Birthday Shots Fired

What you’re about to read is a true story. Everything in this post actually happened, to the best of my drunken recollection.

My birthday is on February 8th which means that in 2020 I was one of the few people who got to enjoy a legit, pre-quarantine celebration. That day happened to coincide with AZ Strong Beer Fest in Phoenix and I remember being there with a raging assfuckface of a hangover for the record books. I got blackout drunk the night before at a gay bar that was walking distance from my hotel and there might have also been a drag show that night? Who knows. What I can say for sure is that I spent my 34th birthday stumbling through Steele Indian School Park (amongst a crowd of hundreds, likely rona-positive assholes) trying to desperately drink enough tiny pours of beer to balance out my shit and get myself right as fast as I possibly could.

We needn’t rehash too much what happened in the 12 months after that. The entire world went on lockdown, I lived through the worst year of my life (as a lot of other people did), and I drank enough alcohol to kill a family of four…elephants. Literally feed the same amount of booze I drank that year to four elephants and all four of those big bitches would tip over and die.

Cut to February 8th, 2021. I had somehow survived a global pandemic despite always kinda wanting to die so I was feeling kinda good but also being alive was even more goddamn exhausting than usual but also, like, I had an excuse to wear a suit and tie out in public again but also why do birthdays matter because they’re just a reminder that we’re not actually living and instead every day that passes means we’re actually slowly dying because the progression of time brings us one step closer to the grave but then also there’s no better excuse than a birthday to get people to pay for your booze so fuck it, I decided to go out somewhere for my 35th birthday.

My friend Adam Ledford, and his family, were pretty much the only people I spent time with during the latter half of 2020. So when I told Adam I wanted to put on a suit and drink a martini for my birthday he suggested we go to Sullivan’s Steakhouse on River & Campbell in Tucson. I immediately agreed because I had fond memories of taking ladies to Sullivan’s back in my 20’s since that was one of the nicest places Tucson had to offer then. That was during the time when downtown was really shitty and stabby with nothing to do other than drink at Hotel Congress then hit that Grill diner place that white people loved dragging me to. Sullivan’s was an “upscale” joint with a fancy patio and a fire pit that always impressed the babes.

I walked in to Sullivan’s bar, looking handsome as hell with one of my best outfits and my hair looking fabulous as always. Adam Ledford was there too.

The place closed at 10pm and we got there just before 9pm so we decided to have a couple of quick drinks and appetizers then continue our night at a shitty dive bar that was open for the rest of the night. I got my vodka martini with a twist because that was back when gin and I were still not on speaking terms. Gin and I reconnected recently and I think we might be okay…just as long as gin doesn’t act like a fucken dick again.

Speaking of dicks, Adam decided to (metaphorically!) swing his around that night. After I finished my martini I said I wanted to switch to whisky. And to Sullivan’s’ credit they had a wall full of stupid good bottles of liquor that neither of us saw very often at any other bars.

“I’ll get my friend a glass of 30 year old Macallan for his birthday,” Adam said to the bartender, with the self-satisfaction of a dude whose wife has a PhD.

Holy fucking SHIT, I thought to myself. My buddy is literally spending, like, sixty or even seventy dollars on one single glass of whisky for me. That’s AMAZING!

For those of you not in the know: Macallan is a brand of single malt Scotch and also the word “Scotch” just means whisky from Scotland. The number next to the name refers to how long the Scotch has been aged so Adam just threw caution to the wind and got me a drink that was 30 years old. I had in my hand a glass of whisky that was only five years younger than I was at that time. I took a sip of one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had in my mouth that wasn’t lady parts. It was glorious in ways I can’t even describe. I let Adam try it but he only took the tiniest of sippy-sips and let me enjoy the rest of it on my own.

“Hey, have you ever tried this?” the bartender asked Adam, while holding up a bottle of some other fancy-ass-looking whiskey.

Adam said he hadn’t so the bartender popped the bottle and gave him a wholeass pour on the house. An entire full glass of a really good, top-shelf whiskey. For free.

