Let me start off by saying that any drink recipe that calls for mixing its components in a cooler is also a recipe for disaster. It’s this sort of pseudo-bartending that causes people to forget that Everclear is basically battery acid and that swallowing it will have the same effect on their liver as ingesting ethanol. But who can blame them, really? They’re just really excited about having bought two and a half times the amount of alcohol they usually buy – but for the same price! So, they pour the entire fifth of Everclear into a cooler full of not-enough grape juice and half a bottle of ginger ale and pass around cups full of the stuff, still tasting vaguely like nail polish remover.
So, you, not wanting to be the usual uptight worrywart concerned about class the next morning, drink up, even though you really hate grape juice and can feel the liquid singing your throat on the way down. It’s not that bad, right? You’ll just drink this one cup, feel good the rest of the night, and call it a fun time. You play a drinking game involving cards and people not paying attention, and as time passes, drinking “Purple Jesus” gets easier. Too easy. “This isn’t so bad,” you think. “I shouldn’t have been so skeptical. Get me another cup!”
This is when all your problems start. See, Everclear gets you drunk so fast that your brain doesn’t have time to realize that it’s drunk. “There’s NO way I can be this trashed right now… I only had three sips! I can definitely take a shot of this rum!” This disbelief about your own inebriation continues for a while, until you finally do accept that you’re marginally buzzed. This is actually extremely far from the truth, because at this point, you’re, at best, hammered. At worst, you’re… well, drunker than you have ever been and doing the Bernie against a wall as people look on in amused disbelief. In fact, you’re so drunk that you proceed to drink everyone’s leftover Purple Jesus. You don’t realize that the reason there even are leftovers is that everyone else smarted up and stopped imbibing; you just admire your own liver’s prowess and the new-found numbing of your taste buds and chug away. “YES! I AM TOTALLY HAVING THE BEST TIME RIGHT NOW! wait, are you taping me? why are you… LOLZ, where’s my drink?”
You have now hit bottom. If you were smart and still had control over your neurons, you’d lie down on the couch. If you’re drunk as hell, which you are, you enter a cycle of gulping down a mixed drink that’s coming closer and closer to being straight Everclear, dancing like Briney Spears circa 2007 and giving people slobbery hugs while they grab your feet. Then you spin into unconsciousness in a queen-sized bed with two other people and wake up the next morning completely dehydrated and feeling like the inside of your eyelids are coated in gluey sandpaper. Although it may not sound like it, this is different from a regular hangover in that there’s no headache, no craving for greasy burritos. You’re just completely and totally miserable, more tired than you have ever been in your life, and aware that you probably made extremely shameful decisions the night before but are too concentrated on getting some water inside your body to attempt to recollect any of them. Not that you want to remember your terrible choices; the memory of wall-Bernie-ing is enough.
You go home, change into some clothes and drink iced coffee until your stomach hurts. But at least your head feels like it’s in your skull again and not sinking into your neck. You worry about having made a fool of yourself for way too long after the Everclear incident, then realize that you probably have been making way too big of a deal about the goings-on, and that you could have done coke or Special K or something at least mildly more legit than drinking trailer park juice. You sleep a little easier every night, proud to have discovered the full extent of your liver’s talents, and learn to put all embarrassing thoughts out of your mind. Until the next time.