Saturday, December 3, 2016

10 Stages of Drinking

Exploring the fine art of Alcohol Consumption

Everybody loves a drunk. Whether it be the melancholy humor of W.C. Fields, the dignified swagger of Dean Martin, or the testosterone bravado of Vin Diesel... well, nearly for every good drunk, the traits tell no lies. 

If you can suck down a six-pack of Budweiser through a funnel that 24 hours earlier served as the entry point for transmission fluid into a Dodge Charger and then wipe your chin and belch your Social Security number, let's face it, you're as cool as you need to be.

My old 64-ounce Budweiser stein has grown a bit dusty, and I've become accustomed to a highball glass filled with something dark mixed with something bubbly. Soon, I imagine I'll move up to straight scotch, or maybe martinis, although I refuse to sell myself into the ever trending martini craze. Thirty something adults acting like old sixty something adults is almost as silly looking as the opposite, a sort of mid-life crisis, if you will. 

I like drinking. I had stopped but its begun again. I think I am getting good at it. And not just the "I can drink forty eight beers and not die" good. I do it quite well. If I could make money drinking, I'd get bonuses. Quarterly.

I know alcohol is an addictive drug too. However, sometimes there's a little part of me that, I don't know, distracts the thinking part of me and sort of seduces me into getting ugly, bleached, stinking, three-sheets duhrunk. It happens all the time, to all of us. But as i told you before, I'm getting good at this too, and I've learned and mastered the stages. With expert help from ace researchers, who have taken painstaking notes and measurements of this drunken state of mind, I have gotten blotto down to a science which I am calling the fine art of consumption.

Stage 1: The Refusing
It holds true that the evenings I begin by refusing the first few drinks offered me are the ones where I end up emptying a fifth of Absolut. So take note, if you don't feel like drinking, either have one right away to take the edge off, or call a cab before the nightmare ensues. This is one of the most overlooked stages, which is a shame because early prevention is so key.

Stage 2: The Relaxing
After the first two drinks I'm in my normal routine, just hanging out, being smooth, having a good time, taking a load off. The most deceptive of the stages, stage two is almost always mistaken for a nice night out with friends.

Stage 3: The Reveling
Usually accompanied by erratic (and stupid) dancing, this stage is the latter of my normal drinking routine. By this time, I'm feeling great, not quite invincible, but definitely a few pounds lighter. If I go straight home after this stage, I've done my job.

Stage 4: The Ranting
I'm not sure why, but at some point my speech becomes littered with the "F" word. Without fail. And my proximity to the public rarely puts any restraint on it. Also, I tend to get a little mean here. Requests of "Excuse me sir, could you keep it down" are usually met with, "First of all, shave your back..." and so on. This is still a familiar stage though, and there are quite a few of us who can recognize it, or, this late in the game, have it recognized for us, and retreat back to the safety of our homes before we embarrass everyone or at least receive a good pummeling. Sometimes, I get all intellectual and talk like Noam Chomsky. 

Stage 5: The Shrinking
The first of the unrecognizable or "too late" stages, shrinking can only be detected by the shrinkee, and, thus, rarely gets caught in time. Every once in a while, I can spot shrinking. People get bigger, words get bigger, the ground gets bigger, yet I am powerless to stop it. In a most fascinating aside, the stages have begun to speed up drastically at this point, actually breaking several laws of physics.

Stage 6: The Crying
Don't laugh. And stop acting like it never happens to you. This is probably the most vulnerable point in human existence short of birth. It doesn't happen every time, but if ANY amount of tequila has made its way onto my menu, I end up weeping profusely. Usually about deep things like my life or a lost friend, but also stupid things like never having become a Pilot or the being angry at the kid who broke the egg statue I made for my mom in the second grade.

Stage 7: The Bargaining
"Oh God, oh Buddha,  just let me throw up. I promise I'll..."

Stage 8: The Regurgitating
Look, you know it's coming. Don't make it such a big deal. Go to the bathroom, find a stall, and jump up and down in place. This usually gets it all out in one... heave. I know, it's disgusting, and I honestly hope you're not eating lunch or anything while you're reading this, but it's the dark fact of the social drinker. Sooner or later it's you. Note: If you've found that special someone to hold your hair, don't ever let them go.

Stage 9: The Bargaining (reprise)
"Oh God, just let me stop throwing up. I promise I'll..."

Stage 10: The Napping
I prefer to call it napping. After a hard night getting all tanked up and putting friendships and relationships and your general health on the line, you need some rest. So get home and get tucked in. And believe me, even insomniacs like me cant fight the napping power of alcohol.

These are the things society doesn't tell you. It's hard to imagine W.C. Fields bargaining, Dean Martin crying, or Vin Diesel refusing, but it happens. It happens a lot. So now, when you get set to go on that bender, you'll be prepared. And if I see you out there, let me know if I've made a difference. Unless of course I'm at stage four. Then just leave me alone until stage six, at which point I'll have all the love in the world for you.

To happy (and safe) drinking! J & W

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