One fateful day in late October, I was offered a life-changing opportunity in one of my Political Science classes.
A public official was passing around a sign-up sheet for a paid opportunity to help work the polls on election day. It was easy money for just a few hours of work, plus I would get the added intellectual bonus of peering behind the curtain to see the mechanisms of our great democracy!
I was available, so I put my name down on the list and was contacted a few days later with information on when/where to show up on that fateful night.
I apologize for how misleading this tale has been up to this point. I don’t have any scintillating tales of what I saw when I peaked up our republic’s skirt. Truthfully, it was an extraordinarily forgettable night. Surrounded by many people my own age and many people at least triple my own age, we sat on folding chairs in a circle being very inefficiently managed.
Every so often we would be called for, just a few people at a time to move some boxes around. Yes, this is how we elect the goobers that govern us. We put stuff in boxes and then move the boxes around. I just saved you a Civics course. You’re welcome.
In the time in between rare bouts of labor I sat quietly, avoiding eye contact with these strangers and feeling very awkward in my own skin. You see this election was a traumatic one for me. Rick Scott was running against Alex Sink for Governor of Sex-Crazed Looney National Headline-Land (Florida for those who don’t realize the bizarre carnival that we risk our lives daily to inhabit). It was the most transparent election that would ever be forced upon the public (hopefully). A clear choice between the crook with a “(D)” next to her name or the crook with an “(R)” next to his name. I couldn’t in good conscience contribute to the election of either.
Being a historically minded chap, I know that people have sacrificed so much for the right to vote. Well, like, people other than white guys like me. To not vote is to take a big pee on everything that those courageous individuals stood for. The self-loathing made my skin crawl. The feeling of my skin-crawling made my muscles crawl. The ickiness of feeling my muscles crawl made my bones crawl. I was spasming with contempt for myself. Had someone thought to ask me which crook I voted for, I would have promptly thrown up on the floor, realizing that I had died a horrible death and was now sitting in my own personal hell.
Luckily, there were people my age in the room. And like most people that age, they were talking about the important issues of the day (Tuesday, that is): Getting drunk. One fellow in particular was extremely bold and opinionated on the issue.
He was the Samuel Adams to our Constitutional Convention of strangers sitting on folding chairs in a dimly lit warehouse. This analogy may or may not work. I’m not sure whether or not Samuel Adams actually got the Facebook Invite to the Constitutional Convention. As I understand it, he was a popular rabble-rouser in the bar who somehow drunkenly helped incite the American Revolution. If this is incorrect, please don’t ever tell me because it makes my view of history at least 11x more awesome than the ones in the textbooks.
This enlightened individual bestowed upon our group a fruit from the tree of intoxication (you know, the one from Genesis). That gift, ladies and gentlemen, was DRUNK MARIO KART.
Simple facts about childhood:
1. At a certain age (generally 105 years old), you begin to rant and rave to younger people that your childhood was exponentially superior to theirs. Your childhood took place in the Golden Age of Childhood, and the whole world has been steadily deteriorating since you stopped being a child.
2. There is no Golden Age of Childhood. Shut up about it already.
3. If you insist on continuing this argument, I will crush you with this all-important question: Did you play Mario Kart on your Nintendo 64 when you were a kid? If you answered, “No, Brantley. I played with sticks and dirt like God intended,” then your childhood was rotten and your parents didn’t love you.
Mario Kart is a video game featuring popular Nintendo characters such as “Italian- stereotype (#1 and #2),” “Reminder-That-All-Women-Are-Just-Damsels-In-Distress,” “There’s-Something-Racist-About-This-Gorilla-You-Just-Can’t-Put-Your-Finger-On-It,” “Horrifying-Dinosaur,” “Adorable-Dinosaur,” and of course, everyone’s favorite: “Jovial-Effeminate-Fungus.” In the game, each of the above stated characters that probably make sense somehow in Japanese culture race each other in go karts. They battle their way to the finish line using weapons such as turtle shells, heat-seeking turtle shells, presents that aren’t actually presents, electrocution as an enhanced interrogation technique, temporary invincibility, and banana peels.
I sincerely hope that banana peels don’t actually cause car accidents, because I chuck them out the window when I’m out driving all the time. They’re biodegradable and you can’t make me feel bad about this.
Drunken Mario Kart is hands-down the Greatest Drinking Game ever conceived.
The rules are simple:
1. You must finish your beer before crossing the finish line.
2. You cannot drink and drive. Put your controller down to chug your beer.
3. Avoid cliche “Fight Club” references when listing out the rules of Drunk Mario Kart.
For those crunching the numbers, races only take around 3-4 minutes on average. Even if you stop frequently to drink your beer, races still don’t exceed 5 minutes. Power Hour is for sissies.
The key to avoiding alcohol poisoning is to make sure that you have more than 4 people playing. I recommend at least 6-8. After each round, the first and second place finishers get to play again, while the losers in third and fourth place surrender their spot to other people waiting in the wings. This increases the amount of time before someone vomits on your rug.
Don’t be surprised that this becomes a game of varying strategies.
Some people choose to park at the starting line and chug as much of their beer as they can stomach. Racers in third and fourth place get the best weapons from the randomized system, so starting off behind gives you the means and the time to catch up and take the lead.
Others throw down their controller every time they hit an obstacle. In the first several rounds, most players don’t find enough chugging time to finish their beer before reaching the finish line using this technique. Later on in the night, obstacles become much easier to hit and those moments when your kart is toppling through the air amount to enough time to finish that can.
A third approach is to park just before the finish line and then chug the entire beer before everyone else catches up. It’s bold, it isn’t common, and it’s risky. You are banking on draining that brew before your competitors can chew through the substantial lead that you’ve developed by not popping the top until those last inches before the checkered line.
If you haven’t finished your beer before crossing the finish line, you are disqualified and have to give up your controller. It’s probably for the best anyways. If you are no longer in a condition where you can casually chug a beer every 4 minutes, you should consider taking a break from your consumption.
As I stated above, the night was quite forgettable other than this particular nugget of wisdom. Eventually, the ballots arrived in giant stacks of boxes piled high on wooden pallets and then shrink-wrapped into place. My contribution to the unfortunate election of Governor Voldemort? Moving those ballots from right here to over there.
If you can top this drinking game, I will mail you a hand-made coupon for a six-pack. It won’t be redeemable anywhere, but I will put like $10 in the envelope with it so we can just pretend that it is legit.