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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Column: Drinking responsibly

It’s a typical Thursday night and Donald Cameron Gensemer is doing what many 21-year-old college students are doing. He’s taking shots of rum to loosen up before he goes to the bars to loosen up some more.

This concept is known as “pre-gaming,” and it is highly effective in two crucial arenas of college life. The first is getting drunk. The second is saving money.

Drinking at home is the equivalent of buying in bulk at Costco. More bang for your drunk – I mean, buck. The difference is you will never regret buying too much alcohol. Well, almost never.

As I sit across from Gensemer, he describes the night he and his friends might embark on.

“We’ll take a couple shots at home or at least sit around drinking beer until we feel like going out,” he said.

Gensemer plans on either going to a party or the bars. There, they will have more drinks.

“It really depends on how much money I’m willing to spend and what kind of mood I’m in,” Gensemer said. “[Getting drunk is] not the most important thing. I want to make sure we’re going to have a good time regardless.”

I watch as the group of people takes shot after shot. One girl smells the alcohol and says it reminds her of vomit. Another is coughing after shooting down his shot of vodka. Some are making wincing faces while others are gulping down soda to take the taste away. One person is still holding his shot glass, staring at it.

Gensemer laughs, holding his 12-ounce can of Budweiser.

A UC Davis study shows that binge drinking has actually declined from 2003 to 2007. Only 20 percent of those sampled in the survey said they have multiple drinks in a row.

This column is about that 20 percent. And, for the sake of safety, it’s about how to binge drink correctly.

The website safeparty.ucdavis.edu is dedicated to making sure we crazy college kids safely party. There are some things on the website that sound kind of contradictory, though. I’m not trying to bag on Safeparty. What they are doing is very commendable. But some of points just make me laugh.

One bullet point describes how alcohol is a depressant and it amplifies feelings that you already have. Another bullet point says, “Trust your instincts.” Will do.

Some other points are just too ideal. It says alternate each alcoholic drink with a drink of water. How is that even possible? It also says don’t play drinking games. What am I supposed to do with this stack of cards and dice then?

But I guess calming down, drinking slowly and just stopping before you black out is a good call. And don’t give into peer pressure. I mean, come on.

“I know what my limit is and I try to look out for other friends, too,” Gensemer said. “I know what’s fun and what’s not.”

Some of the best advice about drinking is to eat beforehand and to always have a safe drive home. After the tragic death of Richard Jung, the 21-year-old senior who was killed on New Years day by a drunk driver, we need to remember how serious drunk driving can be.

Safeparty has numbers to different taxis in Davis, including Tipsy Taxi, which will take you anywhere in Davis for just $2. Visit the website for more information.

Midterm season is almost here. So the drinking will either get A) much better or B) much worse. Either way, just remember some of these tips and try to be safe.

Are you going to party this weekend? E-mail SARA KOHGADAI at sbkohgadai@ucdavis.edu so she can remind you how to be safe. Talk about a buzz kill.

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