Tag Archives: drinking

Drunks Vs. Stoners: How College Shaped My Opinion On Both

College is a weird and wonderful time. The experience varies for everyone, but it’s remarkable in that it gives teenagers on the cusp of adulthood their first taste of real independence. Most handle it fairly well. Others don’t. We know who those people are. We can identify them in almost every college movie ever made.

My experience was special in so many ways. I often credit college with finally cracking the thick shell of misery, social anxiety, and self-doubt that I’d built up over four years of high school. It was an experience I needed. I’m a better adult because I went to college. I learned many life lessons there, but I’d like to share one particular lesson that stands out more than most.

It has to do with stoners and drunks. Depending on your college experience, if you had one, this should bring back memories.

Specifically, I’d like to highlight why I preferred hanging out with stoners more than drunks. It’s something I confronted early on in my college career. As a freshman, I lived in an all-male dormitory. It was quite rowdy, to say the least, and I have any number of colorful stories that I could share. One in particular stands out and it set the tone for how I’d deal with both groups.

Even for those who didn’t go to college, there’s a good chance you’ve dealt with heavy drinkers before. They come in many varieties. Some are happy drunks, like me. When I get drunk, I tend to laugh, stumble, and hug random strangers for no reason. I’m overly affectionate, albeit sloppy. I tend to make a fool of myself, but in a not-so-messy way.

Then, there are the not-so-happy drunks. They’re the kind of people who, when they drink, have a tendency to get more confrontational. They’re not always violent, but they are uninhibited in terms of their willingness to pick fights. I remember being at a bar and seeing someone get pissed off because some girl laughed at his shirt. I could tell from how he was standing that he had a few too many.

While these types of drunks weren’t as common as the happy drunks, they often left their mark and not just with hangovers. Even among happy drunks, they did some damage and not all of it was physical. They would say things and conduct themselves in ways that made for some awkward conversations once they sobered up. One guy in my dorm had a bad reputation for pissing in the elevator every Saturday.

With stoners, the story was different and a bit more consistent. I got to know a few in my sophomore year. They were, by and large, the easiest kind of people to hang out with. Once they got stoned, they weren’t too picky about how they wanted to spend their time. They were happy just watching TV, listening to music, and lofting about without a care in the world.

For someone with sub-par social skills, like me at the time, they were a pleasant surprise. I was able to get along with them a lot easier than heavy drinkers, who instinctively wanted to do something crazy every half-hour. Stoners are just content re-watching Star Wars and bad sitcoms.

That mellow attitude was also gender neutral. There wasn’t much variation between the male and female stoners. The only thing I noticed is that the women just laughed more when they got stoned and were less likely to get paranoid. The women drinkers, however, tended to be a bit more volatile. They rarely got violent, but they were a lot more inclined to yell at people for no apparent reason.

One girl I knew through a roommate once got into a shouting match with her TV because the speakers kept shorting out. I’m pretty sure the TV won.

However, when it comes to incidents that best highlight why I prefer stoners over drunks, one stands out among the rest. It happened during my junior year. It was late at night and I was just returning from a friend’s birthday party. I’m almost at my dorm when I come across four guys who were definitely drunk, as their inability to stand clearly demonstrated.

They weren’t violent or confrontational, for the most part. A couple smelled awful, though. I suspect vomit was the source. They were actually really friendly with me because I was wearing a football jersey. They laughed and joked with me. Then, for reasons I still don’t understand, they decided to start throwing lit matches at each other to make one another dance. They even offered me a chance to throw one.

I politely declined and was on my way. I was laughing for most of them, but I was genuinely worried. It only took one mis-thrown match to make their antics dangerous. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. It’s still a memorable incident in that it made stoners a bit less stressful to hang out with.

To this day, I know plenty of people who drink and smoke pot. They’re all genuinely wonderful people with jobs, families, and heart. I’ll gladly have a drink with any of them. When it comes to just hanging out with no discernible goal in mind, I still prefer stoners. Their so affable and mellow. They’re also less likely to puke in my kitchen sink.

Yes, that happened once.

No, I’d rather not go into detail.

It’s just one of the many insightful experiences I gained in college. It might not be the most groundbreaking, but it did prepare me for the adult world in a strange, yet wonderful way.

