The Drink/Drank/Drunk Issue: Six Activities That Are Only Fun Drunk
Some things in Austin just aren't meant to be enjoyed sober
By James Renovitch,
9:00AM, Mon. Jul. 1, 2013
Here at the Chronicle, we don't condone drinking to excess, but we recognize the powers of booze. Soul mates wouldn't have met, children would remain unborn, and tons of embarrassing fun wouldn't have been had without it. At the same time, some things in this town we wouldn't consider doing without assurances that inebriants will be on hand.
It's a Texas tradition, probably about as old as … uh, drinking. What else can you do while tubing other than drink? Talking to your friends is difficult because everyone is at the mercy of various eddies and currents. Napping isn't really plausible due to the possibility of rough waters or other river obstacles (eye-gouging branches, kayakers, etc.). All that's left is to put one person in charge of your floating cooler and periodically shout to have a beer can thrown at you. This throw will undoubtedly be terrible, and you will paddle (flail, really) to retrieve the only redeeming thing about this outing. If you're sober, really all you're doing is offering your front side up to the relentless Texas sun and heat while you "enjoy" a perpetually soggy bottom. If we really wanted that sensation we could just lift the toilet seat, sit down, and spare ourselves a sunburn. We'll take our time communing with H2O without the constant worry that we're going to get a barely submerged boulder in the ass. Thank you, alcohol, for making tubing feel like a slow-mo Indiana Jones flick rather than the insufferable butthurt that it is.
Here's a pet peeve of ours: people who can sing well and decide to show off at karaoke. That is not the spirit of the evening. What's supposed to happen is you choose a Prince song or Eighties rock ballad and you ruin it. No one likes to sing along if you hit every note with Whitney Houston-esque aplomb. People want to sing Toto's "Africa," but we have to think that we're helping the tone-deaf singer to really get into it. Enter alcohol. Nothing turns an ear to tin or vocal cords to stone quite like it. It's the great equalizer (or destroyer). You're going to think you nailed Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now," but the video on Facebook the next day will prove otherwise. What that video will also prove is that you and your friends had a blast. And you can thank alcohol.
It's a guilty pleasure. Probably a few times a month you might get that chicken sandwich at Wendy's or a Big Mac. You have a busy life, no one will fault you for not supporting a local business every single day. In the end though, you're probably not going to feel good about the decision. Cheap, greasy eats usually go down fast and don't stick around long, making you feel empty (physically and emotionally). After a night of drinking, we pity the designated driver who is bullied by a car full of drunks chanting for McDonald's or Jack in the Box. "Oh my god, FRIES!" "How good would a burger be RIGHT NOW?!" Raise your hand if you've heard this one: "I'm gonna puke, but order me some nuggets if I'm not back in time." That is drunk logic if we ever heard it. But that food will never taste as good as it does when you have to wait an hour in a drive through for it.
We by no means, want to imply that texting isn't great. It's utilitarian. You can feel like an outlaw by doing it in a car (not recommended). Not to mention autocorrect is often hilarious. Texting, however, doesn't get really fun until after midnight when things that ordinarily seem ridiculous begin looking reasonable through beer goggles. Examples include sexting, texting exes, confessional texts, and the like. The phone's once-intuitive controls seem increasingly foreign as the number of empty cans or glasses mount leading to a suggestive text mistakenly going to a parent. Or a painful truth going to the person who will be most pained by it. Best of all, unlike drunk dialing, there will always be proof tomorrow morning that will make your heart sink to your already rumbling stomach.
Students: Austin can't live with 'em, and can't live without 'em. Thankfully they tend to congregate in designated areas that are cordoned off by mounted police. Authorities claim it's not to keep young and irresponsible drinkers away from the general populace, but we thank those men and women in blue anyway. If you've been stuck on Dirty Sixth on a Friday or Saturday you might as well take a "when in Rome" attitude because the onslaught of sloppy sexuality and barely contained fury is hard to take. You're not going to beat the youthful masses, and sometimes you just can't avoid them, so prepare to join them.
Those little rapscallions. Kids need to be constantly entertained, and even the best parents can't always muster the old song and dance. Thankfully, there's TV. Unthankfully, there are also live versions of those TV shows which progeny sniff out like bloodhounds and pester parents about endlessly until they relent. Before you know it, parents are in a huge auditorium with a median attendee age of about 15, and kids ready to go bonkers. If that weren't enough, there will be a band or performers (likely in some primary-color-coordinated getup) ready to facilitate said bonkerness. You might get the stink eye from other parents, but we here at the Chronicle salute those that bring something to dull the pain.
Read more stories behind the bar and deep in the jigger at austinchronicle.com/blogs. The Austin Chronicle's Drink Drank Drunk issue hits stands Wednesday, July 3.