Verified Rule #1: You can’t outrun the lessons you’ve learned.

I may have been too ambitious promising you my first Verified Rule today, but in order to not contradict myself, here it is anyway – only after a seductive rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Lauryn Hill which I heard on the radio this morning and have been singing all day.

Without further ado…

Verified Life Rule #1: Don’t Blame it on the Al-al-al-cohol, Blame it on the DNA

Once, I went to Cuba with my dad. I don’t remember the circumstances that led to my mother and sister’s inability to join us (I’m sure it was horrific, like my mom’s work didn’t give her the vacation time), but thanks to the strained history my father and I had been living through at the time, it was an awful idea that turned into an even awful-er one.

Issue: I was 16. On my period (in Cuba, might I mention). Angry.

Issue: My dad is a Russian-blooded genius of a religious man with a knack for forgetting to pass down critical life lessons or decision-informing points to his children.

Issue/Bonus (depends how you look at it): All hotels in Cuba are built not on foundations of rock or sea or tectonic plates, but endless amounts of rum and cigars stacked on top of each other in order to support the tourism industry that caters to white folks who enjoy getting “unlimitedly” drunk all day long.

Sometimes, our family gets extravagant (like, once a millennium), and on our trip my dad and I also decided to buy some cigars – to, you know, be really Cuban. Problem with this little scenario is that – along with my severely developed and utterly active hormonal system, the binge drinking we had been performing to escape the little anger issues we would otherwise pay attention to, as well as being in the sun all day getting cancer – it led to my eventual forced hibernation.

But, oh, did it. Why? Because smoking cigars after drinking all day in the sun is apparently really bad for you. And apparently, our genes are mad sensitive to that particular combination of reality altering substances.

I closed down my vacation for an entire day while my dad spent time frolicking with the other guests and being the life of the hypothetical (and literal) all-inclusive party. My body felt like nothingness – dry and papery and lacking substance – and light managed to offend my corneas like no carcass ever had in my visual history. I hibernated by watching Spanish cartoons from underneath a blanket, occasionally crawling out to drink water with ice cubes and sometimes opening the window a notch to smell the outside world.

For some reason, I did not remember this fantastic lesson until I experienced it once more on the eve of my 21st birthday.

CIGARS AND ALCOHOL  ES NO BUENO.

ES MAL. MUY MAL.

And it’s not even my fault! When I came back from Cuba, my mom laughed so hard at my deathly encounter because my dad went through the same thing on another vacation (something I conveniently forgot – but never will again). Why he couldn’t have mentioned this predisposition to feeling like your insides are on your outside like in some horror film when we drink and smoke cigars, I DON’T KNOW. But I plan to ask him about it soon.

I also plan to blame all other overdoses on my shitty Russian non-jacked-ness. “It’s not my fault I drank 7 pitchers of beer and then threw up all sorts of entrails I didn’t know I had consumed – it was my DNA!

If only I could blame the fact that I want to be a writer (and thus live a penniless and stressful existence for the rest of my life) on my DNA – but my entire family is made up of rocket scientists and aircraft engineers, so I’m kind of fucked in that regard.

Mistakes suck more when your family has made the same ones and lived to tell the story to your sick and nauseous ass.

The End.

-A

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