Independence Day, 1976, was more anticipated and commercialized than usual, it being the Bicentennial. Everyone I knew would be at the beach tanning, sailing, or skiing. A lakefront friend invited me over to hang out and other kids were sure to stop by in boats to say hello - a constant flow of partiers. Dressed in red, white, and blue, I brought along my suit and towel. It was sunny and the lake was rockin’.
That afternoon, I climbed into a boat with my friend’s brother, having volunteered to spot skiers. As we prepared to pull away from the pier he explained, in honor of our country turning 200, he was going to drink 200 beers over the holiday weekend. Always a party guy, I couldn’t tell if he was serious and asked how many he’d had so far. “72,” he said, matter-of-factly pointing to tally marks inked onto his forearm. “But don’t worry, I’ve drunk myself sober.” As we motored past the no wake buoys, I checked my grip and seriously considered jumping. Settling the matter, the first skier flashed “thumbs up” and we roared off into the lake.