First-person accounts of drunken misbehavior are often as tedious as they are self-aggrandizing—it's like actually being stuck beside a drunk on an airplane, or at a literary trivia event. This latter predicament recently befell the members of Ben Greenman's team at the PEN Literary Pub Quiz at St. Ann's Warehouse, part of this year's Brooklyn Book Festival. Specifically, Mr. Greenman (who is, one should note, not unfamiliar with this kind of thing, within the literary circles he frequents), Ms. Sarah Fan, an editor at The New Press, and Professor Molly Murray, a 17th-century lit specialist from Columbia. I was the fourth member of the team, its weak link, and its drunk.
You see, that very afternoon—as sometimes happens at extended intern orientation lunches (they make me nervous)—I'd consumed a few more pistachio martinis than I might otherwise do while at work. And although my reportorial eye is rarely affected by increased blood-alcohol levels, my decorum sometimes is. (Also, I'm fairly certain I saw Thomas Pynchon passing notes to a shirtless Tom Wolfe at table six, but I digress.)
And so this is where I must highjack a brief account of the event and offer an open letter of apology to, in no particular order, the teams from Cabinet and Harper's, the host, Katie Halper, Ms. Fan and Ms. Murray, Andy Hunter of Electric Literature (to whom I threatened physical violence), my wife and son (who came to "collect" me), and to a lesser extent, Mr. Greenman, who told me the day after that he'd actually enjoyed something I yelled out about Gerard Depardieu, an eructation of which I have no memory. Also, I might add, it was my fifth wedding anniversary—poor decision-making all around.
The event itself, which I am told was a pleasant, collegial evening, was ably hosted by the aforementioned Halper, who handled my incoherent heckling with aplomb (if I recall), and at one point threatened to douse me in Gatorade. Also represented among the contestants were Gigantic Magazine and the former dating/sex/parenting columnist Amy Sohn.
The only answer I remember "giving" to my team was "Ulysses," to a question about February 2nd, 1922 (of course I was not the only one to suggest this). Though I'd like to take some credit for distracting the other teams with my loud and boorish behavior, it is probably despite my best efforts that Team Ben Greenman ended up winning the event.
In summation, binge drinking makes winners of us all.