5 Tips for Drinking Responsibly (While at Work)
The science is in. If you're reading this at work, you should probably be drunk right now. Of course, by "science" I mean "an ABC News story" and by "drunk" I mean "having a drink or two."
But still, the word is out. More and more offices are letting their employees have a couple drinks at work thanks to the fact that drinking at the office, provided you manage your consumption, can promote creativity. Read that again slowly if you need to. I'm not talking about being fall-off-your-bar-stool-drunk at work. Nobody is creative when they're hammered, and besides, the bar stool at your desk would be a dead giveaway. But a drink or two can help give you a creative edge over your office rivals. Like how Mark McGwire figured out that drinking all that milk would make him hit a ton of home runs back in 1998.
"I extracted the growth hormones and injected them in my ass!"
I know, you're probably nervously sputtering, "But, but, but ... my office doesn't allow drinking on the clock!" Of course it doesn't, and that makes the opportunity even greater! If no one else in the office gets to drink, that means you get to be the Barry Bonds of the joint by harnessing all of alcohol's career-improving benefits for yourself. You're probably doing a disservice to your company by not having a cocktail in your hand right now. You want to finally land that promotion that's been eluding you for years, don't you? Well, with a little pre-planning, you can get the daytime drinking bump even if you work in a dry office.
Choose Your Booze Wisely
Sorry, Southern Comfort fans, there's only one reasonable choice when it comes to deciding what to imbibe at the day job. That, obviously, is vodka. While it's a total myth that vodka has no scent, it is far and away the easiest scent to conceal. See, all alcohol smells like alcohol. The only difference with vodka (or gin, but yuck) is that it doesn't smell like alcohol and oak barrels or alcohol and hobo piss (that means you, Steel Reserve).
The champagne of hobo piss.
Sure, you can't down an entire fifth of vodka on the bus to work in the morning and expect people to ignore the fact that you're breathing fire at 9 a.m. But if we're just talking a couple of drinks, you won't find a much easier crime to conceal than cubicle boozing with vodka.
Do you have a recommendation as to what particular vodka brand works best in a professional setting? Did the voice that just asked that question in my head sound exactly like a better and stronger version of me? The answer to both of those questions is "yes."
Mostly, I recommend buying what you can afford. That said, there's a huge difference between cheap vodka and expensive vodka. The main difference being that the latter is distilled several times to be as smooth as possible and the former is probably just filtered through the mesh covering that's used to keep body hair from going down the drain of the bathtub of the Russian housewife (the anti-Communist propaganda kind, not the mail order bride kind) who brewed it up. In other words, the cheaper the vodka, the more impurities it will have, and that could very well mean a little bit stronger of a smell. I'm not saying you have to be a dick and buy that vodka that P. Diddy makes, but shooting for something in the mid-level price range wouldn't be the worst idea. At the very least, buy Smirnoff.
But there's more to drinking at work than just buying the right vodka, isn't there? Yes, Me 2.0, there is. Let's talk about concealment.
Don't Bother With Flasks
You're probably thinking that drinking at work presents the perfect opportunity to use that flask you have tucked away in your kitchen cabinet. If you do think that, let me ask you a question. Why do you even have a flask? How much of an alcoholic are you that you need to carry a little with you to fill in the gaps created by driving from drinking spot to drinking spot? Nobody needs a flask -- that's why seeing someone carrying one is only slightly less shocking than seeing someone carrying a gun. It's equally shocking if you carry a flask that looks like this, though.
Probably even more so, because at least you stand an outside chance of saving your life with a gun. Carrying a flask just means that your life is already in shambles and you probably aren't worth saving anyway.
One solution to the concealment conundrum (condolences for the unnecessary alliteration) is to just stop at a gas station on the way to work and pick up a half-pint of vodka and one of those gigantic fountain sodas. If you can find a 44 ounce, go for that. Nothing below 32 ounces, though. You're packing a lot of booze into a small area. You're going to need all of that extra soda or whatever else you choose to cut your poison with (I usually went with lemonade). Otherwise, you might as well just be sipping pure gasoline from a straw.
However, if going raw dog (so to speak) on a bottle of vodka isn't intimidating to you, or if for some reason walking around your office with a Big Gulp is unappealing to you, there's another solution that should be right up anyone's alley. Just pour your vodka into a water bottle. Congratulations, you now have enough shots to last you a week. Maybe treat yourself to an assortment of mixers from the break room vending machine as well. You deserve it.
