Drunk of the Week

It's human nature to try to improve upon past accomplishments. We strive to improve our work skills, our time in the mile, our driving so that we don't singlehandedly snarl traffic on Colorado Boulevard from I-70 to I-25, our dancing moves so that we can approach all the soul displayed by delegates to the Democratic National Convention, our sarcasm, our grasp of useful facts for the reading public, how long we can drink at the bar before having to go to the bathroom, and how much we can drink before we can no longer stand upright or feel moderately human the next day. This last endeavor represents the greatest challenge for members of the Institute of Drinking Studies, a critical study both for avoiding hangovers and being able to go out in public without wearing a shroud to hide our identities.

We recently embarked on an evening of improvement at Chez Jose (3027 East Second Avenue), a place that, despite its Cherry Creek environs, remains low-key, enjoyable and not at all constipated. In fact, after an order of quesadillas and a burrito as big as the Institute of Drinking Studies' Jewish Representative's head (he assures us it was not kosher), we were pretty sure that all involved would be as regular as the atomic clock. Other bodily functions may be beyond repair, however, and for that I hold Jose and his bartenderess culpable.

We had arrived with only half an hour remaining for cheap, happy-hour margs. Because the laws of physiology dictate that you still breathe while slamming alcohol as fast as you can, in order to keep the liquor flowing, we pre-purchased several rounds at happy-hour prices. The end result of our margarita market fund was several hours of antisocial behavior that night and blurred vision throughout much of the next day. As the Head of Drinking Regrets summed things up the morning after: These nights just keep getting worse and worse.

This observation was based, at least in part, on our juvenile behavior at the movie theater after we left Chez Jose. Unless you were one of those people who couldn't tear yourself away from a heated Dungeons and Dragons session, in high school you probably went to the movies with a couple of pints stashed in your Levi's 501s or under your Izod shirt; after purchasing a large pop that cost only a little bit more than the liquor you snuck in, you were set for an evening of rollicking fun. On this night, we were not only pre-loaded with gallons of tequila, but we smuggled in so much rum that our spiked drinks were strong enough to intoxicate the surrounding four rows. I'm sure all those other moviegoers enjoyed the film -- whatever it might have been -- that much more for our drunken laughter at the slightest gag. And I'm sure they appreciated our decision to go with liquor instead of beer so that we didn't interrupt the movie with a contest to see who could roll his empty beer can all the way to the front of the theater.

And then, of course, we just had to have several post-movie beers.

Scientists have shown that hangovers result from dehydration and metabolic derangement that can only be corrected by ingesting enough grease the next morning to put you in the danger zone defined by cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical companies. Real human beings, however, recognize that hangovers were created by God as continued punishment for the original sin of Eve making apple wine and serving it to Adam in alarming enough quantities to coerce him into putting up new drapes and making other improvements in the Garden of Eden. For those of you who still think that hangovers result from indiscretion and a lack of discipline, just ask yourself if there's any way that a thermonuclear detonation in your head could be anything other than the act of an angry God.

But we here at the Institute remain undeterred in our quest to perfect God's handiwork. We'll soldier on, because if God created all things in His image, then he must certainly enjoy the occasional Half and Half (or Black and Tan, if you erroneously think that God is not Irish). And Chez Jose remains an excellent research laboratory. Not only can you preload on greasy "Mexican" food, but you can set up your own margarita account -- all in the name of human improvement.

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Patrick Osborn

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