4.2% ABV from a keg
Went to a housewarming party thrown by my friend and his wife at their sweet new house in the Boston suburbs. I was the only one of the 3 or 4 dozen guests that did not own at least one of the following: a house, a car, a spouse, a child, a pet, or dignity. Thus I got belligerently drunk and overcompeted in all the day’s “friendly” drinking games.
The libations for the affair were Coors Light from a keg and my friend’s freshly-squeezed watermelon martinis. Don’t knock ‘em, they were potent and flavorful. Alas, I only drank one, spending the rest of the fifteen hours of marathon tippling throwing down foamy CL Smooths from a plastic cup. Certainly not a great beer, in fact, a pretty bad one. And if you even just barely overpumped the keg you were given a cup full of something that looked more akin to Cool Whip than an adult beverage. Nevertheless, it is damn easy to drink the Silver Bullet and it lubricated me nicely for a day of competition.
I have a love/hate relationship with drinking games. On one hand, I hate the idea of needing a reason to drink and get drunk. I especially detest games where you only get to drink when you “lose.” That’s silly. It’s why I abhor games like Asshole. A better drinking game would be one in which a person doesn’t get to touch alcohol until they actually accomplish something.
On the love side of the equation, I’m a fierce and maniacally insane competitor and thus I adore any drinking game that actually takes some skill, that actually determines who is better at something, that actually allows for bragging rights. Oh, and I will brag–remember, I don’t got things like a house, a car, a wife, a child, a pet, or dignity to live for. So obviously I love an awesome game like beer pong. Unfortunately, that was not going to be on the day’s agenda.
First up was Wiffleball. Of course, not traditionally a “drinking” game per se, but if you’re drinking and competing you can figure out how to make anything into a drinking game. We set up a two-on-two home run derby-esque event in which pitchers were allowed to throw the fastest, nastiest, craziest junk balls they possibly could. You ever seen those famous experiments where a spider is given booze and drugs and then spins these absolutely fucked-up webs? Well, the more Coors I drank the more “wiffly-er” my pitches got as I began throwing some absolute 12-to-6 hooks. Pitches that arched behind the batter’s head yet still inexplicably dropped into the strike zone (a lawn chair). Another good thing about playing Wiffle Ball while drinking is that the alcohol numbs your arm, turning it as rubbery as David Wells’s and making it easy to have a 1200 throw pitch count for the afternoon.
My partner Bryan and I won the first game 23-21 on a walk-off double and instantly the trashtalking began. I’m the Gary Payton of shittalking during drinking games. Other folks are just trying to enjoy a beer and have fun and I’m taunting them and brashly reveling in my own accomplishments. Maybe that’s why no one likes me. It would be considered hubris, but then again, as Caesar said, “It’s only hubris if I fail.”
And though I may have been failing at attracting members of the opposite sex or being known as the “nice” guy at the party, I didn’t do a lot of failing in the drinking game spectrum. By early afternoon I lacked the motor skills to swing a yellow bat at knuckling plastic balls and the agility to run around the yard avoiding babies and dog shit in order to shag pop-ups, so I needed a more sedentary event.
Thus, next up was a game called Baggo (also known as Cornhole in some places). I suppose I should be embarrassed that in my 29 years I had never seen, heard, or certainly played Baggo, but then again I’m from Manhattan where space is limited. I’m also an urbane Jew, not some hick from French Lick. Having watched some people play the game before me I thought it looked pretty dumb. For those that haven’t played, you essentially try to throw beanbags into a hole in a slightly slanted wood board some 20 feet away, netting 3 points for ones that go in the hole and 1 point for beanbags that are still resting on the board surface once the round is complete. First team to 21 points wins. Kinda like a mix between beer pong, bocce, and curling. Sounds dumb and easy, right? Well, it is kinda easy for a superior marksman like myself, but it was certainly not dumb. I fell in love with it quickly. Heck, I’d like to be playing it now. I think it may have even surpassed beer pong as my favorite drinking game.
Now is as good a time as any to discuss that this was the first drinking party of my life in which people actually brought their fucking children. Being a vulgarian, I was concerned at first, especially since I’m the kinda guy that loudly yells things (ala John McEnroe) like “Fuck!” or “Jesus Christ!” or “Jesus fucking Christ!!!” when I fail at some sort of sporting attempt. And, the last thing I need is some parent lecturing me on appropriate behavior whilst young’uns are around. Amazingly though, all the parents in attendance were cool, throwing back beers, and letting their children goof around and even mingle with a scumbag like me. Ever the leader of men, I quickly taught these children important things. Stuff such as how to hold my beer when I am batting during Wiffleball, how to pull me a nice brew with only a half-inch of head when my drink needs freshening up, and how to exalt me in my victories. Pretty soon, I had a little army of four-foot-tall hype men cheering my every triumph and deriding, mocking, and aping my opponents and their miscues. Those children will never be the same.
