Admit it – you’ve received this call: “Dude, remember that time in eighth grade when you hit me in the face with the basketball and then I started a fight with you and you were like ‘Dude’ and I was…Well, I just wanted to say I’m sorry cuz I love you man…” Okay, maybe you’ve even made that call. It’s drunk dialing at its finest and it’s a call that should never be made.
Drunk dialing comes with its share of dangers, including destroying relationships, forming relationships you don’t want, losing your job, getting a restraining order against you, or ending up on YouTube. Balance this against the benefits and…well, really there are no benefits, so it’s not much of a balance at all.
The Early Days of Drunk Dialing
There has been a long-standing assertion that the second phone call ever made by Alexander Graham Bell after the famous “Watson, I need you” call was the equally famous drunken “Man, I am so wasted” call, which was coincidentally also made to Watson–this time at 2:00 a.m.
(This is, in fact, a historical inaccuracy. The second call in history was actually made to Alexander Graham Bell, and it was a telemarketer informing him that he had just won a free cruise in the Bahamas.)
Of course, in the early days of the telephone, drunk dialing was much harder. You basically either needed to be at home or in a location with a pay phone. Since operating a pay phone while drunk is roughly as challenging as setting your DVR with both hands tied behind your back and your tongue stapled to your eye, these calls were relatively rare.
The Cell Phone and the Drunk Dial
The cell phone made our lives easier, more convenient, and endlessly more annoying in many ways, and the drunk dial was one of them. With a cell phone, a drunk could theoretically drunk dial their friends, unrequited loves, or congressmen from wherever they are. This also led to the creation of a sub-set of drunk dialing called “naked drunk dialing,” but that’s a topic for another day.
It seems almost as if the cell phone was created by a professional drunk dialer. It has handy drunk-dialing features like one-touch dialing, voice-dialing, and the ability to send pictures to your drunk-dialed friends, a feature which often goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned naked drunk dialing.
Unfortunately, the cell phone also removes that last chance to back down; the few sobering moments it takes you to find a landline before you make what you think will be the most brilliant phone call of your life.
The Relationship Drunk Dial
The relationship drunk dial is by far the most popular type of drunk dialing. Ironically, it is not really necessary for the recipient of the call to actually be aware that they ever had a relationship with the drunk dialer for this call to take place. This is the call in which the caller believes that they are repairing, creating, or strengthening a relationship with a friend, relative, or unrequited love.
The bad news: Of the 1.8 million relationship drunk dials that have been done in the last 20 years, only six resulted in the strengthening or creation of a relationship, and in each of those cases the recipient of the call was also drunk at the time (these numbers have not been scientifically verified at this time). This is the type of drunk dialing that is most likely to end with a restraining order.
The Occupational Drunk Dial
The occupational drunk dial is second on the list of events that cause terminations, behind only the company holiday party. What is it about alcohol that makes people believe that the key to career advancement is to call their boss and list his or her faults?
A sub-set of this type of drunk dialing that will speed your path to a change of careers is the “call in sick drunk dial,” in which you try to convince your boss that you are unable to come to work because you’ve contracted bubonic plague, and it has nothing to do with the half bottle of tequila and 12 Jello shots you consumed two hours earlier.
The Random Drunk Dial
The most harmless and often entertaining of the drunk dials is the random drunk dial. This is almost always an event that begins as an attempt to do either relationship or occupational drunk dialing, but you get the number wrong. In most cases, the recipient will laugh, tell you to sober up, and hang up.
If, however, your call interrupts the tearful reunion between a 300-pound biker dude and his girlfriend whom he hasn’t seen during the last year-and-a-half that he’s been in prison, all bets are off.
Basically, you are never as smart, witty, or eloquent as you believe you are when you are drunk, so drunk dialing just gives you the opportunity to prove to the person on the other end of the line just how terribly not smart, witty, or eloquent you are.
The rewards of drunk dialing are almost non-existent and the dangers range from embarrassment to legal action to being beaten to a bloody pulp by a 300-pound guy named “Railroad.” The best advice for drunk dialers: “Take two shots and don’t call me in the morning.”