By Nick O’Connell
Rules and regulations are the glue that holds the fabric of society together. If people don’t follow the law, total chaos will reign. Unless those laws are about alcohol, then people will treat those laws with the same respect Andrew Bolt shows towards journalistic and basic human integrity. From 1920 to 1933, the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act prohibited the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in America. Instead of removing the evils of alcohol, it fostered a contempt of the law and saw a boom in urban crime. The legal drinking age in Australia is 18, although the actual drinking age is somewhere closer to 14. Australians are famous/notorious for their drinking habits. David Boon allegedly drunk 52 cans of beer on the flight to England, a story Boon himself calls “a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale”, which is a little more eloquent than I thought Boony was capable of being. To be a proper “Australian”, you gotta sink a lot of piss, and sink it young. I am not a proper “Australian.” But before you deport me, hear me out first.
The first time I properly had a drink was when I was 17 at a house party, almost ancient by Australian standards . I had bought with me a six pack of Cooper’s Pale Ale, because I understood it to be one of the more popular brands of beer and I am incapable of thinking for myself. Sure, I had glasses of wine before (real wine, not Fruity Lexia. The closest I’ve come is Bowler’s Run), but this would be my first beer. About five seconds after my first sip, I knew something was wrong. I felt sick. Not, “I didn’t like the taste” sick, but “I’ve been poisoned” sick. I tried valiantly to finish my beer, whilst simultaneously trying to supress the feeling that I was going to die in somebody’s backyard. What was wrong with me? I felt like I was going to vomit every six seconds, and unless this was what was supposed to happen when you drank beer, I was in trouble. That’s when it hit me. There could only be one explanation. I was allergic to alcohol and my new life as a social outcast was about to begin.
Mad World by Gary Jules played in my head. I pictured pitch black clouds and rain lashing against windows. I also pictured bottles of non-alcoholic wine being spruiked by Derryn Hinch, which disturbed me greatly. The sight of the Human Headline’s yellowing skin jolted me back into reality. The party wasn’t over, but it certainly felt like my life was. Society had been telling me for nearly 18 years that alcohol is great and it’s pretty much the only thing worth living for, therefore someone who can’t physically drink must be cut off from the herd to ensure its longevity.
I went inside the house and a friend offered me a shot of vodka. If a stubbie of Cooper’s Pale Ale had nearly floored me, surely a bit of Russian Misery Juice™ would send me into another dimension. I was only 17 and I thought that my life was over, which proves the adage that all young people overthink things and catastrophise everything, but also disproving the adage that all young people think they’re invincible. I decided to take the shot, consequences be damned. But there weren’t any consequences. I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel awful. I didn’t feel like my life was over. I couldn’t work it out. How could a beer make me feel like death, but vodka seemed almost refreshing by comparison? I first speculated that witchcraft was at play, then I thought of bottles of non-alcoholic vodka being spruiked by Derryn Hinch, and lastly I thought that perhaps beer just doesn’t agree with me (strongly disagrees might be the correct term) and that my life isn’t over. To this day, I will still occasionally have a sip of beer, convinced that I can finally drink it without any repercussions, only to be left feeling just as sick and sorry as I was at that party. Sure, I can’t drink beer, but I can have other great alcoholic beverages like ouzo (I actually like the taste). I also don’t get hangovers, a nice genetic present from my dad… unlike that other genetic present I got from him, mild scoliosis. Thankfully for me, the Australian rules for drinking are mostly unwritten, and I won’t get deported for not drinking red tins (although the people who do drink them should).
By Alicia Norton
You want to hear about the time I drank too much? Well if you insist, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to give you what you want because, you see, I just can’t comprehend what it is that you truly mean by ‘too much’! Some would draw the line at memory loss, humiliation or physical illness (or a combination of all three) however others would argue that perhaps there is no such thing as too much. I can’t say where I draw the line exactly.
