5 Bizarre Ways To Get Drunk That Shouldn't Work (But Do)
Every once in a while, the media likes to throw one of its predictable shit-fits over those kids these days and their many ridiculous ways to get drunk, like shoving booze-soaked tampons up various orifices or straight-up injecting vodka into their eyeballs. Of course, these are almost always isolated incidents some dipshits did over a dare that the media bloated into a "nationwide craze." If a college kid drank rum out of his hat, you wouldn't be able to go five minutes without seeing the headline "FEDORA GULPING FAD SWEEPS NATION AND RUINS FAMILIES" on Fox News.
But does that mean insane, unexpected ways to get wasted are complete horseshit? Nope! In fact, you could be drunk right now and not even know it.
Your Body Might Brew Its Own Alcohol
Around last New Year, a Hamburg, New York, woman found herself in hot water when she was stopped by the police and tested for a blood-alcohol level over four times the legal limit. She found this strange for a very good reason: She hadn't been drinking. The hospital where the cops took the woman was equally baffled, as she completely failed to poop all over the walls in a blackout-drunk fit, and all in all displayed precisely none of the symptoms of a DUI dipshit.
After hearing all of this, one might logically conclude that the lady was secretly six Bud Light-filled balloons stuffed into a dress. However, she was actually suffering(?) from a condition known as auto-brewery syndrome. Symptoms: Your body hates you for being a dickhead that refuses to pour sweet alcohol into it all the time. So the yeast bacteria in your stomach go all Al Capone on your fascist ass and start making their own booze instead.
"Goddammit, guy. This is the tax office."
The condition appears to be fueled by carbs -- one guy can get a buzz simply by eating french fries. However, spending your days in a constant state of joyful inebriation isn't quite as neat as it initially sounds. Alcohol made by your own belly still behaves like the alcohol you deliberately put there. The downside of having an endless kegger in your gut is that you're also hungover all the time. It's less of a 24/7 party and more of a constant hair of the dog.
Oh, and there's also the part where the condition can get so bad that your constant, involuntary bender wrecks your academic and athletic dreams in equal measure, rendering you into a waxy, ashen shell of the person you were hoping to be. That part's pretty bad, too, I guess.
Your Mouth Can Cheat You Into Getting Drunker Than You Should
If you were a student or otherwise in possession of no taste buds at some point between 2005 and 2014, you might be familiar with Four Loko, the infamous alcoholic beverage of various fruity flavors, all of which looked and tasted like unicorn piss. Its combination of stimulant (caffeine) and depressant (alcohol, duh) briefly turned many a house and campus party into vomit-themed reenactments of Animal House, causing massive media outrage and bans from multiple states.
I'm not saying nixing Four Loko was necessarily a bad thing. I'm deeply against any and all Rainbow Brite fruit booze horseshittery, and the only way I'll stand on barricades in defense of caffeine-alcohol fusion drinks is if someone confiscates my hip flask before morning coffee.
"What the hell are you putting in there?"
However, the whole caffeine-and-booze thing may not actually be behind Four Loko-induced antics at all. According to some researchers, the real reason behind its effectiveness is far stranger: It's because the drink was just too weird for our senses.
The phenomenon is called situational specificity of tolerance, and the science behind it is simple: An unfamiliar context can make an experience far more intense than it should be. A social drinker's body operates in a strictly Pavlovian manner: It learns to anticipate alcohol before you even ingest it, based on the environment you're in. If the environment is "looking at a beer bottle in a bar that smells like beer," it knows to hit Beer Mode. If you're in a house party ingesting a colorful elixir from a Lisa Frank can, there are no cues for it to do that. The alcohol will come as a surprise to your body and brain, so they react by turning you into a teenager having his first drink, tolerance-wise.
"I couldn't remember if you pissed or crapped your pants back then, so I played it safe and did both."
