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SOUTH CAROLINA – Tom Beringer, a sophomore finance major and member of the Beta Delta fraternity, awoke Thursday morning to a gruesome hangover. Too weak to get up and search for fluids, Beringer was forced to make one of the most difficult decisions he’s faced in his 20 years: Should he take a drink from the potentially dip-laden soda bottle standing on the table before him?
“It was one of those situations where you couldn’t tell just by smelling it,” Beringer said. “There’s definitely soda in there, but there might be dip spit, too.”
As the light streamed in through the tattered blinds of the fraternity house’s common room, Beringer stirred awake on the couch with a particularly devastating hangover. The previous night’s Tour De Franzia – where the fraternity invited females to ride Big Wheel bicycles through the halls of the fraternity house, stopping at designated checkpoints to “slap the bag” – had gotten the best of him.
“It felt like I was hit by a car,” Beringer said. “Fuck, I might have been. I don’t remember shit.”
Beringer was in dire need of fluids, but his dizzied, sickly state rendered him couch-locked. The prospect of getting up, searching the cluttered kitchen for a clean cup, then filling it with water was out of the question.
Confined to the ratty sofa, Beringer called out for assistance. He pleaded for a pledge, a brother, anyone to bring him a glass of water or a Gatorade – preferably Glacier Freeze. But his cries for help went unanswered.
“It was only 9 a.m. Everyone was still asleep,” Beringer said. “I knew then that I’d have to contend with this affliction by my lonesome.”
Suddenly, Beringer saw a light at the end of the nauseous tunnel: a half-full bottle of flat Coca-Cola, resting on the table in front of the couch amidst a wreckage of empty, shredded Cookout trays.
“It was a Godsend,” Beringer recalled fondly. “The bottle was just within arm’s reach.”
But the ailing brother’s relief was short-lived. He quickly noticed an empty tin of Grizzly Wintergreen Long Cut resting beside the bottle of sugary nourishment.
Beringer’s fraternity brothers are notorious for packing “fat lips” of dipping tobacco and spitting the excess juices into soda bottles – sometimes empty, sometimes not.
“They spit like those big donkeys with the long necks… what are they called… llamas? Yeah, llamas.”
He says that in this instance, a cursory smell test was not enough to decipher whether the soda contained traces of liquid tobacco and saliva.
“I was like fuck, man, I don’t know…”
At the time of this press release, Beringer had taken two small sips of the beverage, letting the liquid rest on his tongue in an attempt to detect the spicy, slimy aftertaste of moist snuff tobacco..
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