Advice From The Sixth Year: Stop Getting Helen Keller Levels Of Blackout

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I plan on writing a series of columns using my sage experience and advice as a former sixth year. From this time in my life, I have gathered many thoughts on the collegiate and fraternity experience.

The first topic is not going to make you guys happy, but I feel I must write it: stop fucking blacking out so hard. I know it gets the people going, but it doesn’t get you going. Getting hammered is great, but getting blacked out is normally not. Maybe all the pictures on this site are just a combination of all the worst ones around the United States and it actually isn’t happening that much. But if it is, I have some advice for you sick bastards. The following are some reasons why you should rein back the drinking a little bit.

You Feel Like Shit

I mean shit. Whenever you get drunk, you will more than likely feel pretty awful the next morning. But when you black out, you feel a step away from the cliff of death. You do the whole “never drinking again” thing, you may have to clean up some piss or puke from the night before, you can’t move, you feel like throwing up again all day. It just sucks. You may forget how much it sucks–until it happens again. My point is that having those last two or three drinks, which took you from hammered to blacked out, made a huge difference. It ruined your night and it ruined your next day, or maybe even your next two days (I’m old so my hangovers last two days now). Don’t have those last two or three drinks. Being hammered is enough.

You Suck At Social Interactions

I know everyone loves to hear, “Oh my God dude, you were hilarious last night!” the morning after he blacked out. Being hilarious does not equal being a fun person. You probably pissed everyone off and at some point threw a vacuum cleaner off the roof, which is why you were “hilarious.” Other than that, you sucked. You know what has run through my brain tons of times in college after waking up next to a girl? “Shit, who is this? Okay. I started talking to Jessica at the bar, then we danced, and oh yeah, okay, we came back here. Got it. Jessica.” You know what’s happened once, maybe twice? “Shit, who is this? I have no idea. I have no idea who this is. Let me gently roll her head over to see if she’s hot.”

The difference isn’t that I got really drunk more than I blacked out. The difference is that you fucking suck at hitting on girls when you’re blacked out. That sweet spot where you are really drunk but not Helen Keller is when it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Confidence is sky high, you’re rattling off zingers like Vince Vaughn in “Swingers,” and you can actually hold a halfway decent conversation. Having those last three shots ruins all of that. You may get lucky every now and then with an equally blacked out girl, but nine times out of 10 you will fuck up your chances if you are that drunk. Get hammered, get wasted. Don’t black out to the point of passing out at the bar or in a field. It does nothing for you.

You Lose Lifelong Memories

This is going to be where I get a little sappy and lame, but fuck you guys. I’m bestowing my God-given knowledge upon you, and if you listen I think it will make better fraternity men out of you.

My whole idea for this column series came when I saw that stupid Holiday Inn poolside video. As with all postgrads, I was instantly filled with sadness and depression upon seeing the many scantily clad women dancing with no inhibition, just aching for a fratdaddy to come up and grind his half-chub into their moderately-toned asses. But then something sad happened. While watching, I thought “I never did that, and I’ll never get to do that in my life.” I’ve been to South Padre, PCB twice, and Gulf Shores for spring break (Yeah, I’m a piece of shit, I know). How could I not have ever done that? This is where it gets sadder. I sat and thought hard about my memories from those trips, and I had done those things. I had done those things a lot while on spring break. I had done the exact same things I was seeing on my screen. But I barely remembered any of it. Unless I thought about it really hard, those memories would forever be lost to me. Those memories were gone, and after the night is over with, that’s all you have to go off of. Who wants to only remember half of the greatest years of life? You want to remember it all.

Many times my pledge brothers would say, “These are the days, boys. Soak it in.” I would listen. I would soak it in, and I would appreciate where I was and how good we had it. But now, my college experience is a blur and I don’t remember a lot of it. It was six years of raging to the point of blacking out three nights a week, mixed in with some school every other week. Sure, I have some memories, but I know half of my best experiences happened when I was unnecessarily drunk and I’ll never remember them. This is college; this is where you make lifelong friends and lifelong memories. It’s pointless if you can’t remember any of them.

So what’s my advice to you guys? Cool it on the Helen Keller levels of blacking out. Don’t cool it on the drinking, don’t cool it on the partying. But do you need to kill a whole bottle of Fireball before you go out? No, take five shots. No, you don’t need to drink 12 beers before you go out, you need to drink six. Try and make it a goal to black out once a semester. Everyone needs some crazy nights, and the fraternity needs “that guy” every so often. But more than once a semester will do more harm than good for you. Five years after graduating, you’ll be immensely thankful that it wasn’t a big black out, and it was four (or six) years that you can look back on and smile at the ridiculous experiences you had. So stop blacking out, and retain your consciousness. Your memories for the rest of your life will thank you.

Past: Undergrad at Midwest liberal arts school. Present: Law school. I got two majors and a minor in six years in undergrad, so back off - I wasn't a huge piece of shit, just kind of a piece of shit. I enjoy booze, sarcasm, deriding girls, a pair of nice chest beefers, and of course, America. Follow at @TheSixthYear.

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