Sunday, October 18, 2009


They expanded the drink bar at the Fit Inn fitnesszentrum, or perhaps it's just my newly restored vision. The new choices made me wish I saved a few of them bacteria so I could have an eye infection again. Pineapple coconut drink? Who thought of this, and how much had he been drinking? Probably more than me, after meeting some fun Canadians Friday night near Molly Malone's. Worse, they were pro hockey players here in Graz, and one of them was fantastic at movie trivia, so I was motivated to ingratiate myself both to get free hockey tickets and a valuable addition to my burgeoning Pub Quiz team. My fitness plans suffered a modest setback with a particularly dumb drinking combination: Guinness, wine, and two horrific Austrian concoctions, namely schilcher Sturm and 160 proof rum. It wasn't this combination that necessitated increased gymgoing - it was that it was followed somehow by a spate of not vomiting. Vomiting is not just helpful for alleviating hangover and freeing your body of toxins that the area postrema rightly fears; it's a weight loss tactic approved by countless supermodels and aspiring actresses who thrive on a diet of saccharin drinks, tic tacs, saltines, cocaine, and the nocturnal emissions of lying producers. Must remember, next time, not to eat before drinking, nor to stay awake for 2 hours afterward drinking water. Have I learned nothing from my old drinking buddies in college?

I recently told said drinking buddies of a game I learned Friday night, which the Austrians called a pissing contest. People drink beer until someone leaves the room, and then that person pays for all preceding drinks. It was a nice extension of a culturally enlightening exchange from Gung Ho, a forgotten 80s movie:

Hunt Stevenson: Afterwards we have a few beers and piss for distance.
Kazihiro: For us it's accuracy.

So Americans try to win with brute force, Japanese with accuracy, and Austrians with discipline. Hm. Interesting.

Drinking Buddy Kanaar, himself somewhat Canadian, said that this Austrian variant is in fact published in an American book of drinking games, and is called "Bladder Bust." He also noted that we never played another game in that book, called "Mother Hubbard," in which you must balance a beer on your head while shouting fairy tales at your friends. Why not combine them in "Bust Mother Hubbard's Bladder?" Balancing a beer on your head gets even harder when you're squirming with a full bladder.

I pondered all this while plodding uphill on the hated treadmill. Oh, how I hate it! Worse, the monitors at Fit Inn were STILL PLAYING PING PONG, which is among the dumbest things to play to a room full of people trying to exercise. Ping pong kills a testosterone high like the inevitable ninth Sex and the City movie. Worse, I already voiced my objections to ping pong last month:

I don't understand. The employees at Fit Inn speak very good English. (How else could I communicate with them?) My blog mockery was clear and relatively mild. WTF? Am I supposed to believe that the management at Fit Inn doesn't base their policy decisions on my blog? Maybe they issued a dictum involving tennis on tables, because I didn't call it ping pong? That must be it.

Well, whatever their problem, I had to come up with a new way to get ping pong off their monitors, or at least make it more entertaining. So this one is instead directed toward the producers of televised ping pong. Now, this is a really good idea. And I should charge you for it. And remember, this blog is copyrighted. When you produce this new game, as you inevitably will, you owe me. It is a combination of an American classic, beer pong, and America's favorite target, ducks.

But to build suspense, I have to first explain beer pong. It is like ping pong, except that each player has a 12 ounce plastic cup of beer placed on the white line that bisects the table lengthwise, maybe 6 inches from the end of the table (thus closer to the player than the net). You play ping pong, except nobody really pays attention to the score and nobody really cares about the rules. OK, so it is not much like ping pong. Anyway. If you hit the other player's beer, he must drink. If you land a ball in the beer, he must finish the beer. Before too long, both players work out that the latter option is much better. They usually stand back from the table, going for slow, graceful lobs that arc down in to the opponent's beer. Good game, huh? So you televise that, go ahead, I didn't invent it.

Remember that the trick of trying to slam the ping pong ball so hard that it knocks over the opponent's beer is called a "Lohr." (Expert's tip: This is easier when the beer is mostly empty. Moron's tip: the variant of trying to use a tennis ball for the same purpose, called a "Firouzabadi," is not funny no matter now drunk you are.)

OK. On to the new idea. Now this is really good, right? Even Drinking Buddy Weir, the greatest game inventor in history, couldn't come up with this. In duck pong, the two plastic cups of beer are replaced by two ducks. If your opponent's ball hits your duck, you must drink. If the contact elicits a quack, you must finish the beer. If the duck leaves your table, you must drink an additional beer. Fastening the duck to the table somehow is cheating (and quite mean, as would be the introduction of a tennis ball. Shame on you!) Part of the fun is keeping the duck in bounds. If the duck commits a "potty foul" on the table, it must drink.

Royalty checks may be sent to my home address, available on request.

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