Monday, March 10, 2014


My first overnight stay in jail was in 1984, when I was a sophomore in college, 20 years old.  The charges were DUI, although I blew less than the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit on the Breathalyzer.  Fortunately, at that time in Kentucky, the BAC legal limit was 0.10%.  I blew a 0.09%.  As most people know, the nationwide legal limit has since been lowered to 0.08%.  

It was the Saturday night before Easter, and my fraternity had a formal dance in Louisville.  This is sort of like the high school prom, where the men wear tuxedoes and their dates are dressed in formal evening gowns.  My date that night was one of my best friends from high school, who was attending UK.  My college was near Lexington, KY (I won't name it to preserve my anonymity for this blog), and it was ca. 50 miles each way from campus to the hotel in Louisville where the formal was held. 

Anyway, after eating dinner with my date in the Lexington area (I confess, I took her to my college's dining hall, as every Saturday night was "Steak Night"), and borrowed someone's meal ticket for her to use.  After dinner, we bought enough wine coolers to fill a cooler and then drove to Louisville.  I was drunk by the time we got there, and I remember it was raining a bit, and just after crossing into the city limits my car spun out and jumped a median. 

At the party, I drank a lot of Scotch, and got really drunk.  Even my fraternity brothers had not seen me this drunk, but my date was a real "party girl," and she had a good time.  A few days later one of my best friends in the frat said, "Damn, you really got drunk and made an ass of yourself."  Yeah, I can vaguely remember telling his girlfriend some dirty jokes.  He and his girlfriend didn't drink and were very religious, by the way. 

Anyway, I was chugging Scotch straight from the bottle, and spilled a lot of it on my tux.  So not only was I really drunk, but I smelled very strongly of Scotch. 

Sometime around midnight, my date and I left the formal and drove back to my college.  About halfway there, in Franklin County, KY, I decided I needed a cigar, and these were locked in my glove compartment.  I was trying to get the key to the glove compartment off my keychain while driving, and was apparently weaving too much, too obviously, on the interstate.  Then the ominous blue flashinig lights appeared in my rearview mirror. 

The cop asked me why I was weaving, was it because I had too much to drink?  I told him, "No officer, I was trying to avoid the puddles on the interstate."  He didn't buy that answer and made me take the field sobriety test.  I personally thought I passed the test, but nevertheless he smelled the Scotch on my tux and then arrested me for DUI.  My date had to drive my car back to campus, and since she didn't know how to drive a manual transmission, she drove the remaining 20 miles back in 1st gear.  She crashed in my room, which was amusing as me and my roomate shared a bunk bed, with him on the top bunk.  Probably worth mentioning that my roommate was a conservative religious type like my other friend in the fraternity.  He didn't even sleep with his own longtime girlfriend, to my knowledge.  Anyway, he thought it was funny. 

As for me, I was hauled in to the Franklin County State Police barracks for a Breathalyzer test.  I was fortunate, because the cop didn't really know how to set up the Breathalzyer correctly, and it took him about an hour before it was working.  I think this was enough time for my BAC to drop below the 0.10% limit.  So, I blew a 0.09%, which meant I wasn't legally drunk, but I was put in jail anyway.  I can't remember if I called my parents to come and bail me out, or my date called them.  An interestig connection was that my date's father worked at the same company as my dad, and they were pretty good friends. 

So, remember that I'm coming back from a formal dance, which meant I'm in a tuxedo, and since I liked being 'different', instead of the customary black tie, I wore a hot pink bow tie with a matching cummerbund.  I think I made quite an impression on the inmates, as one of them offered me his bunk, after I sat on the floor for a couple of hours.  The jail was severely overcrowded that night, the cell was designed for 16 inmates, but there were 62 inmates crammed into it, including myself. 

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