Unsurprisingly, researchers have nicknamed the phenomenon the Four Loko effect. I recently got to experience it myself, when I attended a fair and decided to try these strange gelatinous cubes a stall was selling. Turns out, they were made of absurdly strong Hungarian fruit alcohol called palinka that someone had turned into a solid treat with one of those super-strong gelling agents molecular gastronomy is so fond of using. I ate maybe a shot's worth and felt like I'd just slammed several tequilas for the next hour or so. I would've eaten more, but apparently, burning your pants so that you can make a smoke signal for your ex to see is "against fair rules."
Still, even if you're consuming alcohol the usual way, the situation might bite you in the ass ...
Your Co-Workers Make You Drunk (And Not In The Way You Think)
Thanks to some strange cosmic joke that certainly has jack shit to do with my actual karma rating, I've spent the vast majority of my professional life with co-workers that have made me more likely to drink with them than because of them (the same doesn't necessarily apply the other way around). During these sessions, a weird thing has occurred to me: Everyone seems to get a lot drunker than at other, similar settings with my non-work friends. Like, three beers seem to do the job of eight, sometimes. I used to think this is because Chad keeps spiking everyone's drinks because he's a huge piece of shit, but that can't be true -- many of my friends have noticed the same phenomenon, and that fucker is way too lazy to be constantly running around everyone's office parties. Chad might be a fun-strangling douche, but he's the lethargic kind of fun-strangling douche.
Turns out, I'm not just being a paranoid dipshit (this time). Tolerance to alcohol is very much a learned response: The second your face starts sucking the sweet teat of inebriation, your brain gets busy taking in all sorts of social cues and trying to figure out a simple series of questions: "Am I in a place where I should be drinking? How well do I know these people? Should I be drinking with them? How drunk should I get?" And the more negative answers the first three questions get, the more likely it is for the answer to the fourth one to be: "As drunk as a human can get, man."
She ate a slice of rum cake within 10 miles of a tax office.
Here's how this applies to your work: When you sit at the corner bar at the same table as Sharon from accounting and that fuckstick Steve from marketing for a quick after-work drink, you mentally rate them as relatively unfamiliar folks you're not too accustomed to drinking with. Being in an establishment your brain recognizes as a watering hole, you might still get the pass to drink more than one beer before passing out. But the more you bring in said cues -- say, if your company is in the habit of occasionally having an office party -- your brain will fucking freak out. "Wait," it says to itself. "How is this jerkface drinking at work? This is a bad move, I must fix it somehow. I know, I'll make his ass blackout drunk as quick as possible to minimize the damage!"
And that, friend, is why everyone at the office now knows what a photocopied picture of your balls looks like. No one spiked that punch; your enemy was inside your own head all along.
Some Of The Stupidest "Booze Crazes" Actually Work (Just Not The Way You Want Them To)
Sometimes, even the stupidest method of alcohol intake can have a hint of truth behind it, even if its actual effects are often far dumber/scarier than the intended ones. Take the humble alcohol enemas, which you probably know better by their admittedly awesome media-coined nickname of butt-chugging. They were a hot topic for about five minutes back when Hot Topic was a marginally less embarrassing place to visit than PornHub.
I'm not going to go into the logistics of the thing -- you know how it works; don't pretend that you don't. But do you remember why it was done? The one Tennessee fraternity that actually saw fit to hose booze up their hatch apparently did it because the booze goes directly into your bloodstream instead of surpassing pesky bullshit like "livers" and "common sense." This is certainly true, as is the knocking on death's door you'll probably find yourself doing thanks to severe alcohol poisoning. I can't recommend this behavior, no matter how much I personally enjoy the idea of idiot frat boys voluntarily letting Death fuck them up the ass.
Another named reason is that ass vodka won't show in a breathalyzer test, because duh, it's not like they're sticking the device in your butt. It's a neat theory, provided you're the kind of person who sticks ethanol in your ass and thus are unaware that breathalyzers work by measuring the alcohol level of your blood. You know, the same thing in your veins that you're about to supercharge with anal boozing.
