After the physical stress of 11 days of straight boozing that is add/drop week, my body was in some serious pain. I had clearly had around 15 too many Hot Chicks and not nearly enough sleep. I knew that the only thing that could make me feel like a human being again was a serious detox, but I wanted my detox to be something cool, trendy and obviously not something anyone else had done before. (Because if anyone else had ever done it, I would be just like every other unimaginative soulless pre-professional Barbour coat-wearing Georgetown student.)
I had to figure out what was trending, so I hit up Twitter and sent out a few curious Snapchats. After extensive research, juice cleansing caught my attention, but I had to make it at home and put some sort of college twist on it. Then it hit me, what I needed was a beer cleanse—nothing but beer for a whole week.
I Googled the idea to make sure it was original. Well, it turns out some crazy guy in Iowa drank only beer and water for all of Lent, but I don’t really believe Iowa is a real place—it’s way too cold and sounds too close to Ohio to be anywhere different. There were also a few German monks who had fasted on only beer back in the Middle Ages, which I think gives the detox a kind of historical ethos and exotic appeal.
Then a second revelation dawned on me; this was a horrible idea. If anything, a beer cleanse would be more appropriate as a summertime activity, when I’ll have no responsibilities and could afford to go around blasted for a week. I gave myself a week to think of something better to write about for my column or I would start my cleanse. There, this deadline would be a sure cure for my writer’s block.
Nope! On Tuesday night I was considering what my last meal should be. Should I be strategic and eat a salad to cram in all the vitamins I would be missing for an entire week? Or should I fill my stomach with gum to soak up alcohol? I decided, fuck it, I’m ordering fried dumplings from Kitchen No. 1.
The next morning I treated myself to a Natty for breakfast before going to Spanish class to give a presentation. Things seemed to be going well, if anything that beer had really loosened me up and I felt more fluent than ever. At the same time, though, I knew I needed to make a game plan. Apparently, that crazy guy from “Iowhere” had lost 11 pounds in three days, but this was strictly a detox for me so I was worried about losing muscle. Since 12 ounces of Natural Light have 98 calories, I planned on drinking around 20 cans a day to keep my caloric intake around 2,000.
I sat down on my couch with a lukewarm Natty—my preferred temperature—and set a timer for 45 minutes. Three hours and four beers later, I was hammered and getting increasingly worried about how I would teach my recitation on Friday. I convinced my roommate to drive me to Safeway to stock up on different types of beer for the week. The dreaded Safeway employee who was stocking beer took the news of my detox in stride. I asked him for beers with a high caloric count but relatively low in alcohol, adding that darker beers also had more vitamins. He pointed me toward the new Magic Hat, which fit none of my criteria.
I decided on Guinness Draught and an assortment of non-alcoholic beers, O’Doul’s and St. Pauli Girl, which I would drink before class. I popped open an O’Doul’s in the parking lot and felt like a rebel.
Despite my shopping spree the situation was deteriorating rapidly. I had a headache, felt melancholic, and couldn’t focus on anything. Sick of the taste, I was now drinking my beer as cold as possible to avoid any encounter with, God forbid, flavor. Then my roommates started eating Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas, coconut, chocolate, caramel… I had to go to bed to stop thinking about food.
By Thursday morning, the thought of another beer made me want to vomit. I chose to continue my fast but for practical purposes, I was out of the game. By noon, my stomach was seizing up and my headache was throbbing in pain. Then I remembered it was Chicken Finger Thursday, and I gave up entirely a meager 36 hours in.
What did I learn? Not a lot, but that’s okay since that’s what college is all about. However, I will say that beer is actually a hindrance to fasting, that St. Pauli Girl N.A. tastes like sweet piss-water, and, oddly enough, if you bring a couple of six-packs of O’Doul’s to a party, freshmen will drink it.
Send your ridiculous fasts to Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org