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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I've learned from several months without drinking

Jesse and I are very much social drinkers. Even when I was the designated driver or not really in a drinking mood, I could always be counted on to have a couple of beers if everyone else was. Beer is delicious, after all. So for the past several years, I must say it has been rare indeed that I would be stone-cold sober when others were drinking. But I've been the DD a lot, so I figured being pregnant would be no big deal. After all, what's the difference, really, between having two beers and having no beers? Two beers rounds down to no beers anyhow, through complicated beer-math.

But you guys ... I was wrong. There is such a difference. No beers means your irritation-meter hasn't been dulled in the slightest. No beers means you don't miss a single thing happening around you. And so after these past few months of no beers, I have learned a lot. A lot about drunk people. Things I was a little surprised to find I didn't already know about.

Here are my observations after being 1000% dead sober for the past ~3 months:

Drunk people have absolutely no f**king idea what is going on in any movie ever

The other night, Jesse and I were watching The Hobbit. I had no desire to watch The Hobbit, because I hate fantasy as a genre and I already disliked the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy for that reason. But Jesse wanted to watch it, and there wasn't really anything else of value at Red Box that day, so The Hobbit it was.

But we had just gotten home from hashing, so Jesse had been drinking. And it was Saturday night, and he has a Pliny the Elder clone on tap on the kegerator, so continued drinking was on the agenda.

And holy damn.

I have never been so irritated in my life.

Imagine how annoying it is when someone comes in late to a movie and wants to be caught up on what's happening. Combine that with how annoying it is when a drunk person keeps yapping when you're trying to pay attention to a movie, and that's how annoying it is to watch a movie with a drunk person when you're completely sober.

Jesse kept talking during it, going on about the Hobbit cartoon he watched when he was a kid or something. And no matter how many times I shushed him, he would only shush for a few minutes at most. And then about an hour in, he announced that the movie was an unbelievable failure because "they never even explained why they were going on this quest in the first place!!!"


This will happen 100% of the times that you soberly watch a movie with a drunk person. I was forced into watching Les Miserables with my mom a few weeks ago while she drank some wine, and I spent 90% of the movie explaining what was happening because she just could not follow it. "Wait, who's that guy? That's not the same guy from the beginning, is it?" "Russell Crowe is such a bad singer! I'm going to talk about what a bad singer he is instead of paying attention to the plot, and then I will make you catch me up!" "What's that paper he's ripping up? HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO GET A JOB NOW?!!?"


Another time, a certain person who shall not be named was drunk while we were watching War of the Worlds. She suddenly became upset because even though she'd seen the movie before, she couldn't remember how it ended. So I told her. Minutes later, she was in a fury because hellooooo, she asked a question and nobody bothered to answer it. I reminded her a second time of how the movie ends, which worked for about two more minutes until she again started whining "why won't anyone tell me how War of the Worlds ennnnnnnnnds?????" I thought about tattooing the information on her, Memento-style, but unfortunately didn't have the proper equipment.

The moral of the story is, if you're going to watch a movie with someone who is drinking/drunk, you have a few options: you can either watch a movie you've both seen several times before (because they're going to talk during it, and you don't want to miss anything if you haven't seen it. Though this will not help if they've seen it but don't remember how it ends); you can slap some duct tape over their mouth; or better yet, you can just drink right along with them, because you'd be surprised how even just a few beers will make you less stabby with your movie-watching companions.

You don't have to be funny at all for the drunks to think you're hysterical

So there I was at the hash run the other day. And a drunk guy came up to me and said something. I didn't really hear what he said, so I said "what?" and he started to laugh. Like, he laughed so hard I legitimately thought he might pee himself. Apparently, "what?" was the most hilarious and shocking comeback he could ever have imagined.

You see, I always felt like being totally sober made me less funny. A little less quick with the comebacks, a little less likely to push the envelope. But apparently, to drunk people, it couldn't matter less. I am as hilarious as SNL at its finest, no matter what I say or do. At the same event, I said something like "I'll just plow through these branches and come over there to where you are" (we were all in the woods and I had chosen my path poorly). The guy started to cackle like I had made the best joke he ever heard. But it wasn't even a joke. I was just making a statement. Once his laughter died down, he responded "you can plow and come wherever you want!" and then laughed some more before adding, "I like you. You're funny."

I don't ... I mean ... really now? I appreciate if people think I'm funny when I'm trying to be funny ... but when I'm just walkin' around livin' my life like a chump? Is it really that funny? Have I been a monkey in a tuxedo this entire time?!?!

Then I would understand why I'm so funny.

Knowing just how readily drunk people laugh really takes the pressure off, though. I can make them laugh so hard they vomit blood with something as simple as "sorry, I couldn't hear you over your stupid hat." Or I could just say "picture a monkey in a tuxedo" and bam, they're peeing everywhere. I am a humor god.

You can win a drunk's eternal trust by politely pointing out some minor flaw in their appearance

If you see someone's tag is sticking out of their shirt or they've got toilet paper stuck to their shoe, do you tell them? (assuming it's not a total stranger, though the toilet paper thing I think I would even tell a total stranger). I do, because I'd want to be told if something about my outfit wasn't right. Like maybe my skirt got caught in my underpants after my last trip to the bathroom. Please don't let me walk around like that.

If you tell a drunk person about something like this and then help them fix it, they will trust you forever. They will name their firstborn child after you. The amount of gratitude is so out of proportion to the actual favor, it's utterly ridiculous. 

And I love it. It's one of my favorite things about drunk people. I feel like Oskar Schindler every time I tell someone their shoe is untied. I don't think I'll ever feel so good about myself for any reason ever again. Thanks, drunks! (no, thank YOU! the drunks respond, because they didn't realize their bra was showing, and nobody else realized either because I'm the only sober one, but STILL -- I am a LIFE-SAVER!!!)

"Ummm, Tara? Your boob is ... your boob is out."

If you're sober and they know it, you can REALLY hurt a drunk person's feelings

With great power comes great responsibility. And when you're the sober one among a group of drunks, your power is immense.

Have you ever been all hammered somewhere and your sober friend pulls you aside and harshly whispers at you to stop shouting and please put your pants back on because you're acting quite badly and if you don't stop, you'll get the whole group kicked out of the movie theater? Of course you have. And how did you feel when your sober friend told you this?

Did you feel ... AWFUL?!?!?!?!

There's not much worse than having a sober person tell you you're acting like an animal when you're too drunk to realize it for yourself. They are like the voice of reason in your head -- the voice that you shut off hours ago with that sixth Irish Car Bomb. They are your conscience, telling you that you are bad and awful and morally reprehensible, and you have to believe them because they haven't had a drop to drink so they're, like, omniscient or something.

I try not to abuse this power. If someone has their pants off and they really need to put their pants back on, I try to ask very, very nicely. I will gently ask Jesse to speak a little bit more quietly, because even though he can't tell how loud he's talking, I certainly can, and it is TOO F**KING LOUD.

Of course, if you really felt like being a dick, you could get your friends good and liquored up and then tell them they're awful jerks and horrible people and cruel and judgmental and racist and homophobic and you can't believe how badly they're behaving. And then the next day, when they wake up, they won't remember exactly what they did or exactly what you said; they'll just remember feeling really, really guilty for some reason, and they'll know that they need to apologize to you for something sickeningly bad, whatever it may have been. And then maybe you can get them to take you out to dinner.

Now, I'm not saying that this is something that I've done. I'm just saying, it's something that I'm keeping in my pocket, just in case. :-)

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