No occasion is necessary – beyond it simply being Friday (or, let’s be honest, any other day of the week)- and calling the type of thing that goes on a “party” would be generous. I’ve been to many a casual gathering in the woods, in someone’s uninsulated garage, even once in a rock quarry. Basically all you need is an 8×10 area of open space, a CD player, some unmatched novelty mugs and mason jars, and you’re good to go.
Another thing we love to do in small towns is to give people nicknames. Maybe its a solidarity thing.. or a desperate search for identity in (what some might perceive to be) an irrelevant place, but whatever the reason, everbody’s got one.
Some of the best nicknames are the ones we give to drunk people. These nicknames get passed around from party to party,bestowed upon the partygoer who best lives up to their character, and once given, are worn with a sense of pride by their recipients:
- Barb the Boozebag: As the alliterative name implies, this title belongs to the lady at the party who has a habit of imbibing a bit too much. Often both sloppy, and a little rough around the edges (a “hard ticket”, as my mother would say), she is likely to do such things as pick up other people’s empty glasses and demand to know why they aren’t drinking; or start a catfight with other female partygoers.
- Larry Loves Everybody: Normally a masculine, albeit good-natured and mildly sentimental dude when sober- once drunk, this guy erupts like an emotional volcano. Hugs flow like currency, bromances are solidified, and heart to hearts are had into the wee hours of the morning. His behaviour is often infectious, and others get caught up in the lovefest. Before you know it, the party is starting to look like one prolonged scene from “I love you, man”
- Slippery Pete: At least somewhat sketchy by nature, this is your friend who is most likely to duck out of a party without saying goodbye to anyone, or give any explanation. It’s not uncommon to find out the next day that after “pulling a slippery pete”, he has either a) hooked up with a random; or b) taken a cab to a city 120 km away just because he because he “felt like it”
- Bleach Fists: Otherwise known as “the temper”, dude gets pissed off about anything and everything. He is looking for a fight from the moment he walks in the door, and even if he isn’t directly attacked by anyone- he’ll still get white-knuckled at another’s injustice. Unfortunately for him, Bleach Fists generally has neither the physical stature, nor the soberness necessary to back up his threats.. which always makes for a bit of an interesting scene.
- Mr. Talky: Of all of the characters, this one probably benefits the most from liquid courage. Normally quiet and reserved, after a few drinks, this guy shocks everyone by talking more in one night than he has in 25 years. It’s always the most random shit ever he comes up with too… like how, despite being straight, he actually has a secret love for musicals, HGTV. and colour coding his closet.
- Chatty Cathy: Unlike Mr. Talky, Chatty Cathy generally doesn’t have a problem getting her conversation on. But add the booze element, and Cathy’s ability to chat reaches a whole new stratosphere. Combined with her other qualities of an extremely high-pitched voice, and a laugh reminiscent of Fran Drescher, you’ve got yourself the perfect storm.
Though it’s fun to watch (and make fun of) each of these characters individually, what’s even better is when you get to witness two or more of them interacting. Chatty Cathy and Bleach Fists, for example, should never be together in the same room for any longer than 5 minutes. One too many stories about “that time that so and so did that thing that was sooooo funny”, and Cathy will be on her ass. Slippery Pete is inherently unreliable, and is self-aware enough to know that he probably shouldn’t talk to anyone, given his propensity to disappoint people. Barb the Boozebag and Larry Loves Everybody, on the other hand, might amount to a match made in drunken heaven. His positivity and warmth may cause her to, at least temporarily, forget her drunken aggression, and a serendipitous late night encounter may ensue.
Whatever the situation, being surrounded by this surly cast of characters is certain to not only be entertaining, but also make you feel slightly better about your own life.