Know your limits

Sep 012004
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

There has been much ado about the riot – whom to blame and what the punishments and policies should be. Alcohol may hold the largest share of the blame, but it is a difficult culprit to arrest, and as we all know, alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells, people who drink alcohol kill brain cells. The solution then is alcohol education.

Conventional education would focus on the negative things – how a single drink can make it illegal for you to drive and how alcohol is a poison that destroys the liver. Yawn. Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, we can move on to what’s relevant – how drunk you can get without waking up in a dress/not in a dress. Because everyone has a different tolerance, we will be discussing things in terms of abstract stages of drunkenness, beginning with …

Stage 0 – No drinking. This is the stage in which most of us operate heavy machinery. In fact, this is the only stage where you should be near anything motorized or flammable or pointy. No one younger than 21 is allowed to drink, which of course means that no one ever does, so this would be your stop.

Stage 1 – Drinking. After an undetermined number of initial drinks, it is common to feel warm, fuzzy and comfortable. Non-drinking alternatives would be to fall asleep in the sun on a hammock, or to be a cat. Some common statements while in stage one are “Whoa, dude, I’m starting to feel it,” and “This stuff is for lightweights, as I am too macho to admit it affects me in the same way it does everyone else on earth, and also I can lift cars with my teeth.” While most politicians and parents claim to stop here, it is unlikely that the average college student will. Stage one is merely a precursor to …

Stage 2 – Drinking more. In non-drinker speak, this stage is equivalent to the rush from not sleeping for three days. It is a favorite, because it is at this stage the voice that lives in the brain begins to finally shut up. Unfortunately, this is the voice that says helpful things like, “I’m pretty sure that juggling knives is a bad idea,” which means this is the first of the stages that something unfortunate is likely to occur. For example, the stereo could get cranked and not de-cranked, resulting in a noise violation and a fine of $60 trillion. While you are unlikely to do anything you would refuse to do while sober, you are more likely to do things you would do sober in a profoundly stupid manner

Stopping anywhere along the stage one/two border would be perfectly acceptable – a good time has been had and a hangover is not yet assured. But the voice of reason has been napping since late stage two, meaning that if you’re not careful, you’ll not pass go, not collect $200, and proceed directly to …

Stage 3 – Where has all the booze gone? There is no real comparison to any sensation in the world of the sober, except perhaps some kind of head wound. To best understand stage three, an anecdote is needed:

Guy 1: “It was a good party, but I need to sleep now. Goodnight.”

Guy 2: “So I was at the store and there were these sweaters for like, $5 or something and I was going to get some but I turned around to look at something, I think it was like a bird, a yellow bird. Dude, did you ever watch “Sesame Street”? Scared the crap out of me. But the sweaters were for like $2, and they were selling like some kind of cake!”

Guy 1: “No, really, go away. I need to sleep.”

Guy 2: “But the sweaters were like free! So I went to get one, and hey! Is that a pretzel on the floor?”

Stage three is not a pretty sight. The drinker is at this point gone to sense and reason but loves to hear the sound of his or her own voice, much like the average political talk show host.

Drinking can be a fun and relaxing experience, provided limits are respected and known and all laws are obeyed. And always, always remember, a screwdriver is vodka plus orange juice.

Editor’s note: Neither Jonathan nor the Collegian support underage or excessive drinking.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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