I Turned People Watching Into A Drinking Game, And So Can You!

Not to sound too much like an after school special, but anything can become a drinking game if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself.

Functional and non-functional alcoholics do it everyday in their boardrooms, kid’s sporting events, and bus stations. Depending on the individual, it can be a game with fun, kooky rules about what external events warrant drinking or it can be solely internalized, as in the entire game is non-stop binging until one “isn’t bored anymore” or “is now completely numb to all emotions.”

Now I’ve been awake for an hour and The Price is Right’s already over—probably as good a time as any to give up on being productive this Tuesday. Job applications, homework, and real pants will all still be here tomorrow should motivation strike. And with our Internet being weird again and our neighbors finally buying curtains, day drinking has, by default, become today’s entertainment.

The house is nearly empty. I forage for whiskey and am greeted by Kevin, the roommate whose habits help marginalize my apathy in comparison. Awesometown, his bathrobe and beard full of Hot Pocket shrapnel tell me exactly what I want to hear. Almost on cue he extracts a fifth from an obscure cupboard. We both know that in five years Tuesday drinking will no longer be a “fun thing,” moreover a “cry for help,” but for now we’ll relish in our irresponsibility.

We’re sitting on the front stoop, tumblers in hand and looking highly unemployable. No words are necessary—we both know the people watching drinking game is on. A man rounds the corner onto our block; his look could best be described as “a Hassidic Gallagher.” “Drink two,” I state, gesturing. Kevin doesn’t argue.

Moments later a muumuu-clad old woman on a Rascal Scooter slowly cruises into view. “Drink,” Kevin unapologetically states. I abide, not willing to argue with this game’s founding principle of drinking for any observed general silliness. There are no arguments and no reviews. As the old woman scoots closer we spot two costumed kittens in the basket on the bicycle-bell-adorned handlebar thing. “Christ on a fucking cracker; that’s at least three more drinks for you.

There are spectator sports, however this is a sport of spectators. It’s an afternoon of drinking, hilarity, and overtly ruining people’s self-esteem with our pointing. Guidelines become loosely crafted. Neck tattoos are now one drink. That Mark McGrath wannabe was clearly a two. Chocolate smeared into a Hitler mustache, like it was on that little boy, is three. The lady with stroller that had the cat strapped in it was five—fingers crossed we see another one.

Hours pass through alcohol and giggles. Drinks are doled out and never questioned. We’re confronted but once by a man, potentially a David-Bowie-DJ-Qualls love child, sporting short shorts and an oversized Cosby sweater, which hangs below his belt and makes it look like he isn’t wearing any pants.

Slurring yet confidently, we explain how he made a conscious decision as an adult in the free world to leave the house today wearing that and that things, like our constant pointing and taunts, are part of his assumed risk. Like a kid wearing a cape to high school or professional athlete making John Rocker-esque comments, yes, it is a free country, but that doesn’t mean there are no natural consequences for your actions.


By mid-afternoon the whiskey’s gone and we’ve learned more about people than any sociology class could’ve taught.