Alcoholism: Anybody looking to slander your behavior will always bring up that you drink too much, regardless of the frequency or severity, instantly putting you on the defensive. It’s just like when you make a crack about a gay person, are accused of being homophobic, then scramble to pretend you’re a big fan of men fucking. A relationship counselor once hinted that drinking eight beers during Sunday football hints at a problem, that’s less than a beer per hour, plus it was a lie; it was more like 18. When did alcoholism suddenly become applicable to everybody who drinks enough alcohol to enjoy a hint of its effect? It used to be an affliction proprietary to Irishmen who drank varnish; now if you reach for your fourth beer, you can hear high horses whinny from all directions.
Bruises of Mystery: Good morning. Without any theories as to how they got there, you have a constellation of bruises. Your arms and legs are peppered with small black spots, some newcomers, and some yellowing oldies. The red giant is always found in the most improbable place. How did you get four baseball-size bruises on the interior of your bicep and under your left nipple? You are 90% certain you did not go anywhere near the batting cages last night. What the fuck?
Calculations: You might have flunked out of ITT Tech, but if the problem begins: “40 oz. of malt liquor is 8% alcohol and costs $2.50, while 16 oz of marshmallow-flavored wine is …” you are as fucking aces as Michael Eisner figuring out 9% on a restaurant tab.
Drunk Driving: We all know it’s wrong when we’re sober, just like we know fat or ugly women don’t deserve even the most disingenuous compliments when we’re sober. We also know how quickly our sensibilities erode with each passing drink and how a bogus sense of invincibility simultaneously swells. Unfortunately, we Americans are slaves to our cars and few things suck more than having to contend with waking up hungover and not being able to easily acquire a “Revive” Vitamin Water and a sausage egg and cheese. Sure, there’s designated drivers sometimes, but he’s just the guy that pounds three waters 10 minutes before its time to leave. Don’t drink and drive.
Extract: You’ve gone to a party, underestimated the amount of gin it will take to put you down for the night and the liquor store is closed. A rummage through the pantry, fridge and medicine cabinet comes up blank. You know what you have to do. There’s a row of fiery shooters sitting among the spices and seasonings, some running up to 160 proof with flavors ranging from vanilla to almond. And it’s not like anyone ever uses that shit. By the time your theft is discovered, you’ll probably have made a clean escape to the grave.
Food: At 3:47 a.m., a slice of pizza that has been desiccating beneath a hot lamp to the point where it looks like the skin of a mozzarella elephant has you salivating like a Somali watching a U.N. airdrop. If you’re at home, managing the focus to cook up a box of The Cheesiest makes you feel like a god. On the road, it’s not by chance that the greasiest, most vile drive-through is the one with a line backed up to the streets minutes after last call is enforced. Just don’t try to assuage your doctor’s concern over cholesterol and blood pressure readings by explaining the unlikelihood of you living long enough to have a heart attack. It’s faster to just take the scrips and throw them away.
Gastrointestinal Malaise: A warning to all, do not drink black & tans and eat Burger King onion rings the day before a first date unless you feel the need to frantically sacrifice a pair of boxers to the trash can in a men’s room with no lock.
Hangover: For centuries, sauce hounds have concocted snake oils and practiced arcane rituals to combat the cruel penance of a day(s) of pounding head, sizzling confetti shits and chilling sweats, and for centuries, they have failed miserably. Honestly, do any of us really believe a B complex and a glass of water will undo the damage done by a cube of Miller Lite? After that, you could use your urine to pickle deformed fetuses. Drink a water in between every drink? Sure. Why not do crunches between every bite of cheesecake or put on additional condoms during every position change?
Irreparable damage to reputation: When the sun rises and the haze of sobriety sets in, there’s a good chance that the people you were partying with will no longer think the stained carpet, smashed furniture, overturned cat box and felonious assaults were so funny. It’s a thin line between he’s a blast to party with,” to “that guy is NOT coming to my fucking wedding!” Usually this line is crossed when bar buddies invite you into their home. There’s nothing that can be done about it, and anyway, it is better to be dreaded than anonymous.
Job on the Drunk: Look, you are totally in the right here. No reasonable employer can ask you to remain completely sober for eight hours. I mean, if you can’t land an aircraft with a couple of shots in you, what kind of pilot are you anyway? All you need to sail through this requirement at most jobs is a screwdriver in a Minute Maid bottle and a pack of breath cleansing gum and you run almost no risk of being caught.
