Two things you should know about me:
#1 I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve only drank on 4 different occasions.
- The day I graduated high school in 1985, having promised my father that I wouldn’t try it before then. It was beer and hated the taste. I ended up spitting (or spraying) it out as I stood on top of a friend’s car hood as my buddies below chanted, “Chug, chug, chug…”. Anybody need a handkerchief? What’s that? EVERYBODY?
- At a wedding reception toast (it was wine).
- Summer of ’89. This drunken episode ended with me sleeping with a girl I shouldn’t have. She had never been drunk and asked me if I would do it with her because she felt safe with me. Yeah, about that…
- Same summer. I drank with a few friends in my apartment, then ran over to the party next door, where I chased everyone out into the street with a kitchen knife (I wasn’t going to cut or stab anyone – I thought it was funny). That ended badly and thankfully I don’t remember most of the pummeling that put me to sleep in the middle of the street.
You could tell me that being drunk (the last two times) was the excuse, but I’d argue that point. Alcohol didn’t make me DO those things. It just made me feel EASIER about doing them: The girl I slept with, I’d always been attracted to and the people I chased, well, some of them I didn’t like to begin with. Haven’t touched the stuff since, 30 years later.
#2 I’ve never been high. I don’t do drugs. Never tried them – never will. One time, I dragged around the house one Saturday morning after staying up all night, songwriting. My father thought I was taking depressants, picked me up and slammed me against the wall with one hand, holding me a good 12″ above the ground. One hand. After nervously explaining why I was so drowsy (over the desperate pleas of my mother to let me go), he set me down. He took me to the room and explained to me that he would rather kill and mourn the loss of one son, than risk that son harming his family, “feening for a fix”. I guess counseling and/or the threat of expulsion from school was off the table.
He also warned that people in our family (his side) have a high tolerance for chemicals. He told me I might end up dying of alcohol poisoning, trying to get drunk. He was actually right. When I got drunk, I’d put down more than other people could, and even then, it wasn’t “falling down” sloppy. If anything, I was easy-going. And I never got that famous “hangover” people complain about. Medicine was worse. I always had to take a higher dosage to achieve the desired effect. Still do.
Tallahassee, FL (1989)
My friend Monica picked me up from the dentist’s office after he’d pulled my wisdom tooth. We’d had a devil of a time with his constant injections of Novocain because after each injection and subsequent wait, I complained that I could still feel it and it wasn’t just the pressure of contact. He thought I was kidding when I told him it still hurt. By the time I consented to the actual extraction, he had warned that he had given me more than he “should have” and couldn’t risk giving any more. I lied and said I was ready.
He realized I wasn’t ready as I fought his two assistants, groaning and writhing about in agony (no, I did NOT want any anesthesia – I was afraid of never waking up). Still, I begged him to continue because I wanted it all to be over and done with. I know he and his staff felt the same way, if not more.
I requested that the office attendant call Monica only AFTER I was finished, for fear of her seeing me at my worst. It was the right call. By the time she got there I was red-eyed, swollen and woozy. Her look of shock soon became compassion and sympathy as she helped them get me into her car.
I don’t remember the drive to Eckerd’s Drug store. I just remember looking over to an empty driver’s seat in the parking lot and feeling miserable. But it wasn’t my mouth, it was the drowsiness, dizziness and strong desire to vomit. I stumbled out of the car in an attempt to enter the store for help, but couldn’t make it past the passenger door.
I sat down on the ground next to the car and began to convulse violently. The Novocain had finally kicked in to the max and I was feeling the effects of a mild-overdose. I rocked back and forth with my left hand across my chest and my right over my mouth, shaking uncontrollably.
“Oh my God! Is that Kenny Davis?” I heard in the distance. “That IS him. He’s on that CRACK!!!!”
My vision was too blurry to make them out and my gaze was short-lived because as I tried to force a reply, vomit filled my mouth before words could.
And it didn’t stop.
“I never knew HE was messing with that stuff” the strange voice said sadly as the car pulled away.
By the time Monica came out with my prescription I had made my way to the curb and resumed my sitting and rocking. I’ll never forget the look of sadness on her face. But she was a champion, strong for both of us. It was the only thing that got me through; that and the love in her eyes as she and my roommate Tony helped me into bed. I was happy because I knew hers would be the beautiful face I would see when I came out of my sleep…
It was Tony’s.
Monica had long-since gone. Gone…
…but the rumors were only beginning.
Kenny Davis, the wild-sexin’ drunkard.
Kenny Davis, the street-brawling alcoholic.
And now, Kenny Davis, the cracked-out drug fiend.