Life o’ the Party – The Harvard Lampoon

Life o’ the Party

  MMW '84

Everyone knows a Ralph Rummy. You see him at every party, every picnic, every Saturday night at the Bowl-O-Matic. He imbibes a wee more alcohol than he can handle, and then becomes unruly and uncontrollable. He makes lewd remarks, staggers from one garbage can to the next ralphing up his lunch from three weeks hence, and then finally, under the mild protests of his friends, he climbs behind the wheel of an automobile and backs slowly over a small child. After the party’s over, the picnic is packed up and the bowling shoes are back on the rack, everyone comes to the mutual agreement that in the light of day, Ralph Rummy just wasn’t much of a fun drunk.

Alcoholism. It’s an ugly word; it breaks up families, it destroys careers, it kills. But it also provides a cornucopia of the best live entertainment. Just think how many of the finest, most magical moments of the cinema eminated from the slurred speech of W.C. Fields. Fields: You’re ugly! Woman: (disdainfully) You’re drunk! Fields: Madam, but that may be true, but in the morning, I’ll be sober. Surrounding Crowd: Touché! Touché! What a burn!

Even behind the scenes W.C. Fields provided moments of inebriated merriment. Fields: (to bartender) I’d like a whiskey, straight up. Woman: (sitting on a nearby stool) You’re nothing but a fat booze-hound, not fully at all. Fields: Lady, blow me. Chorus of Drunks: Bravissimo! Atta Boy! Our Hero!

Many might assess Field’s retort as merely rude, instead of seeing him for the whimsical soak that he is. The distinction, however, is important. It spells the difference between permanent ostracization or an invitation to paradise. Who wants to be around the depressing sort of drunk with a season to pass to Alcoholics Anonymous? Well, nobody. The life of a fun drunk is very different. Many find alcohol to be a great boon. Rather than lose their jobs, they find the invitations to entertain at children’s birthday parties never stop. Or if they’re lucky, they become well-paid game show hosts.

The society of daffy dipsomaniacs is not open to any old stumble bum. There are specific rules of etiquette which must be followed if one is to truly adopt the title of “Fundrunk”. Let’s follow Farley Fundrunk through a typical cocktail party to pick up a few pointers, shall we?

As all fun drunks have learned, there is nothing more annoying than arriving at a party, throwing back a good deal of rotgut and then discovering that the host owns none of the accoutrements that really make a party fly. Here we see Farley has come prepared with lampshade, cigars, wacky tie, and a woman’s brassiere in his briefcase, should things get really hot. The guests are relieved he has finally arrived, and are anticipating the excitement to come.

Once inside, Farley finds that he is quite thirsty for liquor-drinks. Since he knows that he is going to visit the bar quite often, he notes the objects in the room which will serve as landmarks to help him make his way once his eyes have clouded and his legs have turned to warm porridge. Farley seems to have marked another path as well which he plans to use during the evening. You might want to do the same.

Oh-oh, it looks like Farley has had “one too many.” Nothing ends a party quite like vomit. The less of it, the better. Again, Farley has come prepared. By establishing a certain room in the house as the “Vomitorium” with this smart but simple sign, he has saved his host the anguish of discovering “hidden accidents” a month later in some hidden corner of the house. And what fun! What might have been a disgusting faux pas has been transformed into an ancient Bacchanalian rite!

Who’s the life o’ the party? Well, there’s no mistaking here. Once revved up for the evening, Farley Fundrunk capers about, urinating in the pool, going for a spin in the clothes dryer, and biting the head off the canary. The height of the evening is always when a prudish matron suddenly cries, “My pantyhose–it’s gone!” and everyone knows where to find them. Look! Farley’s got DONKEY EARS!”

Well, it’s time to go home, but not before thanking the host and hostess for a marvelous bar. Don’t forget, they have a lot to thank you for. After all, if it weren’t for your wild antics, the party might have reverted into a sleep-a-thon. So give them each a great big sloppy lick–hey, you’re drunk! You can do anything and get away with it. Even Lady Law turns her head if you can be witty enough. Try these out on the next police officer who pulls you over for drunk driving.

Weaving?!? I was dodging the pink elephants!”

“I know I was speeding, officer, but my foot felt like fudge and I couldn’t find the accelerator. I mean brake. Oh, I don’t know what I mean. Windshield wipers. What the hell’s the difference–am I right? Am I right?”

“It’s not as bad as it could be, officer. I’m so cockeyed right now. I thought I hit two ladies instead of just one.”

Every party must come to a close. , and unfortunately, it often closes with a hangover… WHAT AM I SAYING?!? The party never stops for the fun drunk. Take one final tip from Farley:

When making toasts just raise your glass

And toss it down the hatch

But after ten or twelve of these

Beware the lighted match!