One of alcohol’s super powers, among many, is its ability to elevate a drunk person’s level of certainty. Over the years bars have become the prime venue for debating every idea, concept and theory ever conceived. Alcohol not only enforces certainty, but it enables people to become more of who they already are. Stupid becomes super-stupid, angry becomes raging, flirty becomes slutty, etc, etc. The only exception to this becoming-more-of -who-we-are rule is intelligence. For obvious reasons, the intelligence component says, “Fuck this,” and leaves super-stupid in charge.
Not only do drunk people love to share their certainties and opinions, there is nothing they enjoy more than re-educating the people around them to ensure that those certainties align with their own. Despite the thousands of conversations and debates that I’ve overheard in bars over the years, I’ve come to realize that they are all a version of the same thing:
Some Guy: Hello, this is my experience with a subject that is of interest to me.
Some Other Guy: That certainly is very interesting, except I didn’t hear anything after your first sentence because I was only thinking of how that subject relates to me, and now I will disregard your experience and tell you about mine.
Some Guy: Wow, that certainly is fascinating how you took what I shared and made it about you. Here are some facts that supercede your facts.
Some Other Guy: I’m going to nod my head now and furrow brow and pretend that you have a good point, and then I will counter with facts that I have memorized from magazine publications I’ve read and television news programs I’ve watched.
Some Guy: Random fact that has no sound logic but will indirectly hurt your feelings.
Some Other Guy: Similar random fact but applied to you directly, as well as your family members, namely your mother and her weight problem whether she has one or not.
Some Guy: Insult that crosses the line.
Some Other Guy: Rebuttal insult, but taken a step further by including an obscenity, and once again involving your mother.
These particular clientele are classified as blue collar drunk people, and their interests and purposes usually revolve around sports, beer and celebrities. If you encounter such an individual, run for the nearest exit or you will find yourself locked into a conversation that will probably ruin your night. Bar people love to impose their beliefs and opinions on the haplessly unaware.
The only thing worse than blue collar drunk people are educated drunk people. Educated drunk people form their beliefs and opinions from sage political shows like Bill Maher and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and from magazines like The Cynic. Educated drunk people come armed with a vault of knowledge to mercilessly dispatch any challengers who dispute their assumptions.
If you do find yourself suddenly talking with someone you don’t know in a bar, try to determine if you have stumbled upon one of these particular drunks before investing too much time getting to know them. Drunks, especially educated drunks, use a three-prong approach to spread their opinions to others like some sort of bar crusader. It’s called Present, Convert, Attack.
Present: Drunk people like to feel you out by presenting their interpretation of something to determine your level of acceptance or resistance to the subject they are an expert in. This is a friendly tactic used to draw you in to trick you into thinking they care about your thoughts and interpretations. Be careful here not to present your own point of view or they might become offended by your resistance, and drunk people LOVE to be offended, especially educated drunk people because it provides them a vehicle for their anger and a chance to regurgitate all the facts and data they picked up from 60-Minutes and Time Magazine this week. The more educated they are, the more offended and angry they become and the greater sense of purpose they feel.
Convert: If drunk people do sense that you are attempting to impart your own original thoughts, they will move on to stage two: conversion. This stage feels like your dealing with a Jehovah’s Witness who shows up at your doorstep to convince you that birthdays are evil. If the conversion goes well, you will detect disappointment because bar people like to argue their opinions for long periods of time so as to reveal all the knowledge they have on the subject.
Attack: If, after several attempts they are not able to convert you, drunk people will loudly inform you and those in the nearby vicinity what a moron you are. This is a last-ditch effort to strip you of your self-esteem in hopes of intimidating you into converting. A drunk person feels most in his element while in attack mode and though you will hear anger in his voice, you will see a vibrant pleasure in his eyes.
Fortunately, I am not particularly passionate about anything that drives me to such anger and so I pick at opinions as if they were Hors d’oeuvres being passed out at a cocktail party. This diffusion tactic works well for me but angers drunks beyond repair.
Animals have it all figured out. They eat and drink and shit when they need to and they allow other animals to do the same. Humans also eat, drink and shit but then they choose to analyze it and then tell all the other humans how they should do it. If you really want to make an educated drunk person angry, nod and agree with them. Allowing them to be who they want to be and say what they want to say without confrontation will confuse and shock them into silence which means you will be able to finish your drink in peace.
Cheers, until next time.