The Last Shot
We’ve all woken up with hangovers that have gotten the best of us once or twice before. You know the ones – pounding headache, metallic taste lingering in your mouth and you’re sure that at some point the night before, you got kicked squared in the face but you’re lacking the bruises to prove it. You know what is particularly miserable about these menacing hangovers? The fact that you can pinpoint exactly what drink did you in and sealed the deal on a morning from hell. Clearly you spent the whole night running around town in a drunken stupor, unable to remember where you put your shoes or how you ended up with a fistful of Australian currency, but when it comes to that last drink, you can magically remember everything – what it was, what it looked like, what the bartender looked like, how much it cost and who pushed it on you. Ah, the joys of peer pressure, sure it’s fun when you’re at the bar, but is that bitch who shoved the tequila shots down your throat going to be there tomorrow morning when it’s not so gracefully exiting your body…via your mouth? Yeah, didn’t think so. How is that in a haze of drunken debauchery, you cant remember basic things, like your name, but you can remember everything about the last drink that fucked you over? I’ll tell you. Because we, as a species, hold on to grudges, we resent the things that screw us over and we tell everyone and even ourselves that we’re over it, but when it comes down to it, I’ll never take a tequila shot ever again.
Think of your last love or relationship as that very last tequila shot at the end of the night. Every relationship up until him is hazy and therefore wonderful as you are blissfully ignorant of the fact that last night you got on top of the bar to dance to Chumbawumba, that is, if you consider falling dancing. Sure you don’t look back on your relationships of the past and think, “Yeah, that was one badass yellow-brick road, full of daisies, buttercream frosting and kittens,” but you can look back, knowing you’ve grown up just the right amount to look back with mostly positive thoughts and learning experiences. But when it comes to that very last guy, that very last tequila shot, you cant help but wince at remembering every last detail. It’s still fresh and you can literally still taste it (/him).
Most people would say that the reason we remember things in the short-term past best is because they are just that, they are short-term. They claim it’s easy to remember something that just happened. Well, maybe these people can help me find my keys. But first, I’d beg to differ. Sure, we remember things that happened not too long ago because they happened not too long ago, but throw in the element of getting screwed over and I guarantee you’ll remember things about a guy that you wouldn’t even normally notice.
There’s something about being personally offended that makes it so personal. Maybe it’s because we’re subconsciously training ourselves to find warning signs to keep it from happening again. Maybe it’s because we think so highly of ourselves that the thought of someone doing something to hurt us is unfathomable…until it’s happening right in front of you. Maybe it’s because this whole world is just playing with fire but we never expect to get burned and when it happens, we have the scars to remind us. Or maybe it’s the exact opposite, maybe it’s because we don’t believe that people are inherently good and when someone proves us right, we have a tendency to remember the times we were right about something or someone. The reasons are endless for why our minds choose to remember so vividly the last time we were hurt and why we continue to torture ourselves by replaying it over and over in our heads. But what I do know for sure, is that if it’s recent – we remember it, but it was recent and it rocked you to the core, hurt you and then abandoned you – you remember it better than you ever wished to. In fact, the more it hurt, the longer it lingers. Maybe it’s our hearts trying to provide some sort of line of defense or maybe it’s the slight bit of inherent common sense taking over, forcing us to the understand pain so that we can avoid it in the future. But how can you avoid pain in the future if you’re too busy holding on to the pain from your past?
We hold grudges. We claim not to like them but we do. They protect us even if they rob us of potential happiness. The may keep us isolated but somewhere in deep inside of us we gain sort sliver of satisfaction knowing that we’ve avoided pain and stuck to a tradition of not putting ourselves out there. Maybe it’s not the right to say. Maybe I should be standing on a soapbox passing out posies and telling the world to give love a chance or to see the good in others but that just wouldn’t be realistic. Grudges are realistic. And whether you like hearing it or not, we all have our version of that last tequila shot. We all have something we vow to avoid for the rest of our lives, whether it’s an cheating bastard or an ex-best friend or a bar you know you’ll run into the guy who had no problem asking for your heart and then promptly giving it back. Grudges – they’re what we do.