Oh my gosh, do I ever think I’m smart when I’ve been into the sauce! I like to believe miscellaneous liquors temporarily enhance my wit, like the pep brought on by energy drinks with names that suggest you might go wild and tear someone’s arms off if you chugged a whole case.
The list of evidence of my drunken cleverness includes, but is not limited to: turning out perfect pie crust during a heatwave while hosting several ladies and getting a half-dozen mimosas down my neck before starting to mix the dough; devising a system for baking responsibly at drunken dinner parties (line up the ingredients in order, being sure to stow the eggs safely along the cookbook spine or in a dish, somewhere, anywhere, so long as they cannot roll); getting better at high heels the more cocktails I consume; and, never once going home with anyone (or taking anyone home with me), even if he was cute, even if I was staggering, even if there’d been whispering of sweet things into my ear.
But, like so many things, this ultra-smartness comes with a trade-off: my memory, which is short and sweet at the best of times. The morning after the night before, I wake to a haunting sense of having said The Best Most Awesome Thing Ever, a perfect recollection of the lead-up and the hilarity that ensued, but the witty remark, the searing one-liner? Gone, gone, gone.
And so, I carry a little notepad in my purse and jot down this and that throughout the night. Things I say. Things my companions say. Things we overhear strangers saying. Things we would like to say to others but have the good sense to retain for private enjoyment. I’m never sneaky; I conduct this record-keeping with full disclosure, laying the book on the bar while I push a pen around the page and make marks that vaguely resemble letters and might even come together to form coherent words. Or not. Depends on the night, depends on the gin.
Friends know I do this, and most feel secure that I use my record-keeping powers for good, not evil. Others, like B., will snatch the book away, returning it to me during the taxi ride home. So long as the vehicle is moving, he’s safe: reading and writing in a car makes me barf, and there’s no sense tempting fate trying to take notes (notes I will be barely able to make out come morning).
I am, of course, generous with my laughter and giving credit where it’s due. I am also awfully discreet and know which things are for attribution and what, perhaps, is best left to shine without knowing who said it. Some recent stand-outs, discovered days after the fact, in my current notebook:
“They should serve meat like scotch. I’ll have four fingers of pork, please!”
“Fernet-Branca tastes like Sambuca with the fun taken out of it.”
“Don’t you be displayin’ no more of this homophobery!”
“It appears somebody made a salad in my kitchen with a chainsaw last night. Oh no, that was just me eating a submarine sandwich after six Manhattans.”
“Don’t be so blue, sister! Come on: chin up; cocktails in!”
“Being crazy ain’t cheap these days.”
“‘Who was that guy?’ How should I know? I think he might be from Hamilton. I think I gave him my number. I guess the only way to know for sure is to wait and see if he calls!”
Quoting an episode of the TV call-in show, Sex With Sue, “I’ll never forget this old lady who coulda been my grandmother describing the perfect technique as shaking a can of spraypaint while you drool and drool and drool. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Sue, but I knew I wanted to try blow jobs!”
Presented in the style of Kids Say the Darndest Things, these quips are at least as funny as the lisping, wholesome, apple-cheeked and twisty-afro-braided children that reduced studio audiences to babbling brooks of laughter. Good physical comedy, good one-liners – the power of these things to entertain cannot be underestimated, nor can that golden moment of being so stupidly tipsy you start to seem smart again…think Nick and Nora Charles, think Withnail and I, think famous noir detectives, ruddy-cheeked Englishmen. And, of course, think Bob and Doug McKenzie whose steamroller manoeuver is equally funny, sober or soused.