Everyone loves a good paint party. They’re giant, messy excuses to look shitty and be totally okay with it because everyone else also looks like Hell. They tend to lead to the most destructive of aftermaths, because if you give so few fucks about a house that you’ll let 200 of your closest friends throw paint all over the walls, you probably believe rent deposits are mythical creatures much like unicorns — something never to be seen again. These epic events are often the highlight of your college partying career, unless you handle one like I did a few years ago. In my case, I spent the night generally making pretty big mistakes which ended with me naked, coated in paint and sleeping on the floor of a campus lab. Not my greatest triumph, right there. Take my advice, don’t fuck up like I did.
Fuck Up #1: Gearing Up Poorly
It was a night of Greek Week much like any other, except on this night we decided to add neon paint to the standard party supply setup. The other fraternity agreed to host, because none of our houses were willing to destroy their chances at a security deposit for the glory of one night of painting the house red (and blue, and green, and that awful vomit neon yellow). I showed up in a lab coat, because I’m both weird and kind of a pretentious asshole. The rest of my brothers weren’t having that shit, so they told me to leave it in the car and just go in my tank top.
What went wrong: Here, I picked the wrong clothing for a themed event and had to leave it behind. It set the stage for a lot of bad choices much later in the night. Always pick the right attire.
Fuck Up #2: Over-Estimating My Drinking Abilities
Prior to arriving, I prepared like any veteran would: with an entire bottle of whiskey. Jack Daniels didn’t stand a chance that night, because I was in full-on blackout mode before the word “go”. Have you ever seen a skinny, pale ginger in a wife beater nearly put his hand through someone else’s ceiling to “Levels”? Neither have I, my friends, but I’m glad I had the wherewithal to black out so I had probable deniability.
What went wrong: My interactions with Jack Daniels. He’s my best friend, and my worst enemy. I made the rookie move of assuming that I could keep myself under control at a paint party after drinking enough to kill the average adult rhino and paid the price for it. The photos of from this would be excellent blackmail, but thankfully I don’t think they’ll ever see the light of day because no one remembered that party.
Within two hours I was both coated in paint and filled with booze. I was a festive, paint party piñata filled up with the results of a lot of poor choices and colored in a paint palette that looked like something out of a Bob Ross acid trip. I was, in short, fucked up, and people decided I should go home.
So, I was coaxed back into the car with the promise of drunk food and was driven back to my apartment like some kind of oversized toddler. Which is why I was confused when I woke up in my lab on campus.
Fuck Up #3: Listening To My Own Drunk Logic
Somehow, against all odds, I decided not to end my night by walking back to my building. No, despite being no more than 20 ft from the door when I was dropped off, I did not even think to cross the threshold. I, instead, opted to walk half a mile across campus to my lab office and pass out, naked, on the floor. Where were my clothes? Fuck if I know. All I had was my cell phone, my wallet, my ID and a lab coat. That same lab coat I left in the car. Was I trying to put it back on the rack in my office? Probably. Does that make a damn bit of sense? No, but neither does apparently bathing in the giant fountain on campus to get the paint off and leaving my clothes behind.
What went wrong: I thought, in my drunken stupor, that I had to return the lab coat I had borrowed for the evening, to the room I used as my office on campus. The problem was that on the list of adjectives that could be used to describe me, “sober”, “responsible” and “logical” were right down at the bottom of the list next to “functional.” I was, as a result, not all that successful in making it through my adventure, as shown by the lack of clothes and the waking up on the floor.
Fuck Up #4: Getting Logical Far Too Late
Now I had a problem. I was naked, it was 9 AM, and the course coordinator for the lab I assisted with would probably be discovering me sanz clothes in short order. Luckily, I had a gym bag in the room with a pair of boxers in it, but nothing else. I also had an exam in half an hour. I was straight fucked up shit creek without a paddle or a kayak. I had to go to the exam though, or I would have automatically failed the class. Pathogenic microbiology is not fun when you slept on a concrete floor in the buff the night before, even less so when Metallica is playing a concert on the inside walls of your skull.
So, I put on some boxers, buttoned up my coat and went to my exam. My professor, who I’d probably known since I was about 17 thanks to interning in the department over summers, looked at me like I’d lost my goddamn mind. After reassuring him that I hadn’t been brutally assaulted and left for dead somewhere, and that perhaps the shame might help me better process the material, he let me take the exam.
What went wrong: My sense of academic self-preservation overrode my ability to feel shame. I managed to take my exam and pass with a solid grade in the 90s, but only because I knew the material from basically teaching it for three years. All in all, this probably was the most minor of my mistakes for the night, though I’m pretty sure my sense of dignity walked out the door of that test room mid-exam and never came back.
Afterwards, I trudged home across campus in the worst walk of my adult life. I wanted to die. I might have actually died. I don’t actually know. Maybe it’s some Sixth Sense shit. In any case, I collapsed and didn’t wake up until the next day.
I’d say there’s a moral to the story, but I don’t think there is, other than don’t drunkenly try and do science while naked. Perhaps I can serve as a cautionary tale on how not to attend a paint party. Avoid my fuck ups, kids, and you should make it out a lot better than I did. I never did find my sense of dignity again, so I think it’s just lost at this point.