Ah, the holidays.
Gregarious gatherings complete with cold turkey, warm champagne, inedible fruitcake and virgin egg nog. Relatives sporting reindeer sweaters and slurping Shirley Temples. Advertising campaigns goading us into buying clothing, cars and Coors Winterfest as a means of expressing our love. Religious beliefs packing us into enormous buildings where we mumble ancient sayings, sip sour wine and sing off key.
Sounds like a hell of a party, right? And it is, if you happen to live where people actually eat fruitcake, drink unspiked egg nog and drive shiny new cars to church.
But if you live in a neighborhood where all that seems creepy and strange, whether it be down on Drunkard Drive or over on Wino Way, this is the time of year you start feeling uneasy. Staggering, as you do, though an army of empty beer cans, dreading the rising of the sun as you swill the last of the Jim Beam, you’re very likely to stumble face first into the calendar. And I mean that figuratively and literally.
Holidays sneak up on drunks. Even the good ones, like New Years Eve and St. Patty’s Day. When every night is a party, it’s hard to get excited about one that’s months away. Some of you probably haven’t even absorbed the fact that Thanksgiving is lurking right around the corner and Christmas isn’t far behind. How did they get here so soon?
You swerve down this road every year and you’re starting to wonder if anyone is going to ever pave it. Between the relatives and reindeer, the shopping and the non-alcoholic champagne, the glitter and the liturgy, it all adds up to one hell of a bumpy ride.
But fear not. As long as the distilleries keep pumping out stress medicine, there is hope. With a full flask in your jacket and some crucial pointers in mind, you can pave this path with a smooth sheen of Chambord and still have enough cash for a forty. Here’s how:
Pointer #1: Guzzle at the Gathering
The only good thing that can be said about holiday stress is it can drive the staunchest of abstainers to imbibe. Everyone is so damn desperate to appear thoughtful, romantic, wealthy and sensitive they lose their fucking minds. By the time the big shindig is in progress, most of your relatives will be under such an enormous cloud of impending plastic debt they will be fiending for relief, any relief. Your sanctimonious kin will teeter on the brink of binging, and that’s where you come in. With a little helpful prodding, they might just fall headlong into a bender.
You have to instigate. If you see your stressed-out Uncle John lurking in your parent’s living room, mumbling to himself about bankruptcy, slide up next to him with a rum and Coke. Okay, maybe he’s still mad about when he landed you a job five years ago and you were immediately fired for spiking the office coffee with whiskey. Tell him how sorry you are while you press the rum and Coke in his quivering hand. Assume the low, assuring tone of a doctor prescribing life-saving medicine. He probably wants to drink, he just needs someone to tell him it’s okay. Remember, you’re doing it for his own good. And yours. Some family members see each other only once a year for this reason: they can’t stand each other. Alcohol can only help. Since you have to be around him for at least a little while, grease the wheels of holiday kinship by getting him smashed.
Don’t stop there. Pour your Aunt Judith a mimosa and confront her as to why she wouldn’t let your cousin Jay hang out with you after you introduced him to the art of sneaking Uncle Harold’s vodka. Make Jay slam a Grey Goose and tonic and then curse at him for ratting on you. Interrogate Granddad as to why he let Grandmother get away with pouring all his booze down the sink. Ask Grandmother how she could be blind enough to let his secret supply elude her all these years. You will find this sort of behavior will draw the family together, if only long enough to hang you. Before that happens, wave off your insults by jovially pouring everyone another drink. If they’re apprehensive, remind them it’s the holidays, a special occasion. If that doesn’t work, teach by example. Have a good stiff drink. Don’t bother with a glass. Just stagger through the gathering using your right hand to hold the Jameson bottle and your left hand to pat everyone on the back. Laugh and smile a lot. Show them what a helluva good time the whiskey is allowing you to have.
About halfway into your bottle, it won’t matter what they think of you, so long as you’re having a good time. But who knows, maybe airing all those grudges will allow them to blow away and the lot of you may learn to tolerate each other. For a few hours, at least. Perhaps they’re not that bad after all. Give ‘em another chance and a nip off the Jamo as you elbow your cousin Ben in the ribs and tease your Uncle Steve about his baldness. Lead the way to holiday fun as you frolic through forgiveness like the Pied Piper stumbling down rummy row.
If all goes well, some will follow and you can actually bond with your family instead of faking it this year. If not, at least you got all your aggravations out. Don’t worry if you don’t get invited back next year. Believe me, you’ll be much happier staying home and drinking your PBRs in peace.
Pointer #2: Share the Holiday Spirits
It’s absolutely ridiculous how much money people waste this time of year on overpriced garbage. Like you really want to open a package containing a twenty-step assembly process just so you can crush your beer cans safely instead of risking spraining your ankle stomping on them. What kind of depravity is that?
