PICTURE THIS: you’ve been drinking for hours; your troubles are being washed away by the chilling, refreshingly bitter brew; you can’t even remember what you were depressed about anymore; life is a fascinating mix of two-headed, multi-limbed humans and uneven topography. You are invincible; you are unstoppable; you are bone-dead; falling-down DRUNK!
According to popular convention, this is how drunk should be, right? … wrong! This is the biggest glob of lying pap that most young men are fed. My experience of inebriation was as different from this as night is from day. This conception wasn’t helped by the fact that I spent my childhood watching drunks being plucked out of gutters smiling and singing merrily as if they had just found the secret behind a happy life inside the gutter OR watching movies where the actors almost always talked about drowning their sorrows in liquor. Maybe the full story would help y’all understand why I felt like such a fool in the end.
Let me start this by admitting that I started drinking quite early. Not regularly, of course, but a sip here and a bottle there. The only problem is that I have a sweet tooth; anything entering my mouth must contain sugar and obviously there’s no sugar in beer so I struggled to even finish a bottle. The bottom line is that I hate beer but I keep drinking it. Stupid, huh?
The first day I got drunk was a cold January night a few years ago. It was Friday night and I’d had a truly shitty week (looking back now, it wasn’t such a bad week but up till that point in my life, I’d led a charmed life where everything seemed to fall into place with little or no planning on my part, so, of course I thought I was immune to bad luck. Oh! The naivety of youth!) Anyway, my friends were with me that Friday night downing bottle after bottle of beer. After a while, one of them convinced me that instead of moaning about my shitty week I should wash away my sorrows by joining them on a drinking binge. It sounded like a darned good idea at the time so I took a bottle and forced myself to finish it.
With the active encouragement of my friends, —have you noticed that your friends are always the first people trying to lead you to rack and ruin?—I kept guzzling bottle after bottle of cold brew into my stomach, I waited impatiently for the promised oblivion yet it wasn’t forthcoming. Don’t get me wrong; I was beginning to see my friends with their twin brothers, and the twins seemed to have more limbs than the famous Paul the Octopus but the problem was that my mind remained clear as spring water. “What am I doing wrong?” I asked myself, “Don’t worry” replied my mind “you’ll get there, you just need some more alcohol in your system”. So I picked another bottle.
Like that Guiness slogan says “there’s a drop of stupidity in every man”… or something like that. After enviously watching my friends say the most impressive collection of senseless gibberish I’ve ever heard; I resigned myself to the sad fact that I’ll never be as good as they are at getting drunk so I decided to get up and go home… BIG MISTAKE! My mind was singing rap while my body was singing the blues. I guarantee that you’ll never feel more stupid than when your mind is crystal clear but your body is behaving like one of those infected zombies in the movie “resident evil”. Everything you do is in slow motion. I was like a toddler learning to walk; one false step and I’d crash like those paper airplanes we used to make in primary school.
Nevertheless, that wasn’t the worst part; the worst part of the whole ordeal was the turbulence in my stomach. Like the old saying goes, “there is no fury like that of a scorned stomach” (actually the real saying is about scorned women but lets not worry about accuracy for now). My stomach felt like I’d just drunk a whole bucketload of piss (which when you think about it, is what I’d just done). I was always disgusted as a child watching a grown man vomit in public because he’d had too much to drink. Suddenly, I understood why they don’t care if the whole world is watching them puke. My stomach was heaving violently and I was almost on my knees begging to puke… and when I finally puked; oh glory halleluyah! It was like an orgasm. The rich creamy flow…… (okay, this is disgusting, even for me, so lets skip this). Lets just say it got painful after a while.
Anyway, I zig-zaged my way home like someone practicing evasive maneuvers, promising myself all the way that I’d never get drunk again, sneaked into the house so that my mum wouldn’t know how much I’d drunk(do you know how hard it is to sneak in while drunk?) staggered to my bed and collapsed into the long awaited oblivion of sleep.
The next afternoon, I realized that immediately I took the first bottle, I forgot to worry about my bad week because first; I concentrated on getting drunk; then when I was drunk, I concentrated on getting home in one piece; and finally, when I got home, I slept like a baby. I keep wondering if that’s what people mean by drowning their sorrows but it doesn’t quite add up.
I’ve got nothing against drinking beer; in fact, I still drink but I’m just exasperated when guys talk about getting drunk as if its one step away from heaven. You should have seen my cousin’s face the very first day I drank a whole bottle of beer in front of him, he was so proud of me. It was as if I’d just told him that I got the highest score in an exam. He thinks drinking beer is your first step towards manhood. If drinking a bottle of beer is the first step towards being a man; then, those drunkards in the gutter must be at the pinnacle of manhood.
Why are people always encouraging others to drink? They make it sound like it’s the best thing you can do on a Friday night but they usually neglect to mention how embarrassed you feel afterwards. Maybe I’m just biased because my body system displayed the wrong reaction to alcohol, after all, it cant be denied that alcohol affects different people in different ways. While some people feel good when they are drunk; some other people just become more violent.
So I’ll leave you with this question; “why do YOU drink?”
By Nonso ‘El Noni’ Udeh . . . a student of life
Follow him on Twitter @el_noni