So, what we have here is a "genius" method of alcohol intake that'll very possibly murder you while requiring you to stick things up your butt and having none of the subterfuge benefits it's supposed to. And that's just if you do it with cheap vodka or whatever. If you ever butt-chug with whiskey, rest assured the next thing that'll happen is that I will go Taken on your delicacy-abusing ass. I don't know who you are, but I have one very specific skill. And that skill is knowing how to enjoy a nice bourbon like an adult.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the old "soaking your feet in alcohol will get you drunk" myth. This one seems like total bullshit from the get-go; after all, feet are covered in skin, which is kind of intended to keep foreign bullshit out of our bodies. Some Danish scientists were feeling confident enough about this assumption to actually test the myth. In what has to be either the worst or most wonderful use of research money in the history of humankind, they bought a stash of cheap vodka and proceeded to treat themselves to a nice foot bath, periodically testing their blood-alcohol levels.
Although their blood remained tragically un-spiked, they made a strange discovery: The test subjects were acting cheerfully drunk, expressing unusual talkativeness and self-confidence at the start of the study. The three-test-subject setup of the study obviously leaves a lot to be desired in scientific validity, but in my 100 percent scientifically reliable mind, this "your body's fine but your brain's just itching for an excuse to make you drunk" result seems pretty damn sensible. After all ...
You Can Get Drunk From Water
Back when I was a poor student and arranging the kind of boozy house parties poor students somehow find the money to arrange despite otherwise relying on Ramen noodle crumbs for sustenance, I used to make punch a lot. Once, I found out after the first bowl was empty that we'd ran out of vodka. So I made the punch with the last few drops I could force out of the bottle, and added a bunch of lime and other bullshit to make the taste more alcoholy. I even openly told some people I may or may not have been doing this, because two cups of normal-strength punch slices a good chunk off my common sense and affixes it to my honesty. This did nothing: People lapped it up anyway, treating my shitty punch like it was an oasis in a desert of good decisions.
And it worked. To this day, I don't know how, but it damn well worked.
I even had to throw Mr. Panda out for puking all over the kitchen.
I'm saying "to this day" because today I actually did finally find out: It's because sometimes, if the conditions are juuuuuuuust right, your brain can take pity on your body and pull a "water to wine" on it. It's a booze-related spin on the good old placebo effect: Lure a person into thinking that a glass contains booze and they will react accordingly. In other words, you can get tipsy on nothing but club soda.
Here's some research to back it up: In 2015, memory researchers in New Zealand presumably found out about those wacky Danes and their foot-vodka experiments, thought they were fun, but didn't want to write "ALL THE VODKA IN THE STORE, BRO" on their next grant application. They resorted to just putting the word of an alcohol-related experiment out, and once the inevitable gaggle of students magically materialized, divided them into two groups: One that would be given real vodka tonics and another that was stuck with plain old tonic and lime. The catch: No one got any hootch. All the "alcohol" group had was that same old tonic-and-lime and a promise of vodka.
Try it the next time you visit a fraternity! It'll be fun!
Not only did the researchers' asses remain unbeaten by the revolting subjects -- the subsequent memory experiments showed that their belief-booze was actually getting them drunk. They displayed the exact kind of bad memory and overconfidence that you did last Friday when you tried to charm that attractive person that already slapped you in the face earlier that night because Drunk You refuses to communicate with anything but Pokemon-themed boner jokes. Drunk You. Totally not Drunk Me. Though, if you approach me with, "You know what my genitals and Viridian Forest have in common? They're both long, dense, and covered with tiny bugs that you can catch," I'll buy the first round.
Pauli Poisuo is a weekly Cracked columnist and freelance editor. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.
Learn how to direct your drunkenness into greatness like George Washington did in The 5 Most Important Things Ever Done While Black-Out Drunk, and check out how Nikita Khrushchev ended the cold war by being plastered in The 5 Most Inspiring Things Ever Accomplished (While Drunk).
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