Friday, August 7, 2009

An ABC of Inebriation

One interesting characteristic of most inebriated persons (and in this case, I'm using "inebriated" to refer to an altered condition created by a variety of substances, not just alcohol) is that they behave as if they are among the first persons in history to be inebriated. This is true of many college freshmen (to select but one of many groups). My generation of college freshmen--let's see, I think we began college around 1854--believed itself to be the discoverers of getting drunk, and I'm sure many freshmen in the Fall of 2009 across the globe will see themselves as discoverers of something new when they drink, smoke, etc.

Another oddity about inebriation is that, at least in the U.S., the language used to describe it is not complimentary. For example, people speak of getting "stupid," "smashed," "hammered," "destroyed," and so on. "Hey, dude, last night we got totally destroyed." I'm so happy for you! Dude.

At any rate, while I and my ancient auto were stuck in traffic (I was not inebriated), I got to thinking about an ABC of terms for getting drunk or stoned or high or whatever: inebriation in its broadest sense. So here's a list. When I have (at least as far as I know) invented a term, I have placed an asterisk beside it.

A: altered, avalanched* ("Oh, man, we got totally avalanched last night.")
B: bombed, blasted, baked
C: clobbered, crazy
D: drunk, damaged, destroyed
E: eroded* ("Jeez, we drank tequila all night and got very eroded.") I tested this descriptor on an audience, and the audience thought it was "dumb." I think it's a droll term, but drollery often fails.
F: the obvious one is "effed up," which is pretty funny when you think about it; what are those new to English to think of this? "We drank innumerable beers last night and got effed up." Really? How exactly does that work? "Fried" is one I've heard, too. Also "footless," as in "footlessly drunk."
G: giddy--hmmm, not very good; glad? No. Obviously, I'm having trouble with G.
H: Hammered; high.
I: Well, "inebriated." Also (under the) "influence". I've always thought this term was too soft. When someone gets drunk, drives the wrong way on a highway, and kills people, "influence" doesn't quite measure up. By the way, what is the condition of "ebriation"? "Honest, officer, I'm ebriated, not inebriated."
J: jacked? jolly? jacked up? joyous* ("Dude, we smoked some weed and got joyous.")
K: Kebobbed*? Knackered?
L: loaded, loopy, looped
M: mashed?
N: neutralized*?
O: obliterated; oppressed* ("Dave and I got a bottle of rum and got extremely oppressed, man.")
P: Pissed (a Britishism, I believe).
Q: Quarked*. I rather like this one. Quenched? I like this one.
R: Roaring drunk. This was a term I heard from my parents' generation. Rummy. Ravaged.
S: Ah, so many. Stoned, stupid, smashed, soused, silly, etc.
T: Trashed.
U: Unhinged*? Unbelievably drunk? That's cheating, using an adverb.
V: This is a tough one. Verved*? Vegetative? Vectored? "Hey, man, you want to go get vectored?"
W: wrecked, wiped out, whacked, etc.
X: Oy, this is tough. Xylophoned*?
Y: Young*. You know, like when old people get high, they feel young, so the next day, they say, "Hey, we got really young last night."
Z: zapped, zonked.
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