Disclaimer: My friends and I know The Greatest Drinking Game of All Time. If played correctly and passionately, it has the power to change the world. If played incorrectly, it can end friendships and land someone in the hospital. I understand the bolditude of such claims out of context. So here’s some context.
Random Plug: If you would like to see the uncut, extended version of this story performed live, please check here and it might work out.
My favorite holiday is Halloween. There are a lot of reasons why. One reason is that it’s the only mainstream Pagan ritual which has not been claimed by Christianity. Easter and Christmas rolled over like France and Poland. But something about Halloween has kept it from conversion…
So with that in mind, on 10/31/2010, Doc and I arrived at Chef’s house just inside San Diego territory. From his 10th floor apartment, I could see a huge life insurance to our right and a massive Mormon cathedral to our left. We were deep inside enemy territory.
But we were in disguise. Kind of. Doc was dressed as A Creepy Abstraction of Recurrent Mischief, aka The Cat in the Hat. I was dressed as the narrator from Fight Club. If you know either of us, then you understand that neither of our costumes were much of a stretch.
Best costume award went to Chef, however.
The 364 other days of the year, Chef would be an excellent candidate for President of the United States. He has always been diplomatic, to put it one way. He carries a certain respectability and class in public situations, as if he truly took to heart the parental advice of when you go out in public, you represent your family, your country, and your faith. His maturity and intelligence would be exhausting if not for the fact that his friends and loved ones know that deep down inside of Chef lies a hilarious, reckless, possibly-racist 12 year old pulling a few levers.
And on this Hallowed night, the inside was the outside.
Chef was dressed as “Green Man”, an all-encompassing body suit of green which shrinkwrap-hid all his featuresâ€¦ gave him the ability to chroma-key into any situationâ€¦ a codpiece was inserted in order to exacerbate his pelvic region. Every five minutes or so, Green Man would pour a shot of whiskey over his green veil, slurp up whatever dribbled through, and then scream something horrifically racist or obsceneâ€¦ but he would always add, at the end, an intelligent and bold declaration of justification:
Yes, all of our core ideals were on display that night, underlined and bolded in 28 point font. We were hoisting our insanities and ideals high above our heads, waving our dirty underwear as humongous flags. We did this because it’s the one holiday where it’s acceptable. We did this because we were drinking whiskey and wearing costumes.
All three of us were vibing very well.
I decided to spruce up my costume, so I went to the kitchen and tried to draw some real blood to smear on my white shirt. Authenticity! I picked up a steak knife from the filthy sink and started stabbing at my fingertips. Apparently, that was not the best way to goâ€¦ overall result was that my shirt looked like I’d swiped at it with a red ballpoint pen and nothing more.
Chef came in and, immediately understanding the situation, took the knife from me and started stabbing at his green palm frantically. He looked like a bloodhungry zombie woodpecker. He would fling whatever liquid he harvested. My shirt was improving, slowly.
The Cat in the Hat stomped in yelling
“I’LL SHOW YOU HOW TO GET BLOOD!”
And ripped the knife away from Green Man. Doc put his left hand (paw?) face up on the counter and then slam dunk stabbed the knife down with his right hand. He held up the wound and squeezed it till it sprayed like a poked water balloon all over my now-Jackson-Pollack blood-splattered shirt.
We all stared at my shirt in satisfaction and then shook hands.
It dawned on us we had just made a blood pact. But there was no reason. We all stared at each other, and then I yelled
And that was good enough. The knife went right back into the sink, unrinsed.
The poor girls who showed up just then for the pre-party were literally speechless. Abhorred. Frozen, staring at a bleeding Cat in the Hat, a racistly drunk Green Man, and a blood covered narrator.
“COME ON IN, LADIES!”
