Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Consideration of the Drunk Dial

The drunk dial has gotten a bad name. People find it so annoying, they make buttons reading "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk." Others record their buddies' smashed rants and post them online. Some crabs -- can you believe this? -- complain about getting calls at 3 a.m. from "friends" who want to "talk" about anything and everything.

I think it's time to rethink the drunk dial. In an era of e-mails, IMs, clipped cell phone conversations, text messages, blogs, we've lost an endearing trait in communication: sloppy enthusiasm. We either zap people with idiotic emoticons or send friends well-considered e-mails. Spontaneity is gone. Forethought and truncated missives rule.

But the drunk dial fights through all this. The drunk dial apologizes to no one: It's on a mission and it must be heard! No matter that there are people with actual jobs back in the Eastern time zone. The drunk dial doesn't care if it wakes up the house: Hell, wake up the neighborhood! Ample doses of beer and whisky have combined with the night air to create ideas that must be heard: I love you, I love the MSU basketball team, I hate Duke, that one time in college was the greatest, you have to must to absolutely must come out to L.A., Mike just said something unbelievable at the bar, I really want to make fun of you right now.

There's no common courtesy to the drunk dial. There's no warming up, no "how are you? how's the weather? gosh, is it really 3:30 out there?" It travels, laserlike, to the heart of the matter. But don't mistake this efficiency for coldness. There is great warmth to the drunk dial. When you've just consumed enough Miller Lite to qualify you for class-B stock in the company, there are only important things you need to say to important people. And you say them in tones that convey the vital nature of the call: "Amos, goooodammmit, get on the next plane to L.A. Forget New York and Hoboken and real estate, just get on the plane and be here by noon tomorrow! Remember that time when you thought you were locked out of Joe's car but it was really someone else's car? Oh, sweet Moses, that was funny. So have you bought your ticket yet?"

Now, I realize there's a dark side to the drunk dial. Some folks use this time to tell that ex what they really think of them, or make other calls of a harassing nature. Let me say that the drunk dial should only be used for good. Use it to tell someone you love them, or tell them a joke, or call and just laugh maniacally and hang up. There is a wrong way to make the drunk dial, so I offer some tips:

  • Match the call to the caller. Is your friend a night owl (Oscar)? Able to laugh at anything (Amos)? Thinking about sports as much as you do (Schmidt)? I wouldn't call Jon Brunt to expound on my theory about the magic of sidewalks. I'd save that one for Oscar. But I would call Jon to check up on his Vegas preparations or reminisce about how much he hated being ENC.
  • The only time courtesy is called for is when the callee has a baby. While Katie has told me repeatedly I can call at 4 in the morning, I'd never be able to forgive myself if I woke up Jackie.
  • Know when to end the call -- and then extend it just a bit longer. I mean, you are smashed. Make it count.
  • Have the forethought to call from a location where the callee can hear you. If you're in a deafening bar, go outside. What's the point if the other person has no clue what you're talking about?
  • Follow up the drunk dial with an e-mail the next day, just to confirm what both parties said and assure the callee that you in fact survived the evening.

So, I hope you'll look more kindly upon the drunk dial next time you receive one. If it's from me, it's because something crazy just happened or popped into my head and I just have to share it with you. And please feel free to call me at any time of night.

Especially if you're back in the Midwest, because it'll only be, like, 11:30 here.


Many congrats to Joe's cousin Chuck, who's wife just had a baby girl: Maya! And more congrats to Joe for his big MSU recruiting scoop! And congrats to Katie -- just because.


Amy B. said...

Consider yourself drunk-dialed. Maybe even this evening.

Sidenote: I hate that I can't see results for the Pants poll. No pants or unzipped or whatever better be winning.

Craig said...

Don't make promises you can't keep, Ame.

You should just be able to click the "view results" link.

Steve said...

Maybe I'll tell you why I'm firmly against the drunk dial. If you want to hear it, then I'll tell you.

Craig said...

Debate! Debate! Let's hear it!

Steve said...

The drunk dial, in my opinion, is the caller's boast of how much fun he or she is having compared to the no-fun the listener may be having. "Hey, I'm having a blast at the bar! You're at home doing nothing? That's too bad! HAHAHA!"

Craig said...

I see your point. And, as I said, some folks use the dd for malicious purposes. Let me restate that the dd should be used only to spread the love.

Slepro said...

I love the drunk dial. Both sending and receiving. And I agree, it should only be used for purposes of good and not evil. However -- and rather unfortunately for both parties involved -- the innate problem with the drunk dial is that when one is drunk one can not distinguish between good and evil accurately. But thanks for the tips, Craig!

Craig said...

That's because you, my faithful friend, are a champion. But remember, Slepro, not everyone turns into Mean Sara after tipping back a few.

Becky Amos said...

I must agree that the Drunk Dial is one of the best things that has ever happened to friends. I feel like I'm at the bar with you when I get the calls at 3 a.m., and I feel the love all over the place. Plus, I feel up-to-date with the current happenings of your life, since we never actually speak soberly on the phone. I do have to add a sidenote, though - the DD can definitely backfire if it's a booty call that should never be, etc. Ya'll know what I mean.

Craig said...

Katie, you'll get a drunk dial soon. The Baby Rule is officially removed for the Rexrodes.

Amos, I told you I wasn't myself that night when I made the coast-to-coast booty call. I hope Mark understands.

Hud said...

C'mon Steve...

Our fun at the bar can't possible match the joy of waking up with Annie or Will or both for the fifteenth time, right?

What's a few wasted hours compared to the love you get from your family?

I'm getting freakin' plowed tonight. With my family!!