Kamikaze Pick Up Attempts: Long after you’ve shattered the beer goggles on a fall to the bathroom floor, any actual objectives other than amusing yourself go by the way side. Plus, it’s not like you have any legitimate game at this point anyway. So you approach that blurry thing with the girlish voice by blurting whatever horrible phrase oozes from your scrambled brain. Some part of you is still demanding a mate, but it’s orders won’t be carried out any more efficiently than those from the part of you responsible for walking in a straight line. My personal best here is approaching a girl to tell her about the internet video I had seen of a man being fatally sodomized by a horse. Kablam!!! Sure, a successful pick-up would be the ideal, but why be cleanly shot down when you can honor your ancestors by going out in a flaming ball of social catastrophe?
Law Enforcement: They’re bound to turn up eventually. If you don’t get a DUI yourself, you’ll have to bail out a friend who does. There are those uncomfortable moments when you stumble up to your car, key in hand and see a parked cop car and have to decide what to do, and there are those even more uncomfortable moments when you are led away from work in cuffs. The nasty secret of cops is that they almost never catch you. You can coast for years. You become emboldened and no matter how long your run of luck, you will eventually choose the wrong time to throw an empty whisky bottle at a pedestrian as you run a red light in a deaf school zone. Our only real advice is deny, deny, deny; and be white. ”
Moderation: The Drunks Three-Minute Mile.
Nosy Clerks: I prefer shopping in the judgement-free environment of the liquor store, but some times sale prices lead me to the grocery store for several weeks at a time. They might not say anything, but I can see it the scorn in their eyes when they realize I’m the guy who has bought three 1.75 liter bottles of store-brand vodka from them in a week, paying exclusively with Coinstar receipts. Fuck off, asswipe. You scan Apple Jacks for a living, yet you’ve shamed me into avoiding you by choosing a longer line. And of course, the same fucker will card me. It’s a bit flattering, but on the other hand I’m more than 10 years past 21 and have a beard like fucking Euripides, so give it a rest now and then.
On the Road: What is it that makes road sodas some of the most delicious beers? We’re not encouraging the sucker driver to actively drink, but when you’re a passenger on a road trip to a sporting event or whatever, few things feel better than slugging beer in the car. Unfortunately, the pissing situation can become tedious if the vehicle’s owner is fastidious, meaning they don’t like it when you clumsily whizz all over their floor mats while trying to keep your helmet aimed in the mouth of a 32 oz. Gatorade bottle.
Pissing the Bed: You have reached the point where your central nervous system had to take the controls and crash land you on the nearest soft surface. You are unconscious and your system is brimming with diuretics. About four hours later, as basic subsystems start to come back online, you startle from your sleep, feeling a strange chill. Even as you mutter “No, no, no,” flip blankets, strip off clothes and look for a spilled drink that isn’t there, you know what you’ve done. You drank yourself into infancy. If it was your own bed, your mattress will forever be cursed with a faint brown halo of shame, but you control the crime scene, so this is the best-case scenario. If it was somebody else’s bed, couch or floor, nothing can mend that relationship but time. If a still-sleeping innocent was involved, you are bound by your own sense of honor to frame them by whatever means necessary. If you did it in a hotel room, it will probably be the only time in your life that you fear reprisal from a Motel 6 maid.
Queerness: Good times, lowered inhibitions and a sense of camaraderie and belonging — this is why many of us drink. But there is a dark side to the bro-down world of putting your buddies in hug-headlocks — the guy who takes it too far. Maybe he’s gay, maybe he’s just really lonely and drunk, but that lingering arm he draped on your shoulder doesn’t have the same harmless feeling it did when Dum-Dum Jimmy did it to you moments before he went to bang some divorcee in the passenger seat of her Hyundai.
Regret: Even before your 250-grit eyelids grind open to a day preemptively squandered, you know there is something to atone for. Prior to blacking out, there are blurry snapshots of offended women flicking through your mind. You feel like something expensive of yours might be broken. You wonder where your car might be parked and if there’s a Jack Russell terrier decaying in your wheel well. You make some casual, “feeler” phone calls to your friends, trying to piece things together. Eventually, one of them answers the phone, not with a “hello” or “‘sup?” but an emphatic “Dude!” At this point, all you can do is listen helplessly to whatever combination of staggering, cruelty and law breaking that you weaved together the night before while promising yourself a future of sobriety.
