In our younger years (perhaps many of you are still enjoying them) we are invincible, or so most of us believe. No activity personifies this ethos moreso than drinking; Nietzsche finds an unlikely disciple in the 21 year old college student. Nights of keg stands and Jager bombs (not to be confused with Jagr bombs aka 2002 Washington Capitals) are followed with bleary-eyed mornings of defiant beer and Bloody Mary consumption with a post-game burrito and more beer as an acceptable tonic for the previous 24 hours' indiscretions. Whatever doesn't kill us makes us
Then we turn a corner. We get to an age where we may feel the same way as before during imbibing but the next morning(s) bring punishments heretofore unknown. Aging takes away our ability to skip class and nurse our wounds lying on a couch, eating Cheetos, sipping Gatorade and playing Bond. Adulthood forces us to take our hangovers to the workplace, making each law brief an indecipherable mess, each phone call a mortar explosion in our ears, each angry customer's wrath like the unholy combination of the girlfriend you cheated on combined with the dad whose permission was not granted to borrow the now-scratched car in the garage. We recover more slowly, telling ourselves "never again", only to eventually commit the same mistakes again but, unlike before, with a greatly elongated gap between binges.
Can't wait for bowl season!
At this moment in time, your Michigan Wolverines and our Iowa Hawkeyes have us dry heaving on a stranger's front lawn, praying for death to take us. Now you are wondering, "when will it be safe to drink again?"
The nature of our collective hangovers is, for the moment, quite different. Michigan is a middle aged guy who used to be an A1 Alpha Dog but who is now secretly packing antacids the way Dirty Harry rocked a Magnum (or the way Magnum PI rocked a dirty, hairy 'stache). But Michigan went out a few years ago and got some hair plugs, had the cute girl at J Crew pick him out some new duds and bought a Corvette. Each night (season) he goes out, he looks and feels great, ready to reclaim the throne of Party King/Ladies Man. And at first, each night begins great. He's not keeping up with the kids in the trendy bar, he's setting the pace, generating an exhilarating buzz and captivating everyone within earshot with his wit and charm, regaling them all with tales from his wild youth. Then suddenly, around the 5th White Russian, his body begins to revolt. He maintains his pace as if nothing is wrong but deep down a ghastly mix of cream and bile begins creeping up his throat and his speech patterns begin to make Ozzy Osborne sound like an elocution teacher by comparison. He somehow manages to excuse himself unscathed from the public eye only to add all 9 scenes worth of the Big Lebowski to his 'Vette's leather seats. This is very un-dude. After three such humbling episodes, Michigan will no doubt take a long look in the mirror: does he change his lifestyle (approach) or get a liver transplant (coach)?
Iowa, on the other hand, is a slightly younger, more resilient type. However, with that inexperience comes youthful mistakes. After embarrassing itself and puking its guts out the first few times it went out ('99 & '00), Iowa started building a tolerance. '01 saw Iowa keep up with the big dogs and despite a wicked headache, he came out next morning (Alamo Bowl) had some schnaaps and coffee and was good to go. Soon he had developed into a champion drinker, knocking back whatever the bartender could sling. Sure, he would occasionally wake up next to the 200lb Lithuanian girl on shot-put scholarship (Iowa State), but typically Iowa was the life of the party. But youthful hubris can cause us to overreach and soon Iowa was doing stupid shit like not eating before he went out or starting the night with wine and then moving on to beer and liquor. When Iowa woke up with injuries he could not remember one too many times he resolved to grow up. He stuck with the same beverage all night and decided to only go out with friend who he could count on to be responsible; good buzz, great times, no messy aftermath. But then he got a call from an old college roommate who wanted to "catch up". This guy was a real jackass in the day but curiosity got the better part of Iowa and he decided "what the Hell?" and went out anyway. Bad idea. He should have known better when his buddy took them to a meat-market of a bar catering to the newly 21. He should have known better when his buddy wanted to start with car bombs. He should have known better when he got slapped by a girl not an hour into the excursion due to an already out of control drinking pace. But he didn't, and the rest is history. After bravely maintaining for a couple more hours things rapidly fell apart; Iowa insisted on a shot of Malört (you should totally read that article), knocked over a couple drinks, had his wallet stolen, went on some rambling, half-shouting diatribe about "Communists", picked a fight with a pay phone, took a left turn into a lamp post and then pissed himself in the back seat of the squad car. His family wants to bail him out but they also think there might be a valuable lesson to be learned from a night in jail; do you act like a grown-up or keep trying to cling to your irresponsible youth?
Both our fanbases are feeling awfully hung-over right now. We're not sure where or when yet, but the next drink (bowl game) is coming. Let's hope this detox period causes our guys to flush their systems and get their heads screwed on straight. After all, we're getting awfully tired of watching Ohio State go out every night and get shit-faced, only to never suffer any repercussions from his actions (although word is it burns when he pees a few days after he goes home with the SEC).