6:40 p.m. | 2001-11-19

On Sunday the bartender at the Irish Pub asked if he could get us anything and I asked him for a new liver, that's the kind of weekend it was.

From the moment I landed in Phillie on Friday it was madness. Frogs and I ran around here and there. We met the Phillie kids. We were in a bar by 8:30PM. We didn't pay for a single drink, someone picked up the entire night's tab for all 15 of us.

I karaoked and when I was done, the DJ said, "Well, you don't hear that every night at McGillian's." We went to late-night at some illegal spot. It was bizarre. As I ducked out some girl and her boyfriend tried to proposition me.

Frogs and I went to bed around 4AM and got up again at 9AM. Headed back downtown in the clothes I wore the night before. Ran into the father of the groom (Toastress' Dad) of the wedding I had to be at 3PM, while wearing my clothes from the night before. Woke up all of the drunks staying at my friends at 10AM. They started making cocktails at 11AM.

My oldest friend and I went out for a leisurely lunch with her father at a nearby brasserie at noon. We hit the cote de rhone and two hours later, emerged from the restaurant. Time flew and now I had less than and hour to change out of my clothes and shower and get to the wedding.

I arrived, breathless at 3:15PM. I was the first guest. The wedding was actually at 3:30PM, Toastress told me the wrong time. I suspect this was due to my perpetual lateness.

Wedding was great, bride whom I haven't spoken with in 6 years due to a falling out, was exquisite. I was happy I went, having seen that I was her only non-relative in attendence.

My parents, also at the wedding, thwarted my plans for a nap between church and reception, suggesting cocktails. We drank for two hours.

Then we went to the wedding. We drank and we drank and we drank. We left the reception and went to a bar around the corner to meet my oldest friend and her parents. Had drinks with them, her parents left, mine stayed to party with the kids.

While at the wedding, I managed to offend about 6 people.

We went back to the wedding, threw back some more drinks, grabbed Toastress and brought her back to the bar. Went back to the wedding again with my parents and brother, drank in the hotel bar with wedding party. Parents left and we went back to the other bar.

Ran into a friend from the shore. Small world. Our friend F. shows up shitfaced beyond recognition from the Bob Dylan show and proceeds to light up a bowl at the table. We leave the bar, I cannot remember if this was by choice.

Oldest friend and I are bombed and go back to her apt. Not 15 minutes later my brother, Toastress and F. shows up. F. falls back in a chair and knocks over my friend's $500 lamp. We try to get him out of the apartment but he refuses to leave and is 6'5". Inappropriae things are said. My brother body checks him to the elevator and puts him in a taxi. While walking Toastress back to the the wedding hotel across Rittenhouse Square Park, a cop approaches him and tosses his merlot, in the $150 baccarat glass he was drinking from. Said policeman interrogates him and reprimands him for littering. My brother is told to go into the bushes and pick up the broken glass.

Meanwhile, I am in the apartment trying to futilely repair a $500 oriental lamp. I give up, let my brother back in and pass out.

We wake up around 11AM Sunday. We all assess the damage and explain what happened to my oldest friend, who was passed out when the trouble blew in.

We decide we all feel terrible and have no choice but to go to the Irish Pub and drink.

I have a Bloody Mary and suddenly, hangover sets in. I go back to nap.

As I walk back to the apartment, I pass Bob Dylan's tour buses. The lights were on and I noticed he has crystal sconce lighting fixtures. His tour bus is nicer than my apartment. That's nice. I keep walking.

I pass out for about two hours, wake up, walk back to the bar, find the group has grown and start drinking again. We decide to go out for dinner.

I start with a mini-bottle of champagne that the others insist I order because I can't decide on a cocktail. Massive wine drinking ensues during the meal. We drink until 2AM. We go back to my friend's apartment. We have late-night while watching the Strokes, Guided By Voices and Weezer on HBO. I call it a night at 3AM.

I wake up to the alarm at 5AM. I shower, pack, take the $20's they shoved down my shirt while at dinner the night before when they found out I was broke this week, jump in a taxi to the train station, upgrade my Amtrak ticket to the Acela, and take a 6:34AM train to NYC.

I go straight to work and arrive an hour early.

I work all day. At the end of the day, I gather my luggage, take a taxi home and dump my bag. I run downstairs and start two loads of laundry and as it runs I try to record this weekend.

When I am through with this, and my laundry is finished, I will pack again for the holiday, take my luggage to work again tomorrow, work all day, then take a bus to Pennsylvania.

What you are witnessing is what my friends and I fondly refer to as the start of the holiday bender although it is even more gangantuan than ever before because many of them are not working and frankly, everyone is trying to deter their minds from thinking about the fact that we are less a husband, a brother, a friend and a son this holiday season. The one who loved the Thanksgiving meal more than all of us combined will not be alive to eat his turkey this year for the first time in 34 years and as much as we keep busy and stay together for as long as possible, it will cross all of our minds countless times.

But at least we have each other and with that, we have a damn good time.

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