The Five Stages of Drinking ------------------------------ LEVEL 1: It's 11:00 on a weeknight, you've had a few beers. You get up to leave because you have work the next day and one of your friends buys another round. One of your UNEMPLOYED friends. Here at level one you think to yourself, "Oh come on, this is silly, why as long as I get seven hours of sleep (snap fingers), I'm cool.". LEVEL 2: It's midnight. You've had a few more beers. You've just spent 20 minutes arguing against artificial turf. You get up to leave again, but at level two, a little devil appears on your shoulder. And now you're thinking, "Hey! I'm out with my friends! What am I working for anyway? These are the good times! Besides, as long as I get five hours sleep (snaps fingers) I'm cool.". LEVEL 3: One in the morning. You've abandoned beer for tequila. You've just spent 20 minutes arguing FOR artificial turf. And now you're thinking, "Our waitress is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen!" At level three, you love the world. On the way to the bathroom you buy a drink for the stranger at the end of the bar just because you like his face. You get drinking fantasies. (like,"Hey fellas, if we bought our own bar, we could live together forever. We could do it. Tommy, you could cook.") But at level three, that devil is a little bit bigger....and he's buying. And you're thinking "Oh, come on, come on now. As long as I get three hours sleep...and a complete change of blood (snaps fingers), I'm cool.". LEVEL 4: Two in the morning. And the devil is bartending. For last call, you ordered a bottle of rum and a Coke. You ARE artificial turf! This time on your way to the bathroom, you punch the stranger at the end of the bar. Just because you don't like his face! And now you're thinking, "Our busboy is the best looking man I've ever seen." You and your friends decide to leave, right after you get thrown out, and one of you knows an ...after hours bar. And here, at level four, you actually think to yourself, "Well....as long as I'm only going to get a few hours sleep anyway, I may as well....STAY UP ALL NIGHT!!!! Yeah! That'd be good for me. I don't mind going to that board meeting looking like Keith Richards. Yeah, I'll turn that around, make it work for me. And besides, as long as I get 31 hours sleep tomorrow ...................cool. LEVEL 5: Five in the morning. after unsuccessfully trying to get your money back at the tattoo parlor ("But I don't even know anybody named Ruby!!!"), you and your friends wind up across the state line in a bar with guys who have been in prison as recently as...that morning. It's the kind of place where even the devil is going, "Uh, I gotta turn in. I gotta be in Hell- at nine. I've got that brunch with Hitler, I can't miss that." At this point, you're all drinking some kind of thick blue liquor, like something from a Klingon wedding. A waitress with fresh stitches comes over, and you think to yourself, "Someday I'm gonna marry that girl!!" One of your friends stands up and screams, "WE'RE DRIVIN' TO FLORIDA!!!!!"- and passes out. You crawl outside for air , and then you hit the worst part of level five- the sun. You weren't expecting that were you? You never do. You walk out of a bar in daylight, and you see people on their way to work, or jogging. And they look at you-and they know. And they say..."Who's Ruby?" Let's be honest, if you're 19 and you stay up all night, it's like a victory like you've beat the night, but if you're over 30, then that sun is like God's flashlight. We all say the same prayer then, "I swear, I will never do this again (how long?) as long as I live!" And some of us have that little addition, "and this time, I mean it!"