Issue #85 – “Strife of the Party” – March 13th, 2006

-This Saturday I woke up feeling very strange.  I felt unusually refreshed and alert, but I couldn’t figure out why.  Then I suddenly I realized it – I wasn’t hungover.  After a month straight of traveling, performing, yelling, and drinking, I decided it was time to take a weekend off.  While in the throes of sobriety, I realized that much of twentysomething life is comprised of determining whether or not to get fucked up.  When someone asks me if I’d like a drink, I often hesitate for a brief moment before deciding.  In that moment, I subconsciously extrapolate that one drink into the fifteen drinks that will inevitably follow.  If vomiting and/or hooking up with a wideclops (i.e. a girl whose eyes are too far apart) is an acceptable next-day scenario, I quench my thirst with a cold Amstel and let the bloodbath begin.  After all, when you’re in your twenties, the worst thing you can possibly hear is a buddy proclaim, “Dude, you missed a great night.”  To go out or not to go out – that is the dilemma.  And this is the strife of the party.

-Even when you decide to go headlong into the night, there’s always one foe who’s determined to make you wish you stayed home: the bouncer.  My all-time favorite bouncerism is when he says he can’t let anybody else in to the bar because the fire marshal will shut the place down.  I always imagine some fireman with a giant hat and an axe and a hose running up to the bar yelling, “We got a call that this place is full of dudes!”

-Junior year of college, my buddy Shermdog suddenly began suffering from chronic vertigo.  For weeks he struggled to find the cause until finally he discovered that he only got dizzy when he was sober, and that imbibing alcohol made the symptoms go away.  I like to believe that this remarkable self-diagnosis led Shermdog to become the doctor he is today.  I also like to believe that I won’t let him near me with a scalpel unless he’s had a few jagerbombs first.

-I think that people’s reaction when I tell them that I don’t drink coffee is equivalent to my reaction when people tell me that they don’t drink alcohol.

-In college, the decision to go out or not is generally based upon one thing: drink specials.  College kids actually use two types of syllabi: one that lists which bar has twenty-five-cent pitchers tonight, and another that lists all the assignments that spending $1.75 on beer will cause them to miss tomorrow.

-Despite a solid ten plus years of drinking experience, I am still struck by my friends’ complete inability to purchase the right amount of booze.  It’s an inexact science by any measure.  I feel like half the time, the cups, ice, and liquor run out in about 45 minutes, leaving desperate partygoers to suck down the plastic bottle of margarita mix they found in the back of the cabinet.  The rest of the time, the party’s host is left with a bounty of alcohol so great that nine months later I find myself back at my buddy’s place polishing off a frosted-over bottle of Goose and asking, “Wait, dude, is this left over from St. Patrick’s Day?”

-In the end, the strife of the party is such a vicious struggle because of the uncertain consequences.  This weekend, I didn’t go out but slept until noon.  But when I get hammered, for some reason I have trouble sleeping more than five hours.  And if I do decide to go out, should I bring a condom?  I don’t want to jinx myself, but I don’t want to end up drunk and unprepared with a feisty wideclops, either.  These are the decisions we are forced to make every day.  To booze or not to booze – that is the question.  A question, I believe, that should be answered with a drinking game.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I knew I had made a mistake when I recently told a salesgirl that I was trying to buy a shirt for my sister but didn’t know what size she was.  I could have abandoned ship when the salesgirl asked me what my sister looked like in comparison to her.  Instead I put my foot directly in my mouth and responded honestly: “Well, she’s a lot skinnier than you.”

-I always hated those cliche sitcom moments when a character is about to drop a bomb, but just before he does, the other character drops a bigger bomb of her own and then says, “So what were you going to say?”  Cue awkward, contrived pause and canned laughter.  But then I realized that that very situation actually happens almost every day on instant messenger.  You ever type a message and then are about to hit send when the other person writes you something crazy that makes your unsent response obsolete?  I usually then carefully delete what I was about to send and slowly back away from the computer.

-The other day, my sister asked our four-year-old cousin Daniel if he had learned anything in school.  Daniel replied, “Yes, but I can’t say those words out loud.”

-My friend Christina is getting married in August, and last week she said to me, “Everyone is so excited about the wedding!”  I blatantly said to her, “That’s not true.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m Christina’s oldest friend – I definitely couldn’t be more excited for the wedding and will be drinking and dancing up a storm (in that order).  But I mean, listen engaged people of the world, let’s be realistic here – not everyone is excited to go to your wedding.  How about that random second cousin’s husband who’s never even met the groom?  Does he want to take a day off from work and travel to an inconveniently located reception?  Does everyone want to buy overpriced stemware from the registry that the couple will never use once?  Probably not.  By the way, if you happen to be going to Christina’s wedding, you’ll find me under the place card “Bitter single guy.”

-You ever get the feeling that when you set your iPod to “shuffle” the songs that play aren’t random at all?

-I think my brain is locked into the order of the last mix CD I burned before I got an iPod.  Wherever I am, if I hear “Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down, I automatically expect “Holidae In” by Chingy to play next.  On a side note, do you think there is a legally determined amount of letters that a rapper has to change in the name of a song in order to avoid being sued by a large hotel chain?

-I’ve had the chorus to “Grillz” in my head for about two weeks now.  I’m telling you, that’s the kind of shit that makes people write REDRUM in blood on mirrors.

-And, finally, when I go out partying, I stick with a few simple rules.  I never order a mixed drink at a bar (too weak) – only vodka on the rocks.  I never buy shots of tequila unless in Mexico (though I will still shoot tequila stateside if asked nicely).  If someone offers to get me a drink, unless they’re a Top 25 friend, I ask for a beer (anything more expensive would be uncivilized).  And last but not least, the golden rule: Go hard or go home.  Once I leave the confines of my apartment, neither mythical fire marshal nor chronic vertigo nor ravenous wideclops can get between me and a good time.  So when I return to the fray next weekend and awake with the pounding headache and nausea that mark my signature hangovers, I’ll merely happily proclaim in the newly-learned words of my cousin Daniel: “Fuck me.”