This is from my first book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (book here) (audiobook here)
I used to think that Red Bull was the most destructive invention of the past 50 years. I was wrong. Red Bull has been usurped by the portable alcohol breathalyzer. The same device that cops have been using for 10 years to conduct field sobriety tests is now offered by the Sharper Image for $99. It is the size and shape of a small cell phone with a clear round tube sticking up from the top, almost like an antenna. One blows into the tube, and a few seconds later a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading is given. Though not as accurate as a blood test, they are accurate to within .01, which is good enough for my purposes.
I was living in Boca Raton, Florida, when I bought one to take out with me on a Saturday night. This is the story:
9:00pm: Arrive at the restaurant. I am the first one of the group there, even though our reservations are for 9pm. The restaurant is crowded full of the abysmal type of people that infest South Florida. Already depressed, I order a vodka and club soda.
9:08: No one else has arrived. I order another vodka and club. I consider checking my BAC, but doubt that it would show anything thus far.
9:10: Two 30+ year-old Jewish women on my left keep eyeing me. Both have fake breasts. One has exceptionally large fake breasts. They are beckoning me from her shirt. She is not highly attractive. I begin drinking faster.
9:15: No one else has arrived. I order my third vodka and club. While I wait for it, I try out my portable breathalyzer. I blow a .02. This is the greatest invention ever made. I am giddy. I show the breathalyzer to the fake-breasted Jewish women next to me. We begin a conversation.
9:16: They both have thick Long Island accents. I summon the bartender over and change my order to a tall double vodka on the rocks, splash of club.
9:23: Four people at the bar have tried my breathalyzer, both of the fake-breasted women included. Everyone wants to know their BAC. I am the center of attention. I am happy.
9:25: The first member of my group arrives. I show him the breathalyzer. He is enthralled. He buys a round. The fake-breasted women loudly inform us they would like drinks. My friend buys them drinks. I order a double vodka on the rocks. No splash.
9:29: I blow again, a .04. I’ve been drinking for half an hour, and am on my forth drink. My wheels of intellect begin grinding through the vodka haze that is already forming…four drinks…a .04…that must mean that each drink only adds .01 to my BAC. I begin to think that I can drink a lot. I tell one of the fake-breasted women that she is very interesting.
9:38: Six of the eight are here. I lie to the hostesses, and they seat our incomplete party. Everyone is talking about my breathalyzer. I am the focus of adulation. I forgive everyone for sucking so bad. I think this night may go OK after all.
9:40: I blow again, a .05. This confuses me. I haven’t ordered another drink since I blew a .04. I have a vague memory from a long distant D.A.R.E. class about the rate of alcohol absorption being constant, regardless of speed of drinking. This memory quickly fades when two hot girls at the table next to me inquire about my portable breathalyzer.
9:42: Hot girl #2 is into me. She begins telling me a story about how she got pulled over once for DUI, and had to blow into something like this, and the cop let her off. She tells me that she always wanted to be a cop, but couldn’t pass the entrance exam to the police academy, even though she took it twice. I tell her that she must be really smart. She stops paying attention to me. Hot girl #2 is apparently smart enough to detect thinly veiled sarcasm.
10:04: The novelty of the portable breathalyzer has passed. The table has moved on. I am no longer the center of attention. I am not happy with my table.
10:06: The people at my table begin talking about energy healing. Everyone is mesmerized by a girl who took a class in it. I tell them that energy healing is a worthless and solipsistic pseudo-science. They think energy healing is a real science because the instructor of the girl’s class went to Harvard. One guy calls it a “legitimate, certifiable science,” while making air quotes with his fingers. I tell them that they are all (while imitating his air quotes) “legitimate, certifiable idiots” because they believe in horse-shit like energy healing. Two girls call me close-minded. I tell them that they are so open-minded that their brains leaked out. They all glare at me with disapproval. I hate everyone at my table.
10:08: I have completely tuned out their inane conversation. I am slamming down straight vodka as fast as the low-rent wanna-be Ethan Hawke waiter can bring it. I blow every three minutes, watching my BAC slowly creep up.
10:17: .08. I am no longer legally eligible to drive in the state of Florida. I announce this fact to no one in particular.
10:27: I decide that I am going to see how drunk I can get and still be functional. I know that .35 BAC kills most people. I think that .20 is a good goal.
10:28: I get up, saying nothing to the seven sophists at my table, and go back to the bar. I don’t leave money for my drinks.
10:29: The fake-breasted women are still at the bar. They want drinks. Upset that I’m only at .09 after a good hour and a half of aggressive drinking, I decide to do a round of shots. I let the women pick the shots, with the explicit instruction that it cannot be whiskey, cannot smell like whiskey, cannot even resemble whiskey.
10:30: The shots arrive. Tequila. Judging by the bill, very good tequila. It is smooth. We order another round.
11:14: I blow a .15. I have passed a milestone. Only .05 away from my goal. My pride swells. I show everyone my .15. The bar crowd is impressed. I am their idol. Someone buys me a shot.
11:28: I feel queasy. I realize that I didn’t even stick around the table for dinner. Not wanting to either go back to my table or eat at the bar, I walk across the street to a sushi restaurant.
11:29: There is a lingerie party at the sushi restaurant. Half of the people are in some form of pajamas or other bedtime clothing. Everyone here sucks as bad as the last place, except they are in their underwear.
