Saturday, June 11, 2011

Celebrating Happiness by Getting Blitzed?

"I'm so happy I want to pickle my braincells."

Today is the neighbors' wedding.  (Shock to me.  I thought they were already married.)  Late last night, that little factoid permeated my brain.  Okay, it was more like 3am this morning, when Husband and I dragged ourselves out of bed to search for what sounded like a combination gang rape, Manhattan rave, and dog fight.  I snuck around the house peaking out windows to pinpoint the noise.  Hubs is better - he went right to the back window and sure enough, a couple dozen people were partying hard, drinking beer, and just being general asses.  A few guys were play-wrestling, a couple others were taunting the dog to make it bark, every once in a while a girl would shriek or squeal or scream - just for kicks, mind you - and most of them were talking at a decibel level that tells you their volume control knobs are all three feet below the surface of the vat their brain has become.

Aside from calling the police and reporting them for noise violations (yeah, like anyone ever gets a ticket around here for that anymore) or for suspected 'minor in possession', there wasn't a damn thing I could do.  So I lay there, wondering to myself: When exactly did drinking yourself into oblivion become the way to celebrate anything? 

Aced an exam?  Get stinko and kill the grey matter that got you there.

Graduated high school?  Break out the wine coolers and forget your achievements.

Got that promotion at work?  Drown your happiness in some scotch.

Win the National Championship?  Get several hundred of your friends drunk and celebrate by overturning cars.  (but that's another rant.)

These are supposed to be happy occasions, people.  You know, ones you want to remember the next day with clarity and fondness, not haze and nausea? 

Okay, I get the wanting to drown your sorrows after something horrible has happened.  Been there, done that.  There's nothing quite like a haze of booze to help you forget that your boyfriend just dumped you, or that your cat died, or that you just bombed your exams.  Booze never helps, but I get the urge.  What I don't get is the urge that drives people to want to get drunk over something happy.

Last night's party crowd were supposed to be celebrating the joyful union of two people they care about.  Instead they used the upcoming nuptials as an excuse to pickle themselves.  :shrug:  It doesn't surprise me.  I spent three years working weddings as a DJ's assistant and videographer.  Something about weddings make people want to get shitfaced.  I once saw a groom get so ripped, he did a striptease in the middle of the dance floor at his own reception.  Sometimes, I wonder if that guy remembers anything after the cutting of the cake.

So, no, it doesn't surprise me.  It just confuses me.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a teetotaler.  In fact, I used to drink with regular abandon.  And I was shitfaced myself on more than one occasion.  (Not that it was right, mind you.  I'm just acknowledging my own stupidity.)  But I don't remember ever getting drunk off my ass as a celebratory gesture.  My wedding day included one glass of wine later that night at dinner.  One.  I have a tough enough time remembering anything with clarity to want to screw that night up. 

Maybe I spend too much time thinking about stuff like this.  I'm always trying to ferret out the reason for human behavior.  Call it a leftover from my time as a psych major.  Like I could fix it if I found the root cause.  Consider it an after effect of being a writer.  As if learning the reasons would make my writing better.  Anyway, it's stuff like this that sticks in my head. 

What do you think?  What sticks in your head?  Anything about human nature confuse you to the point of sleeplessness, or is it just me?


  1. Some people will take any excuse to get hammered. I used to be one of those people, but then I grew up and realized I was making too many mistakes that way. Life wasn't good, or comfortable.

    The only thing that keeps me up at night regarding human behavior, is wondering how I will guide my son to be the best human he will be. What kind of responsibility will that demand from me? That naturally begs the question: what makes a good person good, and a bad person bad?

  2. I didn't drink much at my wedding either. I think I had some champagne and a martini (over 6 hours). Didn't see the point even though it was one of the happiest days of my life.

  3. I get annoyed when people get too drunk at weddings, especially the bride and groom. I would have bleeping killed my new husband if he'd gotten wasted at our wedding. In general, I like to drink, but I don't like to get wasted. Who wants to put up with being that hung over? Vomiting is so not fun.

  4. Yup, you're right. I don't know what it is about weddings that make people get blitzed. Maybe it's the relief of having it all over with? Who knows. I didn't drink anything but a few sips of champagne at my own wedding because I wanted to make sure I soaked everything in. At my best friend's wedding last Friday, I had some wine and a couple of cocktails. Far from drunk - just enough to unwind. But one guest was hammered, and she passed out under the table. Not a good look for her.