“Let’s get naked and start the revolution!” I yelled, while waving a double-sided pink dildo around in the air. I pushed the up and down buttons on the FT elevators to ensure that any elevator passing the fifth floor would stop. Shirtless, heavily intoxicated and armed with Pinky, I ran into the elevator every time it opened and encouraged people to join my nudist revolution. If they declined, I poked and violated them with my pink penile pole. Encouraged by my hall mates, this behavior continued for about half an hour before I passed out and was chiefed. When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before, but I had a bad feeling. I looked in the mirror and saw myself covered with drawings of dicks and typical mockeries like “Big Gay Ray.” My hall mates showed me a video of myself from the night before, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had no recollection of the actions I was witnessing. This was my first day at UCSB, and from then on I knew I was destined for many more great blackout adventures.
More than a hundred blackout experiences later, I began to wonder what was physically happening to me and my brain when I got so shitfaced. After research and experimentation, I found out what causes blackouts and that there are actually different types. Blacking out is a period of amnesia during which you actively engage in behaviors like walking, talking and sexing. During this period, the person is conscious, but the brain is unable to form new memories. There are two types of blacking out.
“En bloc” blackouts are when a person cannot recall any details of the events that occurred while they were intoxicated. The experience that I previously mentioned is an example of an en bloc blackout. These blackouts are the most fun because you often wake up in random places and have no clue what you did the night before. You get to play detective to figure out who you were with, what you did and where your cell phone is.
“Fragmentary” blackouts are partial blockades in memory. A person who experienced a fragmentary blackout can usually recall fragments of drunken experiences. These blackouts are also fun. You can still play detective, but now you have a few more clues to go by. Instead of “What/who did I do last night?” you would most likely ask, “What happened after we went streaking?”
If blacking out is your goal, the following things will help you achieve it. If you are a cautious drinker (a.k.a. a bitch), then avoid the following things so you can remember your entire night and make it home safely.
Drinking quickly is the easiest way to achieve a blackout. Pounding shots instead of mixed drinks and beer bonging or shotgunning beers will help you achieve a complete loss of memory.
Lack of sleep or a missed meal can cause you to black out very easily. If you are trying to save some money, have a few beers for dinner. You will get drunk easier and save money on food.
Drug use is the last main way to enhance your chances of blacking out. The most common is smoking weed (which I don’t really consider a drug). Massive amounts of alcohol in the body can cause the brain to stop transferring short-term memory into long-term memory. Marijuana also blocks some memories that could have already been made. Painkillers, narcotics and many other drugs have similar effects but should probably be avoided when boozing.
Despite the fun that can come from blacking out, it is very dangerous. Blacking out can oftentimes be a few drinks away from alcohol poisoning and even death. To test if someone is blacked out, go up to the dipsomaniac and tell him/her to remember three unrelated words. Wait about 10-20 minutes and then ask the person if he/she remember the words. If the person slurringly replies with “Fuck you, give me another drink!” the person is blacked out and should not drink anymore.
Whether you drink casually, socially or alone in your room while listening to Dashboard Confessional, give blacking out a try.
Daily Nexus columnist Ray Collins is surprised that this column was printed because he was blacked out yesterday and doesn’t remember writing it.