Though I didn’t exactly understand the rules or strategies of Baggo until halfway through our first game, Bryan and I won that one and then proceeded to make mincemeat of the rest of the day’s opponents (most of whom had been playing the game for years) and finished up with a sterling 8-0 record.
From there, it was time for a quick bite which lead into Flip Cup. Flip Cup is definitely a game I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I’m not sure if it’s truly a game of skill assuming you have an arm, a hand at the end of it, and don’t suffer from delirium tremens. On the other hand, it is definitely a game that can take a party to a whole new level as it forces typically serene drinkers to chug beer and frequently leads to buttoned-up women becoming more…friendly. Quickly. The party was divided into a team of Ivy League grads versus Team “Everyone Else.” Our “everyone else” team featured alums from places such as Clemson and NC State and of course my great university Syracuse. We soon developed a nice esprit de corps, happy that we spent our years of college getting loaded and honing our drinking skills as opposed to reading books, organizing rallies, and not rooting for major sports programs. There was no way we could lose to the Ivy nerds in a best-of-seven series.
After six games it was knotted at 3-3. The tiebreaker game 7 was determined on the spot to be a relay race. Each competitor had to sprint from one end of the backyard to the other, grab a full beer already waiting for them, chug it, show to a “line judge” their open and empty mouth, and then sprint back for the tag up. With superior athleticism and prodigious chugging abilities, I was tapped to anchor my team like an alcoholic Carl Lewis. Alas, it didn’t matter. Midway through the race, one of my teammates false-started on his return after the chug and thus we lost ground we were never able to regain. A defeat by the Ivy League, how demoralizing.
From there, it was time for Slip ‘n Slide races. Though the box made it seem as if the slide was dozens of yards long in length, upon unfurling the feeble thing we were amused to see it was about as long as a California King Size bed with the explicit warning “Not For Adults” boldly written at the start of the slide. Well, a lot of things a Vice Blogger does aren’t exactly for “adults.” And, by now, fresh on the heels of the Flip Cup series, most of the other partygoers were equally too plastered to care. We began headfirst throwing our bodies down the Slip ‘n Slide as if we were Pete Rose in his hey-day, bashing our aging and fat bodies into each other as we zipped down the cheap wet plastic, hurtling past the “collection” pool at the slide’s end and tumbling into the mulchy and bumpy grass.
Eventually we added a flag to capture to the bottom of the slide which turned the end of the race into a battle that looked more like a rugby scrum than anything Wham-O intended the toy to be used for. Suffice to say, very few women participated in this contest. We men emerged from our Slip ‘n Battles with nicks and cuts and grass slathering our backs and riding up deep into our asscracks like enemas. But we felt alive!
Next, with absolute darkness surrounding us, it was time for the final game of the day: an absolutely retarded event called Stump. Essentially, this involves a dozen or so wasted people standing around a tree stump that has a corresponding nail for each participant, then taking turns throwing a hammer in the air, catching the tool in one motion and trying to throw it down and drive one of their opponent’s nails through the stump. Don’t believe me that people would actually play something so dumb? Well it actually has a wikipedia page. Definitely a game for future Darwin Award winners. Suffice to say, I did not find this game entertaining at all. I’m not sure if more than a person or two did. And, I find it hard to believe that anyone is skilled at this “sport,” as it took like two hours for the game to finish despite all the “expert” veterans in attendance.
After that snoozefest, as the clock reached 2 AM, it was time for Aaron to play one final game. A game called “Trying to score with available women but actually ending up falling asleep on my guest room cot covered in grass and filth.” I miserably failed at the first part, wildly succeeded at the second.
The next day I awoke feeling as if I’d taken part in football two-a-days as opposed to just marathon drinking games. My right pitching arm hung from my side as worthless as Bob Dole’s. My left pec palpitated like I’d been shot with a bullet there, surely a result of the fifteen hours of repetitive arm movement as I took beer cup from waist level to mouth and down again, every thirty seconds or so. I must have done some 25,000 beer curls during the day as I drank some 40 or so cups of pisswater Coors Light. Meanwhile, my entire body from head to toe was covered with bruises, scrapes, and even minor gashes from all the Slip ‘n Slide diving, especially my knees, elbows, and hamstrings which throbbed, my ulnas feeling like they were about to poke out of my forearms. Oh, and I was sunburned, badly.
Tail tucked between my legs, ass authoritatively kicked, I nonetheless returned to Manhattan happy after an incredibly fun Saturday. Coors Light is a shitty beer no doubt, but I’m starting to think that the quality of beer you drink during marathon drinking events is inversely proportional to the fun you’ll have. If I drank Old Guardian all day…well, there wouldn’t be an all day, I’d be passed out by 1 PM. But Coors Light keeps the tank running as long as you can let it. And that’s about the only good thing I have to say about it.