I haven’t had a drink in my entire time at Yale. I’ve never had a pitcher at Naples, a beer at Rudy’s, a cup at Mory’s, a serving of sake at Samurai, or wine at a Master’s Tea. I’ve never been so ridiculously hammered that I couldn’t discern “Boola Boola” from “Go Cantabs!” (Can I get a show of hands: How many of you never left the tailgate?)
Nonetheless, I’ve still managed to enjoy the social scene here. People do things like dance and tell jokes, go to movies and enjoy the company of others without the need to get plastered. Besides, isn’t New Haven supposed to offer other things … like our fine selection of movie theaters and a nightlife that doesn’t revolve around getting vashnukad? Other than bars, the only other thing that seems to have no shortage of supply is pizzerias. Perhaps we do rely a bit too much on alcohol in our pursuit of relaxation — how many times have you been to Naples since they stopped serving?
Ah yes, Naples Nights, that once all-encompassing Yale tradition that vanished along with its liquor license. Paraphrasing Virginia Slims (and by paraphrasing, I mean stealing verbatim) — “We’ve come a long way, baby.” So much has changed since I was a wide-eyed freshman, standing around sober while my suitemates got pissed on White Russians and Screwdrivers. Now, I stand around at BAR on a Tuesday night while my Law School friends and fellow seniors get blasted on overpriced beer, gin and tonic, and the occasional vodka-cran. Oh, and by “so much has changed” I mean “everyone still gets smashed.”
Honestly, I have to admit, not drinking isn’t so bad. You don’t end up retching on the pavement or in DUH, or having to explain to your Dean why you had 12 shots of tequila, or being carried out of Gourmet Heaven at 4 a.m. by Mohammed, or worst of all, waking up next to someone who is clearly not attractive sans whatever the hell you drank last night. You also don’t call people at random times and make a fool out of yourself with your complete and total incoherence. Oh, and did I mention you actually remember what you did last night?
Disturbingly, I’ve noticed a trend that occasionally affects some that choose to get blitzed — apparently you aren’t culpable for mindless acts of stupidity committed while inebriated. Curse out your friends! Send nasty e-mails to TAs and Professors — and still be able to offer seemingly sincere faux-apologies couched with ascription of blame to “having a few at Toad’s.” You can run amok, disregarding the consequences, because your schnookered state was at fault.
Of course, here is where your non-drinking friends have their time to shine. We not only stop someone twice your size from pounding you into the ground by citing your inability to hold your liquor, but we help you clean yourself up after you vomit, and calmly tell you the truth when you ask, “What the hell happened last night?” — but that’s what sober friends are for, right? Moreover, we keep a stiff upper lip and don’t throttle you when you blame the rum in lieu of apologizing for “being a jerk while I was wasted.”
Maybe I’m just old and crotchety before my time, but I seem to lack the patience I once had for booze-induced rampages at 5:30 a.m. on a Wednesday. I thought once people turned 21, the thrill of drinking would vanish at the same time one realized the threat of severe cirrhosis of the liver. Sure, there are plenty of social drinkers who don’t turn into “The Incredible Hulk-ing Mess,” and they help take care of the lushes that have so many Mai Tais they forget their names. I don’t see how it’s fun to drink so heavily that you pass out and retain absolutely no memory of the night, then have to go to brunch and be reviled and mocked with stories of your deluded debauchery the previous evening. But the Bacchanalia was worth it, or at least you keep telling yourself that …
So for those of you considering getting tanked to make up for all those nights that section and papers kept you dry, how about we keep it to a dull roar, or at least a slurred yell. Instead of binge-drinking like a bunch of teenagers sneaking beers while mom and dad aren’t looking, how about you settle for mildly sloshed like a responsible adult, and avoid doing the things that your friends normally have to apologize for in your stead. They’ll thank you, I’ll thank you, and believe me — after seeing one too many trashed Yalie fall into the imitation crab-meat salad, Mohammed will thank you too. The Inuit have more than 12 words for snow — Yalies have [count them in this article] quite a few words for being, well, drrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuunk.