Barbarella
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The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces. — Maureen Murphy

"Okay, here’s the deal,” I said, as Amy set her purse on the counter. “You pick a trigger word for Palin and one for Biden. When each says his or her word, you drink. My words are ‘maverick’ and the term ‘doesn’t get it.’ Think fast, you only have ten minutes.” Four minutes later, while Amy was still ruminating on words, Kim arrived with a large paper bag full of bottles. Once apprised of the rules, Kim wasted no time. “‘Reform’ for Palin, and for Biden, uh, oh yeah, I got it — ‘look.’” Kim repeated this last word several times to demonstrate what she believes is Biden’s favorite way to begin a sentence. When she was finished with her impersonation, which included several pointed fingers and patronizing “looks,” Kim said, “Man, I’m gonna get hammered.” With only two minutes to go, Amy made her decision — “change” for Palin and “economy” for Biden. Respectively, David chose “Russia” and “Main Street.” Jen, who arrived after the big show began, chose “commitment” for Biden and echoed Kim’s choice of the word “reform” for Palin.

I’ve never been one for drinking games, having always preferred to get blitzed to the beat of my own bartender. Anyway, the only such games I’d seen others play were either unexciting (bouncing quarters off the table and into a glass) or stupid-looking (last month, at my friend Jessica’s birthday party on the rooftop of Saska’s in Mission Beach, I witnessed a bizarre take on quarters that included wedging the quarter into one’s butt crack and “dropping” it into a glass that had been placed on the floor).

My body doesn’t respond well to inordinate amounts of liquor and bravado, and I’d always thought of drinking games as nothing but. David proved me wrong when he told me that one year, he developed an Iron Chef drinking game as a Christmas gift to be given out to friends. The present included six episodes of the show on a VHS tape; a bottle of 160-proof Stroh rum from Austria, festooned with a cheerful pink label that read, “Caution, Flammable”; and two pages of detailed instructions (e.g., if your chosen chef is introduced as the master of some inane ingredient, such as bread crumbs, take a drink; if your chef makes dessert from a nontraditional dessert food, such as eel, drink; if an instant replay of your chef is run, take one drink, but if that replay includes fire, take two; etc.).

I enjoy games in general — the fun, sociable, not-going-to-regret-it-in-the-morning kind. And though the classic drinking games had previously held no appeal, I could think of no better way to enjoy a historic yet potentially boring debate between the old Democratic runner-up and the MILF-y intellectual juggernaut from Alaska. My sister Heather pointed out how far behind the curve I was when she told me that, after the first presidential debate weeks ago, her friend and coworker Scott had said, “Is it wrong that I grabbed a six-pack of beer and watched the debate the way other guys watch the football game?” Tina Fey confirmed my unoriginality a few days later, when she appeared as Palin in a sketch on Saturday Night Live and gave a shout-out to drinking gamers using the very word I’d picked.

As drinking games go, ours was fairly sophisticated. No funnels, ice-block luges, or shot glasses, just nice stemware filled and refilled (especially for Kim and Jen for the word “reform”) with some fine reds. Soon after the debate began, Kim suggested we include “bomb drinks” (when either of the candidates drops his or her trump card — an emotionally evocative reference every politician stores up a sleeve for the recurring moment when one ends up on the losing side of logic). We were all to drink when Biden made any reference to domestic violence or to the tragic loss of his first wife and child; and if Palin used the catchphrase “good-old-boy network” or her new everyman reference, “Joe Six-Pack.” When a bomb was dropped, all glasses converged in the center of the room with resounding clinks, followed by the sounds of laughter and sipping.

Despite our supposed daintiness, the more our trigger words were spoken, the louder and bawdier we became. David, behind on mandatory sips, regretted his choice of “Russia,” an issue that was not raised. “I should have chosen ‘Ahmadinejad,’” he muttered. “She sure does like to say that one, now that she’s learned how to pronounce it.”

“Speaking of pronunciation, we should have made ‘nu-cu-lar’ a freakin’ bomb word,” I said. “Why does she keep pronouncing it incorrectly after all that drama with the phonetic spelling on the teleprompter for that speech Bush’s guys wrote for her?”

“I think she’s doing it intentionally,” said David. “You know, she thinks it’s folksy and more like the ‘average’ American talks.”

“Wow. I guess I have more faith in the average American’s ability to read,” I said. Palin busted a “maverick,” and Kim rushed to refill my glass. We all winced when we heard the words “betcha” and “heckuva.” “So,” I said, “she’s trying to sound like an average Jane and dumb it down for those unfortunate ladies who went straight from middle school to hockey mom. She sounds like a G-rated version of Anna Nicole Smith.” There were nods all around. “Man, whoever’s drinking shots to each wink and mispronounced ‘nuclear’ is going to be hurting tomorrow.”

“Those lines go down every time she gets folksy,” said Jen, referring to the fluctuating graph at the bottom of the screen that tracked in real time the positive or negative reactions of undecided voters of each gender in Ohio.