Sadness: As Lenny Leonard so aptly stated, ‘Nuthin’ like a depressant to chase the blues away.” Intoxication has an inertia to it that can inflate mediocre situations to greatness, or exploit your insecurities to a point where you’re insulting yourself in a mirror. It’s not all that dissimilar to laying a tab of acid on your tongue, only the teeter on the cliff takes much longer and you can go to sleep instead of boring others with profound descriptions of your Dali hallucinations. Every drunken episode is a role of the dice, and many times, sweet escape is denied, and all you’re left with is your miserable self, only crippled to deal with how shitty you really are.
Too Drunk to Wank: Let’s be realistic. Unless you’ve just rocked Madison Square Garden, it’s a pretty safe bet that traveling across the room on all fours, trailing a potpourri of (mostly) human excrement is not going to get you laid. Instead, you spend five minutes coaxing forth an erection, exhaust both arms and try to focus on the booty video on BET without your mind wandering to fantasy football, before giving up and passing out as a man incapable of outperforming even the most frigid monkey.
Unsafe Sex: Let’s just get it out — condoms suck. We’re pretty sure AIDS sucks too, but we know condoms suck. Speaking for my penis alone, it’s a hill climb to nut while sporting a jimmy sober. Tack on a BAC of .20 and you’re setting yourself up for a frustrating finale-free slamfest or, worst case, a bored and traitorous dong. If it was some horrible stranger and you underperformed, you still may feel obliged to redeem yourself at first opportunity instead of focusing on throwing her cell phone in the toilet while tiptoeing out of her pen, so we will responsibly state that abstinence is often the best course of action for the true drunk because why take all that risk to do something so utterly fruitless? Unless she’s really hot.
Van Damme: Along with Seagal’s canon, the Golan-Globus era of JCVD are 3:00 a.m. staples of the basic-cable networks. Along with the aforementioned shit food, your wet brain demands low-quality stimulation as well and what it really craves is a movie that ends with a guy being thrown down a fucking elevator shaft or a bitch in a penguin suit getting executed with less mercy than Rasputin.
Wine: Every now and then, when the buzzes of shit beer and vodka have you bored or you’re about to indulge in a fantastic meal, wine is dictated. In smallish amounts, it is quite pleasant and it ranks up there with tequila shots as a means to getting laid. After heavy amounts, you suffer like a baby bunny trapped inside Dave Lombardo’s drum kit. It also makes your poop greenish-black, which we’ll assume to be unhealthy. If wine is your go-to drink, you are either gay or a gay hobo.
Xanax: Among the most popular of all supplemental party favors, with good reason. Unlike military grade painkillers, it’s not commonly mixed with aceta… Tylenol which is pretty, pretty bad for a drinker. Also one of the afflictions for which Xanax is commonly prescribed is being female, so they are in abundant supply outside of gaming and LARPing circles, wherein one must rely primarily on allergy prescriptions. Warning: excessive use may cause two college educated men to forget that the letter “X” is part of the English alphabet and initially post this list without an “X” entry.
Yukin’: Sometimes we want escape so totally that we are willing to nearly kill ourselves. Of course, this is the world’s fault, not ours. As you predictably drink yourself into your standard stupor at a pace that cries for help, somebody offers you a shot glass of something awful. Even though you are a complete boozerocker, you don’t really want it, but at the same time, you don’t want to lose the pointless distinction of being King Drunk. You kick it back and grimace. With the first one out of the way, more come, some of them even reluctantly purchased by you. If you’re any sort of drunk, your grey zone is huge, perhaps a range of 15+ drinks in the comfortably buzzed zone before you hit the wall hard. The spins are merciless. You battle with your own esophageal functions like you’re being assaulted by a poltergeist Max Hardcore. It surges — and is swallowed. You seek water, but it only provides the necessary gastric bulk for total overflow. You know you’ll feel better, but also look like a pussy. You make it outside and, inexplicably, don’t hunch over to expunge the poisons, instead, getting the standing rigors and demonstrating the awesome projectile power of a body rebelling against its own idiot brain. Astute bar patrons watch in amusement, then disgust as you make your way back inside, feeling refreshed enough to request that they resume serving you.
Zzzzzz’s: Even at our best, we need a solid 6+ hours of sack time a night so our next-day snoring doesn’t get us fired. But on a Tuesday night, the aggravating responsibilities of friendship can force you into listening to a dumped buddy moan about how his girlfriend cheated on him (Hint: She’s a coke whore and cheated on you with a guy that has lots of coke) while having a few beers. A critical moment comes where you have to ditch him, but if you love your booze, that may override practicality, especially because now, you have somebody else to drink with, so its OK! Then, every hour on the hour, you calculate and delude yourself — four hours is more than enough, three hours is more than enough — next thing you know, you hear the alarm blare and it almost brings you to tears.