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There are those out there who might misinterpret the title of this article as a clear indicator that I have a problem with drinking, however, this could not be further from the truth. Even if it is the truth, and I’m simply in denial, then so be it. I have yet to find a more effective way of dispensing with the inescapable burdens of existence in this tedious modern world. If anybody has a better solution I am certainly open to suggestions. Anyhow, the real problem isn’t the drinking, or even the hangovers, but how to deal with the inevitable shortage of funds as a result of a near-constant pursuit of liquid oblivion. This, my friends, is an art form and requires finesse and diligence. Here’s how it’s done.

During the week most bars, especially the blue-collar dives and shitty corner bars, offer ridiculously cheap drink specials designed to entice the weekend warrior to begin his weekend revelries a few days sooner instead of simply schlepping back and for the from house to work and work to house. Now, since we only have four dollars to work with, a special such as BBC’s dollar-Pabst Wednesday’s is an absolute godsend and allows the dedicated prowler to get in at least a couple of honest drinks before resorting to Spaulding beers (see accompanying article). If you haven’t drank anything prior to going out, which is always an economical idea, then it’s a good idea to slam the first one since it will generally make you drink the second one a bit slower and will get the ball rolling so to speak.

Remember, our goal is not just a cheap night out, we want to actually achieve inebriation without resorting to consumption of household products. Therefore, another effective tactic is to buy a forty of the cheapest malt liquor you can find before going out. When I lived in Madison this was the best bet since the corner store near my apartment sold forties of Big Bear and 22oz. Bombers of 8-ball for 99 cents. Malt liquor is our friend and provides us with a rock-solid foundation of drunkenness upon which to build our towering stupefaction. Now, I can already hear some of you out there whining that “I don’t like malt liquor, it tastes awful and it gives me a headache”, and if you are one of these people I advise you to stop reading now. You are a bubble-gummer. Go sip your fucking Red Bull and vodka. But for those of you committed to the cause I recommend crossing the river and picking up some Steel Reserve High Gravity. I don’t exactly know what High Gravity means, but the shit works.

Alright, we’ve got the ball rolling now and we are at the bar nursing hat all important second drink. At this point you want to begin to survey your surroundings. Look for people you know who might spring for a drink and work your way into their good graces. You needn’t tell them you’re broke and ask for a drink outright, in fact it is imperative that you do not ask. Merely keep the conversation rolling and before you know it a drink will magically appear. I know this sounds manipulative and low, but you need to shelve your dignity. It has no place in a bar anyways. Now, if you don’t know anyone and can’t find a sympathetic bartender or waitress who will throw you a freebie (I’ve actually drank for free an entire night because I wrote a spontaneous poem for a waitress on a bar napkin), then it is time to start looking for punters. A punter is an anonymous person who is already so drunk that he or she will kick a drink in your direction simply because you are in the right place at the right time. Look for loud people doing rounds of shots and throwing money around. Punters are in the habit of buying shots for friends who don’t want them as well as the guy sitting next to them who has an honest face, which conveniently is you. Punters also love to get smashed and play pool and, if you are confident in our abilities, you can play for a drink. However, since you’ve just laid down one of your last tow dollars to play pool, you better win or start looking for the nearest exit.

So, we are down to two dollars and hopefully at least marginally drunk. This is where the finesse comes in and the truly dedicated, and truly conscience-free, man-of-meager-means turns a simple night out into degenerative art. Warning: the following tactic exposes one to a considerable amount of danger and/or shame and should not be practiced in excess or carelessly. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the world of Spaulding.