Essay title: Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood is Koren Zailckas’ account of life as an alcoholic. It traces her life from her first drink, when she was fourteen, to her last, at twenty-two; Smashed chronicles Zailckas’ struggle with alcohol abuse, in an effort to explain the binge drinking phenomenon that plagues America’s youth. When Koren was fourteen her friend Natalie found a bottle of Whiskey at Natalie’s parents’ cabin.
This would be her first experience, of many, with alcohol. Later that day she and Natalie went to a birthday party; they took plastic apple juice bottles and filled them with Southern Comfort whiskey for the party. They ended up sharing it with most of the people there. This exposed that she was drinking to all of her friends. The next year in High School she did not have many friends. One of the few people who appreciated her company was a girl named Billie. It was with Billie that she got drunk for the first time. It was on Halloween.
She later wrote to her pen pal, including this experience in her letter. Her pen pal did not appreciate the fact that Koren had been drinking. She wrote back,“Koren, I got your letter. By ‘smashed’ I can only assume you meant you were drunk, which is not only not cool, it is disgusting, as is the fact that you thought I’d be interested in hearing about it. Do you have any idea how many people die each year from drunk driving? It’s 18,000.
I know because I’m in Students Against Drunk Driving (S.A.D.D.) here at Montgomery High School.
There was a senior here who died drunk driving. Did you know that by the time you graduate from high school at least two people in your class will be dead? Do you really want to take the risk that you will be one of them? I’m crying as I write this because I can’t believe that someone with all your gifts could be so selfish and susceptible to peer pressure. I think you should really think about what you are doing. In the meantime, I don’t know if I want to keep exchanging letters because I just don’t want to hear about it. Maybe one day I will trust you again.MargaretP.
S. Enclosed is a poem I think you should read.” Koren was upset the most by the fact that her fondness of drinking, somehow, caused her to lose the trust of her distant friend. She replied to her pen pal with a poem by E.
E. Cummings, “Since feeling is firstWho pays attentionTo the syntax of thingsWill never wholly kiss you:Wholly to be a foolWhile Spring is in the world.” This showed that Koren did not care about other people’s opinions about her problems.
She thought that nothing bad would ever come out of drinking. She was wrong. That summer, for the first time, her parents caught her drinking. She was on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland with her family and her friend Natalie. They went for two reasons. They went because her father had received a raise from the technological corporation he works at, and she had torn a ligament in her knee from falling down the stairs. Koren and Natalie went to a Pizza Palace and asked an employee where the college parties were.
Later they snuck out of the condo and down the street to a trolley stop. The trolley took them to a beach a couple miles away where they were offered beer and drugs from the people at the party. Koren and Natalie went to a college student’s house. Natalie left before Koren did and they were separated. Koren spent the rest of the night looking for Natalie.
She found Natalie shortly before dawn at the first party they went to that night. Natalie was extremely drunk; she was incapable of doing anything. She was worried that her parents would wake up and find out she had snuck out, “At any minute, I imagine my parents will hit the bar on their alarm clock. My mom will go to the bathroom and start the shower spray; my ten-year-old sister will turn on cartoons; my dad will go out to buy bagels There is no way I can stuff Natalie through the window in her current condition, and if we use the front door, my parents will instantly know about the beach, the boys, and the booze.” Koren realized that she was destined to get caught. She couldn’t get Natalie in through the window at the condo so she decided to carry her in through the front door.
She laid there trying to rest, but couldn’t. Her mom walked in and said, “Koren, we’re going down to the pool. Please come after you’ve rested; we’d like to talk to you.” At.