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Weddings, Alcohol, And A Story About Me Dancing (Badly)

I’m good at a lot of things. I take pride in the skills and talents I have. I’m also self-aware enough to know when I’m genuinely bad at something, no matter how hard I try. With that, I’d like to openly admit one of my major shortcomings.

I can’t dance.

I know that’s not the worst shortcoming a man can have, but it’s not just that I’m lacking in talent when it comes to dancing. I’m genuinely bad at it, often to a hilarious degree. Any friend or relative who has been with me to a party will attest to that.

As bad a dancer I am, though, I don’t let that stop me from enjoying a major celebration and making it special. Sometimes, that requires some minor alcohol intake, but that can actually make it even more memorable. I know because I have a personal story that definitively proves that. In the interest of giving everyone something fun and uplifting to read, I’d like to share it.

This story actually took place fairly recently. A close relative of mine was getting married in upstate New York. It made for one of the largest family gatherings we had in years. People I hadn’t seen in a long time had gathered in this beautiful old church that the wedding planners turned into a perfect party venue. It was an amazing setup for a beautiful wedding.

Being a fan of romance, I already have an inherent love of weddings. I’m also a fan of big family gatherings because my family knows how to throw an awesome party. In essence, this wedding had everything necessary to have a good time. I certainly did, as did everyone who attended.

There were so many wonderful moments at this wedding. Granted, most came from the bride and groom, but there were a few others that stood out. I like to think I was one of them and this is where my terrible dancing skills come in.

Now, I need to add a little context here with respect to my dance style. Most of the time, I avoid it because I’d rather not make a fool of myself or anyone nearby. However, this wedding had an ample supply of free beer and beer tends to effect my willingness to make a fool of myself, among other things.

I don’t consider myself a big drinker, but I’m very aware of what I’m like when I get a little tipsy. I’m a very happy, affectionate drunk. I’ll hug random strangers and laugh for no reason. I’ll also start randomly dancing, even when there’s no music. At a wedding where music is constantly playing, I need even less incentive.

I don’t recall having more than two beers before my usual reservations went out the window. After all the romance and festivities from earlier, everyone was in a jovial mood. I certainly shared that mood. The beer was just the catalyst that accelerated the reaction.

As the sun is setting, I make my way to the dance floor. I’m moving and grooving with the grace of a headless chicken, but that doesn’t stop me. I’m having too good a time and I’m too intoxicated to care. I remember more than a few relatives laughing. I’m not sure if they were laughing at my dance skills or if they were drunk too. It was probably a combination of the two.

It all eventually culminated in a moment that I hope the bride and groom remember fondly for years to come. It happened near the end of the reception. The song “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi was playing. For reasons I still don’t understand, my brother and I jump up on an empty table and start dancing to the song.

We dance fairly poorly. We almost fall off a few times, but that doesn’t stop us. Then, people started cheering. That just makes us dance even more.

I’m fairly confident we both made fools of ourselves. I’m just as certain that we didn’t care and neither did anyone else. We had fun. For a brief moment, we were the stars of the post-wedding celebration. My mother still can’t recall that story without laughing and I don’t blame her in the slightest.

It was a brief, but memorable moment from a day that many in my family still cherish. I certainly will. While it didn’t make me a better dancer, it showed that I didn’t have to be in order to make fond memories with the people I love.

During times of crisis, having memories like that are both powerful and therapeutic. If you have some you’d like to share yourself, please do so in the comments.

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Happy (And Bittersweet) St. Patrick’s Day!

Let’s not lie to ourselves. Some holidays are more noteworthy than others. As long as we’re being honest, a sizable number of people probably didn’t remember that today is St. Patrick’s Day. For once, you have a perfectly valid reason for forgetting. When there’s a global pandemic making headlines, tanking the economy, and disrupting society, you can be forgiven for letting it slip your mind.

I won’t deny it. I usually don’t make a big deal of St. Patrick’s Day. For me, it’s just a fun event that involves going out to a bar, hanging out with friends, and drinking beer while watching sports. Given all the sports cancellations, most of those plans are already shot. It’s disappointing. It also makes it difficult to get in any St. Patrick’s Day spirit.

