Hairspray is used to make a drink called "Ocean", favored by down-and-out alcoholics in Gallup, New Mexico. Gallup is right in the middle of Navajo Country and has a large population of desparately impoverished, alcoholic Native Americans.

A principal ingredient in some brands of hairspray is methyl alcohol, also called methanol or "wood alcohol". Aqua-Net, for example, is at least 70% methanol. The other main ingredients are propane or butane–the favored propellants for aerosol hair sprays now that CFCs are banned. (You can also use Aqua-net as a propellant for potato cannons, but trust me on this one, guys, you don't even want to think about lighting a can of Aqua-Net on fire.) The stuff that actually stiffens hair (Vinyl Acetate/Chrotonic Acid/Neodecanoate Copolymer) is generally only 1 to 5% of the ingredients.

"Ocean" is prepared by punching a whole in the hairspray bottle with a nail, releasing the propellant. The remaining liquid is then poured into a gallon milk jug to mix with water. Sometimes other stuff is added to disguise the awful taste.

Drunks drink "Ocean" for several reasons. First, it's a lot easier to shoplift hairspray than real alcoholic beverages. Second, you can buy it on Sunday. You can't buy alcoholic beverages in Gallup on Sundays. You can, however, go to Wal-Mart and buy hairspray by the case. Third, minors can buy hairspray.

The bad news is that methyl alcohol in large quantities is toxic. Chronic abuse can cause central nervous system damage and blindness.

The one good thing about "Ocean" drinkers is they boost the self-esteem of the ordinary drunks by giving them someone to look down on.