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10 Reasons Children Are Little Drunks

October 19, 2009

By Nat

As an acute observer of children (and not in the way that would get me red-flagged in some government database) and drunks, I can’t help but notice the disturbing number of similarities the two share.

Callous as this observation may sound, it’s grounded in years of painstaking first-hand research as both A) a child and B) drunk. But the realization didn’t come to me until years after, when, during Traverse City’s annual druidic ritual of depravity—The Cherry Festival—I had the unique opportunity to study both in their natural habitat.

1: Sporadic movements/consistently fail to maintain balance


Perhaps the most common is the child and the drunk’s novel approach to equilibrium. Anyone who’s helped a boozer stumble home or laughed at a toddler careening into a brick wall can attest. Consider the manner in which they walk: As each one takes a step, the entirety of their weight is concentrated on the planted foot while the other searches for solid ground. This can end in one of three ways: 1) The pressure is too much, and the body reels around until it’s facing sideways; 2) The pressure is too much and the body darts ahead, usually into oncoming traffic; and 3) The pressure is too much and the body staggers backwards and falls. If walking persists, 3 is the inevitable (though not the final) outcome.

2: Bizarre mood swings

baby buckeye

Alcohol/infancy unlocks that strange and terrible rainbow of emotions seldom seen outside of sports fans and Kathy Bates’ performance in Misery. One minute they’re your best friend, the next, they’re accusing you of sleeping with their childhood pet “Scramps” and threatening your legs with a mallet.

3: Prone to hyperbole

Big Fish

Sentimental and empty words, exaggerated expressions, and absent comparatives. Don’t be taken in by their lies.

Actual quotes: “Dude, this was the biggest groundhog EVER.”

“But Mom, if I can’t have Baby Schwartz-A-Lot, I’m gonna die!” (And what’s not adorable about the dual emphasis on “Mom” and “die”?)

“If I don’t get pancakes soon, I swear to God, I’m gonna die!”

“I love you.”

4: Adamantly believe in flagrantly non-existent things


Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, wrestling’s real, and that hot chick in accounts-payable will totally do you if you call her RIGHT NOW.

5: Spastic vomiting

the exorcist

At least with drunks you can hear it coming. As a child, I wouldn’t even give my parents the courtesy of a warning *hurk*. Then again, you expect children to unleash a vicious stream of puke at any moment; with drunks you take a chance: Maybe they’ll make it to the sink/trashcan/washing machine…but by the time you finish that thought, it’s all over the cat.

6: Inability to formulate complex or simple statements/absolute, utter, and total inability to concede an argument.


7: Prone to importune cravings of exotic/inordinately specific foods


This one is kind of unfair because it isn’t limited to just children and drunks (stay tuned for the upcoming post, “Pregnant Women Are Grotesquely Proportioned Drunks”), but what differentiates pregnant women is that they admirably tend to eat whatever exotic/inordinately specific food they crave. How many times have you conceded a dinner of octo-dogs and crinkle fries to your finicky offspring or done The 3:00 AM Grand-Slam Run for Shelly “Boone’s Farm” Ditmeyer only to bear horrific witness to Reason Number 5?

8: Prone to blackouts


I don’t remember writing this.

9: Complete inability to comprehend risk/play on railroad tracks

baby herman

“Look mommy: I’m a choo-choo!”

“I’m gonna fight that swan.”

10: Belligerency


What’s worse: The Dreaded ToysЯUs* Temper Tantrum or that time Chuck smashed a pint glass across the bow of Big Murph’s party bus? Both are pretty embarrassing, but at least you can distance yourself from an angry drunk. Too few would leave their child to pound and wail on the filthy toy-store floor.

* Surprisingly, the backwards “R” was not too difficult to find. Also, Chuck.

Honorable mention: Sexual drive indirectly proportional to their ability to perform


This may seem out of line (and please, Shannon, don’t tag this under “child sexuality”), but I have read Freud, so it’s worth mentioning. I don’t want to dwell on the child’s side of this reason, so I’ll just note that for drunks, this should go without saying. If you disagree, well, then it would explain a lot.


5 Responses to “ 10 Reasons Children Are Little Drunks ”

  1. pancake on October 19, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Dear Nat, Awesome. Everything you have observed is true. Brian maintains that living with his college roommates prepared him for fatherhood better than any experience possibly could. My having worked in bars on and off for years provided me with no end of valuable parental insight and tactics. SAME.

  2. Adam on October 19, 2009 at 9:11 am

    That swan had it coming man

  3. anncine on October 19, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I look forward to the ‘Pregnant women are grotesquely proportioned drunks’ follow up. Good stuff…you left out the mispronunciation of common words though. Now, back to enjoying my hot cup of cocky with a slash of chocolate nope.

  4. Jackson on October 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    any man that has the cojones to take nature’s most pretentious animal down a notch, is someone who has their priorities straight.

    although now that i write this, i’m not sure if i’m talking about swans or Bill O’Reilly

  5. Alexandra on October 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    As the mother of a small child and a bartender, I have always maintained that being a mother trained me to deal well with drunks. They both respond well to the mom stare.