The path of the boozer on the move is beset on all sides by the scrutiny of dabbling sippers, the casual cruelty of protruding objects and the treachery of uneven footing. In the interest of avoiding a bender-ending incident, here is a farrago of practical practices to keep in mind the next time you go gallivanting through guzzledom.
The 10 High Defense
This all-purpose preventive protects your face while spreading good cheer to all around you. Both hands are held palm out at cheekbone level with knuckles three to five inches from your forehead and elbows tucked in at the ribs. This clever configuration allows you to absorb single and double high fives from your fellow partygoers while deflecting empty bottles, recoiling tree branches and errant fists. You are practically impervious to head bonks from forthcoming walls, doorknob jabs to the ribs or nasty facial scratches from rosebushes, Russian olive trees or the ever-ferocious Pyracantha. Onlookers may not know if you’re celebrating victory or expecting an offensive, but with any luck at all someone will press a drink into one of your receptive hands.
The Limber Noodle
Proper execution of this maneuver requires that you simply drink more. A constant flow of booze ensures that your body stays loose and limber, recoiling in harmony with oncoming bodies in a slam pit or flowing with ease over the back of an unfamiliar friend “practicing” his Judo throws. It is normal to dangerously tense up when anticipating a collision, but staying relaxed via a constant influx of alcohol will minimize injuries from spontaneous makeout sessions with the dirt.
The Cro-Magnon Crawl
When you cross over into the wobble zone it is sometimes a prudent idea to minimize the distance between your skull and the hard, cruel surfaces mankind insists on coating the earth with. Sidewalks jumbled by wayward tree roots and made slick by winter ice are dangerous enough when sober–when you’re properly loaded they are essentially deathtraps.
This modified stride is executed by acutely exaggerating the bend in your knees and holding your arms out at 45-degree angles with palms down like you’re surfing. Now your missteps will seem the deftly-controlled moves of a chap who, on the way home, has decided to practice a bit of his break-dancing routine.
This transition from simian-like shuffling to lemur-like lurching will save the bottle in your pocket, spare the can in your hand and prevent your spilling the juice coursing through the sluice of your cranium.
The Roll and Stroll
A bicycle is a fine way to get to the shindig, especially if you’ve had a half-dozen pre-party shots of whiskey and you need to travel under the radar. On the way home, however, you may find your usually tame steed of stealth and efficiency has transformed into an unruly beast with an evil mind of its own. The best option is to forgo mounting the bucking bronco and employ it as a waist-high shoulder to lean on, rolling beside you like a faithful friend that absorbs your swerves with a forgiving bias and serves as a steady cane when you must stop to consult your flask and squint up at utterly unfamiliar street signs.
Note: If you do fall down and, after a bit of thrashing about, you rise to discover you can no longer steer your steed, it’s because the handlebars have completely spun around and the brake/shift cords are twisted tight.
The Fastidious Clinger
Handrails, tree branches, curtains and bar tops are all designed to interrupt a plummet to the pavement. Grip them tightly. Pretend you’re doing a highwire act above the fiery pits of Hell. Asking for a phone number, ordering a drink, or explaining yourself to a cop yield superior results when you’re vertical. Horizontality, or even diagonally, will cast aspersions upon your good intentions.
Before you slide off your barstool at closing time, mentally map your path to the door. The backs of chairs will help right your folding frame, and coats hanging from hooks and shoulders will give you ample material to clutch at as you reel doorward. The arms of strangers, so long as you prepare them with a hearty, “Good to see ya, pal!” make for rugged vines to swing through the sundry jungles of last call.