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Don't Miss Your Shot

My Circus of an 18th

By Anna HarrisonPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Don't Miss Your Shot
Photo by Crissy Jarvis on Unsplash

Wanna hear a circus tale? Alrighty, here it is:

“I was a simple teenager. A little bit off the rails and rebellious? Well yes. But in most respects, I wasn’t too mainstream or into binge drinking. I was, however, keen to order my first drink. As my 18th birthday approached I didn’t bother to organize a party as I already had all that I wanted. The perfect gifts from friends and family: a mini-fridge and a Nutri Bullet blender. I like food ok? Life was good. It was simple. I was content. The morning of my 18th was splendid. Brunch with the family? Check that off. Shopping for some nice clothes? Yes, sir, please. Keen for a simple meal, some free San Churros, and then a movie at home? I’m ready for that. Although some small part of me figured, why not go out to a pub with people? I do love people, and I’d get to order that first drink.

It turns out my inner thoughts must have been heard as my older sister and her friends decided to take me to a popular pub in town. Eek! I was keen on this last-minute decision. The spontaneity was thrilling. I felt so mature and old. I put on a denim jacket, grabbed my ID, and was ready for a pub dinner and to order that first drink. The pub was crowded. People were everywhere. This was the go-to place for university students and workers after 5 pm. Plus, it was schnitty night. Gotta love Schnitty night. So there I was, with a group of young adults, my sister, my dad, and my trusty chicken schnitzel.

Suddenly, my sister turns to me and beckons me to come to the bar. This is it. I’m ready for it. Ready to order my first drink. I followed her through the crowd, ID in hand, trying to conceal my nerves and obvious youthful naivety. Bottles of hard liquor, fridges of cider, taps of beer were all before me. To the left and right as far as the eye could see were options of glorious, colorful, drinks. I didn’t realize there were that many options, nor did I know what I liked. Were things meant to be this stressful? I guess I didn't know. My sister ordered a drink then nudged me to take my turn. I panicked and ordered a Rekorderlig cider, it seemed like a good and safe option for now? The bartender asked for my ID. Here we go, I thought. Hands trembling, I suppose I forgot my license wasn’t a Frisbee as I unintentionally flung the card over the counter, letting it bounce and fall to the floor. Baffled the bartender picked up my ID, only to notice the specific date on the card. With this new revelation she proceeded to ask if I wanted a free shot for my special occasion. I laughed to myself as I was about to decline, feeling already way in over my head, when my sister chimed in to seize this moment, as all older siblings would certainly do. Before I could protest, things were moving along quickly. Suddenly, a small glass filled with pink liquid was before me, directly in line with my 20/20 vision. I mean hey, cut me some slack, I’m only 5’3 in height. People were buzzing behind me, the hustle and bustle were real, and I needed to move along and get out of the way. Unsure of what was happening I turned to my sister and subtly begged her to tell me what to do. I had never done a shot. I didn’t know what they tasted like, let alone how they were consumed. Through gritted teeth, and a certain urgency, my sister insisted I do the shot, I just throw it back. Simply, throw it back.

T H R O W I T B A C K. These words echoed in my frozen brain as I stood and stared at this menacing glass.

And so low and behold, I picked up that glass, and well...quite literally did I throw it back. The downside and horror I've since realized are so: I didn’t seem to understand this was not a blunt instruction of step-by-step action but rather, and quite simply, a figure of speech...

Thus follows the saga of the circus. Queue a sad sequence of events:

Pink liquid splashed all over my face, streaks dripping down my jawline and onto my jacket. The bartender overwhelmed fell to the floor - consumed by heaves of laughter and shock at it all. The old men sitting at the bar stopped to shout “that is the funniest f***ing thing I’ve ever seen.” All around me people began to stare, with my sister next to me, lamenting the death of her phone battery, preventing her documentation of this extraordinary stunt. There I stood, sticky face and all, unsure of what to do next, as the entire pub of regular drinkers got to witness a show from the circus.

I missed the shot.

None of the liquid even made it down my throat. To this day I’ll never know what that pink drink tasted like. Serviettes in hand I left to take refuge and eat my schnitzel in the darkness outside. Having to explain my sticky face to the group I came with, the story was retold giving birth to new laughter, causing a friend in similar reactions to knock over my cider. This brought my total of splashed drinks to two. (not a good record for the first time at a bar). To make matters worse and prolong this unexpected show, as I went to wipe it up, alcohol now on face and table, sadly not in the belly, that same bartender walked past, only to see me and resume her cackles of laughter as she sank, once again, to the floor.

Oh, how the haunting continued. The circus charade is ongoing. I guess it makes sense, for who could miss their shot from an arm's length away, it's all really silly and made me rather not stay. I was a pink clown amongst adults, messy and amusing. Free entertainment for the busiest bar. Laughter bought by my misunderstanding.

It was then that my dad finally took me away, to get those free San Churros in peace and quiet. So that is the tale of the first drink that I ordered. Rest assured I have finally returned to that pub, only 2 and ½ years later. But this time, I stuck to a drink that I knew how to sip, a beverage that I love and understand as a concept. I went to the bar with the confidence of how to order and passed my ID without throwing it around. I asked with full foresight and knowledge, no baffled bartender or audience to witness, as I ordered a simple yet satisfying schooner of beer. To all those out there, excited to order their first drink, my advice to you would simply be: If someone tells you to just throw back your drink, they don’t mean literally onto your face. It’s just a figure of speech. So in summary, save yourself some embarrassment and all the fuss, and simply, really simply, just don’t miss your shot.”

Carpark before the pub.

How it began- of the innocent excitement. ^

Free birthday churros after the pub.

How it ended- oh the better plan. ^

By Ankit Sinha on Unsplash

How it felt^ oh.


About the Creator

Anna Harrison

I love how writing can communicate all sorts of ideas to all sorts of people, connecting and enlightening the world. I studied Liberal Arts and love history, philosophy, and concepts. I'm also a self-proclaimed drama nerd and coffee snob.

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