I’ve got this buddy up in Dallas, good friend of mine. He drinks a little bit, enjoys a night out on the town every now and then, likes to have a good time, and has a little spending money in his pocket. He’s the main character in one of my favorite drunk purchase stories ever.
So, my buddy is lying around the house one lazy afternoon when the doorbell rings. Some stranger in UPS browns asks him to sign for a package. He signs, opens up the 2 x 2 x 2 box, and finds 250 pairs of cheap, plastic, neon-colored sunglasses. Confused, he asks his roommates if they ordered the shades and listed him as the addressee for whatever reason. They hadn’t. Confusion was building. He had no recollection of ordering them, decided this package would be a very odd gift, and decided to investigate. Asking around to see if anyone was pulling a gag on him yielded no answers, but then he checked his bank account. Bingo.
At 3:48am on a Saturday morning almost two weeks prior, he had won an eBay auction for 250 new neon party shades with a bid of $135.
He had no memory of eBay shopping during those early morning hours, much less having the coherent mindset to place a bid. His drunken subconscious wasn’t done partying that night, even though his body was in tap-out mode. Drunk him simply wanted to rock some party shades, and he needed 249 pairs of backups because he planned on partying right through a whole mess of them.
The intoxicated mind is an untamable beast of rash decisions and compromisable standards. Many assets, monetary or otherwise, become less valued in this state. It’s as if the drunkard believes any unspent money will be sent through a paper shredder upon his sobering up. Spend it, or lose it.
I have a drunken purchase story of my own. It takes place on Bourbon Street about three or four summers ago. After our third bar stop on one Friday night, I stumbled into one of the many t-shirt shops along the street, picked out a winner, strutted up to the counter and plopped down a twenty-spot. It wasn’t for me. It was for my lady friend. Man, I was so excited. In that instance, and in my present state of mind, it was the single greatest purchase I had ever made. It cost $20, but I’d have dropped a cool hundred on it. It was legal theft. I met her on the street outside the shop, and excitedly ran up to her like I was handing over a 6-week-old golden retriever puppy with a bow on his head to a Make-A-Wish 6-year-old who, up to that point, lived a terminally-ill, puppy-less life. I figured she would be forever grateful, and I was undoubtedly getting laid that night (by my lady friend, we’ve moved on from the 6-year-old).
It wasn’t a puppy, though. It was a black t-shirt — an extremely distasteful black t-shirt with enormous, white letters that spelled out “WILL FUCK FOR BEER” on the front. In my intoxicated state, I thought it would be hilarious for her to offer up sex to complete strangers in exchange for an adult beverage that was, at any given time on Bourbon, a mere twenty paces and $3 way. She was mortified, and I was faced with the serious uphill battle of getting her to throw this awesome t-shirt over the outfit she had probably planned for weeks. Through some persistence, Frank the Tank-style subconscious ingenuity, and well-crafted pleading, I was able to convince her that “Nah, it’s cool. I swear. It’ll be so fuckin’ funny.”
She wore it the rest of the night, and she wore it like a proud filly, strutting around the Winner’s Circle at Belmont Park with white carnations around her neck. After an avalanche of inebriated suitors offering up their half-empties in exchange for a Bourbon Street sex romp, followed by some laughs, everyone in my group realized how awesome that shirt was. Well, the girls did anyway. All my boys were onboard from the jump. It was a great night.
But what exactly is going on inside the mind of a drunk asshole that causes a propensity to spend money recklessly and aimlessly? Scientifically, I haven’t a clue. That’s not my field.
I equate it to “Vegas Money Syndrome.” You see, in Vegas, money takes on a seemingly Monopoly-like quality. It just doesn’t seem real. After an hour-long session at the $15 minimum craps table, and $500 in the red later, you try to grasp at straws by telling your boys, “Well, at least I slammed down six Millers and two old fashioneds. Right, guys?” Then you spend a few minutes trying to justify losing five hundo in 60 minutes by calculating how long it takes you to earn that much at your nine-to-five, or figuring what percentage of your rent check you just blew, followed by a depressed-walk over to the 24-hour sandwich stand where a $14 pre-packaged panini suddenly seems like a hell of a damn deal.
It all just seems okay in the moment. Vegas and alcohol have the same effect, and that’s basically that “It’s only money, and there’s more to be had.” It’s also just more fun to spend under the influence.