By Bok Tukalo
Stage 1. Cheers!: This is the initial stage where you are out to have a bit of fun and maybe a little mischief. You are enjoying yourself and the world is a plaything; aren’t you the luckiest guy ever, or what? Time to socialize, check out the girls, and laugh at your friends’ wit.
The Knack is probably playing or maybe Beck.
Stage 2. Professor Buzzed: The good cheer is waning and now it is time to stretch your limited intellect and engage in (for you, anyway) deep conversations about things … and stuff. Usually, it is things and stuff you know nothing about or just enough about to sound like a complete ass but does that stop you? No. Not you. You have an opinion and you are going to express it at the very time when you have purposely impared your reasoning capabilities. Odd that alcohol would simultaneously dull your wit and boost your confidence. Perhaps the two are related in some way.
REM or old Dire Straits (Sultans of Swing or Making Movies; not that “Money for Nothing” shit) is playing.
Stage 3. I Love You, Man: You are now unusually fond of everyone. Even those individuals you normally consider to be pricks. You hang on them and incoherently list all the reasons that they are so special to you. If your friends are at any other stage in the properly pissed process, this is when you really start to annoy them; especially Professor Buzzed who is trying to make a point about collective bargaining in a monopolized industry while you have your arm around his neck telling him how cool it was that he didn’t get mad when you fucked his sister. This is also the stage when the designated driver starts thinking that giving up drinking alltogether might not be such a bad idea.
Hank Williams and Marty Robbins are playing and you are looking for the Patsy Cline CD.
Stage 4. Old Yeller: This is when all that fear, anger, jealousy, hurt, humiliation, loss, sadness, loneliness, regret, and all those other emotions real men keep bottled up realizes that the guard took the night off around Stage 3 and bursts out of its jail and grabs the brain reigns. Some exhibit this differently. Alot become destructive and violent. Mindless rage and accusation and frustration. Personally, I get melancholy and sit in a corner, tears in my eyes, telling anyone that will listen about a sweet, innocent little girl I knew in kindergarten that I would hold hands with under the reading table, who by high school had turned to drugs and booze and promiscuity and died in a car crash on the way home from the prom when her drunken boyfriend tried to beat a train to the crossing.
Doesn’t matter what is playing. It means something to you.
Stage 5. Last Call: The Beast has been released. He has done his damage and crawled back into his cell again, spent, and Apathy has taken over. You are incapable of carrying on a conversation now. You understand the words and can form a cogent response, but really, what’s the point? You couldn’t give a rat’s ass if the president of the United States walked up and told you the future of the nation depended on you giving a rat’s ass and pleaded with you to turn over to the proper authorities all your rats’ asses. You see the four aspirin and the bottle of Deja Blue on the nightstand you placed there to blunt the inevitable hangover but cannot muster the concern for your own comfort beyond head-meets-pillow.
Nothing is playing but there is a ringing in your ears and the hated heartbeat is laying down a base line.