We’ve all been there before. You wake up and are forced to go about your life, pretending you weren’t bonging Franzia and chugging bottom-shelf whiskey a mere 12 hours before. The problem is that it’s morning and you are clearly intoxicated. And what’s more, it’s probably obvious to every person in the room. Ignoring the fact that you smell like a distillery’s dumpster and look like shit, your very existence confirms that you are, in fact, still fucking hammered.
And that, my friends, is what we call “Bonusland”.
Bonusland is the phenomenon in which your body refuses to rid itself of the cheap beer, jungle juice, and shitty liquor that you poured down your throat the night before. Now you are stuck at a level of morning intoxication that would make your father proud and your mother appalled. Medically speaking, you’re a disgrace. And I take that other part back, your dad would be horrified too.
Before college, Bonusland was typically limited to weekend mornings, which made it acceptable. But then, beginning with syllabus week freshman year, the condition takes on a whole new form. Here I present to you, the standard 4-year college evolution of one’s feelings about and reaction to Bonusland.
It’s a safe bet that most people experienced Bonusland during their first week in college. For me, it was literally during my first class. Bonusland as a freshman is a new feeling that, for me, was both exciting and terrifying. I slurred my speech as I pathetically stumbled through my own name while introducing myself to the class. I looked my 40-something Intro to British Literature professor up and down, undressing that Lane Bryant suit right off her. Sure, sober she was actually a 5 on the teacher scale, but in Bonusland she was suddenly an 8, and I figured I had an outside shot with her. In Bonusland ANYTHING is possible! That would of course explain why I used to so often haggle McGriddle prices with many a McDonald’s cashier. I might’ve thrown a wink the professor’s way, thinking I was suave. In reality that wink made me look like I was having a stroke, and I spent the class sweating out a $9 handle of vodka, my eyes glazed over like a coma patient who slipped into unconsciousness while having an especially confused thought. For most, there’s also probably been at least one time when they had to run out of class to puke into a potted plant (don’t lie…it happened). Thankfully the threat of voiding the contents of your stomach all over the cute Kappa sitting in front of you keeps you on your toes and reminds you that Bonusland isn’t fucking around. It’s an awkward, exhilarating time to be alive.
This is when Bonusland really takes its shape. When it strikes, you are invincible. Random chats with the sorority girl next to you in political science leads to a phone number. Mandatory class participation is just an avenue for you to be an obnoxious asshole and condescend the kids who actually take the discussion seriously, all the while still somehow winning the discussion, for which you are keeping score, out loud, with a points system you invented on the fly. Lunchtime at the fraternity dining room transforms those dry, mediocre chicken nuggets into the greatest fucking thing you have ever eaten in your life. The stories being told around you, and by you, are the funniest things you’ve ever heard. Bonusland turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, and it gives you a whole new lease on life.
By this point, Bonusland is almost like that friend from high school that you wish you didn’t have to talk to anymore. You don’t want to be rude and ignore it, but you really want to move on with your life. During junior year Bonusland loses its luster. The flame that burns the brightest, and all that. It’s kind of like your crazy great-uncle that you have to talk to for 10 minutes at your family reunion. Yeah, it’s funny that he’s trying to convince you that chasing geese at corporate parks is a viable business plan, and that you could make $40/hour doing it for random businesses, but you’d rather just avoid that situation altogether. (Side note: the whole purpose of this article was to slip in the fact that my crazy great-uncle tried to convince me that chasing geese at corporate parks is a viable business plan, and that I could make $40/hour doing it. RIP Uncle Mark.) Point being, Bonusland just isn’t what it used to be by junior year, and it’s not a fun fact to accept.
Bonusland is a disease in senior year. You’re sick of it. It’s kind of like getting too high when there’s no off switch and you’re stuck watching Everybody Loves Raymond because the remote is too far away. It almost makes you wonder why you felt it necessary to chug 12 Red Bull Vodkas on a Tuesday night. Then you remind yourself that they were a dollar each, and that’s why you chugged 12 Red Bull Vodkas on a Tuesday night. You’re a fiscally responsible individual, dammit! And now you have to pay the consequences. It gets to the point where your intoxication and your hangover kind of mesh to a drunken purgatory in which you don’t know how to handle yourself or how to behave.
Bonusland comes and goes in your four (maybe five) years of college, and the stages and levels of Bonusland give it a personality of its own. However, no matter what year or what phase it might have taken, it is something to be loved and respected by everyone. Once you graduate, this will unfortunately become one of the worst postgrad problems imaginable, as Bonusland goes from some sort of mystical Candyland to a Mad Max-esque desert, and the inside of your skull feels like the Thunderdome is having an all day tournament of death. Don’t be that guy. You have a problem, man.