It’s that magical time of the year again. The temperature finally starts to go down gradually. And by gradually, I of course mean that it goes from hellishly humid to I-can-see-your-nipples-through-your-shirt cold. We’re all neatly settled into the routine of our semester’s classes. And by neatly settled in, I of course mean that we feel comfortable skipping them from time to time. We’re all due for a nice, relaxing, stress-free weekend of conservative hang-out time with our best buddies. And by all of that, I of course mean that we’re all due for a weekend that would make Keith Richards call his mother and ask her to come pick him up.
It’s homecoming, folks.
If there were one issue a year in which the Drink Indiana column seemed completely appropriate, it would most likely be the Homecoming Issue.
This paper will probably hit newsstands at around 10 a.m. By that time, the smell of alcohol has already been permeating the air for hours. But before the booze-soaked air is further flourished with the sound of sirens and regrettable decisions, shouldn’t you lay out your drinking options for the weekend so you don’t end up dead, or worse, sober?
Of course you should. That’s why, through two cautionary tales, I am going to help you prevent the negatives that come from a weekend devoted to alcohol.
Fictional Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and roommates Jimbo, Scotty, Shaggy and Eileen are celebrating homecoming weekend the way most of the student body does, by drinking and yelling with friends in their apartment.
It’s Friday night, and they’ve been drinking beer nonstop since noon. Because they forgot to eat lunch, they make a quick Sheetz run to get some fried pickle chips.
As they devour their delicious selections, they wash each bite down with more beer.
After they quell their alcohol-fueled appetites, they continue the partying. Jimbo runs across the street to grab more beer.
All of a sudden, though, Eileen starts to feel queasy. She stumbles over to Jimbo’s desk and throws up beer-soaked fried pickle chips all over his printer.
When Jimbo gets back, he sees his beloved printer covered in acidic human bile. Obviously he’s not happy.
“It wasn’t me,” says Shaggy.
Jimbo looks to Scotty, who has been known to blow chunks every now and then, and questions him about who is responsible for the ruination of his printer. But because he was in the bathroom throwing up in the proper place, Scotty doesn’t know.
Despite Scotty’s innocence, he is perceived as guilty.
Shaggy, knowing that it was, in fact, Eileen who ruined Jimbo’s printer, encourages her to confess.
“Come on, Eileen,” he says.
But Eileen, being terrified of what will happen to her once she confesses, remains silent. Shaggy and the other party guests, refusing to throw their friend under the bus, also stay silent.
Scotty takes the fall. And, thus, a perfectly healthy roommate relationship is now ruined.
If the friends had simply paced and limited their drinking and balanced it with regular, healthy meals, Jimbo’s printer would still work and the roommate dynamic would not be the strained mess it is now.
It’s Saturday night and Albert, another fictional IUP student, is ready to party. He decides that he wants to go to The Coney to drink, dance and, hopefully, meet a pretty girl.
In an attempt to save money on expensive drinks at the bar, he drinks a 12- pack of Yuengling before he puts on his “bar jacket,” grabs his cover charge and drunkenly makes his way toward Philadelphia Street.
Once inside the fun-and-shame-filled bar, he orders a couple Long Island Ice Teas to keep his lack of sobriety consistent.
Halfway through the Booty Shaking Contest, he looks across the bar and sees a beautiful, if slightly blurry, girl.
His wish may well come true this night.
He makes his way across the sweat-coated dance floor and puts out his hand.
“Hi. What’s your name?” he asks her.
“Mary,” she says. “What’s yours?”
“You can call me Al.”
With the exchanging of their names, they begin the exchanging of their flirtatious dancing and conversation.
The drunker they get, the closer they get.
Albert, feeling bold, asks Mary if she’d like to go somewhere more private.
“We can go back to my place,” Mary replies.
Albert wakes up in her bed the next morning, feeling more hungover than he ever has before.
He looks over to the partially naked girl beside him. Despite the overwhelmingly groggy feeling he has in his stomach, our Romeo gently tucks her hair behind her ear, looking at her beautiful, no-longer-blurry face glow in the morning light.
As they talk over breakfast, they laugh about how a lot of their relatives have the same names. As the similarities between their extended families become more and more apparent, they both feel a sinking feeling in their stomachs worse than any hangover.
Suddenly, Albert remembers an earlier conversation he’d had with his mother about a Cousin Mary who also went to IUP.
Upon realizing that he has spent the night with his cousin, Albert heads home in shame to wallow in his excruciating hangover.
Although Albert would probably have still slept with his cousin no matter what order he drank his alcoholic beverages in, he could have prevented a nasty hangover if he’d only avoided drinking beer before liquor.
Pukey printers and incest aside, homecoming is a dangerous time of year, not just for drinkers but for those around them.
We’re flooded with safe-drinking advice, but the best course of action is simple: Use common sense.