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Commentary: Drinking like a scientist

By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 28, 2005
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Like most college students, I seem to have problems living within a budget. Every month, I tell myself that I'm going to stick to the basics. I tell myself that ramen noodles actually taste good and can be eaten for three meals a day. I swear that I'll walk everywhere within a two-mile radius, in order to save money on gas.

If I actually listened to myself, I'd certainly have more than a few dollars left at the end of the month, so where am I going wrong? My empty refrigerator swears that my money isn't being spent on groceries. The layer of dust settling on my steering wheel should be indicative of the time my car has remained motionless.

Where is my money going? I'll give you a hint: alcohol.

I enjoy drinking. It's something I've had a lot of practice doing. It's something I'm good at.

But I've spent the last few months taking a break from the bars. My former drinking buddies moved out of state, I started focusing on eventually graduating and I got a new boyfriend, so my social life took a dive. I traded tequila shots for dinner-for-two, and vodka tonics for Must See TV. I became - dare I say it - lame.

I recently decided that I needed to start getting out more but didn't know how I would pay for the expensive night life I once knew so well.

So, I did what any levelheaded girl with only $10 in her pocket would do: I told myself I could only spend $10. Then, I recruited two of my dearest girlfriends and set up a very scientific science experiment. My questions were simple: What is the easiest way to ensure that I will get drunk for $10? There were three options (conveniently, one option for each girl):

1. Buy the cheapest drink at each bar. I took this task upon myself, as I was the only participant who didn't gag at the thought of an evening full of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

2. Buy the strongest drink at each bar. This required a less-sensitive palate, as straight well vodka can be a bit harsh.

3. Buy the same drink at each bar. In this case, a gin and tonic.

With our mission in mind, we set out for the bars. We headed south down North Fourth Avenue from East University Boulevard. Our first stop was the bar North.

I had a $1 PBR draught while my friends enjoyed a gin and tonic ($1.75) and a double vodka on the rocks ($3.50). The bartender, who asked to be referred to only as "Tony Tanqueray," was everything a bartender should be. He noticed that my vodka-loving pal was not imbibing as quickly as the rest of us, so he turned her double shot into a vodka gimlet. He was personable and took it upon himself to make sure that everyone at the bar was having a good time. He would, unfortunately, be the best bartender we would encounter.

Our next stop was Plush. The gin and tonic was only $2, and was the cheapest drink that the bar had to offer. I opted for a $2.50 Hefeweizen, seeing that the role of "cheapest drink drinker" had already been taken. The strongest drink the bartender could come up with was the "Sexy Blue Jesus." A combination of lots of things, including blue curacao, pineapple juice, apple pucker, and Malibu rum, it came in a pint glass with a price tag of $6. It depleted the $10 allocated for strong drinks, but my friend was sufficiently tanked.

After Plush, we crossed the street and headed into the Surly Wench. I, once again, went for the PBR ($1.50), and my friend, once again, went for a gin and tonic ($2.50). Our drunken compatriot settled on water. Our visit to the Surly Wench was cut short by a band that featured a boy that looked like a gorilla playing drums and a lot of screaming.

By the time we left, my friends were both drunk. The gin and tonics had totaled $6.25, but she was done. My beers came out to an even $5, but I wasn't drunk. My friends both needed to find their beds quickly, so I was left unfulfilled. My plan to drink the cheapest drinks at each bar had backfired.

Although I was left with only a slight headache, a lesson was learned: Alcohol is best consumed in high quantities when one wishes to get drunk.

Science is amazing.

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