Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Last man standing

A friend of mine, a universally acknowledged alpha male said to another about a brunch invitation recently. “I’ll be there by 1 pm. By 1.15 pm, I will be the most drunk person around. Count on that…”

It was meant to sound cool. It was meant to get eyes widened. It was meant to get us all competitive.

Another was bragging about his brush with a dangerously bizarre game called Last Man Standing at a farewell bash recently. It seems a few of them decided to do a tequila marathon. The person who was still standing at the end of it won. “We targeted twenty shots each. By the end of it, I was so blown….I thought I was going to die,” he said, with much bravado.

Smart observation that. I wouldn’t think 20 tequila shots would leave you with enough perception of death.

One Mr. Jim Beam cribbed about how he went to this PR-led free booze do recently and how the cheap stuff was so awful that he and his friends had to go someplace else to wash it off and dilute it with the good stuff.

At my sangeet, there were at least three women who spent more time throwing up in the loo than breaking it down on the dance floor. When one was told to get something to eat so she’d feel better, she said, “I don’t do food. I’ll have another shot.”

I feel very old fashioned when I hear stuff like this.

A certain Mr. Partyholic once bragged to me, “You have no idea what I used to be. I was the guy who got the party started long after the party was over. I was the after-party guy..”

I was supposed to be impressed. I wasn’t. Although it sounds like a career—get a bunch of wasted people on any given night, and get them even more wasted. So when people compare notes, they can say, “I passed out at 4 am. How long did you last?”

I must imagine we live in terribly difficult times.

Here’s my theory, however far-fetched it might sound. Most men and women drink and/or smoke because they don’t know what to do with their bodies in a social scenario. The drink and the cigarette serve as props. It gives them something to do, it makes them look less clumsy or gauche. It talks their face away.

Which is why when people notice me, they usually say, “What, no glass? Or, “Don’t smoke?” Strangers proffer additional wisdom. “Health or religion?”

I feel like saying health is my religion, but I’d rather not waste humour on someone who is not quite there, so I smile cheekily.

I learnt the importance of props while being a production person in a theatre group. Seems when people are just standing together and talking, it looks weird—so you give them a book, a scarf, a jacket, a phone, a cigarette, a glass—something they can play with.

Have you noticed soaps on TV and how something seems amiss (apart from logic) when a family just gathers in a semi-circle and talks. They have no props!

As for me, I found my prop. I play with my locks. It keeps me engaged and looking interested for as long as I want to.

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