"Can we, as a country, all
A lesson in drinking
feel the cold metal against your lips and pull the
trigger. A violent blast blows your mind. It’s
a morbid way to think of drinking a beer, but is
a commonly practiced method called “shotgunning.”
Unlike blowing your head off with a shotgun, shotgunning
a beer can be a pleasant experience and a useful
exercise in the task of getting drunk.
When beer was first sold in cans and openers were
someone realized that if you punch a hole in both
the top and bottom, the pressure in the can would
force the beer out quickly. With the invention of
the pop-top, a “trigger” was added and
shotgunning was born.
The proper shotgunning technique is to punch a hole
in the bottom of the can, put your mouth around
the hole, and open the can. This forces the entire
beer into your mouth at once. If you do it right
the beer flows down your throat smoothly and you
are successfully one beer closer to being drunk.
Your friends may chant, pat you on the back, give
you a “high-five” or even another beer.
If you do it wrong the beer squirts up into your
head, filling your sinuses, spraying out your nose,
and making you choke and cry and gag. Everyone will
then laugh at you, you will have wasted a perfectly
good beer, and you will smell even worse than you
did before you decided to attempt this advanced
drinking technique. Needless to say, this is a power-drinking
trick that must be mastered.
Here are several hints that will make shotgunning
easier. First off, be careful not to shake up the
can. There is already enough pressure to successfully
expel all 12 ounces. Secondly, make the hole nice
and big. Use a can-opener or a knife. The worst
shotgunning holes are made with pens or—more
commonly—keys. These holes are too small and
will only serve to shoot suds up into your brain.
Once you have a nice big hole in your unshaken beer
can, wrap your lips around the hole and open your
throat. Pretend you are about to take a big sip
of water. Don’t let your friends make you
laugh or you’ll gag for sure. When you “pull
the trigger,” pull the tab nice and slow and
just let the beer flow in one gulp. That’s
all there is to it. Practice at home a few times
and you’re ready for any social event!
Once you’ve mastered the technique you can
use it to get free beers, pick up girls, impress
younger kids, the sky’s the limit. Say you
don’t have any beers. Find a guy with a full
half-rack and challenge him to a contest. Say there’s
this cute girl who likes you and your friend equally
and has to make the decision on who to go home with.
That decision will be made once she sees beer spraying
out of your friend’s nose all over his t-shirt
and everyone congratulating you.
If you become bored with this technique and are
looking for a trick with a little more zip, or if
you couldn’t master the normal shotgun technique,
well there’s hope for you, too! Using the
advanced technique of the “California Chugger”
or “Onyskin Shotgun” (after Horny Mormon-Sea
Pig-Lizard Jay Onyskin) you can be the life of the
party without drinking a single drop. Done properly,
you should be able to consume most of the beer in
the can while providing spectators with awesome
fireworks of debauchery.
Unlike the traditional shotgun method, it is necessary
to shake up the
can as much as you possibly can when attempting
the California Chugger. Shake-shake-shake. When
the can is rock hard, smash it repeatedly on your
forehead until the aluminum cracks. Here’s
where it gets a little tricky. You will see a mighty
spray of beer resembling a stream from a pressure
washer or firehose. You need to get that stream
into your mouth and squeeze the can, making sure
all the beer gets down your throat.
This is more of a visual trick than a practical
one, and you will probably waste most of your beer
if you drink exclusively using the California Chugger
technique, but it’s one to pull out when things
get boring. There’s probably no need to practice
this at home and boy do the kids love it! A great
finale to the California Chugger is to scream something
like “In your face!” and smash the mutilated
can on your forehead.
Another variation on shotgunning goes back to the
time of the old-style flat-top cans. This style
of beer drinking is not flashy at all, but practical.
You simply punch a hole in the can’s lid opposite
the existing hole. This allows air to enter the
can and the exiting beer to cascade freely. You
can chug a beer quickly using this trick and don’t
have to worry about spilling a drop or looking foolish.
Recently, I witnessed a 15-year-old attempting this
technique. He looked at me and said, “Fuck
it! I’m gonna get really drunk tonight,”
then started trying to poke a hole in the can’s
lid with his house key. Like shotgunning, this trick
works better with a can-opener. Openers are a worthwhile
investment. They are small and can fit on your key
I learned shotgunning at an early age, before I
even drank a beer. I was at my friend’s birthday
party. His dad worked for a beverage distributor,
so for the party he had cases and cases of ice cold
pop. Another friend’s older brother had taught
him how to shotgun. He passed the trick on to us
and we spent the day perfecting it. By the end of
the day we were successfully shotgunning entire
cans of orange pop. We celebrated with an elaborate
soda fight, using the shotgun technique to turn
the cans into squirt guns.
The trick was with me for the rest of my life. At
age 16 I could shotgun beers along with the most
experienced TKE’s at frat parties. It earned
me a chair at the table for drinking games like
Prince of Wales, Mexicali, the Name Game, and Asshole.
During high school, some of the rednecks on the
football team tried to recruit me to join the team.
I didn’t and they were pissed. They would
vandalize my car in the parking lot, call me faggot,
spit on my locker and other stuff. I made friends
with the captain by playing him a tape of Black
Flag’s “Six-Pack” and shotgunning
some beers with him. After that he would vouch for
me, and I was more or less left alone. I was even
invited to the football parties. I remember the
entire football team shouting along to “Six-Pack”
as my friend Justin dazzled them all by shotgunning
a beer in 1.45 seconds.
So you can see that there are some social reasons
for learning how to shotgun a beer, but that’s
not all. Even when it is just you and a friend drinking
together, a couple holes punched in some cans can
take you to the next level. That extra beer may
lead to closer friendships or even to true love.
This may all seem a little stupid to you, and I’m
sure there are some of you that will live your entire
life without ever shotgunning a beer. If you did
I wouldn’t think any less of you.
I imagine that someday soon there’ll be a
computerized beer injection device you can log onto
on the internet, and this age-old shotgunning technique
will fall by the wayside. However that fateful day
when pc’s squirt out beer may not come for
a while so I suggest you perfect the old methods
and use them to your advantage. That’s right,
put that cold metal up to your mouth, pull the trigger…
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