In response to the 2004 Olympics, the geniuses at the Mercury came up with a far better, more compelling challenge of athletic and mental prowess and endurance to pass the long days of winter: Why not attempt Olympic-inspired challengesÉ drunk? The result? The Portland Mercury's 2004 Drunk Olympics.
It was an event that shall long be remembered, and forever change the worlds of both athletics and alcoholism. The following is a report from the booze-soaked arena of the Portland Mercury's 2004 Drunk Olympics.
Taking place at an infinitely hospitable and neutral bar downtown, the rules for the Olympics were thus: Each party began with three PBRs before competition commenced. With each challenge, another Pabst was consumed, with "penalty shots"--of a liquor of the contestant's choosing--occasionally ordered and enforced by the Olympics' official judge and referee, Justin Wescoat Sanders. Let the games begin.
A sport first developed in ancient Greece, Jenga--in which one tries to remove small wooden blocks from a precariously balanced tower of other small wooden blocks--has been a mainstay of Olympic competition since ancient times.
More importantly, Jenga is challenging to the drunk, as they frequently suffer from "delirium tremens"--more commonly known as "alchy shakes." Thankfully, the most afflicted tremens sufferer, Shimer, had imbibed enough by game time to quell her "DTs," and a robust competition ensued.
Shimer commenced the trash talking first: "Erik, you suck at Jenga. I'm a Jenga pitbull, so watch out!" Henriksen, shaken, but still marginally quick-witted, retorted: "Pitbull? More like wiener dog!" Skinner, on the other hand, didn't waste time trying to psych out her opponents; sitting silent and resolved, she calmly, coldly planned her attack.
After only a few blocks were removed--all too quickly--the inevitable happened. As Henriksen attempted to brace the wobbling Jenga tower with Referee Sanders' tape recorder, and Shimer digressed into a long dissertation on the bar's famous Jägermeister bottle collection, the Jenga collapsed in a cacophonous shower of blocks. Henriksen cradled his head in defeat, Shimer subjected herself to a penalty Jägermeister shot (at Sanders, Henriksen, and Skinner's insistence, for excessive blabbering), and the until-then silent Skinner bathed in victory. As she had been the final contestant to successfully remove a block, Referee Sanders declared her the winner.
Group PBRs: Three
Penalty shots: One Jägermeister (Shimer), one tequila (Henriksen, for insolence)
Jenga Winner: Marjorie
First developed in 400 B.C., Hangman--in which contestants must reveal a phrase by guessing letters thereby preventing a lynching--has since enjoyed a devoted national following culminating in the formation of the National Hangman League (as well as birthing the popular television program Wheel of Fortune). Taking each contestant to a secluded room and counting their errors, Referee Sanders hoped to find the contestant most able to guess which "celebrity name" he'd chosen.
First up was the boastful Henriksen, who insisted that he was "The motherfucking master of Hangman." Henriksen scored a respectable three body parts (head, neck, and left arm) before guessing the elusive phrase: AVRIL LAVIGNE.
Next up was Shimer, who trounced Henriksen by tallying a single body part (the head) and quickly guessing the name of this pubescent bad girl songstress.
Finally, Skinner--still gloating from her Jenga victory--schooled everyone by guessing the eyelinered vixen's moniker with zero failed guesses (no body parts).
One might think that due to Skinner's victory, Henriksen and Shimer would lose resolve or interest. Instead, the two found a moving sort of inspiration in another pastime: insulting Skinner behind her back. "Ooh, I went to Reed College, I play word games all day and eat garbage," Shimer sneered, mimicking a false falsetto. "She fucking cheated," Henriksen accused, trying in vain to make his case heard. "She and that bastard Sanders are in cahoots!"
Group PBRs: Four
Penalty shots: none
Hangman Winner: Marjorie
ROCK! PAPER! SCISSORS!
Famously used to determine "the winner" in 1919's negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles, "Rock! Paper! Scissors!" is a time-honored test of instinct, derring-do, and psychological terrorism. Henriksen made quick work of his competition using his famed "Five-Point Paper Exploding Rock" technique. Skinner insisted that "Rock! Paper! Scissors!" wasn't "a real game, anyway." Shimer, obviously affected by the booze at this point, desperately attempted to get her "game face" on--failing miserably, barely able to sculpt a believable rock out of her clumsy fist. Sanders soon declared Henriksen the winner.
Group PBRs: Five
JACKET PUT-ON RELAY!
Penalty shots: One shot of tequila (Henriksen, for stealing Shimer's cell phone, repeatedly calling her friends, and yelling "Hey, it's Katie! I don't like you anymore!" and hanging up), one shot of Jägermeister (Skinner, after Shimer insisted "She needs a handicap shot. She's doing too well.")
Rock! Paper! Scissors! Winner: Henriksen Round Four:
JACKET PUT-ON RELAY!
In a challenge designed to test the speed and dexterity of the Olympics' now quite-inebriated athletes, Referee Sanders placed a jacket on the corner of 11th and Hoyt. From the back of the bar, the contestants were ordered to run out through the bar, around the corner, pick up the jacket, put it on, and run back to the table.
Shimer easily won this event; she attributed her victory to "superhuman speed" and "my signature 'jacket flip 'n' sit' move." Skinner's efforts could not equal Shimer's, and Henriksen's time suffered a severe setback when he decided to stop and flirt with two hot girls who were sitting by the door. ("They totally wanted me to close the door for them," he later insisted. "It was awesome.")
Group PBRs: Six
Penalty Shot: One Jägermeister (Shimer, for insisting that Henriksen get a penalty shot without just cause)
Jacket Put-On Relay Winner: Shimer
Taking place in the adjacent parking lot, "the line" is the sobriety test favored by our nation's fine police officers, and it's now readily apparent why the test is so popular.
Before the competition, Referee Sanders pulled Shimer and Henriksen aside.
"You've each got one win," he said. "Skinner's got two. It's up to one of you two to force the tiebreaker with Skinner. C'mon. Nut up."
Gallantly answering his call to action, Henriksen and Shimer decided upon inventive tactics to take Skinner down. Unfortunately, Shimer was disqualified after her first step onto the line ("She nearly took a header onto the asphalt, and it just wasn't safe," Referee Sanders later explained), and Henriksen loudly declared "I'm going to run the line!" before getting confused, disoriented, and missing the line altogether. Skinner did just fine, but not great, winning the challenge by default. (After Skinner's third victory Shimer snidlely noted, "She [Skinner] probably has an advantage from the time she got that DUI."
Group PBRs: Seven
Penalty shots: None
The Line Winner: Memory foggy at this point. Might have been Justin, which is weird... Okay. Fine. It was Marjorie.
The Portland Mercury's 2004 Drunk Olympics Winner:
Total drinks consumed by competitors: 21 beers, two shots of tequila, three shots of Jägermeister
In a demonstration of drunken affability and sportsmanship, the competitors congratulated each other and decided to head to Berbati's to share "victory drinks." Shimer was not present, as she disappeared somewhere en route. (As it turned out, Shimer got lost and peed her pants while walking on the Esplanade.)