When YOU are the Sober one.

At a gymnastics camp that I run, my staff works really, really hard during the day. They tend to play very, very hard at night.  Because we are professionals- We take turns being sober and being in CHARGE. It’s always interesting when it is your turn to be the SPOTN (Sober Person Of The Night). We have to awkwardly stand around and drink straight Mountain Dew (no chaser!) while all the idiots we call “friends” get drunk and silly  and seemingly have the time of their lives. Regardless, it’s a sad reality we all must face every once or twice a week.

But when you’ve got a clear enough head to see your friends drunkenly engaging in shenanigans, you notice how alcohol affects many aspects of the human condition. So many bizarre social dynamics come with everyone being absurdly inebriated around each other.

Here are some things I’ve noticed during my scattered tenure of sobriety over the years that we don’t really talk about because, well, we were too drunk to remember:

The “Drunk Party Friend” Phenomenon

Because I can’t write an entire article without dropping at least one movie reference, I will now provide two. When Woody Harrelson joined the Flint Tropics in Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell told him the team motto, E.L.E.: Everybody Love Everybody. When Edward Norton in Fight Club strikes up short acquaintances with other passengers on his business flights, he calls them single-serving friends: you meet, enjoy each other’s company for the length of the flight, then never see each other again.

Both of these perfectly describe this dumb concept of blind friendliness. At my camp we share a very intense common bond for a few weeks. At night when you make your way over to the keg. The person in front of you has coached Vault with you this week. Was on a team with your high school friend’s cousin who you met once in 10th grade for five minutes. Your brain, obviously operating at maximum capacity, absorbs this information and retorts, “Christ on a bike, I have one completely insignificant thing in common with this guy; therefore, he is my new best friend.” Hours of dapping up and comradery ensue until everyone is kicked out and you go your separate ways.

You see your new best friend around camp, talk to him for 1.5 minutes, and realize he’s a wet sandwich with a condescending aura that follows him around like a crop dust. A dude that’s cool to party with but otherwise unbearable—such is the experience of the “drunk party friend” phenomena.

The Riot Punch Sucks

Growing up I always heard the saying, “Beer before liquor makes you sicker.”  One awkward time my daughter was drinking Grape Juice in school, Her teacher then poured Apple Juice to which my daughter replied- “Red to White- You’ll be alright” (This was not the first time I had to meet with school counselor). Nobody listens to that shit even if it is valid most of the time. People will drink whatever is put in front of them in any given order they desire. The strategy is to worry about your stomach’s volatile pyrotechnics later.

At times, one coach will be  generous enough to concoct multiple batches of Riot Punch, it’s a safe bet that 9 out of 10 times it will end up tasting like straight-up alcohol, which defeats the purpose of mixed drinks. If you’re lucky enough, and by lucky I mean drunk, you’ll either not taste it or not care. If you plan on having just one drink before doing whatever it is you have to do sober, just stick with the Mountain Dew we talked about. At least that’s somewhat enjoyable.

The Serious Pick-up Attempts are Genuinely Hilarious

From faking an Australian accent to asking a girl if she’s found your library card, I’ve heard every pick-up line under the sun. They’re hysterical because they’re pathetic and sad, which is ironically the same reason we use them on girls in the first place. When being cool isn’t working out, we resort to the “I’m a weird, awkward loser” persona as the night gets later and everyone gets lonelier.

The most fun thing to do when you’re SPOFTN is cunningly convince your drunk friends to approach as many girls as possible and spout off these ridiculous lines—the more ridiculous the better. My friends really enjoy the offensive, “Honey, do you like pie? Because you make my banana cream.” They usually shout this one from a distance to avoid the potential  kick to the genitals.

Some People Have Identity Crises

I understand that we’re supposed to lie to a certain degree at parties. The point of being drunk is to assume an alternate personality, one that is undoubtedly friendlier and supplementary to who we really are. A great way to perpetuate this is to lie our ass off to every girl we run into because it’s entertaining. But Christ, I’ve coherently witnessed people who actually believe these ludicrous lies. A person’s body language speaks volumes about whether a person is lying to lie or lying to actually compensate for their insecurity.

Case study: I left my debit card at the bar one Thursday night so I went the next morning to pick it up and close my tab. Friday is pretty much an all-day happy hour at my town, so it was fairly crowded when I went. I overheard a girl telling some dude that her dad owned the Jets. I don’t know if this guy was a moron or just putting up with the wild anecdote just to get with her. After she finished her story, she told him she’s too rich for someone like him and immediately left.

The girl requires a psychological diagnosis. The point of lying in that kind of setting is to keep them interested, not scare them away. She genuinely believed her dad owned Geno Smith. I don’t even know if any of this matters. It just really pissed me off, though. In related news…

Girls Need to Chill Out

Generalizations are the spice of life but if you ladies out there don’t understand this then you might actually be experiencing an identity crisis. I cannot count on two hands the number of times I’ve seen girls turn little balls of lint into clusterfucks at a bar or party. They do it sober, too, but throw that sweet red vino in the mix and you’ve got a delirious situation to behold.

There are, usually, two reasons behind every female conflict at a party: her best girl friend slept with her best dude friend, or her friend got sick and needs her hair held up. The latter is more common and usually causes the entire group to irrationally break down and cry for no particular reason.

It’s actually quite an art and sometimes paradoxical. They can overreact without even reacting at all. The mental catfights are often more entertaining to watch unfold, consisting of nothing but silence, staring at cell phones, and stink eyes from across the crowded room. Everyone’s having fun and ignoring them, but those few girls add so much tension to the atmosphere that you could cut it with a knife.

The Party Itself is Incredibly Lame

It’s not all bad. Being sober amongst active boozehounds has its advantages. You have 20/20 vision. You can tell beforehand if the party’s gonna head in a rave or sing-along kind of direction. You know exactly when the keg is gonna be tapped while everyone else is too preoccupied to keep track. You get to see what’s really going on in front of you.

You Can Be the Hero

“The responsible one” is a label that should be more positive. It doesn’t necessarily mean you never have fun. It just means you’re not a dumbass, which is a strong quality that’s surprisingly scarce on this big blue Earth. It’s a characteristic that holds more stock at a party because it makes you stand out as the guy to go to if there’s a serious problem.

Being the completely clear-minded individual among an incapacitated crowd provides plenty of opportunities for heroism. You can be the mediator, game referee, DJ, or general controller of quality. And in a darker sense, you could save the life of some dumb ass coach who was in way over his head. The world is your oyster.

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About tretrosi2013

Gymnastics Coach, Gymnastics Educator, Part time stand up comic.
This entry was posted in Humor and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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