BingeAlcohol is a wonderful thing right up until the point where it becomes horrendous. From my experience there are 5 stages from wonderful to horrendous and there is a fine tipping point.
Stage 1: The first stage isn’t really a stage but a baseline of sobriety of which there are three states which can be summed up as follows:- “I love the world”, “I’m ambivalent towards the world” and “I hate the world”.
Stage 2: When you’re a couple of drinks in you’ve reached the perfect state. You’re suddenly the wittiest person in the room with the comic timing of Eric Morecambe. You exude self-confidence and your attractiveness to the opposite sex - or same sex depending on your inclination - is plain for all to see. You sparkle in conversation and people hang on your every word. You consume your drink with an air of sophistication and the light catches your glass in such a way as to perfectly illuminate your beautiful features. When you have arrived at stage 2 the world loves you.
WARNING – ONCE YOU HAVE ACHIEVED THE PERFECT STATE DO NOT MOVE ON TO STAGE 3.
Stage 3: This is the tipping point. You’re now at the stage where your wit has turned to shit and you have the comic timing of Erich Honecker (look him up). You now have so much self-confidence you’re happy to stand on a table and bellow out a tuneless rendition of ‘My Way’. Your conversation is now mindless as you grab your best mate around the neck and bellow “I f*@king love you mate. It’s me and you against the world.” You fire Jaeger Bombs down your throat at will and spill more of your pint – or whatever you’re attempting to drink - than you consume. At stage 3 you want to either fight or shag the world.
Stage 4: At stage 4 inanimate objects move at will. When you go to steady yourself hand-rails are suddenly not where they were and pavements come up to meet your face. You turn your head and it takes a few seconds before your eyes catch up. The self-confident Frank Sinatra impersonator from stage 3 is now a dribbling mess in the corner. The quiet nightclub that you have magically found yourself in looks full to the brim as your eyes fill the gaps with blurry people. You make an attempt at walking to the lavatory and even though you can see it, straight in front of you, your legs decide that they want to go sideways and take you through a table full of drinks. You’re about to go home – stopping to buy and spill a kebab on the way – when you are approached by the largest ‘fugly’ you’ve ever seen. This ‘fugly’ drags you onto the dance floor and grinds against you like an amorous hippo. Tonight you will be shagging the world. At stage 4 the bottom falls out of your world - or in some instances the world falls out of your bottom. After loving you at stage 2 the world now hates you and you just want to throw up on it to teach it a lesson.
Stage 5: If you’re lucky (and probably under 30) you don’t suffer from hangovers. If like me you are unlucky there can be times when the hangover kicks in before you’ve even stopped drinking. And when I say hangover I don’t mean feeling a little tired with a delicate head and grumbly tummy, I mean full-on living death. Moving is not an option, if you don’t want to turn yourself inside out and every sound reverberates through your head like someone dragging a concrete table across a marble floor. If you manage to survive this the world then chucks in little memories of the night before, just to make you cringe with embarrassment. This instils panic and the cold sweats kick in when you log in to Facebook to see a friend request from the major ‘fugly’ you hooked up with during Stage 4. You immediately ‘unfriend’ everyone, just in case they track you down through your friends list. You then sit yourself in the darkest corner you can find and suck your thumb, whimpering all the while.
But then the world teases you. It gives you a bacon sandwich and suddenly a form of normality returns. You may have made the decision to never, ever drink again but you can be comforted by the fact that you will always have bacon – I can’t comment on what vegetarians or other non-bacon eating persons use as a substitute but I can’t imagine it’s half as good.
The older you get the longer Stage 5 lasts but it never quite lasts so long as to stop you repeating the performance at the next available opportunity.
“But where is the ‘Binge’ in all this” I hear you scream. Well the ‘Binge’ drinker has a tendency of skipping Stage 2 and moves straight to Stage 3. Armies of Jaeger Maestros stalk the pubs picking up stragglers on the way until the town centre is a mass of staggering men – stopping in the odd doorway to relieve themselves – and cackling women flashing their under-crackers to the bemused, spotty faced patrolling police officer, who joined the force to crack major drug cartels and investigate murders like on CSI. And although ‘Binge’ drinkers tend to operate in large groups they never appear to look after their own.
FringeWhen I was in my early twenties I had very long hair, as did all my ‘Rock God’ friends, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to assist one another by pulling their fringe out of the way while they barked into the big, white porcelain telephone. Not only was this considered a kindly act for the poorly friend but it also meant that the taxi ride home wasn’t overpowered by the drifting aroma of vomit.
These acts of thoughtfulness never seem to enter the ‘Binge’ drinkers mind. If someone goes down it is considered collateral damage and they will forever be taunted as a ‘lightweight’ because they’ve only managed half a bottle of Vodka, six glasses of Blue Nun, eight Jaeger Bombs and a sneaky spliff.
Now, I am an ale drinker, the kind of drink that the ‘Binger’ wouldn’t even look at, and one of the joys of drinking ale is the names they give them – Pigswill, Fursty Ferret, Locky's Liquor Locker Liquor, to name but three – so what would be the ultimate way to curb binge drinking? Give a Real Ale the name ‘Binge’. None of the Saturday night twatterati would ever want to be labelled a ‘Binge’ drinker if it meant they’d be mistakenly considered as a Real Ale enthusiast.
So let all good minded people out there join me in returning to the days where we get battered over a number of hours, not minutes and where it’s perfectly acceptable to go to the bar and order half a pint of coke and a packet of nuts (“For the missus, as she’s driving”).
Glossary of terms
‘Fugly’ – Fat and Ugly or simply F*@king Ugly
‘Twatterati’ – The thoroughly annoying gangs of Saturday night socialites (who magically morph into my friends once I’ve had a few)