Behind every great man, there is some kind of performance enhancing substance that helps him be all that he can be. Samson had his hair. Popeye had his spinach. Hell, even Bradley Cooper had that super Adderall from Limitless. For me, that magic elixir exists in the cans of Keystone Light the checkout lady kindly sells me when I hand her an ID that says I’m a 24-year-old from Guam. I can’t really explain it, but for whatever reason, once I’m a few beers deep, I transform from Steve Holt to Steve Hawking (minus the lack of bodily control –- that only happens when I drink tequila).
The first time I remember realizing I had this talent was during my senior year of high school. My friends and I were hanging out watching some TV when an episode of Jeopardy came on. I don’t watch Jeopardy very much, but when I do I usually finish second, well below the Harvard graduate who does the Times crossword in pen for fun and just above the middle-aged woman who writes elaborate poems to her cats. This time, with liquid confidence giving me a boost, I killed every category. From history to sports to those weird plays on words, I made the board my bitch, even correctly answering the final Jeopardy question about the founding father who died of syphilis (Ben Franklin. #TFM).
At first I wrote my success off to intoxication altering my perception, like the time vodka convinced me that my 6-foot, three-point shooting frame could dunk on anything other than my dorm basketball hoop. However, I soon found this talent extended beyond Canadian hosted game shows. Calculus and physics suddenly made sense, anatomy was a breeze, and Hamlet read like it was written by someone who you could carry a conversation with at a bar. Unfortunately, once I woke up the next morning and the mind-numbing hangover subsided, my enlightenment was gone, and I was reduced to the intellectual depth of the puddle those piece of shit pledges forgot to clean.
The funny thing is I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Mark Twain once proposed the doctrine: “Write buzzed. Edit sober.” Although this strategy forced me to cut the majority of my column, Twain has a good point. When we drink, we oftentimes stop worrying about society’s judgment and are more inclined to say fuck it (I’m talking to you, windsurf board I stole from Beta). When this happens, ideas are able to flow more freely and you’re able to approach things from an angle you wouldn’t necessarily think to as a sober functioning member of society. I’m a big believer in the idea that alcohol doesn’t turn you into someone you’re not, but rather reveals who you really are when the shackles of society are loosened a little bit. Maybe that means that my Uncle Rufus really is a racist, and maybe that means somewhere deep down I’m a genius. But why trust me? I’m drunk right now..