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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Humor: The essay drinking game

DEVIN McHUGH / AGGIE
DEVIN McHUGH / AGGIE

How one student tried to combine homework with partying

Partying and essays: why can’t they be one and the same?

Drinking games come in many formats nowadays. You have classics such as Beer Pong, Kings Cup, Rage Cage and taking a shot every time someone says “Dude” in Dude, Where’s My Car. For essays, it’s hard to find such variety. The assignments are formulaic: introduction with a thesis, argument one, argument two, argument three and conclusion. It’s a boring and predictable process. But one UC Davis student may have found a way to turn the humble writing assignment into a party event.

Last Sunday, second-year communication major William Canton (a pseudonym for a student who asked that we not reveal his true identity) created a drinking game based on formal essay writing. The inspiration came when several of his friends feared they would have to cancel one of their monthly visits because of a last minute assignment.

“I really wanted to hang out with them again, but I also didn’t want to hold them back on their homework,” Canton said. “Then I realized, if parties normally happen after work is done, why not turn work into the party itself?”

Canton described the rules of the game. Seven of his friends had essays that were supposed to have a minimum of 750 words. The goal was to finish the essay in a limited amount of time in four unique phases. During each phase, the players (writers) had to finish a certain task with the fewest errors possible.

In Phase One, the players had to research their sources and write down no less than 20 notes in four 15-minute heats. After each heat, if a player didn’t hit their target amount notes, they had to drink a beer for each one that was missing.

In Phase Two, the players began brainstorming. Each had to write down their theses, arguments and cited segments in 10 minutes. If a player did not meet the goal, they were penalized with a shot of Jägermeister.

In Phase Three, the players began writing the bulk of their papers. This took approximately 30 minutes. To make the process more difficult, the contestants had to drink a cup of beer every 10 minutes. If a player failed to write their 750 words in time, they would have to numb their hands by placing them in a bucket of icewater. This would have big consequences in the next challenge.

Phase Four: the proofreading challenge. This was where the players checked their papers for spelling, grammar and citation errors. The time limit was three heats of 10 minutes. After each heat, the player’s papers were checked, and if any mistakes were found, the offender would have to drink a nasty eight-ounce concoction of vinegar, mayonnaise, mashed peas and powdered mashed potatoes.

After the party was over and Canton’s friends had gone home, one challenge remained: the final grade. The winner with the highest grade and most drunken literacy won a frozen yogurt. The person in last place had to eat a Waldorf salad, sprinkled with roasted crickets, worms and grubs (legally sold in the United States, of course).

In the end, Canton decided the game was a failure. Most of his guests got hangovers, numb hands, awful breath and, not-so-surprisingly, bad grades. Even the winner was upset, forced to eat the frozen yogurt during the winter season. The person in last place had few comments because he was busy vomiting in private.

As of now, no attempts of a drinking essay game have been reported again at UC Davis. It’s possible that the rules of the game are too complex, counterproductive and conducive to liver damage. Canton’s form of “boozifying” homework also runs the risk of inspiring new games that students may fool themselves into playing, such as drunk biology, drunk fine arts, drunk law, sober viticulture, drunk political science and who knows, drunk history?

You can reach EVAN LILLEY at etlilley@ucdavis.edu.

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