If New Year’s Eve isn’t the time for knock down drag out partying, what is?
“Knock down, drag out” is an interesting phrase. Google has killed speculation on such things; you can learn the origin of any phrase with a few keystrokes. I’m going to fly Google-free and mention that song which exhorts the listener, “let’s have a knock down, drag out, rock n’ roll party in the street.” Which came first, the phrase or the song? If the song came first, it sounds like we’re coming into your house, pushing you off your feet, dragging you out of your home, and forcing you to party whether you want to or not. That’s dedication to having a good time.
Maybe “knock down” connotes partying so intense walls come down, which I’d prefer. It’s less predatory partying.
“Drag out” could be a reference to all those gender-confused men on Halloween, or a New Year’s celebration in Key West.
On Halloween, men dress in drag, women go soft-core porn slutty, and it’s beyond encouraged; it’s a given. Likewise, drunken revelry on New Year’s. During my eleven years as a non-drinker, I managed a Starbucks and a Borders. I scheduled myself to open New Year’s Day, knowing I could trust me to show up. I told my co-workers if they called out, they were calling out for good.
Harsh? Not really. I was just being realistic about Miami the day after a given party night. I was a good enough manager the rest of the year that I could make that kind of threat / promise and have it honored; no one ever called out New Year’s Day.
Since I began drinking again (“re-drinking?”) five years ago, I’ve had a few hangovers but nothing on par with my college days (when I quit drinking in the first place). Words of wisdom from my friend Jeffrey have guided me through 100 proof waters. He was working St. Patrick’s Day at Books & Books while I was drinking at the bar in the courtyard. Several beers into feeling no pain, I asked him if he thought I should have another. Jeffrey, who calls St. Patrick’s Day “amateur night,” leaned in close.
“Aaron my friend,” he said, “once you’re over thirty, there’s no reason to throw up from too much alcohol.”
It deflated my buzz the tiniest bit, but even a drunken reveler knows truth when he hears it. I ordered a bottled water.
New Year’s Eve 2004, two beers were enough to make my head spin. 2005 – 2008? Let’s just say, more than two beers were required to get the job done. I didn’t throw up from drinking, but man, I would’ve hated to work for me the next day.
This year, my New Year’s Eve consisted of a dinner party for four. Hor D’Oeuvres a plenty, tossed salad, chicken pot pie, and carrot cake. One of our number fell ill (truly ill, not amateur-hour ill), so three of us stood on a balcony and watched fireworks ring in 2010. Becky and I shared a New Year’s Eve kiss. Since we didn’t want our host to feel like a third wheel, our kiss was hardly Miami style. It was more the smackaroo you give when your whole family’s watching.
Still, this was a good New Year celebration. If Akimbo hadn’t gotten sick, it would have been a great New Year’s Eve. No pressure to party, no awkward mingling with strangers, no dodgy characters, just solid friends you love. At midnight, texts were passed ‘round the world, friends and family at various parties coming together for one big virtual celebration.
I popped out of bed the next morning bright and early, but with a headache. Not a hangover, just a headache. It lasted all day, through breakfast, lunch, and dinner, through coffee and juice and water, through Bayer and Aleve, through reading and writing and movies. I’ve decided champagne is absolute evil.
Next year, I’m toasting with Jack Daniels. If I’m going to feel the punishment the next day, I might as well feel the buzz the night before.