11:30: I am confused. I only want sushi. I stand at the door, mesmerized by the shifting masses of near nakedness. A mildly attractive girl who apparently works at the restaurant wants me to put on lingerie. I tell her I don’t have any. I just want some sushi. She says I should at least take off my pants. I ask her if this will get me sushi. She says it will. I take off my pants.
11:30: I pause while unzipping my pants, wondering what type of underwear, if any, I have on. I consider not taking my pants off. I realize that getting food quickly is more crucial than my dignity.
11:31: I take off my pants. I have on pink and white striped Gap boxers. They are too tight. I make sure my package is tucked in. People watch me do this.
11:32: I order sushi by pointing at the pictures and grunting.
11:33: I show a guy at the sushi bar my breathalyzer. He is impressed. He shows it to everyone. People begin congregating around me. I am a star again.
11:41: I blow a .17. I tell everyone my goal. Someone orders me a shot.
11:42: I do the shot. Something that has a familiar taste, makes me feel warm inside. I ask what it is. “Cognac and Alize.” There is a God, and he hates me.
11:47: My sushi arrives. I slosh soy sauce over it and shovel it into my mouth as quickly as my hands will get it there.
11:49: My sushi is finished. No one is paying attention to my table manners, as everyone is crowded around the breathalyzer, waiting their turn to find out their BAC.
12:18: I blow a .20. I AM A GOD. The sushi bar erupts. Men are applauding me. Girls are pining for me. Everyone wants to talk to me. I forgive them their flaws, as they are all paying attention to me.
12:31: My deity status is lost. Someone blows a .22. This is a challenge to my manhood. I order a depth charge with a Bacardi 151 shot. And a beer back. The crowd is in awe.
12:33: I finish the depth charge, and the beer. I talk shit to my challenger, “Who runs this bar now, BITCH??” The crowd erupts. Momentum has swung back in my direction. I am Maximus. I am winning the crowd. I will rule the sushi bar.
12:36: I take a better look at my challenger. He is a tall, broad-shouldered, heavily muscular man. His natural facial expression is not one of happiness. He quietly watches me, then orders a shot, throws it back without noticeable effect, and smiles at me. I consider that talking shit to him was a bad idea. At this point I also realize that my stomach is very upset with me. I ignore it. I still have a public that needs to adore me.
12:54: I blow a .22. Only mild cheers this time. Everyone is waiting for the challenger to blow.
12:56: He blows a .24. He smiles condescendingly at me. I order two more shots.
12:59: I do the first shot. It doesn’t go down well. I decide to take a short break from drinking. The crowd is not impressed.
1:10: Reality sets in. I am going to vomit. A LOT. I try to discreetly make it outside.
1:11: I knock a girl over as I sprint through the door.
1:11: I trip over a bush, stumble into it, and begin throwing up. Out of my mouth. And nose. It is not pleasant.
1:14: I can’t figure out why my legs hurt so much. I look down at them in between heaves. I have no pants on. Thorns and branches are embedded in my shins.
1:18: The vomiting is over. I am now trying to stop the bleeding. A bright light hits my eyes. I am not happy. I tell the owner to “get that fucking light out of my face.” The owner of the light identifies himself as an officer of the law. I apologize to the officer, and ask him what the problem is. A long pause ensues. The light is still in my eyes. “Son, where are your pants?” Remembering past encounters with the law, and realizing there is no one around to bail me out of the county lock-up, I summon every bit of adrenaline in my body to sober myself up. I apologize again, and explain to the officer that my pants are in the restaurant that is less than 50 feet away, and that I came outside to share my sushi with the bush. He doesn’t laugh. Another long pause. “You’re not driving tonight are you?”, “Oh, NO, NO, NO…no sir, I don’t even have a valid driver’s license.”
1:20: He tells me to go back inside, put on my pants, and call a cab.
1:21: I go back into the sushi restaurant. A few people stare at me in a peculiar manner. I look down, and then tuck my partially exposed sack back into my boxers. I don’t know what to do about my bleeding legs. I look around for my pants.
1:24: I can’t find my pants. My breathalyzer is in clear sight. I blow. A .23. Someone informs me that my challenger just blew a .26. They add that he hasn’t thrown up yet. I tell them to “kiss my fucking ass.” My last clear memory.
8:15am: I wake up. I don’t know where I am. It is very hot. I am sweating horribly. It smells like rotting flesh.
8:16: I am in my car. With the windows up. The sun is beating down directly on me. It is at least 125 degrees in my car. I open the door and try to get out, but instead I fall onto the pavement. The scabs that cover my legs tear and reopen as I move. My penis falls out of my pink Gap boxers and lands, along with the rest of me, in a dirty puddle on the asphalt.
8:19: The fetid standing water finally propels me into full consciousness. I can’t find my pants. Or cell phone. Or wallet. But I do have my breathalyzer. I blow. A .09. I am still not eligible to drive in the state of Florida.
8:22: I drive home anyway.
Let me be clear about this night: it was in my top 5 drunkest nights ever. I was completely shit-housed. I threw up multiple times, some of them through my nose. JESUS CHRIST, I WOKE UP blowing a .09. That’s fucking ridiculous. That thing is awful. All you do is drink in order to increase your BAC. That device is the devil dressed in a transistor.
My advice to you: avoid it at all costs.