There was once a time when history was regarded with reverence and esteem. Then the History Channel aired “Ice Road Truckers,” and since then, it has been hard for anyone to take history seriously. That being said, we still view history as an important part of our heritage that must be studied and understood. And by “studied and understood,” we of course mean “examined to establish which historical events would be funniest if all parties involved were shitfaced.” Here at Sherman Ave, history and drinking go together like, well, Mohawk rum and CVS-brand soda. Thus, we proudly present to you the 10 events in world history that totally should have been pregamed.10. The Travels of Marco Polo
As anybody who ever made the excruciating journey from the Keg to the mystical and foreign land of Burger King can attest, drunk adventures just tend to be more interesting than sober travels. Just imagine if Marco Polo had downed two bottles of wine before setting out from Venice! The young guido would probably embark on a series of raucous adventures throughout his travels, recording everything from his first encounters with Asian fusion cuisine in the land of Joy Yee to an ill-fated attempt to skinny dip in the Arabian Sea in an incomprehensibly ungrammatical text message sent to his roommate at three in the morning. The next day, Marco Polo would be way too hungover to feel dismayed by the revelation that, after being carried like three miles by his friends to the Yuan court, Polo used the sacred oil from Jerusalem entrusted to him by Gregory X to introduce the Mongolian Empire to waffle fries before promptly vomiting on Kublai Khan’s lap.
9. The Storming of the Bastille
On July 14, 1789, a bunch of disgruntled poor French people massed upon the Bastille, a large prison known for holding political prisoners. If you think about it, there are only three explanations for masses of people converging on a public place — they’re angry, they’re drunk, or they’re in the Jai Ho music video. Regrettably, seeing as the French were mostly angry in this scenario; they really should have been drunk. Simply compare the nature of angry public gatherings and drunken public gatherings. Angry public gatherings include Occupy Wall Street, Tiananmen Square, and Nazi book burnings. Drunken public gatherings include Snoop Dogg concerts, St. Patrick’s Day, and the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death. You decide which you find preferable. Besides, A Tale of Two Cities would just be so much more interesting if Madame Lafarge was vomiting uncontrollably in every scene.
8. The Defenestration of Prague
Like anybody needs much provocation to drink in order to escape the infernal bleakness of Eastern Europe. But I usually do need to be at least a couple of shots of absinthe deep before I defend my religious freedom by shoving Catholics out of a third floor window into a pit of manure. Not to mention, a good pregame would have added a whole other layer to the term “getting shit-faced.”
Which Crusades? ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE CRUSADES SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREGAMED. Okay, it’s like a road trip, but you can be as sloshy-slosh as you want, because you don’t have to worry about getting a DUI (unless the Holy Roman Empire stringently enforced horse-riding sobriety). Besides, there is no better instigator of belligerent shenanigans than Pope Urban II’s famous declaration, “God wills it!” That’s just asking to be misinterpreted for fratty purposes. Fifteen shots in an hour? God wills it! Eight consecutive kegstands? God wills it! Seriously, if someone walked up to me tomorrow and said “Hey, God wants us to get incredibly blitzed and then go ride a horse from Rome to Jerusalem,” I would instantly buy the necessary supplies. Then I’d probably proceed to buy a bible, to double-check the whole divine mandate thing.
6. Marx Writes the Communist Manifesto
Alcoholism becomes much easier when it’s supported by a good old-fashioned dialectical materialist ideology. A tipsy Marx after an unlucky game of Drunkopoly would undoubtedly replace his theories of Das Kapital with Das Boot, the class struggle with the timeless struggle for consciousness, and the stateless society the ideal of a pants-less society. His manuscript — hastily scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin — would ignite rebels everywhere with its message, resulting in a series of idealistic revolutions calling for the redistribution of Miller High Life among the proletariat but rapidly degenerating into a dystopian shitshow of Adele lyrics in the gulag of Fran’s Cafe.
