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New book helps students go 'bottoms up' with finesse

By Kevin Dicus
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 12, 1999

The college life is rigorous and stressful for students constantly concerned about their academic performance, so they strive even harder, going above and beyond the call of duty.

Yeah right. If a student knows the locations of his or her classes at mid-semester they're doing better than most. What many students learn immediately upon entering any great educational institution is that learning takes a back seat to partying. No one knows this better and no one capitalizes on this fact more than Andy Gricsom, Ben Rand and Scott Johnston, three college grads who penned "The Complete Book of Beer Drinking Games" (Mustang Publishing, $8.95).

This piece of modern literature, aside from exploring the history, science and philosophy of this most popular beverage, explains more than 50 drinking games, conveniently arranged in five levels of intensity. These levels start with "Boot Factor One" (perhaps a more accurate term would be "Freshman"), games that require some skill and level of activity with a low puking risk. Then they progress to "Boot Factor Five" (read "Graduate Student"), hard-core games that require no skill and no activity save for regular sprints to the bathroom. For reference, the world's most popular game, "Quarters," has claimed a mid-level ranking at "Boot Factor 3" ("Junior").

As entertaining as the book is, there are a few problems. First, what student, with a couple of cases in the fridge and friends over for the night, is at a loss for entertainment? When it comes to getting drunk, most students are pretty adept at it, so how useful is a book such as this? At best, it is a mere reference guide and certainly no Bible. But with "over 500,007 copies sold," it certainly is a popular reference guide.

Clearly the intention of this book is to employ new and creative ways to do the same thing over and over, but it occasionally strays from the games with supposedly humorous tangents about beer. Unfortunately, many of them are not too humorous. The "Non-Fiction Writing" piece for example, is called "The Day I entered a Fern Bar and Lived to Tell About It" and is rife with clich­s and stereotypes. A typical, masculine beer drinker inadvertently wanders into a bar where wine spritzers are sipped, men discuss their feelings and listen to Barry Manilow. Of course it shocks our typical beer drinker who runs out to find another bar where he can get a beer and cheeseburger. It's been done before.

In its defense, "The Complete Book of Beer Drinking Games" wasn't meant to be a literary powerhouse. It just happened that way. It's still a fun little book to page through while "studying."

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