I never found myself getting ill from alcohol until I was at least 19 (having been drinking for a little while prior to that…) however there were certainly times which I think that I may have possibly drank too much (but I can’t be sure…)
In my younger years, the side effects of drinking too much were predominantly mental rather than physical – as evidenced by the following quote found in the journal of 19 year old Alicia;
“It’s called shame; it’s clear, of liquid form and comes in a bottled labelled Smirnoff.” Whatever experience it was that inspired that piece of wisdom must have been rather an interesting one (from memory I think it involved drinking straight from the bottle of vodka and an injury involving an exercise ball).
So I sit here and I ponder, all the times when I may have in fact consumed a little too much of the good stuff…
Had I drank too much that time that I vomited on a stranger’s dog? Side note – I imagine that the way I felt whilst emptying the contents of my afternoon of booze onto the dog isn’t that dissimilar to the way a mother bird feels as it feeds its young; ergo I was experiencing my first taste of motherhood…or maybe I was just being a filthy drunkard.
Was I beyond hammered when I vomited out the window of my grandmothers moving car after attending a family function with an open bar? Perhaps.
The time that I woke up with bruises around my neck because I was continuously vomiting over the edge of a football grandstand the night before, had I over indulged? Most likely.
When I snuck a pepper grinder from restaurant I was at into my handbag and then ran away, breaking my toe in the process, was I at least more than a bit tipsy?
All those weeks, after a weekend of drinking, that I’d continue to find those mystery bruises all over my frail body, could that have had something to do with drinking just a tad too much? Almost probably.
I’m also one hundred and ten percent certain that I was absolutely mortally white girl wasted that one time when I turned up at 3am on the door step of a guy that I’d only been seeing for a couple of weeks, but that’s probably beside the point .
I am acutely aware that after airing these brief tales that I may never truly attain gainful adult employment (or at least an invite to the staff Christmas party, for fear that I’ll steal the cutlery), nor will anyone be all that willing to date me, for fear that they’ll have my drunk ass show up on their doors step at all hours of the night, howling for them to let me in; however that wasn’t the point! The point of my airing my dirty laundry was as such; I simply do not think there is a definitive point of ‘too much’ – sure the stories are embarrassing, the memories are blurry and the consequences messy, but really – what good story ever began with someone drinking a glass of milk?
By Russell Hartup
I was at a work function at the football a couple of years ago where we finished all of the beers before the end of the game. The only alcohol remaining was Vodka Cruisers and some white wine. I don’t drink wine and I don’t drink cruisers, but when drinks are free you make up for quality with quantity. The white wine disappeared quickly so the entire work function shifted to Cruisers – it was horrible. People grow out of cruisers because they taste like someone has spiked sugar water with bad decisions. There are not many drinks you can answer, “What flavour would you like?” with “Which ever one smells like my breath”.
Free drinks at a function it will always make it a bit rowdy. If the free drinks are Vodka Cruisers patrons will reach an inebriation level of quantum tunnelling blackouts with excess sugar to burn. They will be bouncing off the walls in dire effort to get through them. The idea becomes to drink so much you forget you are drinking Cruisers.
The drunkest man still standing at that time started dancing to celebrate his love of football. He didn’t want to dance at his wedding, but when your team is three goals up late in the last quarter you dance like Paula Abdul is watching. The drunkest women still standing at the time walked up behind him and tried to stab him with a spoon, because when your team is losing and you wanted to dance at your wedding you want to express other emotions.
A colleague found rolls of cardboard stashed away in a recycling bin, so we set them on fire because flame swords are awesome. Despite my best efforts I could not find a deodorant can to make a sword like in Final Fantasy 8. In the inevitable sword fight I hit my colleague flush in the chest of his nylon shirt – melting it onto his skin.
The function was now officially getting out of hand. People were starting to come behind the bar and serve themselves when they were refused alcohol, the waiters were starting to losing control of the night. Fearing a riot if they shut it down straight away, the function centre staff played it safe by dropping the remaining boxes of Cruisers onto the ground in an “accident”. Not a single bottle of Vodka Cruiser survived. Glass had shattered across the floor like the teenage dreams it advertises. It was an alcopopcalypse.