I discovered my group of friends during my second week of college. We knew each other from a combination of high school and mutual friends and came from different backgrounds—yet somehow, we quickly became the best of friends. Don’t get me wrong, if we all fell in love with the same girl, it’d be survival of the fittest, but other than that, nothing can tear us apart.
Like every squad, we needed an overseer, a papa smurf to take care of everyone when s**t hits the fan. Between drunken skirmishes at happy hour to randomly buying a $300 tortoise, one of us needed to mediate all the horseplay.
The position of “squad dad” usually passes on to the wisest of the group, but if we’re talking about my group of friends, it goes to the one with the largest tolerance for alcohol. Unfortunately, I drew the short straw.
My friends dubbed me Emperor Palpetine last year when they discovered my hidden talent as a living, breathing keg. There’s a misconception that the ability to hold your alcohol well is a good thing because it enables you to drink more, but this is nowhere near the case. As a tank, you end up spending more money at the club just to reach the point when you think, “I guess I can talk to that girl who’s totally out of my league.”
By the time you reach the tiniest buzz, you see everyone else passed out and realize that the most fun you had that night involved eating Zaxby’s chicken tenders. Thus, I tend to drink less often than my friends and take on the role of USDDU, or if you shockingly don’t know that anagram, the “Ultimate Supreme Designated Driver of the Universe.”
Now, you might say, “But Brandon, it can’t be that hard to take care of drunk people while sober. How bad could it really be?” Well, my dear, sweet naïve reader, it’s near freaking impossible.
Searching for everyone in a packed club during happy hour proves no easy feat. Pablo sits at the bar singing “Uptown Girl,” John attempts to talk to what he thinks is a girl but is in fact a giant wooden pole and Steve pees in the corner because he failed to keep his seal intact. As I watch these shmucks run amok, my patience grows immensely thin.
Besides overseeing the drunken antics, I also play the dad card during sober events. I tend to be very protective of those close to me, like a mother bear with her cubs, or Joey from Friends when it comes to his food. Sometimes, I sacrifice my role as master of shenanigans to keep them as far away from trouble as possible. Believe it or not, these fools get into just as much trouble in their normal states of mind just as if they took one too many shots.
When I tell them that playing soccer indoors is a horrendous idea, I hear things like, “Oh, c’mon, Brandon, we’re not gonna break anything, relax.” If I let my guard down for even a second, they break a perfectly good bowl from a Gordon Ramsey set that cost me a lot of money.
I know what you’re wondering right now: Why do you do it, Brandon? Why do you go through the trouble of taking care of them? The answer is simple: I love these dudes.
Sure, they’re a bunch of knuckleheads, but they’re my knuckleheads. I have their back and they have mine. It’s a friendship that transcends the tests of time and space, like the concept of love in Interstellar (that was pretty deep, if I do say so myself). As much of a pain in the a** these buffoons are, they’re the best thing to happen to me in my collegiate career. Years from now when we’re all wrinkly and confused, I know this friendship will still be around for the adventures to continue.