With the Cubs and Sox in the playoffs, Chicago is trying to curb booze-fueled idiocy around the ballparks by asking nearby bar owners to suspend alcohol sales in the eighth and ninth innings of any possible series-clinching home game. Here are 10 takes on bad booze behavior:
1. St. Cummian of Fota, a 7th Century Irish priest, distributed rules for the drinking clergy such as: "If a monk drinks till he vomits, he must do 30 days' penance; if a priest or deacon, 40 days. But if this happens from weakness of stomach, or from long abstinence, and he was not in the habit of excessive drinking or eating, or if he did it in excess of joy on Christmas or on Easter Days, or the commemoration of some saint, and if then he did not take more than has been regulated by our predecessors, he is not to be punished. ... "
2. Among the slang terms for being drunk: Ossified, boiled as an owl, squiffy, sozzled, torn off the frame, pie-eyed, seeing two moons, Boris Yeltsinned, locked out of your mind, three sheets to the wind and holding up the lamppost. "Plotzed" is another term, based on the Yiddish word "platsn," meaning to crack, split or burst. Also, "gaysted" is slang for being so wasted that you flirt with men even though you are a heterosexual man.
3. In the 1820s, Michigan Territory Gov. Lewis Cass complained that the Midwest's Indians "give themselves up to the most brutal intoxication whenever this mad water can be procured." But sometimes it was procured from the U.S. government. Cass ordered 932 gallons of whiskey for the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi when they held treaty talks in Chicago in 1821.
4. W.C. Fields wasn't always a drunk. Quite the opposite. As a young man in vaudeville, his act demanded sobriety and precision: He was a juggler. Only later when he became a comedian did Fields also become a souse. "Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite," he said. "And furthermore, always carry a small snake."
5. William Faulkner was stereotyped as a drunken novelist. But he rarely drank while writing and could abstain for long periods of time. He built his bad reputation through binges, such as the time at the Algonquin Hotel in New York when he drunkenly fell onto a radiator, badly burning himself. Faulkner's drinking was rivaled or surpassed by fellow Southern writers, such as Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers. One summer in Nantucket, Williams and McCullers wrote in the same room while passing a whiskey bottle back and forth.
6. Drunkenness is a common excuse when people do stupid things. Rarer is it for a person to perform brilliantly and say he was "half drunk," as New York Yankees pitcher David Well did after throwing a perfect game in 1998. More accurate would be to say that Wells was hung over and sleep deprived, havingpartied until 5 a.m. and slept 3-1/2 hours before reporting for a day game.
7. Imagine the shame of being considered a drunk when you haven't consumed any alcohol. That's the burden of some people who suffered inner-ear damage from the antibiotic gentamicin. Their poor sense of balance makes some people think they're boozers. They prefer the term "wobblers" and have formed a support group called Wobblers Anonymous.
8. Three co-workers went out drinking one night in 1990. Two of them shared seven pitchers of beer, and a third had 15 rum with colas. A few hours later, they reported for work--as the pilots of a Northwest Airlines Boeing 727. Their 91 passengers arrived safely on the flight from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis. The pilots were fired and served at least a year in prison.
9. Drunken driving is a scourge that has cost many innocent lives. But some civil libertarians believe preventive measures have overreached. Exhibit A: Keith Emerich, who was never accused of drunken driving but told his doctor he drank six or more beers a day at home after work. Pennsylvania law required the doctor to report anything that might impair a patient's driving ability, and in 2004 the state revoked Emerich's driver's license.
10. Dean Martin fostered a boozy reputation, sporting a vanity license plate of DRUNKY and declaring, "You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." The singer commonly appeared onstage holding a whiskey glass, but it was often filled with apple juice.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune
Sources: "Alcohol: The World's Favorite Drug," by Griffith Edwards; "Perfect I'm Not," by David Wells with Chris Kreski; "White Man's Wicked Water," by William E. Unrau; "Dean and Me," by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan; "The Lonely Hunter," by Virginia Spencer Carr; Urban Dictionary; Moderndrunkardmagazine.com; doubletongued.org; Reason magazine; Newsweek; the Patriot-News of Pennsylvania and Tribune news services.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun