The Asshole Line

I am a drinker. This point should be clear about anyone who goes out of their way to view various breweries and distilleries near and far, but it needs to be said. Those who visit wineries on a regular basis are drinkers too, but because it’s wine, they seem to get a pass from the “tsk-tsk-tsk” crowd.

As my friends and I have gotten older, and less tolerable of hangovers and boorish behavior, we’ve come to understand what we’ve eloquently called “The Asshole Line”.

The premise is dead simple. Having one to two drinks is wonderful. Three drinks is straddling the line, four and one is clearly inhabiting the Asshole zone. That third drink? That, my friends, is the Asshole Line, beyond which sits either anger and shouting, or self-loathing and boozy tears.

Since defining this line several years ago, it has become part of our lexicon, a code-phrase which indicates that we are aware of our own deficiencies and irresponsibilities. It is now a line to which, when crossed, is often done with intent. It is a milepost that, once past, means that the person who initially showed up for the night’s conviviality has left the building, to be replaced by their evil twin. The Asshole Line, once crossed, doesn’t mean that boorish behavior will occur. Instead, it means that the probability of boorish behavior has increased exponentially.

This line helps develop the definition of “drinking responsibly”, and idea to which we take seriously. The line is the equivalent to heading out to swim in the rip tides. Those of us who have stayed closer to shore then have to be more alert, more aware of the those who have decided to throw caution to the wind. When one crosses the Asshole Line, our unwritten rule is that someone must then be more sober.

The Asshole Line is neither new nor unique, and others have recognized it and have shaped it in their own way. Take, for example, this bit from That Mitchell and Webb Look.

The Asshole Line is a real thing. Be aware of it! Let it be your friend! And only cross if you’re ready to deal with its consequences!