Unforgettable night changes Warrior’s ways for a lifetime

The greatest fear of this newly christened Road Warrior is that he’ll violate a traffic law and end up on someone’s police blotter.

Whereas he once would push the speed limit, especially on the freeway, the Road Warrior now backs off the accelerator.

Whereas he often would run the yellow at an intersection, the Road Warrior now slows and accepts “red better than dead.”

Whereas he would occasionally make that ill-advised left turn in front of approaching traffic, the Road Warrior now acknowledges that safe beats sorry 10 out of 10 times.

While those are lessons previously learned, they’re now accepted without exception because of this new position of responsibility and, yes, credibility.

One lesson learned and accepted long ago, though – almost three decades past – is not to drink and drive. That’s one ticket you’ll never see the Road Warrior receive.

Never, ever … EVER!

The last time I had a drink out when I was my own transportation was in late 1983. It was a night I’ll never forget because it was a night I barely remember.

A brief back story: I’ve never been much of a drinker – not in high school, not in college, not as a young adult. But there were a few occasions when, as a twentysomething, I got caught up in the atmosphere. Several longtime acquaintances can attest to that.

The most notable was when I accompanied a group of former co-workers – no, not from the Review-Journal – to a UNLV home football game against San Diego State in late October 1983. The game was being nationally televised, and we wanted to be there. Our group started drinking at work and then reloaded at the stadium well before kickoff.

Everything was fine until late in the second quarter when I craved a couple of hot dogs slathered with mustard. Soon after scarfing them down, that overwhelming sense of “Oh, no!” overcame me, and before I could get out of my seat – how can I say this delicately? – I went “Technicolor” all over the guy sitting in the row in front of me.

Not once. Not twice. But three times, my co-workers told me later.

A fight almost ensued, but my comrades whisked me out of there – I believe with the help of a couple of on-the-spot stadium ushers.

It certainly wasn’t one of my proudest moments, and it definitely created a lot of razzing for this then-27-year-old. And it’s what led from an embarrassingly memorable night to a night I can hardly remember.

What I do remember is that it was about a month later, a Friday night, and I stopped late at a bar that was frequented by co-workers, both from my then-job as well as people I previously worked with at the Review-Journal. I also remember I started out drinking beer.

The next thing I recall is waking up on my couch sometime the next afternoon in my apartment near Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard.

In between the drinking and the waking, nothing. Not a single minute remembered.

I rushed out to my car – well, “rushed” as quickly as my wobbly legs would carry me to my assigned carport slot. I carefully looked over my treasured black Datsun 280ZX turbo. I scoured it for scrapes, for dings, for any blemish whatsoever, and to my immediate relief there were none. The car was parked squarely in its slot.

After returning to my apartment and making a few calls I concluded that no one had driven me home. Somehow, I made it there on my own. Never mind that I also managed to put my apartment key in its lock and get inside before falling face-first onto the couch … somehow I made it home on my own, approximately a six-mile drive, without being involved in a crash.

As I suddenly came to that realization, a cold shower of joyous relief-turned-petrifying terror washed over me. It was a feeling I hadn’t experienced previously – or since.

It was then that I made a vow to myself, one that I’ve kept to this day, never to drink if I know I’ll have to drive. Yes, over the ensuing years I’ve had a few drinks while out, but only if the person I was with wasn’t drinking.

Over those 29 years, I have never started my ignition with even a hint of alcohol on my breath.

I recount this story not to put myself forth as some saint or to lord my “road sobriety” over others or to disparage bars, pubs and clubs, which operate well within the law. Rather, it comes as a follow-up to the Road Warrior’s column last Sunday about designated drivers and how there are ways such an important responsibility can be enjoyable for those who assume it.

Among the readers who contacted the Road Warrior to thank him and/or comment on what he wrote was a gentleman who called to say, “I’d rather be the one who kept the partyers alive than be the life of the party.”

Well said, my friend.

Fellow motorists, whether it’s the holiday season or Super Bowl weekend or St. Patrick’s Day or a summer boating party at Lake Mead or just a Friday night in late November at one of your favorite watering holes, please remember: Don’t drink and drive.

Believe the Road Warrior when he says you don’t want to experience the feeling of waking up at home and not remembering how you got there.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.

Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like