5. Hannibal Leading His Army Over the Alps
When I’m plastered, there are only two things I want: Guacamole and Elephants. I have some doubts about the guacamole rations in the Carthaginian army, but there were definitely some fucking elephants. They’re just so large! In that state of mind, it’s difficult to perceive objects larger than the distance between Burger King and 7/11. An elephant would just be mind-blowing. Furthermore, there are tons of fun activities to do in the Alps: skiing, snowboarding, sledding, making snow angels, having snowball fights with fellow Carthaginian soldiers, walking behind Hannibal and quietly muttering lines from “Silence of the Lambs,” etc. If someone just told me to march over an entire mountain range, I’d be pretty miffed, but if someone had me do a power hour and then said “Let’s go hiking!” I’d take the bait like a middle-aged housewife at Herman Cain’s mansion.
Tensions might have ran high in the Rouen courtroom as the Maid of Orléans was tried for heresy, but that’s nothing a little Smirnoff chased by a slap can’t solve! If only the Bishop Cauchon had pregamed, the interrogation would have devolved from religious inquiry to a saucy game of “Never Have I Ever,” with questions mostly pertaining to Joan’s fantasies about the Dauphin and her penchant for cross-dressing. Joan of Arc will then famously proceed to declare to the courtroom, “I do not think I am in mortal sin, and if I am, it is for God and the priest in confession to know that I used the pages of Ezekial 23: 19-20 to roll the biggest joint Charles VII ever saw!” The trial would inevitably end with the pronouncement that the patron saint of France was “one righteous motherfucker” before burning her at the stake and cooking escargot over her smoldering ashes.
3. The Arrival of Cortez in Mexico
I’ll be the first to admit: When I’ve have too much to drink, I’m very friendly. Best friends are inundated with hugs, acquaintances are equally inundated with hugs, and the quiet Korean girl from my Econ discussion probably sustains a fairly serious spinal injury from the amount and magnitude of the hugs with which she is inundated. But even in all of my drunken affection, I very rarely greet a stranger and jump to the conclusion that they are the god Quetzalcoatl. There was that one time, but she had a very oddly proportioned face, and I couldn’t come up with any other explanation for it. Ultimately, Montezuma and his Aztec cronies should have heavily pregamed the arrival of Cortez, if for no other reason than to justify their absurd actions (just think if only Cortez had been entranced by the Aztec’s gold tequila rather than the golden buildings of Tenochtitlan). I’d have to be incredibly trashed to give a stranger the keys to the capital city of my civilization, even though I was once trashed enough to lock the keys in the car at 2:30 in the morning after drunkenly transporting a couch through several blocks of downtown Evanston.
2. The Construction of Stonehenge
Seeing as its pretty easy to build Stonehenge in the opening of Civilization IV, I can only assume that the Druids were pretty far gone when they built one the most complex monuments of the Stone Age. I mean, you’d kind of have to be three sheets to the wind to agree to lug 25-ton rocks from a Welsh quarry to some testament for the enterprising spirit of man. Assuming the Druids were drunk on mead, there are few explanations remaining for the memorial. My guess is that they either built a fast-food restaurant catering to students’ late-night culinary needs, or else a bar with a lax ID policy and stripper poles on the dance floor.
You may not have ever thought to pregame an entire nation, but it seems like the only appropriate thing to do. I’d really like to isolate a single event in Russian history that needs to be pregamed more than the others, but that is simply a Sisyphean task. Conclusion: Nothing in or relating to Russia should ever involve sobriety. Therefore, instead of painstakingly listing every event in Russian history, I present to you: “History of Russia: The Drinking Game!”
• Drink every time Russia is invaded in the winter against the invader’s better judgment
• Drink every time a prominent politician is sent to a gulag
• Drink every time Brezhnev’s eyebrows appear in an intricate nightmare of yours
• Drink every time Putin shares an uncomfortably intimate moment with a wild animal
• Drink every time Tolstoy and/or Dostoevsky makes you lose faith in everything, LITERALLY EVERYTHING
• Drink every time Tchaikovsky tries to suppress his latent homosexuality
• Drink every time a Russian leader tries to expand executive power
o Drink twice if it’s Putin
• Waterfall from 1917-1991