Have you ever noticed that every great drinking story begins with the same word?

This word takes you from Point A to Point B of your drunken folly, solving mysteries and creating legends. It allows for explanations of your behavior and gives cause to inebriated effect. The word begins with the letter “A,” but it is not alcohol. Alcohol has enough synonyms going for it: booze, hooch, firewater, go-go juice, liquor, Dutch courage, red-eye, rotgut and devil’s mouthwash to name a few. Nope. The word that is the genesis for all the best drunk tales I have either heard or told is not alcohol or any of its lexical derivatives.

The word is apparently.

The dictionary defines the word apparently as “to manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be factually valid.” That has a nice ring to it but to the drunkard, apparently means so much more. Apparently allows us to determine the whys and hows of our nights. It lets the best memories take on a even greater shine. The word apparently lays the groundwork for alibis and explanations. Why did you wake up with four different ink stamps on your hand, most from bars you’ve never heard of and one of them written in Russian? Well, apparently, you were out bar hopping like an international playboy. Why did you find that the cash in your wallet was gone and had been replaced with ridiculously large credit card receipts? These morning-after forensics would indicate that apparently your more generous nature took over last night and you may have made some new friends along the way. Why is there a stranger in your bed? Apparently, your generosity was contagious. Just hope that nothing else was.

Here are the ways some of the better drinking stories I have heard have started (or ended):

Apparently, I got home and sat sideways in my chair fully dressed because that’s where I came to 6 hours later.

Apparently, I didn’t want to wait the 15 minutes for a taxi because I walked the five miles home.

Apparently, the bouncer is studying the Aerodynamics of the drunken human body, because he threw me out the door. I got three seconds of air time before I hit the sidewalk.

Apparently, Scottish men don’t wear anything under their kilts.

Apparently, Scottish men don’t like it when you call their kilts “skirts.”

Apparently, Scottish men hit really hard for someone wearing a skirt with no underwear.

Apparently, the words “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing.

Apparently, my ex-girlfriend doesn’t live there any more and she seems to have changed her phone number.

Apparently, I either went home with a very ugly girl or a very pretty monster.

Apparently, the couple of beers I went out for cost $117.63.

Apparently, I am allergic to leather because every time I wake up with my shoes still on, my head kinda hurts.

Apparently, my team won because I felt like celebrating, or they lost and I had to console myself.

Apparently, all-you-can-drink PBRs is sort of a double-edged sword.

Apparently, I felt like singing because I jumped up on stage with the band.

Apparently, Tequila really is distilled by Satan.

Apparently, the bartender’s mother really does wear combat boots because she kicked my ass with them.

Apparently, I’m more of a bulimic than an alcoholic since I spent more time throwing up than drinking last night.

Apparently, you aren’t supposed to chug Scotch.

Apparently, it was a pretty good party, because when the cops showed up, they started doing keg stands.

Apparently, they only give you free drinks in Las Vegas so that you’ll make stupid bets.

Apparently, that bar has some pretty old-fashioned ideas about what’s acceptable behavior.

Apparently, I am not as invisible or quiet as I think I am.

Apparently, I mistook a park bench for my bed.

Apparently, there is some kind of law against doing that.