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Tales From The DJ Booth: Twas The Night Before New Year’s

by DJ HazMatt

I don’t normally use this column to take a serious tone, but, in the past, I have used my platform to speak out against serious topics, when appropriate. Sexual assault within the comedy scene, strippers and club owners going head-to-head over new legislation, the sudden and problematic rise of dubstep...you name it.

This time around, I’m going to write a piece that’s been sitting on my desk for years. Put simply, if you’re going out this New Year’s Eve, do not drink and drive.

I know, it sounds like a fucking public service announcement. But, I’m going to make the case that drunk driving is among (if not, the worst of) the problems facing the entertainment industry.

Here are some things that even the most seasoned alcoholic doesn’t usually consider, before hitting the road after binge drinking the Bulleit, instead of just biting the bullet and staying sober for a night.

The Club You Just Left Will Pay The Price For Your Stupidity

If you die of a heart attack, your family cannot sue Mc- Donald’s. If you get hit by a bus after leaving the weed dispensary because you were trying to dab up in the parking lot, you can’t sue the dispensary. But, for some fucked-up reason, if you get turned up to eleven on Four Loko, walk into a strip club, order a shot, leave and get in a car accident, the bar that served you the shot will be held liable and they will likely be sued into the pavement (or, worse, shut down). This makes no sense. Bartenders are physically incapable of adhering to the Oregon Liquor Control Gestapo’s regulations of monitoring their hundreds-or-more deep customer base on a busy Saturday night, in a club full of literal smoke and mirrors, populated by beautiful (and distracting) women, drunk dudes trying to yell over each other and a DJ who keeps playing Godsmack for the tattooed stripper who clacks her heels, because that’s the only rock music he knows.

These laws will not change. On the list of legitimate organizations that care about their fellow man, the O.L.C.G. falls somewhere between Hitler Youth and Westboro Baptist. To say they are scum, would be to give scum a bad name. So, keep in mind the difference between ideals and reality—and, yes, your drunk ass will end up spilling the beans to the cop who drags you out of your car. A bartender, who was just trying to stop you from yelling "HEY! HEY! HEY! Can I get a shot? HEY! Hellooooo? CAN I GET A SHOT???" is now out of a job and facing a potential lawsuit. I shouldn’t say this, but if you are unable to act like an adult and insist on having "one last shot for the road," order one from one of those out-of-town-owner- run yuppie bars that serve gluten-free IPA and don’t hire locals. Then, get on your bike and go nuts.

Drunk Driving May Seem Easy, But The Tests Won’t Lie

I’m about 220 and well over six feet tall. For shits and giggles, I once blew into one of those "test your D.U.I.I. risk" machines they have at the club. I kid you not, after two (2) bottles of Guinness, I blew a .09 on the booze-o-meter. This is over the legal limit, but I hadn’t even felt a head change. It turns out, that a breathalyzer can pick up on alcohol that you just consumed, but has yet to hit you. Worse, by the time it does affect you, you’ll be down at the station, where they can draw your blood and all that fun stuff. So, even if you’re stone cold sober, two or three beers can get you a D.U.I.I.

That may be scary enough to convince you that water is worth a try, but get this—I’ve been a raging, functional alcoholic for years and I’ve never once been incapable of operating after blacking out. By "functional," I mean that I have done such things as paying off student debt loans, changing my oil, drunk Tweeting random exes entire conversations and even jerked off to Playboy porn, all on the way home from the bar—these aren’t signs of a functional person, but rather, the signs of someone who is not physically impaired after several pints of whiskey. What this means, is that you’ll feel "just fine" driving home, until you swerve off the road, while trying to YouTube search that one Lana Del Rey song with the A$AP guy. If booze actually made your legs stop working, that would be nice, but I’d be penning my next columns on the dangers of "Fuzzy Leg Lager" and how it put dozens of strippers in the hospital. Until that is how alcohol works, it’s best to respect your abilities, instead of ignoring them. You’re never "too drunk to drive," but you will always be too drunk to pass a D.U.I.I. test.

