5 Epic Bouts of Drunkenness That Made The History Books
Everyone has an absurdly awe-inspiring drinking story. Some of them are awesome ("Remember that time Dan broke into the zoo and rode a bear?"), some of them are tragic ("Remember when Dan was killed by a bear?"), but all of them are memorable.
However, any stories we could tell pale in comparison to the inebriated shenanigans of a chosen few legendary drinkers, whose stumbling binges squatted in the face of logic, national security, and history, and ripped a wet, beery fart.
A U.S. Air Force General Parties Down In Moscow For Three Days, Gets Fired (And Maybe Helps Some Spies)
In a brilliant display of the art of the understatement, the U.S. military released a report in 2013 about a man who "acted in a manner that exceeded the limits of accepted standards of good conduct" while in Moscow for, ironically, a security exercise. What they really meant was "Air Force Major General Michael Carey, the guy in charge of all of our land-based ballistic nuclear missiles, got hammered for three straight days with -- his words -- 'hot women,' who did everything but shriek, 'We're spies, jackass!' in his face over and over again."
Pretty sure one was Vladimir Putin wearing a wig.
It started in Zurich, where Carey and his aides were laying over for a bit. He walked into a bar, had himself a few drinks, and then ... didn't stop. For three days, Carey's "security exercises" seemed mostly composed of trying to beat John Barleycorn and get crunk with some fly honeys on the rooftop bar of the Ritz-Carlton. In retrospect, Carey admitted that they were shifty as hell, but he was too busy getting wrecked to think about things like "Why have we seen these ladies twice in the last two days?" or "Why are they so eager to party with a 60-year-old general from a foreign country?" or "Why are we talking about physics and optics at 3 a.m. in a cigar store?"
"I said, 'I've got a launch code for you right here, baby.' And then I gave her an actual launch code."
Furthermore, the ladies couldn't quite decide whether they were British or Russian. But it didn't matter, because Carey immediately made it easy for every spy within earshot to do their job, reportedly ranting about how he "saves the world from war every day ... as commander of the only operational nuclear force in the world."
To cap it all off, General Carey also insulted the heck out of his Russian hosts, showing up late to meetings, constantly interrupting the translator during a tour of a monastery, trying repeatedly to force a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant to let him get on stage and play with them, making, uh, untoward comments about the women he'd met at the Ritz in front of his Russian colleagues, and bitching about Snowden and Syria. Carey somehow made it back to the United States without getting his frigging uniform stolen, at which point he was understandably fired.
Speaking of drunken American generals ...
General Grant's Yazoopalooza (And His Long-Suffering Designated Driver)
General Ulysses S. Grant (aka "Mr. President" Ver. 18) has the weird distinction of being both one of the most beloved war heroes in every high school textbook ever, and one of history's most famous alcoholics.
You know this photo was colorized wrong because his eyes aren't completely bloodshot red.
We've talked before about Grant's hobby of measuring sidewalks upside down, and how his being a sad, drunk man with nothing to lose helped win the Civil War -- the binge to end all binges. While drinking his way up the Yazoo River, Grant ran into Sylvanus Cadwallader, a Chicago Times war correspondent and probably the century's most tenacious designated driver. Grant was already shitfaced at this point, but he immediately started drinking again as soon as he got on Cadwallader's boat. The belligerent Major General had to be lured out of the barroom with trickery (not that hard, since drunks aren't particularly clever), and the key to the liquor cabinet was "lost" for the remainder of the trip.
Cadwallader also threw all the alcohol he could lay hands on out the window and into the river, which pissed Grant right the hell off. The general swore and bristled his mustache at him for a while, and Cadwallader basically had a one-man intervention with him. This ended with the reporter taking Grant's clothes off and fanning the booze-sweat off of him until he passed out.
The river is still 30 percent Grant puke.
When Grant woke up (still tanked), he decided that he wanted to make a nighttime landing in a backwater town full of angry, armed, Union-hating rednecks with nothing but a handful of increasingly uncomfortable soldiers and his alcohol-inflated balls. Cadwallader was able to barely stop him from embarking on this suicidal plan, and Grant sobered up -- momentarily. By the time the ship touched land, he was somehow once again plastered (because getting drunk in secret is entry-level alcoholism, and Grant was a professional). After getting a few more drinks in him at a bar, the general took off on a horse and tore ass through the base, mowing down soldiers, scattering equipment and campfires, and almost getting shot by his own men. Cadwallader chased him for most of a mile, grabbed the reins, and again made Grant take a nap, this time on his saddle in the dirt. "Unconditional Surrender" Grant had to be carried back to base via ambulance.
Again, all of this happened in front of not just his (traumatized) men, but also a member of the press.
The poster boy for drinking and galloping.
However, Cadwallader stuck by Grant even after this, and kept a tight lid on his buddy's antics ... until they were both dead, anyway. Now, Grant's epic bender belongs to history.
An Alberta Man Survives Being Run Over By A Train Because He's Too Drunk To Wake Up
In the right quantities, alcohol can make you feel like a superhero. This is not always a good thing. For every instance of successfully flirting with the prettiest person in the bar or being able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with someone at the urinals without succumbing to an anxiety attack, you run the risk of tripping up in the middle of a crowded dance floor, starting a fight with someone much larger than you, or falling asleep on some railroad tracks and not realizing you got run over by a train.
There's drunk, and then there's "Snidely Whiplashing yourself" drunk.
In 2012, a train engineer in British Columbia was riding the rails when he caught sight of a man lying in the middle of the tracks. The engineer slammed on the brakes, but by the time the train managed to stop, 26 cars had gone over the man's prone body, which had surely been juiced by the powerful locomotive. However, when the train workers dragged the presumed carcass from under the train, it (to quote the engineer) "got up, grabbed his beer, and was on his way," like a drunken, whistling Sasquatch.
