It’s Jamie’s World… we just live in it


Underage drinking and dislocated shoulders… all in two weeks with Jamie Martin

I will never know why the Irish have a reputation of being hospitable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to knock the nation, but anyone who travels abroad will soon discover that we have been given a false label. Last week while visiting my friend in California I got a taste of American college life.

My local friend is a frat boy, and I’m staying in his frat house. Pulling up to the house I had images of every American college movie I had ever seen. I imagined meeting guys called Boner or Poodragon, who spend their time giving nerds wedgies or tea bagging each other.

The reality, however, was very different.

Myself and my friends had only been ten minutes in the house before people were wandering up to us introducing themselves. Everyone was so friendly. I happened to be the only one of my group under the age of twenty-one, meaning that nobody in my company would be allowed into a bar, but this didn’t seem to be an issue for anybody – especially as there was always something going on in the house, though I still wanted to check out the nightlife.

I got talking to some of the older frat guys one night over a game of Beer Pong (the single best game ever invented, by the way) and they said they would bring me out. Now, when these guys say ‘bring you out’, they mean it. I was first brought to a bar that specialised in a cocktail that was famous for its effects on the drinker. The guys of Delta Sig insisted that I try it, at their own expense. We then moved to a  nightclub where I was brought in ahead of the huge line and bought more drinks.

This is the reason I question Ireland’s famed reputation of hospitality. I can’t imagine any of my friends bringing a complete stranger out and treating them so well. Even in the bars, people just stroll up to you and start chatting away. In Ireland, people need to have very little liver left before they start talking to strangers.

The holiday itself was fantastic. We left the university to go skiing in Lake Tahoe on the Nevada border, which meant gambling. We swung by an Indian casino and I blew twenty dollars on the roulette table. Never bet on black.

The holiday wasn’t without its upsets for me, however. Standing at the top of the ski slope, skis on my feet and poles in my hands, I realised I hadn’t been skiing in five years and could remember nothing on how to start. The first time I tried to get on the ski lift I slipped, dropped one pole, and my ski pants came down. My friend grabbed me and I clawed my way onto the lift with one hand while trying to recover my trousers with the other.

After about thirty falls and one run I finally got the hang of skiing again, or so I thought. I accidentally got on the wrong lift and ended up at the top of a black diamond slope where I fell and dislocated my shoulder. No one being around, my only option was to pop it back into place myself and ski down the rest of the slope. Not as cool as it sounds.