I didn’t realize it at the time because I was too busy savoring some more of the Macallan 30 that tasted like I was going down on an angel on Christmas morning but that’s when Adam’s hands started to shake a bit. His eyes were growing wider with every sip of his own drink as the realization of what he had just done was slowly dawning. See, when you tip real fat at a bar and spend ridiculous amounts of money a cool bartender will probably offer you a free shot of some mid-tier liquor they want to get rid of. It’s like when you lose so much money at a Vegas casino and they give you a free stay at the hotel and even send a lady up to your room because it all costs them way less than what they just earned from your dumbass sitting at that blackjack table all night.

So it was kind of like that but Adam didn’t get a tiny shot of a mid-tier liquor that the bar wanted to get rid of. He got a wholeass pour of some really good shit. It was closing time so we asked for the check and were getting ready to head to the dive bar but it took the bartender a while to get back to us. A woman who worked for Sullivan’s went behind the bar to help the dude figure out our tab on that little computer thing they charge stuff on. And they were there for a while. But eventually our bartender came back to us with a face-down receipt.

“Hey guys, we didn’t have a button for the 30 year Macallan on the computer so I had to bring my manager in here. We only charged you for a glass of the 25 year and we gave you a one hundred dollar discount.”

I could feel my asshole clench up and I assumed Adam’s asshole loosened up so bad that he literally lost his shit.

Did that motherfucker just say a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR discount?

Adam signed the receipt and went to the bathroom, presumably to clean the dookie off his undies. I looked at what he signed and saw that he was charged two hundred dollars for that single shot of whisky. Two hundred dollars.

Two. Hundred. Dollars…..AFTER THE DISCOUNT. For one glass. I drank a single glass of whisky that should’ve but somehow didn’t cost three hundred dollars. Or should it have? Because that price was for the Macallan 25. Let’s not forget that I drank a glass of the 30 year. I even tried to get the bartender to tell me what kind of bullet Adam dodged.

“Hey man, how much does the Macallan 30 actually cost?” I asked.

“It’s a lot.” The dude said.

“Holy shit, this is the best birthday present ever. But seriously though…how much does that thing actually cost?”

“It’s a lot,” he said again, just straight up refusing to answer my question.

Adam came back from the bathroom and we both said goodbye to the staff at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. We walked out all cool and confident and shit but as soon as we got outside Adam lost his goddamn mind.

“Oh my fucking fuck I just spent $200 on one drink. We’re never coming back here. Please DON’T EVER TELL MY WIFE ABOUT THIS!”

“Bro. If you want to cheat on your wife I promise I will lie to her and say you were hanging out with me all night. That’s how much I owe you. And also…any well drinks you want at this dive bar we’re going to are on me, obviously.”

We entered the dive bar in awkward silence because I was trying to pretend like I felt bad that Adam spent that much money on me while actually being ecstatic that I got to drink that thing without paying a goddamn cent for it. We sat on the patio chatting for a bit while he drank his bottom shelf tequila that I begrudgingly bought for him. When there was a lull in the conversation he started scrolling on his phone. I sipped my gross, bottom shelf, triple lime vodka tonic that I wished had more limes to mask the taste as I watched Adam’s eyes grow wide as he stared at his phone.

“Holy shit, dude,” he said. “We’ve been looking at this all wrong. Do you have any idea how much an entire bottle of Macallan 25 costs? I looked it up. It’s between two and three thousand dollars.”

“For a fucking single bottle?” I asked as I drank a shot of Fireball because I am a garbage person.

“Yes! And do you have any idea how much the 30 year old bottle costs? That motherfucker is like six or seven thousand dollars. Per bottle.”

The severity of this revelation dawned on us both at the same time.

“If a glass of the Macallan 25 was three hundred dollars then that means the 30 year must have been five or six hundred dollars easy,” he said. “I somehow narrowly escaped paying SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A SINGLE GLASS OF WHISKY!”

“Are you shitting me? That’s amazing. Did we just beat the house?”

“We absolutely did! And I even got to have a tiny sip. That was probably a hundred dollar sip. This is one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me and I’m not even mad that it cost me two hundred bucks!”

“Okay, but, like….do you want to go back there tomorrow?”


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