After the man was picked up by the authorities, they realized what had happened. Turns out that he had gotten into a booze-fueled argument with his girlfriend, gone for a walk, and decided to take a nap on the tracks (as one does). The alcohol had taken hold of this system so violently that he remained completely unconscious and utterly paralyzed as the train went whooshing over his head. If he'd awoken, moved slightly, or rolled over to scratch his butt, he would have been killed.
Ironically, the reason for the argument was that she snores in bed.
Instead, the worst thing he woke up facing was a bitching hangover, "mischief" charges, and the prospect of having to go through life not remembering his greatest drinking story.
A Police Chemist Gets Wasted In Her Lab Every Day For Eight Years
Although the world doesn't like to advertise it, there are some amazing undisclosed benefits to certain jobs. For police officers, it's getting out of tickets. For pilots, it's being able to travel pro bono. And for Sonja Farak, a chemist working for a Massachusetts crime lab, it was access to lots and lots of free drugs -- in fact, enough free drugs to be able treat her career as a novel sideline to her successful eight-year career as an all-engulfing black hole for illegal pharmaceuticals.
As a forensic chemist, Farak was responsible for comparing drugs seized from criminals against department-held samples as a way of identifying precisely what type of "talcum powder" or "potpourri" the local traffickers were hiding up their butts (among other places). Starting in 2004, however, she was also using the lab's meth supplies as her own personal daily pick-me-up. If the workload was particularly heavy, she would even partake multiple times a day. This would have annoyed her colleagues if they'd known -- not because of the illegality, but because they were probably relying on a broken coffee machine for their energy needs.
The "Don't even talk to me until I've had my meth" mug should have tipped them off.
By 2009, she'd blown through the meth stash and had moved onto other types of narcotics, including pot, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, and LSD. As you may have suspected (because not every police department has a freaking library of drugs), by this point, she wasn't merely abusing the department's supplies. In her quest to be the connoisseur of contraband, she was siphoning off drugs confiscated from criminals, to the extent that she once tapped off enough cocaine from a seized shipment that she started producing crack at her workstation. It was like Breaking Bad starring McGruff the Crime Dog.
Oh wait, that already happened.
Like her mood when she wasn't allowed to work weekends, the hammer eventually fell in 2012. Although Farak had successfully managed to cover her tracks for nearly nine years by manipulating computer records, a colleague eventually noticed discrepancies in her samples and called in the big guns, at which point she was arrested and sentenced. How a colleague noticed those discrepancies and not the fact that she was rolling into work every morning like she was recording Appetite For Destruction may never be explained.
Stalin Ruled With Game Of Thrones Machinations, Spring Break Antics
Joseph Stalin was essentially the Littlefinger of world history. The Soviet dictator was a two-faced machinator who turned on and/or exiled his friends, and generally made life miserable and confusing for everyone. Also like Littlefinger, he kept his enemies close to him -- and made sure they spent most of their time spectacularly drunk.
"Next, comrades, we touch tips."
Having secured office through a lot of scheme-hatchery and emotional blackmail, Stalin was forever on the lookout for karma's inevitable bid to bite him in the ass by sending out another guy just like him to infiltrate his circle of advisors. Not one to hedge on a bet, he did the simple thing and forced everyone around him to get blackout drunk, because it's really, really hard to plan a coup when regularly getting alcohol poisoning becomes part of your job description. Consequently, being sent to a gulag was only slightly worse than getting called to dinner at Stalin's house. Future Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev described meals peppered with vomiting and terror, where comrades/rivals were encouraged by Stalin to set themselves against one another "to baser inclinations" (and to keep them from doing it to him, of course). The festivities routinely lasted until dawn, at which point everyone still had to go into the office the next day. So if they weren't falling-down-drunk, they were plagued with insomnia and the mother(land) of all hangovers.
This kind of diplomacy wasn't reserved only for his own ministers, either. Foreign dignitaries got the same treatment (that's communism for you). It didn't matter if you were a Nazi delegation or Winston Churchill; you couldn't leave Stalin's dacha without having gone on a horrible bender ... unless, of course, you were Stalin. He famously tricked a swarm of Nazis into getting wasted on bad vodka while making them believe he was simply the Superman of liver functionality, when in fact he was only drinking a light wine which happened to be the same color. He later cemented relations that would destroy said Nazis by getting loaded with Churchill at 1 a.m. in the Kremlin.
Joseph "doesn't trust any of you sons of bitches" Stalin.
Another regular fixture at these parties was bullying the shit out of Khrushchev. He was good at staying out of the way whenever Stalin was in a "Let's throw more people into Siberian death-jail" mood, but was apparently terrible at avoiding embarrassing pranks. Stalin himself once tapped his pipe out on Khrushchev's bald head, and then made him drink and dance like a pledge in Hell Week. It was not uncommon to see "prick" attached to the back of his coat, courtesy of the Chief of the KGB, or for him to find ripe tomatoes being used as whoopee cushions in his chair. The Kremlin had a distinctly slapstick sense of humor, which makes sense when everyone is too drunk to think of anything more complicated than "Let's all gang up on Nikitushka and see if we can make him cry!"
They couldn't, by the way. Khrushchev cared way less about his pride than he did about not getting murdered by Stalin, so he showed up night after night to get hammered and ridiculed. "As awful as these sessions were," his biographers would go on to say, "it was better to be there than not, better to be humiliated than annihilated." We're assuming that pun was unintentional.
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