Sure, you could make cases for “open bar,” “NBA Jam,” and “benign tumor” being tops when it comes to two-word phrases, but even the most airtight justification for those couldn’t sway me from my position. “Party barge” is the best two-word combo, the most enjoyable summer activity, and the most hangover-inducing drinking event that exists today.
Party barges, for those walking among us who somehow can hear those two words and not instantly be transported back to one of the top 10 happiest moments of their lives, are pontoon boats you and your friends rent out and get drunk on. That’s all there is to it (not including the implied yet often-overlooked caveat of remembering to bring food aboard). Party barges are simple in concept, simple in execution, and simply incredible.
You didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you regardless: I just went on a party barge this past weekend. I hadn’t been on a booze pontoon since the TFM 6th anniversary party last year, so leading up to it I was pretty eager to blow the water wings back up, put on far too little sunscreen, and crack open a few lukewarm ones with the gender-diverse squad. And the party barge didn’t disappoint; it never does.
Getting drunk on the open water is no recent pastime, mind you; humans have been doing it for as long as boats and alcohol have coexisted. The Pilgrims got blasted on beer aboard the Mayflower because it was the only liquid safe to drink. The fancy 1912 folk who could afford Titanic tickets glided across the Atlantic sipping on top-shelf booze and listening to an exquisite eight-piece band (before drowning to death because the dickwad captain decided to join them in the festivities, that is). In the late 1960s, there was even a small movement led by Senator Ted Kennedy to turn cars into boats! (Yup, that’s a Chappaquiddick joke made by a 24-year-old frat blogger. And they call us “ignorant millennials…”)
Of course, not all party barges are created equal. A small party barge is neither a party nor a barge, but rather a boozer schooner. Respectable in its own right, but lacking in what makes a party barge a party barge: a raucous atmosphere. By the time your party barge picks up anchor and heads back to port, the 100-yard radius surrounding your pontoon should be, at a minimum, 25% urine, 25% beer, 45% water, and 5% assorted fluids.
One major downfall of party barging is that, save for holidays and special events, the opportunity to barge can be few and far between. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, absence makes the heart grow fonder; the less you party barge, the more important, fun, and special each barge sesh is. On the other, too little of a good thing is never ideal. The solution: whenever you catch the barge bug, be the hero who organizes the whole shebang. You know your friends; do you really think you’re going to have a hard time finding 20-100 of them to go get drunk on a boat with you? If so, your friends are awful and you’re awful for associating with them and validating their worthless existences.