In recent weeks many people have asked me, “John, if you win the NCJ best blog contest, how can you, a penniless clod with no economic prospects, afford to throw a party for all of your readers?”
To that I respond, “No worries! I stuffed the ballot box with votes for Red Headed Black Belt.”
Even if I win, I’m not worried. As a self-employed artist, quite used to living a low-budget lifestyle, I know a thing or two about getting fucked-up without getting fucked-over by money-grubbing mirth-merchants. Now that I have a lot more company in my tax bracket, I thought I’d offer all you nouveau-poor folks a primer:
How to Party, Now that the Party’s Over
Whether it’s “white tie” cocktail parties with top shelf booze, fine wine and champagne, all night dance parties with designer drugs and energy drink cocktails, or live music parties with billowing clouds of marijuana smoke, “magic” mushrooms and balloons full of nitrous-oxide, nothing epitomized our lavish and unsustainable lifestyle more than the parties we threw. We danced like rainbows on the surface of an expanding economic bubble whose complete cultural emptiness only highlighted the vast swirling superficiality of it all. Now that the bubble has burst, we’ve collapsed into a slimy puddle on the basement floor, where we slowly come to the realization that we are peasants in a third-world country…vapid, superficial peasants, but peasants nonetheless.
But, who says peasants can’t party? No one parties like the desperate and hopeless. Even in good times, the liveliest people at the party are always the ones with nothing else to live for.
In the past, many people viewed parties as “networking opportunities.” They moderated their alcohol intake and kept business cards handy, always looking to “make a connection.” These people suck the life out of parties.
Fortunately, these people hit the pavement first, and it hit them hard. These people all think of themselves as “Masters of their own destiny” based on some crap they heard at a motivational seminar. Now that the economy has collapsed, they blame themselves, and they need a drink. I blame them too, but I’d rather see them piss drunk than watch them scheme new ways to fuck the rest of us over.
Remember this every time you see a businessman passed out drunk in the street: alcoholism can destroy an individual, alcoholism can destroy a family, but greed destroyed the planet and greed destroyed the economy. Many former executives have found happiness as generous and gregarious drunks.
I don’t wish to minimize the deleterious effects of alcoholism. Alcoholism can ruin your health and your economic prospects. I’m just saying, that unless you’re in excellent shape, and fewer of us are these days, what have you got to lose? So, lets get down to business.
First, you need alcohol. Without alcohol, your party is just another pointless meeting. People will count the minutes until they can excuse themselves gracefully. With alcohol, some won’t leave until they get dragged out in handcuffs or on a stretcher.
In your quest for alcohol, remember that what seems like a lot of alcohol to a sober person will seem like “just a little drinky” to someone who is already blotto. Assume your guests will arrive drunk enough to drink vodka like water, and that they do so habitually. Recognize that the pain of economic collapse requires liberal and repeated anesthesia, so pour it on.
Of course, the pain of economic collapse stems primarily from the fact that we have no money, so getting all of this alcohol will require some imagination. When I’m sourcing alcohol for a party, I keep in mind three money saving principles:
1) Re-branding– Our corrupt government taxes alcoholic beverages heavily. The beverage industry spends billions on advertising and marketing. Both of these factors contribute to the high cost of alcoholism. You can avoid these costs all together if you remember that the active ingredient, ethanol, also used as an industrial solvent, finds it’s way to market, relatively unadulterated, in a number of readily available household cleaning products. Now I wouldn’t expect my guests to drink Lysol right out of the spray can, but mixed with a little 7-Up and fruit punch, in Grandma’s punchbowl, it becomes a festive focal point no one can resist. Put it through a Britta water filter five or six times, then pour it into an empty bottle of Absolut. They’ll never know. When they see you at the store check out line with a few cases of Lysol, tell them you clean houses to pay for those fancy shindigs you throw.
2) Never Pay for Yeast Piss– Like Sea Monkeys, yeast can live for decades in a sealed aluminum foil pouch. But when released into a solution of sugary water, they start to party. The more they party, the foamier the liquid gets. When they run out of sugar, the party’s over, they starve, die and fall to the bottom of the container. We call what they leave behind “wine.”
The yeast don’t care whether you give them freshly crushed chardonnay grapes or orange Kool-Aid, and after a few drinks, neither will you. While most wine connoisseurs know what to expect from red and white wines, you’ll amaze them with green, orange and blue varieties. What it lacks in sophistication, Kool-Aid wine makes up for in fun. You’ll want to filter out the dead Sea Monkeys.
3)Many Pharmaceutical Pain Medications Greatly Magnify the Effects of Alcohol- One pill can make three drinks feel like nine, or nine drinks feel like 27. I know what you are thinking, “I can’t afford pharmaceutical pain medication.” But remember that root canal you had done back when you had a job with health coverage? That half-finished bottle of Vicodin from 1994 still has some kick left in it, so break it out. Better yet, throw an expired medication party. Invite your friends to bring their old prescriptions, dump them in a hat and pass it around.
Keep these three principles in mind and you’ll soon realize that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to throw a party that “knocks ‘em dead.”
Speaking of “knocking them dead,” there’s no better reason to bring the neighborhood together that the “I just hit a deer party.” That unfortunate dent on your fender can have an upside, so fire up the barbeque and throw a party.
In choosing food for your party, always consider what color stain it will leave when vomited on the carpet. Choose potato chips over bright orange cheese curls, apples and pears over berries and grapes, and Alfredo over marinara sauce.
Don’t worry too much about entertainment, you’ll find people on a couple of Darvons and a few shots of Lysol remarkably easy to entertain. Even your kid’s death metal band will sound awesome to them. Why hire a DJ when you can have one for free from any radio station, just turn on…the radio, tune in…your favorite station, and drop the savings in the bank, or better yet, under the mattress. Try these great party games: Spin the Room, Pass-out and Turn Blue, and Find The Toilet Before you Barf.
Always remember the three critical elements of a great party:
1) People come together
3) People wake up embarrassed about their behavior
As long as all three of these things happen at your party, everyone will call it a success. How you accomplish this is a function of your own imagination, style and budget.
Forget about designated drivers. Sure, wild parties often result in unnecessary highway fatalities, but they equally often result in unplanned pregnancies, so these things balance out. As luxuries like food and housing become increasingly unobtainable, isn’t it refreshing that life is still so cheap?
These ideas should get you started in entertaining under the new economic reality. Use your imagination, and remember: When life gives you toxic assets, make an intoxicating beverage and throw a party!