The Drunkard Progress: From the First Glass to the Grave


I've been threatening to get a personal breathalyzer for almost a decade now. What would the scientific purpose be? Revenge! And to study exactly how much I have to drink before becoming better (read: The Best!) at everything. You know exactly what I'm talking about. You're out with friends, and two, three beers in you slowly can start seeing the ones and zeros. You're playing darts, pool, snowboarding, writing, baby sitting, driving, you get the point. Something clicks. You're now a better product than you were half an hour ago. You're in the running for expert. 10,000 hours rule? Out the window. 3 pints rule.

My scientific study was going to determine what is the exact point in the bell curve you were at after so many drinks. I thought I was going to be a pioneer. Forget incremental intelligence on liquor and the human psyche. This was revolutionary. 

Turns out it's age old. Look at this illustrated bell curve of The Drunkard Progress from back in the Prohibition Era. While it lacks some of the scientific data I require to win bets while playing darts, it's a beginning well ahead of its time.

1. A Glass with a Friend

Never a bad idea, and never refuse a drink from a friend.

2. A Glass to Keep the Cold Out

For years, this was a saving grace for families without fire and heat in the Depression. Have a nip from the flask, keep going, keep working, keep your family.

3. A Glass Too Much

Woah, woah, now. Wait a tick. This contradicts my original hypothesis. Three drinks is too much? I was predicting this is where the early curve of true success starts. I'd argue on drink three that you are getting limber, more confident, quicker at adapting to the challenges around you.

4. Drunk and Riotous

The what now? I can only assume that we've been duped by current liquor distilleries. Are we the victims of Alcohol Percentage Inflation? Maybe their drinks had more punch back then, because there is no way after four drinks anyone is rioting*

*Aside from fickle Vancouver Canucks "fans" after four Coors Lights.

5. The Summit Attained!

"Jolly companions, a confirmed drunkard." Now I can agree that with five whisky drinks put back in a short period of time, you're well on your way... but summit, far from it. This is akin to being the chair at your local PTA and thinking you're ready to be President of the United States (although a confirmed drunkard may in fact do a better job). I'm calling premature on this peak of the curve.

6. Poverty and Disease

Depending on where you drink, no argument here. Racking up $13 a swig at some fine, new age cocktail bar is going to send you straight to poverty at this point... and who knows, the wrong decision taxi ride could have you itching for the rest of your life. We'll score them a point on accuracy for this one.

7. Forsaken by Friends

Again comes the argument. I find by Step Seven you actually upgrade from acquaintance to friend,  from friend to dear friend. You're the best! Another strike against. Moving on.

8. Desperation and Crime

I'm going to roll with desperation here. In the region of eight, nine, ten drinks... you'll take whatever you can get. Any daily special or any lady special. It's all the same... but who says that's a crime!

9. Death by Suicide

This seems a little drastic, even for the extreme pace of this list. Sure, some mornings do feel like it'd be easier to just roll off the balcony to the sidewalk below... but the good news is most of you don't live high enough for that to even be an option, so you usually suck it up and sleep in.


Either the ounce, like the dollar, went a lot further back in the day or hyperbole was in perfect Election Campaign form. There's even the chance that this isn't to be interpreted as one step per drink, which is entirely likely... but I still find the acceleration of this list to be a tad heady. Ha! See what I did there? Man that's rich.

In summation, it's always best to conduct your own studies and form your own opinions, because there's a good chance that those commissioned to tell you otherwise are lying sacks of shit.