Mike attended high school in a New York suburb with no shortage of holiday parties. Born in China, he had moved often, and skipped a couple of grades as well. So he was elated when a popular classmate invited him to a New Year’s Eve party. But the invitation specified black tie.
“You can wear my tux,” his father said, even though Mike hadn’t grown into it yet.
Mike rode to the party with a friend who had a driver’s license. The sound of Lester Lanin’s mellow orchestra greeted them as they entered the house. The family dining room, decorated with silver bells, had been cleared of furniture to create a dance floor.
But Mike, overwhelmed by shyness, headed for the punch bowl where he plied himself with crystal cups of the fruity beverage, whatever it was.
Eventually, he felt nature’s call. Finding a bathroom upstairs, he promptly fell backwards into the tub. He pulled himself to a standing position, and next heard the sound of splintering glass as he shoved his shoulder through the window.
He lurched downstairs and found his friend who agreed to give him a ride home. He remembered to thank the hostess on the way to the door. Once outside, he threw up.
Arriving home, he crept up the stairs, hoping his parents were asleep. His father wasn’t. He sat reading in bed.
“Hi Pop,” Mike said.
Looking up from his book. his father said, “Mike, the way to have fun at a party is to see how little you can drink. Not how much.”