meet up with the girls, and once in the heart of the city, we imbibed further (mistake #3 if you're still counting). You know, Carnival style—with Lent right around the corner, we could just apologize to Jesus tomorrow, nbd. Suddenly we were wearing masks we bought from street vendors, and the weird anonymity of our costumes coupled with the intensifying blizzard around us made it really hard to keep track of one another, yet we ventured onward into the night (#4). The last thing I remember is chasing a middle aged man in a wizard costume that was holding hands with a dude dressed like Maria from The Sound of Music (#5). The Apache had arrived.

 

At 3:17 am, I received a call from my friend Anna. We had lost track of each other earlier in the night, and she wanted to check in to see if I was doing all right. As I later discovered from her report, the Apache had grown tired of carnival festivities and had decided to return home; however, he had no idea how to get there (#6). He hopped on the nearest water taxi and got off on the wrong stop (#7), and, letting his beer gut be his compass, he started walking (#8). His footprints disappearing in the raging snowstorm—his sense of direction impaired by red wine and general dumbness: the Apache was in trouble. But, staring logic and Mother Nature in the eyes with his own fucked up crazy-eyes, he soldiered on.

 

The next morning came and I was still nowhere to be found. My shivering bunkmates frantically brainstormed a list of places I might have ended up, but upon calling around, they came up with zero leads. Fifteen minutes later, my friend Ronnie found me in the shower—completely naked—sandwiched between the still-clothed Maria and the wizard. The only indication they had that I was still alive was that every minute, I would push the shower button to keep the hot water flowing. To this day, I have no idea how I made it back. The moral of the story? Make friends with magicians and drag queens; they'll help you out in a pinch.

Neezer is tall, dark, and handsome, and your girlfriend is breaking up with you for him.

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