Mints Are a Bad Idea
When your breath is reeking of alcohol, the natural inclination is to pop a mint or a stick of spearmint gum into your mouth to mask the scent. But just as putting deodorant on an unwashed armpit won't make people think you've just stepped out of the shower, adding mint to your alcohol breath won't make the booze in your system any less noticeable.
What you want here instead is some of that wacky multifruit-flavored Trident Layers gum that all the ad agencies are cranking out quirky commercials about (probably because they're all drunk).
This man has already been typecast as the "Nobody pays me in gum" guy.
Look for anything with the word "tropical" in it, or, even better, something with fruit that most people don't eat regularly, like guava or pomegranate. Everybody knows that Doublemint doesn't also faintly smell of alcohol. But how can a person be so sure that the same is true of dragon fruit if they've never known of it anywhere other than in the piece of gum you're chewing?
That's right, they can't. And that's why gum that includes a bunch of exotic fruit flavors is your best bet. Put a few sticks into your mouth, and if someone in your vicinity comments on the fact that the air smells faintly of booze, know that you have nothing to fear. Just say, "Oh, it's this gum I'm chewing. Tropical Mango Acai Berry Blast, they call it. Smells like alcohol, kind of. I wish it got me drunk like alcohol, though!" And then walk away, because that was a really dumb thing to say in light of all the drinking at your desk you've been doing in the made-up premise of this article.
Supplement your gum with a steady diet of Fritos or whatever other snack you know is going to give you dragon breath. Basically, you want to have so many scents coming out of your mouth at the same time that nobody will be able to accurately place each and every fragrance.
A lesser person would make a joke here about your mom having a similar problem identifying all of the cocks coming into her mouth, and I just did.
One of the biggest keys to drinking at work and getting away with it is keeping a low profile. Keep bathroom trips and conversations with co-workers to a bare minimum. Instead of spending four of your eight working hours standing by the copier listening to some IT dweeb talk about the plot points of his next Game of Thrones fan fiction piece and pretending you don't enjoy it, maybe, for once in your life, just sit at your desk and do some work. I know, that part sucks, but understand, you'll be doing it while covertly getting hammered. There is no bigger buzz than the one that comes with getting one over on The Man.
According to the first result in my stock image search, this is "The Man."
This will likely be the hardest part, but try to keep even browsing the Internet to a minimum. The last thing you need is for your boss to stroll past your desk and look over your shoulder to find that you're drunkenly shopping for Star Trek lunchboxes on eBay. Next thing you know, they're either reprimanding you for slacking off at work or trying to be your friend because they like Star Trek, too. It's not really the individual awfulness of those two outcomes that should concern you, but rather the human interaction that will be involved in carrying them out.
Whether you're explaining how shopping on eBay does technically qualify as "work related" or explaining to your boss that you'll never be friends because he is the devil, you're bound to be spewing vodka fumes all over the place while doing it. If anything is going to be your downfall on this most glorious of days, it will be socializing with the people around you. Don't do that.
Of course, you're not going to be able to fend off every unwanted visitor. Inevitably, someone will come to your desk with lots of questions. The main question, of course, being "Why in the hell does it reek like booze in here?" Don't worry, there is a solution.
Use Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer, for all intents and purposes, is just a bottle of alcohol. That doesn't mean you can mix it with gin and vermouth and call it a sanitini, but the smell of hand sanitizer is undeniably alcohol-like. And nothing masks the smell of illicit alcohol like a gigantic stash of alcohol that nobody can complain about.
If people come to your desk unexpectedly, just look up, greet them with a smile and pump a dollop of hand sanitizer into your palm. If they even briefly wonder why it smells of alcohol around your desk, those concerns will be quelled when they realize you're just one of those idiots who can't wipe his hands on his pant leg without feeling the need to scrub the toxins from his skin.
This is just like touching a toilet, you know.
If you want to really take advantage of the wonderful masking abilities of hand sanitizer, get one of those gigantic bottles with the pump on top. Place it on your desk and unscrew the top, and throw the pump away. This will keep a steady breeze of alcohol fumes blowing throughout your work space. If anyone questions why you have an open bottle of hand sanitizer on your desk, go on at length about how you read somewhere that touching the pump of the hand sanitizer bottle with a dirty hand is viewed as a mockery of the industry in some circles and that, as somewhat of a hand sanitizer connoisseur, you choose to keep your use of the product within the acceptable standards of the community.
In other words, bore the shit out of them until they leave you and your buzz to enjoy each other's company in peace.
For more from Adam, check out The Awful Truth Behind 5 Items Probably On Your Grocery List and 7 Obnoxious Assholes Who Show Up At Every Concert.