Alcohol Plus Holidays Equals Magniffed Trauma

I’ve had a few friends die due to drunk driving, both as the drivers and as sober people, who were simply at the wrong intersection at the wrong time. This might be a little dark of me to point out, but the ones who died in the middle of March, were treated with at least half of the sympathy as the ones who died after leaving a Christmas party. For obvious reasons, tragedy that happens while the television is constantly reminding you about "a time for friends and family," is shitty on another level. As far as New Year’s Eve, this is a holiday that sets a tone for the rest of the year. It’s also a time that people seem to remember more than others. I remember the girl I kissed at midnight on N.Y.E. 2012, but not my mother’s middle name. On the same token, my buddy who died after leaving a party that same night is equally remembered.

I don’t recommend that anyone take risks that could lead to death or jail (this includes dating white women, even briefly). But, if you’re hell-bent on suicideby- Honda, don’t fucking do it when the family is in town for the weekend. Don’t be the first headline to hit the papers on New Year’s Day. The evening news loves a good "...but, first, a tragedy in Southwest Portland last night" headline. And, this applies to the people who are sharing the road with you, as you careen down Barbur doing twice the legal limit. In fact, "...but first, a tragedy in Southwest Portland that cost one volunteer from the shelter her life" is an even more profitable lead for the vultures at the news station. If you want to become (or cause) a statistic, don’t do it during the holidays.

The Bars Have Enough Business On N.Y.E., So Stay Home And Do Mushrooms

I’m not telling you to avoid strip clubs. Clearly, you’d wanna hit a few of these. But, as far as the stroke-of-midnight action, avoid getting boozed up at the corner pub. This is the best night of the year to trip. Reflect on the past 365, sit on your porch, turn up the Ween and soak into a bean bag (yes, I have a bean bag on my porch). The one New Year’s that I recall doing this, is still the best to this day. It was 2000 and everyone was convinced that the grid would explode. I was explaining to my then-girlfriend how Prince’s "1999" is at its peak of relevance, and because she wasn’t high, she just told me to stop talking about Prince. This led to a break-up, which steered me down a life path in which I am surrounded by beautiful women and piles of cash. Meanwhile, she’s raising two kids and living in the suburbs. Good for her. Glad they’re not mine, though. I can thank mushrooms, as well as Ween’s cover of "1999."

If you need entertainment, every single media outlet is broadcasting footage of people, in N.Y.C., on live television, acting like fools because a giant metal testicle is about to fall out of the sky. You will get random messages from friends who haven’t contacted you in a year, ranging from "FWD: FWD: FWD: HAPPPY NEW YAER," to "TrashDoveWithStreamersAndSparkler. jpg." You’ll reflect on that girl you dated a year ago and wonder if she’s still talking shit about you on social media. Your mind will take you to places on the internet that you forgot still exist, like Know Your Meme and Zombo.com, for hours on end. Finally, you’ll wonder if the shrooms are wearing off, or just getting stronger, because you never remembered that you are in the middle of writing an article about a holiday that is over a month away.

Strippers Love Sober Customers

I know this sounds as counter-intuitive as staying home while others party, but hear me out—go to the strip club, sober. Then, politely tip a dancer before asking her to give you a private show. If she asks for twenty bucks per song, give her fifty. Make her night. If you even remotely believe in karma, you’ll be taken care of for the entire year (this may begin in February, on Chinese New Year, depending on how tight your karma game is). Christmas is depressing. Thanksgiving is okay (props to Elle Stanger for her Thanks-Stripping charity, which is cool as hell). But, New Year’s Eve is amateur night—and, I don’t mean on the stage.

For one night only, every drunk fuck with a truck decides to leave the hills. Newly minted 21-year olds decide to figure out what a "Long Island" tastes like. Becky and Becky just ended their friendship, before accidentally showing up to the club in the same outfit that a betterlooking female on stage is wearing. New Year’s Eve is like a ticking time bomb of shit, soaked in vodka to make it a Molotov. By not adding to the problem, you will be treated like a king or queen (or another form of gendered royalty). If you want extra credit, brush your goddamn teeth and wear something nice to the club. Strippers will flock to you like a new M.I.A. record.