After being forced to publicly harangue my admittedly drunk and heinous writing last week, I went on a long spiritual journey to try to reclaim a little bit of the spark that once inspired me to write at a level slightly above “hellishly bad.” Ok, ok, so what I really did was wake up on a lawn in Venice with a dog licking my face after a serious bender. By not making a single good decision in days, I was reminded to finish some research I started a long time ago to answer one simple yet all-important question: Why do people do so much stupid shit when they are drunk?
The first cause of the stupidity is the most well-known, and it’s the reason most people drink. Ethanol (the type of alcohol we drink) decreases activity in the regions of the brain that promote inhibitions and good judgment, which is a powerful double whammy. In simple terms, getting drunk makes you less shy while also physically making your brain unable to process the consequences of decisions as clearly as if you were sober. This is why alcohol is so popular, since a little liquid courage can both make you feel less awkward about chatting up a babe and less embarrassed if he or she shoots you down. However, the more you drink, the more these effects increase. Thus, though taking your pants off on your roof and yelling about finger-blasting chicks may not be the best idea, you just won’t care.
But being incapable of fully rational thought doesn’t mean than any old dude who gets permed is automatically going to strip naked and light his penis on fire. Thankfully, we’ve got friends and the aforementioned babes to impress. By putting a whole crew on the night train to Blackout City, you’ve upped your potential for the formation of truly horrendous ideas and found a crowd to support them. Letting the destruction rip in mythical proportions is one of the best feelings possible when you’re drunk; it’s the difference between partying and getting drunk by yourself in the dark.
Yet we’ve all seen, and sometimes regretted, the carnage the day after. My roommate agreed last weekend to shave off all the hair in front of his ears, which was awesome at the time. Now his girlfriend won’t talk to him. (Be sure to give him a yell on campus!) The communal carnage that booze inspires is the reason that games like “vodka punch” – having your friends punch you in the stomach after a handle pull – get invented, and the reason “tequila suicides” – snort salt, shoot tequila and have a lanky-ass bird squeeze lime into your eye – seem like a great decision.
Sure, getting tumbled and dancing like a crazy bastard is probably going to impress your friends and help you get laid. However, that logic doesn’t necessarily pertain to lighting your neighbor’s TV on fire or smashing down your front door on a motorcycle and riding up the stairs. Okay, maybe that last one is a pretty fucking awesome idea, but you get the point.
So if doing the Picasso with a large group of similarly retarded buddies always ends poorly, isn’t the solution just to drink less? Obviously, but that’s neurologically the hardest part of all. You see, while ethanol is busy making your brain explode with a flurry of bad judgment, it is also chemically convincing you that more is a good idea. Alcohol is addictive, yes, but unlike cigarettes that only give you cravings when nicotine begins to leave your body, alcohol reinforces its positive effects in your brain. In other words, if taking three shots makes you feel good, taking three more will make you feel even better. Numerous studies with animals have been done (off the top of my head, Roehrs and Samson in 1981 and Sinden and LeMagnen in 1982 are some oldies but goodies), but the anecdotal evidence is monumental. Ever had to fight someone to take the bottle away after he was so drunk he pissed himself in the middle of a party?
Now I hope I don’t sound too pious, because getting blaquephaded and acting like a lunatic is pretty much my current job description. I’m mostly being selfish because the more people who are knowledgeable about and comfortable with going apeshit, the better. Just don’t blame me when you wake up in an alley behind a Mexican strip club, because I already warned you that it was going to happen.