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Tucker Max, 21st birthday
My 21st birthday 
by: Tucker Max

Tucker Max Home / Vices ChannelEntertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Want to read more of Tucker Max's tales of belligerence & debauchery? Visit!


I generally do not celebrate my birthday. Normally, I love being the center of attention, but I’ve never liked being the center of attention without earning it; I want people focused on me because I command their attention, not out of some vaguely felt obligation to celebrate something I had nothing to do with.

My 21st was an exception. The 21st is an important birthday, being the passageway into legalized alcoholism, and my friends plotted to ignore my normal birthday misgivings and celebrate anyway. I was a senior in college at the time. My good friend Colin was tasked with organizing the event, and he had me and about 8 of my best friends start the night at a local bar called Jimmy’s.

The night began innocuously enough. We got to Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap at about 7pm. The plan was for me to do my birthday shots at Jimmy’s, and then head out afterwards. Colin bought 2 pitchers for the table, and a shot for me and him. Our birthday tradition, as is standard for many of my generation, is that everyone out with the birthday boy buys 2 shots, one for themselves and one for the birthday boy. This pattern continues until the birthday boy has done one shot for each year of his life. Normally, the 21 shots are spread out over the course of the night, beginning early and ending very late.

Not this time.

This time my friends decided that I was going to get shit-housed, fucked-in-half, retarded drunk, and I was going to do it as quickly as possible. So almost as soon as Colin and I finished our shot, Kurt had one waiting for me. Then Steve was right there with his, followed immediately by Jesse. I had not agreed to this plan, nor even been informed of it, so after the forth shot I slammed my beer chaser on the table and screamed,

“HEY GODDAMMIT! There will be a 5 minute wait between shots. And no more fucking tequila or vodka. Whiskey only.”

Being such great friends, everyone respected my wishes. For about 5 minutes. Then the shots started coming quickly again. 3 minutes between shots. 2 minutes. 1 minute. Next thing I know, I have 10 shot glasses in front of me, and it is only about 8:15. I beg for a 20 minute break, and receive a table full of condescending smiles.

At this stage in my drinking career, I was not an experienced enough alcoholic to realize that the only way for me to salvage the night would be to run into the street and get hit by a car. I was doomed. At the very least I could have tried to force myself to vomit, ridding myself of the 15 ounces of hard liquor now metastasizing in my otherwise empty stomach. Not me. I remained in my chair and held up my part of the conversation by giving inebriated opinions in a far louder voice than was necessary.

About 10 minutes later, another shot is placed in front of me. Whiskey. I did it. Mister Stomach was not amused.

Five minutes later, another whiskey is set in front of me. I can no longer discern the faces of my friends without squinting and focusing. I blithely resist the shot, but the boom of castigation from the gets me to somehow get it down my throat.

Something about this shot sets off internal alarms. I start seeing yellow flashing lights. My throat tries desperately to reject it, but I keep my mouth shut and force it down. I try to get up to walk around, but my body does not respond. The environment around me has become nothing more than a vague, shifting mass of irregular shapes and amorphous forms, accentuated by voices I seem to recognize. My only thoughts involve hurting those around me, but I am too afraid to let go of the table to act on them. I hear someone say something about a shot. I begin begging,

“Guys, please, seriously, please, I am begging you with my life, please, please, no more alcohol.”

Everyone has a good laugh at my expense, and another shot is placed in front of me.

“Guys I can’t do this. Honestly, guys, my life is on the line here.”

The shot is put up to my face. The whiskey smell is too much. I try to squirm away and end up falling out of my chair and onto the floor, the shot spilling onto my face and clothes.

The next thing I know my arm is around Kurt’s shoulder, and he is dragging me to the bathroom. Jimmy’s is a very old building and has only one bathroom. It is a room about four foot square, with one sink, one frosted glass window about six feet in height, a wall mounted soap dispenser, a door that doesn’t lock, and one toilet, the old kind that has the water tank in the rear. When we get there, he places me in front of the lone toilet.

Kurt “Alright, go ahead and vomit.”
Tucker “Kurt…I haz ta pee-pee.”
Kurt “OK, then go pee.”
Tucker “Buu...bu I cant…I cant…can you undo my shurts fur me?”
Kurt “You can’t be serious.”
Tucker “Pleeeze? I havta pee bad.”
Kurt “Oh great Holy Jesus.”

Kurt holds his torso and face as far away from my midsection as possible as he undoes my belt and unzips my shorts, which immediately fall to the ground.

Kurt “OH, MAN…you're not wearing any underwear!!”
Tucker “I dun like it…it makes me feel constrict-ted.”
Kurt ”Jee-sus.”

He turns me to face the toilet. I just stand there.

Kurt “Are you going to pee?”
Tucker “Iz comin. Wait…yur makin’ me nervous.”

A few seconds later my urethra loosens and the flow begins. I am holding myself up by pushing both hands against the wall behind the toilet, and my penis is caught in the lower lip of my shirt. As a result, my urine is first collected in the lower half of my shirt, before overflowing onto the floor. I don’t really notice. Kurt does.

Kurt “OH MAN, what are you doing? Oh Tucker…”
Tucker [I turn and smile at Kurt] “It feelz warm.”
Kurt “OHHHH…I’m not picking your pants up.”

