Observable Behaviors From the World's Largest Cocktail Party

Someone asked me what the best possible description of the Florida/Georgia game was, and without hesitation I described it as "Drunk people doing drunk things." Exhibit A proving my point: ↵

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↵No one drinks Tuscan Orange Grapefruit flavored low-carb beer on purpose. It kind of crawls along at the bottom of the cooler like a depth charge, just lying in wait for the unfortunate person who, needing a beverage, sticks their hand and discovers they have drawn the Death card. My man-card is on full suspension, and I accept this, because I DRANK IT AND IT WAS DELICIOUS DON'T JUDGE ME. ↵

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↵What you should know about the World's Largest Cocktail Party is this: it is massive and sprawls over a flat piece of land adjoining the St. John's River, meaning it is the only college football event we know of where you can set up your tailgate next to an abandoned shipping container. (No knocking or screaming from inside the one near us: bonus!) What the site lacks in romance and glamor it makes up for in size, as the tents, trucks, cars, and RVs stretch in an unruly sprawl around the stadium for miles. ↵

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↵Oh, and the scenery. That's not bad either. ↵

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↵This was the view from a tailgate's latrine, an innovative arrangement involving a walk to the back of a car, the unzipping of pants, and then doing your business in front of strangers in boats on the St. Johns. The problem with having a tailgate as large as the World's Largest Tailgate is the distance between bathrooms, a math problem solved by many with the division of the number of beers consumed by the number of feet to the edge of the parking lot. Guys have a natural advantage in this situation; rather than waiting out the lines at the latrines, the gentlemen of Parking Lot B opted for the bushes. ↵

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↵Perhaps I was wrong about that "lacking romance and glamor part." It doesn't get much classier than open urination in view of the stadium. ↵

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↵The environment seems to have improved substantially from my previous trips to the game. For example, in ye olden days, the smell of downtown Jacksonville was a kind of game in itself: "Will it smell like bleach, coffee, rotten eggs, or different combinations thereof?" That game's been retired, thankfully, and the only smell in the air pregame was meat being cooked on Gigantor-sized grills, or maybe the briny smell of a crawfish boil, a pretty common secondary option for the discriminating tailgater. (Food safety risk rating: Johnny Knoxville-daring!) ↵

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↵The main course on the menu is alcohol, something taken very seriously. The rule seemed to be "bring the bar to you if you can't make it to the bar," something meant quite literally here. You bring a bar with you. ↵

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↵If you're the sort of person more comfortable with just sitting on your own couch, well, bring that, too: ↵

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↵The ghastliest concoction I tried in the name of journalism was the Everclear-soaked cherries at a Georgia tailgate. I asked how long they'd been soaking in the booze. ↵

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↵"Oh, I don't know. Why don't you try one and tell me?" ↵

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↵I tried one and belched out a three foot plume of flame. My eyes watered. It felt like I'd just eaten a chicken nugget made from Amy Winehouse's liver. ↵

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↵"Awhile, right?" ↵

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↵He smiled. "Oh, at least a day, actually." ↵

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↵ ↵Evil. Do. Not. Touch. ↵

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↵Fortunately, a 3:30 kickoff allowed fans to become "festive" but not "festively felonious." There were signs of impending trouble, sure. For instance: if you're standing in traffic waving a Florida flag, you are probably just overly enthusiastic. However, do it with not one, but two beers on the ground in front of you, and you are probably bound for an evening of colorful stories it will take lawyers a few months to work out in the legal system. ↵

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↵ ↵Bound for Glory: Two beers, one flag, and stories the grandkids will never hear. ↵

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↵I also feel confident putting her down as one tick on the "Hot Mess" list seen here as kept by some Georgia fans at their tailgate. ↵

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↵Despite having a history of being marred by violence, the Cocktail Party really only claimed two victims: The Georgia Bulldogs, beaten 49-10, and fashion. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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