Even if you don’t care for the holiday, it still sucks that we lost what is a fun social event that you can celebrate on your own terms. Chances are most will just spend this day trying to make due with this harsh new reality of enduring a global pandemic. It’s not fun or festive, to say the least.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t find a way to enjoy it. I made sure I had a case of beer and some Jameson’s Whiskey on hand for today. I may not be able to hang out at a bar or enjoy a good party, but I can still kick back with a few beers and celebrate in my own special way. I encourage everyone to do the same. Even if you don’t drink, do what you can to make this bittersweet holiday a bit more enjoyable.

Times are tough. They’re bound to get tougher, but they’re destined to get better. Make the most if it. Find a way to have a little fun on this bittersweet St. Patrick’s Day. If not, then plan on making up for it at some point. That day will come and when it does, it’ll be sweeter than any beer or whiskey you could ever taste.

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Post-New Year Advice: Treating A Holiday Hangover

This post may be a day late, but I feel like it’s one of those posts that needs to be said. It doesn’t just apply to the holidays, the time after the holidays, or the time in between holidays. This could very well apply to any day of the year, but some more than others. Anyone who has had a day where comfort comes in one too many glasses of wine, bottles of beer, or shots of whiskey knows what I’m talking about.

Yes, I’m talking about hangovers. For some people, the mere mention of the word is enough to trigger reflexive dry heaves. Some say hangovers are God’s way of letting us know we’re having too much fun. I think they’re more a harsh reminder that our bodies are woefully imperfect hunks of flesh that can’t always handle our vices.

I’ve certainly experienced the joys of a fun night followed by a painful morning. The worst hangover I ever experienced came after an NFL preseason game of all things. I watched the game with some buffalo wings and a fresh bottle of Jack Daniels. For me, this is perfect football food and I was excited about how the game and the upcoming NFL season.

Unfortunately, the game was kind of crappy. The team I was rooting for really stunk. Naturally, I found myself reaching for the Jack Daniels after each lousy play. Then, like an unplanned one-night-stand, one thing led to another. Before I know it, the entire bottle of Jack Daniels is empty. Yes, I said the entire bottle.

Naturally, I became very drunk. I became so drunk that I could barely stand up and I started dancing to the music on commercials. So while it may have been a lousy game, I still found a way to have fun that night.

The next morning, however, was not so fun. I emerged from a restless sleep feeling like a truck hit me and then an entire team of elite kick-boxers took turns kicking my head. It was bad, to say the least. I threw up at least twice and didn’t leave my bedroom until 4:00 p.m. the next day. I don’t know if it could’ve been worse, but it was pretty damn bad.

So, with that painful experience in mind, I’d like to share some hangover remedies. Now make no mistake. There is no miracle cure for a hangover. You can’t just down a bottle of whiskey and expect to be all upbeat and chipper the next morning. Hangovers are a product of biology, chemistry, and sub-par human physiology. As anyone who went through abstinence only education knows, you can’t fight biology.

You can still make things easier for yourself. There are ways to at least ease the symptoms so you don’t feel like you lost a cage match with an angry gorilla. With help from the fine folks at WebMD, here are some of the ways you can ease your hangover agony:

  1. Consume Prickly Pear before you drink
  2. Eat a good meal and drink plenty of water before you start downing shots
  3. If possible, drink clearer alcohols like vodka and gin since they tend to incur less severe symptoms
  4. Don’t smoke, which is not only considerably worse for you, but will augment the symptoms
  5. Down a light drink the next morning to alleviate the symptoms, but don’t overdo it because that’ll just make the symptoms worse
  6. Make sure you have ibuprofen and Pepto-Bismol handy in the morning

Again, none of these are miracle cures. You may still feel like shit, even if you do everything on this list and try a few folk remedies from your crazy uncle. At some point, the agonizing process of a hangover has to run its course. Like teenage hormones, you can’t fight it. You just have to endure it.

I hope this helps everybody get through some rough days in 2017. If you want some more less proven remedies, check out this video from WatchMojo. I want to help people with this blog. Alleviating a hangover may not seem like much, but once you experience one, you’ll appreciate the sentiment.

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