I finish peeing, and as I lean down to pick up my pants, my feet slip, and I fall over, landing in the puddle of urine on the floor. Kurt continues groaning and helps me up. I manage to get my pants zipped up. My stomach is still upset with me.

Tucker “Kurt, I doan…I doan…feel good.”
Kurt “OK…then throw up. The toilet is right there. Go ahead, get it out.”

I start swaying. I can feel the vomit coming. Even though I know it’s coming, and it knows it’s coming, it seems just hang there in my throat, teasing me, waiting, letting me contemplate just how stupid I really am, my body punishing me just that little bit extra.

Then, like being shot out of a cannon, it explodes from my mouth.


The force of the vomit propels my upper body away from the toilet, and I vomit in the sink.


The force of the second diaphragm contraction is so strong it pushes my body and head away from the sink towards the far wall. Lost in agony and bile, I stumble over to the toilet, catch myself on the tank in the rear, pull off the lid, drop it on the floor, and vomit in the tank behind the porcelain bowl.

Kurt “What, what,…what the HELL are you doing? Vomit in the bowl…IN THE BOWL!!”

Kurt’s imprecations cause me to turn my head towards him in confusion. My innocent look of confusion quickly turns to one of wrenching pain, as the forth wave of vomit forces it’s way up through my throat. I nearly manage to project this stream of vomit onto Kurt, missing him but hitting the door.


Faint and staggered by such violent heaving, I stumble back over towards the sink, and grab the soap dispenser for stability. It is not designed to support such weight, and promptly rips off the wall, falling to the ground. I catch myself on the sink, and then vomit on the soap container, which is now sitting on the floor.

By the time I am completely finished, I heaved and convulsed so many times I’ve lost count. I manage to get vomit on the window, in the sink, on all four walls and the door, even in the tank behind the toilet, yet had somehow spared the actual toilet bowl. Every surface and container in the bathroom had vomit in or on it, except the inside of the toilet bowl. The toilet tank had vomit in it. The window, six feet high in the air, had vomit on it. Even the outside of the toilet bowl had vomit sloshed on it. To this day, I don’t know how I did that. Kurt refuses to talk about the incident.

Somehow tolerating both the urine and vomit my body was covered in, Kurt pulls me out of the bathroom, and manages to walk us to the table where everyone was sitting.

Kurt “Guys, weneedtoleave RIGHTNOW!”

Kurt’s urgency was less a result of my condition as it was fear of the Jimmy’s bartenders. Had they discovered my mess while we were still there, they would most likely just grab a couple of sawed-off baseball bats from behind the bar counter, make us clean up the mess, beat us savagely, take all the money in our wallets, and then thrown us out into the street. These are old school Chicagoans--not the type of men that call the police.

Apparently, the urgency in Kurt’s voice was enough, and before I really understood what was going on, we were all out in the street. It was 9:15, barely two hours into the night.

Kurt, Colin and Steve volunteered to take me back to my apartment. Everyone else headed off to the Psi U party. As we were walking, three girls came upon us. Their night was just beginning, and they were in good spirits. I, on the other hand, had my arms draped around the necks of my two friends, barely able to muster the strength to walk, my head hung in defeat, exhaustion and drunkenness.

Girl “Hey guys-what’s wrong with him? Is he OK?” The middle girl seemed to be genuinely concerned about my welfare.
Colin “He’s fine, he’s just really drunk; it’s his birthday.”
Girls “Oh, hey--Happy Birthday!”

Kurt and Colin quickly whisked me away from the poor traumatized girls and into my apartment. When we reached my apartment, the three of them deposited me into my bathtub and turned the water on to clean some of the vomit and urine off of me, and to buy some time to decide how to best arrange my room so that I could safely pass out.

I was very thirsty. Laying in the bathtub, looking up at the faucet, I thought of a great idea. So I turned the nozzle on full blast, and put my mouth up to it. It was like drinking from a firehose, but I was too drunk and dehydrated to notice that I was getting completely soaked, or that water was shooting out of my nose. It was Colin who noticed these things and turned the nozzle off.

Colin “Dude, what are you doing. That’s a good way to get brain damage.”
Tucker “Whaaaat?…could you get me sum food, peas. There brownies in da kitchen.”

Colin walked off and Kurt moved me over to my bed, and lay me on my stomach. I felt snot coming out of my nose.

Tucker “Kurt, will you please blow my nose.”
Kurt “Oh Jesus.”

Kurt went and got me a tissue, and held it up to my nose as I blew. I felt much better. Then Steve came in my room and placed the phone up to my ear.

Steve “Here Tucker, it’s your mother. She wants to wish you a happy birthday.”

Steve put the phone up to my ear, and there was noise coming from it. I grabbed the phone out of Steve’s hand, and threw it across the room. The phone shattered against the far bedroom wall. Steve’s hysterical laughter was my last clear memory.

The next morning I woke up so dehydrated I couldn’t even blink my eyes. Kurt, Colin and Steve had placed me on my bed, with my head hanging over the side, a trash can below it. The side of my bed below my mouth was streaked with a black paste, apparently the brownie I ate and then threw up. The trash can was filled with a watery brown paste, about two inches deep, apparently the gallon or so of water I drank last night, mixed with what remained of the brownie.

I slept all day long, my only waking hours occupied with drinking water or listening the countless messages my mother let on my machine, wondering why I called her, cursed and then hung up.

To get in touch with Tucker, visit!


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