On Browning Out
There are rational fears and irrational fears. For example an irrational fear of mine is that one day I’ll be masturbating in the shower, finish up assuming everything is normal, and go about my showering business. But here’s the catch: During the cleanup, for whatever reason, some of my knuckle children cling to my knuckles, unbeknownst to me. Then during the back and ass portion of the washing my straggling seed slides free of my hand and slips inconspicuously into my crevice. After that I finish my shower, go out into the world, am murdered, and my body is ditched in a field.
A week or so later my body is found and during an extensive autopsy the medical examiner finds traces of semen in and around my b-hole. The medical examiner then informs my family that the murderer probably had his way with me either before, during, or immediately after the killing, making the crime seem that much more horrific to my loved ones. BUT when the police try to match the semen they found to the murderer they can’t, because it isn’t his. Not having the intuition to check and see if it’s my own semen, and not being able to hear my ghost scream “IT’S MY JIZZ! IT WAS A FREAK ACCIDENT! NO ONE WAS PLOWING ME,” the authorities will assume that I was having illicit rendezvous at a truck stop not far from where my body was found… oh and also I’m married and my wife’s lasting memory of me is that I was cheating on her with dudes. That, friends, is an irrational fear.
One of my more common rational fears, however, is the anxiety I feel when I wake up after a blackout or brownout night of drinking. I never enjoy sitting around in the morning, hungover as balls, wondering how much of an ass I made out of myself the night before.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t wake up anxious every Sunday morning, and when I do it’s only an internal struggle. I call my friends, desperately asking if I did anything stupid the night before. Nor do I go around and preemptively apologize for being a drunken asshole, that’s stupid, and really only warranted if I ran you over with a car or got you pregnant or something.
In fact, what I may or may not have done while fully blackout is less of a concern than my brownout actions. It’s fairly obvious to others when I, or anyone really, has reached the blackout stage, and I like to think that anyone who knows me (or drinks a lot) would take my state into consideration and grant me clemency. I would definitely do the same for them. It doesn’t really count if you’re blackout…unless, you know, it’s literally a felony. Also, if I don’t know the people I’m around then I don’t really give a fuck what I do.
Brownouts, however, are another story. I often truly dread what I might have done during a brownout. Brownouts are tricky little fuckers, and about 90% of the stupid shit I do when drunk happens during a brownout.
There are several problems with brownouts. First, by the time you’re brownout you’ve more or less lost self-control, but not your motor or language skills. Your body is basically a shitfaced Manchurian Candidate. You are hammered and capable, in peak condition to make awful decisions. It also sucks that no one realizes how drunk you actually are, so they’re more likely to attribute your potentially terrible actions to you, and not your inebriation.
The other problem with brownouts is that they’re hard to define, so they’re hard to use as an excuse for whatever wildly offensive things you’ve done. Nothing is lamer than someone chalking up whatever dumbass shit they did to being blackout when they clearly weren’t. It’d be even easier to use a brownout as a phony excuse, which is bullshit, because they’re hard enough to explain already.
“You really don’t remember telling my girlfriend that she was a cock shrinking succubus?”
“But you DO remember our pedicab running over a hobo?”
“Yes! That was awesome.”
“You’re full of shit.”
“No, I swear! It’s because I ate a sandwich sometime in there!”
“Well how do you remember getting the sandwich?”
“I don’t remember how I got it, I just remember eating it. I mean, I could’ve found it in the fucking trash for all I know. I came to sitting on the curb with a half eaten meatball sub in my hand, what else do you want me to say?”
Browning out is essentially just someone teetering on the edge of blackout. Instead of your mental DVR being completely broken, it’s only on the fritz. For most people that means there are blank areas dispersed between relatively coherent memories. As is often the case with me, the memories of the night before become more like memories of dreams. You can recall images, actions, and movements, but no sound or words, and usually no themes. Does that technically constitute a brownout? How awful of a person I truly am probably depends on the answer to that question.
It’s hard to fix a brownout once you’ve reached that point. The casual water chug is a mediocre solution at best. You could just not drink for a little while, but that sucks unless there’s something like food to occupy your body’s desperate need to consume things, and of course passing out isn’t an option. If you’re in a place where you won’t be able to do any of those things then you might as well just get yourself to blackout as quickly as possible. You’re probably going to do stupid shit anyway, might as well have a good excuse for it.
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