For Those Wishing to Play at Home:
- Generous pull of whiskey upon leaving Independence, Missouri
- Chug for the entirety of every river crossing
- If the wagon sinks during a river crossing, finish your drink
- Two seconds of drinking for every bullet that doesn’t kill a bison
- Pour out some drink for each party member death
- Drink at each non-river landmark (e.g. forts, notable mountain ranges)
- Drink throughout rafting down the Colombia
- If everyone dies before the end, take a pull of whiskey in memoriam
Now that the ruleS of play are out of the way, here is what happened to me when I decided to try it.
Texts, calls, emails, sober conversations—every medium had been covered. I’d clarified nine o’clock so many goddamn times, yet here I was, five-after-nine with no guests. “Fashionably late” is a crock of poop—it’s a garbage term born out of the self-esteem movement propagated by the perpetually tardy to maintain their sense of worth.
Like any good host, I’d chilled drinks, set out dip, and stolen cable ahead of time. I was ready. Antsy and unwilling to postpone my inebriation further, I snagged the maiden beer.
What’s the antonym of raging? Calming isn’t it. Bizarro raging actually sounds more intense. This undefined term was how I started. My initial drinking was the equivalent of browsing through a minivan dealership. As I sat there—sipping my beer, eating Triscuits, and scrolling through my lack of unread emails—I noticed my Oregon Trail icon on my Desktop blasting its way out of my past.
One again I felt called to cloud the boundary between pregaming and drinking alone.
History and alcoholism were about to come alive. A new wrinkled had emerged. 1800’s travelers were not sober schoolchildren—no, they were adults making decisions about their families’ livelihood while under the influence of booze, opium, and horse-tranquilizer infused cocktails.
I threw back a hard pull of whiskey (1), enough to induce a pioneer mindset. Socially sipping as we left Independence, Missouri, spirits were high.
We’d made it to the first river crossing. I’d vowed to (2) down my entire beverage if the wagon sank. I was tense. These were virtual lives I was dealing with and I chugged for the entirety of the crossing (3) to settle my nerves.
I’d made it across the river when the doorbell rang. I breathed a sigh of relief, though my guests would have to wait. My wagon was cruising and I was personally seeing to the extinction of the American bison. For every bullet that didn’t kill a bison I was drinking (4).
Halfway there, my second in command, Mayor McCheese, contracted dysentery. I let the wagon party rest and went to open the front door.
Mayor McCheese died. It was sad. He was everyone’s favorite and his death was a dysen-terrible blow to morale. His cheesy composition had been no match for his dehydrating torrent and I presumed our subsequent food spoilage was not unrelated. I poured some out for him (5) and we continued.
I was two-thirds through when Just Kidding Simmons, quite seriously, died of measles. Fortunately, he was just a tagalong and I was fairly sure the rest of my wagon party had rational parents who believed in vaccinations. I dumped a sip out for him and we kept moving.
Bison had become scarce. Hunting had evolved into a half-beer endeavor each round. I was drinking at each landmark (6) also; it only seemed consistent with how I toured in real life. Nearly starved, ReRun, Ghostface Killah and I made it to the Colombia River, ready to raft ourselves to the coast so that one day our great-great grandchildren could have a nice, ocean-side place to do ecstasy and brunch.
Drinking throughout (7), I narrowly dodged the first couple rocks. My reflexes felt heavy and as my eyes squinted I smashed into a giant boulder and obliterated the raft.
No one survived. I honored my computer family with a respectable pull of whiskey (8) and ambled over to my guests. At this point, though, I was too dejected to party.