The women were dressed as the characters from some X-rated version of Alice in Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts, Alice, and The Rabbitâ€¦ all wearing lingerie. The rabbit stepped through the door and immediately dropped a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. She yelled out for someone to get paper towels and a broom. I returned her request with a blank stare. Because as that glass bottle shattered, all I could imagine was how many inhibitions were now going to exist, inhibitions which could have otherwise been neutralized, or at least delayed, for several hours.
All I could say was,
“Who can think about a mess on the floor at a time like this?”
Unfortunately, The Cat in the Hat was really starting to bleed all over himself as a result of his severe stab wound. To fix the situation, Chef handed him a Dracula cape. Once The Cat tied the cape around his neckâ€¦ we all saw the perfection. He had transformed into a bloodhungry Childhood Memoryâ€¦
The Queen of Hearts stupidly interrupted and asked why we didn’t wrap the wound with the cape:
“WHAT’S THAT GONNA DO?”
So I tried to explain.
We must work with our mess, not clean it up! We refuse to lie to ourselves! We do not fear or hide our flaws! We are imperfect and proud to be! All things are part of the grand design!
Chef screamed, a hallelujah chorus, his green veil dripping with whiskey.
And one unforeseen advantage of the Dracula cape was that it gave Doc the perfect exit to any situation. For example, about five minutes after putting on the cape, there was an awkward silence, and The Cat in the Hat said
“I had a nightmareâ€¦ Fabio died in his sleepâ€¦ no one was concerned.”
Eyes bugged out. A dog barked somewhere. The silence grew. No one realized he had offered a haiku.
So the Cat lifted one side of his cape, twirled around, and shouted
As he scampered out of sightâ€¦ the perfect exit.
The girls were all extremely nervous from the blood and the cape twists and the anonymity, so we broke out the hard alcohol. They wanted to play Kings Cup. We wanted to play our drinking game.
Our drinking game is, I think, genius.
Everyone has a drink of their own. In addition, there is a shotglass and a bottle of hard alcohol in front of whoever’s turn it is. When it’s your turn, you say a fault about yourself. Make it good. Then some or all of the crowd responds with either a cry of BULLSHIT or a cheer of HOORAY. If someone calls bullshit on you, you take a shot and try another fault. If you get a HOORAY, then others sip their drinks in your honor and you pass the bottle.
The game always starts really tough. People give lame faults that sound like they’re applying for a job. I’m a perfectionistâ€¦ I try to control thingsâ€¦ I think I’m too skinnyâ€¦ But after a few BULLSHITS people loosen up and you really begin to see the cracks. I’m afraid of telling the truth about myself… I feel alone all the time even when I’m with friends but I never truly reach out to someone else… And a few more bullshits, a few more shots later, and the game really begins to spotlight some tragically human confessions.
Reproducing those confessions here would be uncouth and go against the spirit of the game. Some people have cried in realization or guilt. Most people have gotten frustrated and angry. But in the end, shot after shot, fault after fault, everyone finds some solidarity. Everyone remembers it’s okay to admit to what you really are and okay to admit to being wrong. Everyone feels pretty weirdgood. It’s a beautiful game. And everyone gets really drunk.
The game is called “We’re All Fucked Up.”
That night, the game went splendidly. A few dozen faults came and went. We were all good and liquored upâ€¦ a real team with bonds thicker than bloodâ€¦ and we prepared to unleash ourselves upon the Pagan world.
As we made our way down the street looking for a cab, we made a few stops. Alice puked on the sidewalk. The Rabbit, high as a kite on acid and whiskey, gurgled and fell into a bush. Chef was leaned up against a random garage door, his green hand up the skirt of a smiling Queen of Hearts. I was piggy back riding on Doc’s shoulders as he tried to run full speed through the middle of the street. We hit a speed bump or something and collapsed in a heap of laughter and blood and costumes.
A woman on the other side of the street barked out her window: what the hell is wrong with all you kids?
The Rabbit laughed:
WE’RE ALL FUCKED UP
I ripped off my bloody shirt:
And as the women went to call the cops
And we twirled right on out of there.