For all of you out there beating your brains out trying to figure out what to get your family and friends for Xmas, I have an excellent and convenient solution: buy everyone booze. Before you start yiping about all the different kinds of booze out there, let me finish. Buy them green booze. Why green? Because its Xmas! Consider this: What is more Christmasy then waking up to the glistening holiday green of six Rolling Rock bottles or a fifth of Midori? It’s amazing the holiday magic a simple red bow can bring to the green packaging of booze containers. Your shopping can be completed in one day over the course of a mere hour or two.
First, go to the drugstore and buy a bag of red bows. They go for about a fiver. Within a bottle’s throw of every drugstore is a liquor store. Now, I don’t know about you, but going to the liquor store is always a special thrill for me. It’s a little off-putting when you realize you aren’t buying for yourself, but fight through it. And remember, think green. A nice emerald forty of Mickey’s with a red bow around it’s fat neck should bring a smile to all your friends’ faces. Since you’re getting something for both of them it’s gonna set you back a mere $5.43. And that’s after tax!
If there’s a special sweetheart in your life whom you wish to impress, I recommend you splurge on a pint of DeKuyper’s Peppermint Schnapps. Sweet liquor for the sweet licker. I’m sorry I said that. I’m sure she’s a very respectable young lady. It’s just what I heard.
Now, I know it seems a little pricey at $6.72, but you just might cement that relationship into something that some fine day may be solid enough to smash your heart to pieces and send you on a month long bender. Just kidding. I’m sure she’s a real sweetheart. All the boys down at the truck stop sure seem to think so.
For Mom and Pop an ice cold six pack of Heineken will show them you’re classy and generous. And if you hang around long enough they may even let you drink a couple. Speaking of whom, don’t you forget about yourself. Go ahead and throw another Mickey’s in that basket. Ah, what the hell, throw in a bottle of Evan Williams too, you deserve it.
And presto! You’re set to be the life of the party and you spent less than thirty bucks!
Pointer #3: Always Bring Whiskey to Church
There’s a good chance that in your effort to be at peace with your family you’re going to wind up at Xmas mass. If there was ever a more horrendous buzzkill in life, I’ve yet to experience it. Although the story of how the son of God turned water into wine is one of my favorites, it gets completely overshadowed this time of year by the story of how he was born in a stable. Big deal. The guy had wine for blood and it barely gets a footnote.
What’s more, the church is packed tighter than a sardine can and it’s hot and stuffy. Everyone’s overdressed and under-interested. The priest seems drunk, but not drunk in a “I’m so happy to be kickin’ it with my Christ-lovin’ homies, have some wine with me and listen to this killer story” kind of a way. More in a “I hate my job, I just want to take a nap and dream of swimming with altar boys” kind of way.
By the time he gets around to, “Drink of this wine, for it is my blood,” people will be nodding off. It’s fucking sad. They should be leaping to their feet and cheering their black little hearts out. Any guy who had booze for blood gets a standing ovation in my book. Luckily that part of Mass is towards the end, so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for your one-man encore.
Fill your flask with whiskey, preferably Irish. Place it in the inside pocket of your suit jacket and don’t forget your straw. Most Xmas services incorporate a lot of kneeling down and standing back up. It’s form of religious exercise. Just before these groveling-to-God calisthenics kick off, sneak your hand into your jacket, unscrew the flask and insert the straw. Then, every time you kneel, bow your head really low like you’re praying really hard. Spread your right palm over your brow, pull the straw up with your left hand and suck down a good one. Believe me, it really helps your praying. If everyone was allowed to pray like that, the churches would be packed every day of the week.
If you wind up at a proper Catholic Mass, you’re really in luck. You can count on getting really close to the guy with booze for blood because there’s lots of those calisthenics involved. It’s a good drunk and a helluva workout.
Once they get to the Jesus had wine for blood part, you should be properly motivated to jump up on the pew and holler for your hero. And why shouldn’t you? Except for maybe the priest, your BAC is closer to Jesus’ than anyone else.
Your joy will be doubled when you realize they’re inviting you up for a drink. Since the house is packed and they may run out of wine, don’t hesitate to shove your way to the front of the line. Seize the goblet and dump it down your gullet. After wiping your mouth off on your sleeve and handing the cup back to the priest, you may catch a few ugly glances. But don’t worry. They’re just jealous. It’s not your fault they were catching Zs while you were catching a buzz.
Your business with God finished, you may not leave at your leisure. If you’re a little thirsty from all the praying, have a drink from the urns out front. Go ahead, you’re drunk enough and God certainly won’t care. After all, if God hated drunks, why would he have filled his Son’s veins with hooch? Happy Hooching!