This week, young professionals are returning to their hometowns by the (ride-shared) truck-full to celebrate Thanksgiving. And for those arriving today, on the eve of the holiday, there's only one logical place to end up: the bar.
What better way to catch up with old friends from your hometown than with small talk and a beer (or two, or three . . . ) at your favorite local haunt? For the newly christened 21 crowd, this is a chance to drink (publicly) with high school friends and compare/snicker at life choices. Older professionals also join the festivities, often to flaunt their success.
Really, it's like an annual unofficial school reunion—and a lucrative one for bar owners. In fact, many owners consider this Wednesday to be one of the top "holidays" for the bar—even (for some) eclipsing their New Year's Eve crowd. Doubling, or even tripling, the usual weekday crowd is expected.
Personally, I love these nights. Even if I don't reconnect with anyone especially cool, observing the social interactions is more fascinating than a trainwreck's Twitter feed. Take my lead and drink for all the awkward social transgressions you witness:
Take a sip . . . when you run into a classmate with an unusual name that, though you know what it looks like written out, you can't pronounce for the life of you (guys, it's "g-on-uh-cha-pony").
Take a shot . . . if you see that person with whom you shared a moment so awkward that facing each other is still weird, even though it's been over 10 years. Like, say, that dude you caught masturbating into a plastic baggie on the track bus in eighth grade (not that this happened in my life or anything).
Chug an entire glass of water . . . when you strike up a conversation with someone doing infinitely better than you at life. "Oh, you're at Harvard Business School? That's . . . so relatable."
Eat an olive from someone else's martini . . . whenever someone comments on your weight. Loss? Gain? It doesn't matter: Your weight will fluctuate at least 10 times during the evening (according to your former classmates).
Take a sip . . . when you hear obvious fake enthusiasm in someone's voice. Shhhhh, don't bring it up—better to play along!
Take a sip . . . for every person you encounter who won't shut up about some "life-altering" experience. "Oh, you did missionary work in South America? That's cool. I hope you had fun-" "THIS TRIP CHANGED MY LIFE! I MET SOMANYPEOPLEWHOWEREAMAZINGANDWESANG . . ."
Take a sip . . . for every person you run into that you "freak danced" with at a school-sanctioned dance. Ladies, take an additional drink if you wore a hideous glittery dress while getting down.
Take a shot (of shame) . . . if you verbally misidentify a twin. "Hey Greg! Wait, judging by the look of annoyance on your face, I'd say you're actually Chris." Take two if you mix up siblings who aren't even twins. ("No, Alyssa is my sister. Yeah, she's great. Oh, you had physics together? You don't say. Obtaining this knowledge is the highlight of my night.")
Buy drinks when . . . you see those parents whose alcohol your crew repeatedly stole. I mean, yeah, they should have kept their liquor cabinet locked, but redeem your punk teen self with a round.
Take a shot . . . every time someone gets emotional and nostalgic. If possible, see if you can get "Graduation" by Vitamin C on speaker. (Spoiler alert: Turning 25 wasn't that scary.)
Take a sip . . . whenever your friends reminiscence about some weird thing that uniquely happened at your high school. "Hey, remember those gnarly fish that stank up the school when our creek flooded?" Actually, I'd prefer to forget that. And where's my drink?
Crawl home and prepare for Thanksgiving . . . when you can't handle it any more. Congratulations. Now go face your relatives!