Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Day I Got Drunk

                                                        5 year old me

Now that caught your attention didn't it?

Being raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was always taught to stay away from alcoholic beverages.  But no one ever told me that we shouldn't partake of licorice extract.  How was I supposed to know that one little bottle of extract contains over 60% alcohol?

Why would anyone want to drink licorice extract in the first place, you may be thinking to yourself.  Well let me answer your question by taking you back 30+ years ago, to a square, blue colored, split entry house in Salt Lake City.  

I was 5 years old and had just returned home from a long day in Kindergarten.  It was lunch time and I was starving.  My mom didn't quite have lunch ready, and there were no snacks laying around (and if there were, mom would have never let me have any.  "It will ruin your appetite.", was something we often heard.)  

But I could be resourceful in these types of situations.  

We had a food storage room with lots of goodies to choose from.  My personal favorites were the powdered cool whip mix, and packages of jello.  From time to time I would sneak a box into my room, dip my finger in and lick.  Mmmmm.

I had recently gotten caught sneaking these items though so this time I would have to be a little more careful.  As I looked  around the room at all of the possibilities, I spotted my mother's cake decorating box.  Besides frosting bags and tips, it was filled with candy sprinkles, bottles of flavorings, sugar flowers, etc.  

I reached up, pulled the box down and examined the contents that lay before me.  I opened a few containers of candy sprinkles, nibbled on a few and then moved on.  As I came to the candy flavorings, I read each label and decided on the licorice flavor.  

I was in love with black licorice and thought that taking a sip of the powerfully scented liquid would be the next best thing to having the sticky candy to chew on.  

I opened the bottle, took a sniff, and put it to my lips.  I tipped my head back and let the clear liquid pour into my mouth.  I think I drank most of the bottle in one gulp.

It tasted awful!  It was nothing like the way it smelled.  In fact it didn't taste like licorice to me at all.

I quickly screwed the lid back on as a little shiver ran through my body.  I held the tiny bottle up to the light to see how much was left, hoping my mom wouldn't notice the difference the next time she took it out, and then placed it back in the box hidden among the other flavorings. After returning the box back to the shelf, I slowly crept to my room.

As I sat on the edge of my bed, I started to feel ill.  Moments later, my mom called down the stairs that my lunch was ready.

I slowly made my way up the two flights of stairs, not feeling hungry anymore.

I sat down at the table and started sipping my chicken noodle soup.  Everything was spinning.  I felt awful and dizzy and after a few minutes of trying to eat, I told my mom that I wasn't feeling well.  She told me to go to my bedroom and lay down.

With tingling lips and the world spinning before my eyes, I stumbled down the first flight of stairs.  As I stepped onto the landing, I started to feel nauseous.  But in my drunken stupor, I thought that if I could just make it to my bed and lay down, I would be fine.

Two steps down the next flight of stairs, I lost it.  All of it.

My mom heard the noise and rushed to my side with a towel in her hand.  She helped me to my bed and tucked me in, reassuring me while feeling my forehead, that everything would be OK after I slept for a while.  

I heard my mom go back up the stairs, fill a bucket with water and come back down the stairs to clean up my mess.

Just as I was dozing off to sleep, my mom came into my room.  "Why does your throw up smell like black licorice?", she asked.

I don't remember now if I tried to hide my sin, or if I told the truth through my slurred speech and admitted what I had done.  I'm sure I was too out of it to come up with anything other than the truth.

As my mom left my room,  I remember hearing her mumble, "It serves you right."  I knew I had made her mad by getting into her things, or was she upset because I had broken the rule of snacking before a meal?  I wasn't sure.

It was many years later until I could even stand the smell of black licorice and many more years beyond that until I could eat it again.  It was hard a penalty to pay for my lack of patience. 

It makes me laugh thinking back to that day.  A drunk 5 year old.  I appreciate this experience so much more as a mother.  How would I react to the same situation if one of my children had done the same thing?  One thing is for sure.  I would grab the camcorder!  


  1. I love this story, but what made me giggle (considering the title) was this line: "I was 5 years old and had just returned home from a long day in Kindergarten." It had been such a long day, you had to have a drink! :)

  2. I'm sorry, but that was freakin' hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Oh that is hilarious! I used to eat Sucrets when I couldn't find a snack - I don't know if they still have them but they were sore throat drops. Didn't cause drunkeness though ;)

  4. That is SO funny! Who knew I would be entertained listening to a story about a drunk 5 yr old. At least it wasn't your mom putting beer in your bottle to calm you down. (no my mom didn't do that)