What happens when a person loses consciousness from consuming large doses of alcohol? What are the dos and don'ts of a black out? How do you protect yourself and others, too? We at the Yearning Annex feel that, while there is an abundance of information explaining the many ways to avoid a blackout, there is little said about how to comport yourself while in the midst of one. Which is why we are offering a new course called, “Black Out Strategies for the Beginning Alcoholic.”
As a bartender, your qualified instructor (Mr. Edwin Decker) has served up thousands of blackouts. He also has more than 20 years worth of experience as a full-time rummy, having fallen off countless bar stools, sat in the back of countless police cruisers and experienced every color in the blackout rainbow-such as the “Gray-Out,” the “White-Out,” the “Black-and-Blue-Out” (when you wake to find bruises all over you body and no memory of how they got there) and, of course, the wretched” Green-Out” (when you wake to find that all that remains of your rent money are some crumpled ones, a fiver and a guacamole-stained Roberto's receipt).
Decker has written many articles on the subject of Aggravated Alcoholic Amnesia. His most recent-“Tips, Hints and Strategies toward a More Manageable Blackout”-will be covered in the course, as well as selected chapters from his new suspense novel, Oh Man, Why Am I Naked, and Bleeding, and Taped to the Dumpster Again?!
“Alcohol wreaks havoc on the part of the brain that converts short-term memories into the long term,” explains Decker. “It's called the hippocampus, and enough booze will render it entirely inoperative; hence the memory loss. This is why, for instance, a drunkard incessantly repeats himself-because he can't store the memory of having said it in the first place. This is valuable information because it means that you don't actually lose your consciousness in a blackout after all, and can therefore create a strategy to manage it.”
Tips and Hints on Strategies to a More Manageable Blackout
1. Learn to recognize your blackout: One way to do this is play billiards. Blackout victims can never remember what they are shooting. So, if you're looking at that table and can't remember if that ball you just sank was the type of ball with the stripy thing down the middle or the type of ball without the stripy thing down the middle-chances are that you are already inside the mouth of the great, black whale of memory loss.
2. Remain inconspicuous: Once blackout has been identified, the objective is to not draw attention to yourself. This means...
3. No Dancing: Your inability to store memory will cause you to repeat the same, awful dance move over and over and over and over and over-like the proverbial one-armed man rowing in circles. It's best to just avoid dancing altogether.
4. No Insulting Other Customers: Chances are, it's now the eighth time you called that biker, “a rock-witted, ass-puke who balls farm animals just to hear the funny noises they make.”
5. No Leaning Back on Stool: Your memory dysfunction doesn't allow you to remember that you are already leaning back on your stool and that leaning any further back on your stool will likely lead to a Falling Off Stool (FOS) episode.
6. When FOS episode is imminent: Always remember to stand up immediately afterward, brush yourself off and mutter something about how you are “grieving over a tragic loss in the family.”
7. No More Mack Daddy Moves: You cannot mack out in a blackout.
8. Run now, ask questions later: If you hear a great crash, start running immediately. It just might have been you who threw that pool ball through the back bar mirror. Your hippocampus is so boiled, it is entirely reasonable to believe that you are the reason there is an overturned cocktail table at your feet and the bouncers are storming your way. Run now, ask questions later.
9. Check yourself: If and when you are confronted by a bouncer or a cop, and he/she is saying something to you like, “Drop the knife mister,” please take a moment to check yourself, thus decreasing the chance that you might further wreck yourself. Are you brandishing any broken bottles, knives or splintered pool cues in either hand? Have you taken a hostage? I know you don't remember doing anything strange, but just humor me and look. If you find that your fingers are tightly wrapped around the handle of steak knife, I recommend you set it down gently, mutter something about a tragic death in your family and exit quickly.