“Guess the men and women in Ohio aren’t digging the Foxworthy routine,” I said.

The topic of gay marriage came up, and both Biden’s and Palin’s unapologetic opposition disrupted the easygoing vibe in the room. “Why are those lines going up?” Amy shrieked. “What is wrong with the people in Ohio?” A few minutes later, when the lines again rose in opposition to Amy’s emotional response regarding another topic, she said, “I don’t like the lines, they’re giving me anxiety.” Kim and Jen became so mesmerized by the lines, they needed to be reminded to drink after missing two “reforms.”

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Comments

MsGrant Oct. 16, 2008 @ 5:08 p.m.

Good thing you didn't play "blink and drink". You would have been on the floor in the first minute!!

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 16, 2008 @ 11:50 p.m.

Ha! Don't give me any ideas. I hear McCain blinked around 3000 times during this last debate. ;)

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bohemianopus Oct. 17, 2008 @ 9:56 a.m.

John Stewart said that McCain's blinking is really secret messages being sent via Morse code. He translated on one of his shows -- hilarious!!

Too bad I don't drink. All I could do in response to Palin's winks was vomit.

Pat

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Fred Williams Oct. 18, 2008 @ 6:14 a.m.

Pete, I saw that chuckle-snort too.

Obama Campaign, this is Fred. Listen up...

The McCain chuckle-snort only lasts 1.5 seconds. Clip it and copy/paste 20 times. That makes a 30 second commercial:

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, knee-jerk militarist"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, tool of Karl Rove"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, friend of lobbyists"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, he picked Sarah Palin"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, owns how many houses?"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, his wife stole medicine from refugees"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, a friend of Duke Cunningham"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, cuddled up to Bush"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, says anything to be elected"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, never even sent an email"

Chuckle-snort.

"McCain, our next President?"

Chuckle-snort.

I'm looking forward to seeing this ad on all the major networks the weekend before the election.

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pete78 Oct. 17, 2008 @ 6 p.m.

It scares the living s--- out of me to think that [Sarah Palin] could be the leader of the country if something should happen to that frail old bastard John McCain. Did you see him snort and chuckle at the end of the debate? The McCain snuckle makes me sick.

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Fred Williams Oct. 21, 2008 @ 9:39 a.m.

Editors Note:

McCain, communicates via an elaborate eye blink code. When he was taken captive by space aliens who looked like Karl Rove with waving antennas and six legs, McCain was quietly trained to use this medium to make any requests for assistance in his mission.

Using the NSA's top-secret "Al Gore Rythm" to decript McCain's secret message, I was able to decipher the code. Here it is, for the very first time, in its entirety: . . . . "My glorious insectoid masters. I am happy to report progress in your merciful war to replace all humans with lizard creatures who breath methane.

If I win, you will easily take advantage the helplessness of our bankrupted economy, free to enslave a god-fearing population that still believes in myths and fairy tales about a talking snake and a rib-woman. Our educational system will turn out all the eager illiterates you'll need for the humiliation and destruction of all human kind.

But I need your help, oh terrible beings from beyond this dimension. You must use your mighty mumble-head ray on my opponent. He's whipping my saggy white butt in this campaign. It's embarrassing.

Meanwhile, the chick you told me to pick is spending half her time inspecting my upper left cheek for signs of that malignant melanoma's return. Do I really have to put up with her, oh glorious leader of the cosmos?

It is only through this medium of television that I can be sure to communicate with you properly, space beings who I fear and serve tirelessly. If you cannot rig this election for me, the only places you'll see me blinking will be on Fox and KPBS.

So, now, I call on you, my alien over lords, to save me from defeat. Make Obama stupid, or something. I'm desperate.

Thank you again, my masters, for choosing me as your unworthy servant.

Long live the insectoids! Onward to victory!" . . . .

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Russ Lewis Oct. 21, 2008 @ 6:58 p.m.

Gosh, Fumbler. Didn't know you thought that highly of me. You know, you're nobody till you've been slagged by Fumbler, although I think he's getting confused about the spelling of "russet." I know...picky, picky, picky.

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Fred Williams Oct. 22, 2008 @ 6:12 a.m.

Russl, I do feel honored.

Every time I drag my corpulent carcass to the 7-11 to pick up some baby-wipes and jelly doughnuts, I thank the merciful heavens that Fumber has chosen me as his inspiration.

Indeed, the mere thought that Fumber might be reading my words makes my entire gargantuan body tremble in anticipation for his wise and worldly response.

In the evenings, when I pull out my magnifying glass and tweezers to engage in yet another humiliating frenzy of self-abuse, it's the image of Fumber logging onto AOL in his mother's extra bedroom that I keep in mind. When I wipe up afterward, I always say a little prayer of thanks to Fumber, my hero, my love, my light in life.

Again, thank you Fumber. You give my life meaning. Without your loving support and encouragement, I don't know how I would have the strength to go on.

Fumber, I love you, man. You're the best!

Best,

Fred

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