It started with boredom, and it snowballed into an emergency room visit. Well, there weren't snowballs involved, but snow was a definite factor.

The five or so weeks of winter break for college students gets wicked boring, wicked fast. There aren't house parties every weekend, going to the bar requires driving (and no one ever wants to DD), and people are spending the holidays hanging out with their families for some reason. So when my friend Aine called me saying her parents left her and her brother home for the weekend in a house full of beer, I was all over it.

And then a blizzard struck.

The fact that I was concerned about a tree's emotions should have been a sign that my feet were better off firmly on the ground.I'm only being slightly hyperbolic. The house full of beer equated to a couple of cases of ‘Gansetts and some Guinness left over from a family St. Stephen's Day party (a thing Irish people do). The blizzard was probably just a typical New England snowstorm, but for the purpose of making myself look less idiotic, I'm calling it a blizzard.

Now, the house full of beer was about 20 minutes away on a good day. The trip includes a trek up what I believe to be about a 90-degree incline and one of those narrow, cliché country roads with no streetlights and barely enough room for two cars to cross paths without being run into the neighboring fields likely filled with children of the corn. There was no way my car was making it. I wasn't about to risk my own or my car's life for some free beer.

I would, however, risk Aine's life.

I called her and asked her to pick me up, because if you're gonna get drunk off of your parents' alcohol while snowed in, it's best to do it with a friend. Life hack.

It was probably extreme boredom on both of our parts that caused Aine to leave the safety of South Providence (ha) to drive to Hick Town and pick me up, but I'll credit my skills of persuasive speech. As soon as I got in the car, we both realized that we might have made a huge mistake. The first mistake of the night.

Once we managed to back out of my driveway and get down a small hill, it was too late to turn around and admit to my parents that I, days away from turning 21, did not actually know as much about blizzards and road conditions as them, in their 50-plus years of living in New England. So we braved the blizzard. Two hours and ten0 heart attacks later, we slid to a stop in front of Aine's house, just before the coffee rationing situation got dire.

We made it. But we were hungry. Near-death experiences can really make you build an appetite.

So we did what any logical college student would do: we ordered Chinese food. Surprisingly enough, the place informed us that they were not, in fact, delivering, due to the fact that it was blizzarding. Who knew. That didn't stop our intelligent selves from downing a couple of glasses of wine and deciding to walk to pick up the food. Second mistake.

Slightly tipsy and dodging four lanes of traffic usually doesn't go well, but at the moment, luck was on our side. We successfully made it both ways, pausing only to ponder if we should steal an abandoned shopping cart to push the excessive amount of Chinese food home. Unfortunately, shopping cart wheels don't function well in a foot of snow, so we left it in the street.

We made it back, shook the snow off, and warmed up by finishing off the bottle of wine. Mistake number three.

After splitting up the cartons of rice, chicken, and beef teriyaki that were probably meant to be consumed by a minimum of a football team's worth of people, we hunted for something to drink. Fresh off the St. Stephen's Day party, the residence was stocked with a variety of drinks, but for some reason we settled on Dr. Pepper. And what goes better with Dr. Pepper than a shit ton of vodka. Mistake number four.

A bottle of vodka later, the blizzard looked much more exciting than it did when we drove through it earlier. We each downed a beer; threw on our hats and gloves because hypothermia, man; grabbed another beer; and stepped into the icy South Providence terrain.

Drunken frolicking in an almost entirely plowed road gets old quickly, even with the amount of alcohol celebrating in my bloodstream. We were about to go back indoors to the safety of beer and blankets, when suddenly the perfect climbing tree appeared.

I mean it was there the whole time, right across the street, but it had never before occurred to me that this tree's purpose was to be climbed. I would be doing the tree a disservice by not climbing it, and who wants to disappoint a tree? The fact that I was concerned about a tree's emotions should have been a sign that my feet were better off firmly on the ground, if not in a bed with a water bottle and a slew of Advil an arm's reach away.

But instead of retreating, I persuaded Aine to climb this tree with me. Despite her hesitation, we both made it up into the tree, beers in hand (mistakes number five and six). A couple of Snapchats later, we had enough of the tree. Aine got down first, sticking the landing. And then it was my turn.

I made it all the way down to the last branch, three or four feet above the roadside snow bank created by the plows. But before I managed to gracefully make the final descent, I slipped on the ice-covered tree branch I was perched on, and found myself sliding out of the tree. The only thought running through my mind at that moment was SAVE THE BEER, because I mean it was half full and what a waste. That was an unfortunate concern though, because a second later I landed on the hard snow, one arm holding a bottle high above my head, the other arm attempting to break my fall…by which I mean it was just something to land on.

Pain. Instant pain. But the kind of pain that you think you can just shake off. After clutching my shoulder and rolling around in the snow a bit, Aine decided we should go inside for some ice, Advil, and more beer. Because if you're drunk and in pain, you're clearly not drunk enough according to 20-year-old girl logic. For future reference, if you're drunk and in instant pain, you should probably hit up the nearest emergency room.

So I womaned up, rubbed some dirt on it, and got up off the ground to head back inside. I realized as soon as I stood up that the branch I fall/rolled/slid off so gracefully was barely higher than my hip. I'm not some elderly woman chained to her LifeAlert, so I refused to believe I was actually injured. I mean hey, I didn't hear anything snap, crackle, or pop. And even if I was hurt, no way I was admitting a three or four foot high tree branch was the culprit.

Ice and more alcohol worked for the night, but by morning I could barely get my sweater over my head. Rather than go on another bender until the pain subsided, I pulled out my phone.


"Mom? I think I broke my arm."


"Uh…I fell out of a tree…"

"A what?"

"A tree."

"What were you doing in a tree?"

And that was the question it seemed I would answer for the next two months. After my emergency room visit confirmed I had indeed broken my humeral something (or what the doctor translated to be my shoulder), I was confined to a sling for ten weeks…pain med-free, since the first time I tried the meds, I passed out in the shower and it was terrifying.

I spent my 21st birthday making everyone in the crowded bar keep a least an arm's length away, since every bump felt like an attempt to dislodge my arm. But after constantly having to explain that I drunkenly broke my shoulder falling three feet out of a tree, that sling was gone after maybe five weeks. And now, months later, I can barely lift my arm over my head.

But I mean come on, it was a house full of beer.

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