"5:00 PM"

OK, learn from my mistakes.

5:00 PM, so commonly joked about as the time at which it is acceptable to start drinking.

Tempted as you may be, humans have deemed this time acceptable for a reason. Do not test the its 5 O'clock somewhere theory.

Today, in true college-style, I returned from class to curl up with my favorite videogame and a beer or five.

I was not without goal. Due to a scheduling issue, Xenosaga would need to be beaten by 10:00pm, when my girlfriend would pick me up to make a trip home to each of our parent's places. I did not want to be stewing over the convoluted story over the weekend, nor lose my train of thought on it.

So we have our scenario: 2:00 pm, pre-occupied with a game, and swilling beer. Sounds like a winning combination?

at 5:00pm my roommate got home. He prefers harder alcohol, and I had blown through nearly a six-pack without even knowing it. Without moving from my gaming throne, I had him mix me my preferred drink. This was a bad idea.

Beer before liquor, you've never been sicker!
Liquor before beer, you're in the clear!

As I let some time pass to fully punctuate my descent into a true state of being shithoused, let me explain that these are not simply frat-sayings to help hard partiers live through the night. The sayings are rooted in scientific fact.

The simple explanation for this lies within exactly how hangovers work. Basically, your body has enzymes in your liver that are used to break down what you drink. The tannins in alcohol eat up these enzymes. Two things effectively happen:

  • Your enzymes are absorbed by your first, and weaker drinks, causing your "sheilds to be lowered" and the harder stuff to hit you where it hurts.
  • Your judgement becomes impaired, and you feel you are invincible, and think you have a higher tolerance than you actually do.
For a full in-depth article on how hangovers work check out howstuffworks.com, or I will be posting a node in the near future. Also, for a more eclectic gathering of information, check out the node "hangover"

Hours passed. The game was beaten. Our minds were blown. We were shithoused. It felt like 5:00 AM (the time at which our circle of friends is usually in wind-down mode.) By this time in actuality, it was only 8:00 PM.

Then the alcohol kicked in with its depressant effect. I became very relaxed. Its that feeling you get at five in the morning after a really hard night of partying.... only it was nine at night.

But at this point, I was drunk, so I knew how to fix it (So I could be alert to keep my girlfriend company on the ride home) NoDoze. The way I saw it, its like having one cup of coffee; people use a cup of coffee to sober up all the time.

Now, do the math. We left the house at 11pm to make the trip home, I was sufficiently drunk by 3pm. 8 hours had passed.

On a normal night of drinking, you (or me as the case may be) are sufficiently drunk by 3am, and by 11am, you feel like hell. Only, at times when you wake up like that you've had some rest (albiet not very good) in you, and you haven't thrown your stomache into a torment with NoDoze.

Result: I had a horrible, horrible hangover the entire ride home. I had a morning hangover at midnight, shakes and all.

The 5:00 pm standard is there not because its rude to begin drinking without someone but because it is smart to do so. When lethargy hits you at midnight, you are less likely to simply pop a NoDoze and push on.