Sly Like a Fox: The Story of How I Came to be Seven Years Old and Sloshed

Posted on April 8, 2011 by


My dad was the Best Dad Ever. He collected electric guitars and played like a pro. He wore red All-Stars and cowboy boots and bomber jackets. He lived in the Lower East Side. His apartment had bare brick, Balinese masks and a cow skull. He used to run my sharp little-girl nails over the thick skin of his fret-hand fingertips.

My dad was probably the person I loved most in the entire world. He died a couple of years ago from a vicious cancer. My grief is always there, underneath everything. He wanted to write The Great American Novel; he wrote it; it was never published. Everything I write is dedicated to him.

Enough with the maudlin! On with the goofy story.

When I was seven, I spent New Year’s Eve with my dad. He promised to take me to my first ever New Year’s Eve party. I was stoked.

So we get there, and the hosts are walking around with trays of mimosas. My dad says, “You can’t go to a New Year’s Party without having champagne,” so he makes me one that’s like, 95% orange juice and gives it to me.

Well, I am my father’s daughter. I gulp that bad boy down like it’s ambrosia and ask for another one. My dad says, “Not a chance in hell.”

Huh. Sure.

I bide my time. Sooner or later, he’s going to leave me to my own devices. This is a small party; I’m pretty much the only kid, but it’s a gathering of my dad’s closest friends, and I’m well-behaved.

See, what he doesn’t remember after a few mimosas is that I’m also a conniving little shit.

I wander around looking innocent. Sure enough, after a few minutes someone will say something like, “Oh, it’s Alice. This is your first New Year’s party, isn’t it? Have you ever tried champagne before?”

Yeah. We were there for at least five hours. By the end of hour two I was sticking my fingers in hot candle wax and bursting into random variations of “Auld Lang Syne”. At some point a wag stuck a pink Happy New Year tiara on my head without me noticing.

On the way home, I sang a woozy version of A Million Bottles of Champagne on the Wall and hit my head trying to roll down the window so I could stick my head out. The cab driver looked at my father like he was just short of calling social services.

That’s the story of how the above photo was taken. My dad snapped it right before we were about to get in the cab home. He was furious with me…and then kind of proud when I had no hangover the next morning.

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