Alcohol Drinking and Gambling

by Miguel Balbuena

“Shape of You” took the world by storm in January 2017. It went on to win the title of best selling song worldwide that year and the next one it garnered the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance, just to mention two of the accolades that it has collected.

I attribute the success of this tune, by English artist Ed Sheenan, both to its music and to its lyrics. In short, its music is infused with a Caribbean vibe stemming from a marimba-driven percussion; its lyrics have appealing lines such as: “the bar is where I go / Me and my friends at the table doing shots / Drinking fast and then we talk slow.”

These lines may be construed by some as glamorizing, glorifying, romanticizing and mythologizing the consumption of drinks containing ethyl alcohol, most commonly known as ethanol by chemists. Drinking alcohol has long been the favorite pastime of some people. So has gambling (defined as playing a game of chance for something valuable) with dice. When you integrate both leisure activities you get the ultimate vicious over-the-top game of GORL, which links the likelihood of drinking alcohol to the outcome of tossing a die. GORL is not well known in the United States. It is far more popular in Latin American countries.

GORL is a game of chance in which the letter G means “guzzle,” the letter O means “oblige,” the letter R means “right” and the letter L means “left.” Miguel Rodriguez, a classmate at the Pontifical Catholic University, introduced me to this game back in the day. He went by the moniker of Miguelon. At his favorite bar, called “Life Is Worth Nothing,” he was patient enough to explain GORL’s basic requirements and rules to me.

The requirements are:

1) Having a table and chairs (optional, if sitting on the floor is very uncomfortable);
2) Having a die;
3) Having a dice roller cup (optional);
4) Having an endless supply of beer (preferably ice cold);
5) Having a minimum of three players (or victims, if you will), without any maximum, and;
6) Having a full glass of beer of at least 8 ounces in front for each player at the beginning of the game, glass that would be refilled to the top again every time it is emptied.

The players sit around a table and roll a die. Once thrown, the six options assigned to its numbers are:

∗ If it falls one: The player who tossed the die guzzles his glass of beer to the bottom.
∗ If it falls two: Another player (player obliged), chosen on the whim of the player who tossed the die,
guzzles his glass of beer to the bottom.
∗ If it falls three: The player to the right of the player who tossed the die guzzles his glass of beer to the
bottom.
∗ If it falls four: The player to the left of the player who tossed the die guzzles his glass of beer to the
bottom.
∗ If it falls five: All the players guzzle their glasses of beer to the bottom, excluding the player who tossed
the dice.
∗ If it falls six: All the players guzzle their glasses of beer to the bottom, including the player who tossed
the dice.

Miguelon concluded his GORL master class by indicating that the game winner would be the last player still standing after the rest had been knocked unconscious by the binge-drinking. But before you and your best buddies rush to buy kegs and other beer paraphernalia to engage in GORL, please bear in mind that this could be fatal due to the systemic consequences of having a high blood alcohol content (BAC).

A case in point is that of Timothy Piazza, an engineering student at Pennsylvania State University who last year engaged in another drinking game, called the Gauntlet, which first led to his getting a BAC of approximately 0.40 percent and then to his death. We have to take into account that all 50 states of the union have set a BAC 0.08 percent as their legal limit for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Fraternity brothers required Piazza to participate in the Gauntlet as part of his pledge process to said fraternity.

About the author: Miguel Balbuena is a writer in the academic, scientific, journalistic and literary fields
(in the fiction and non-fiction genres).

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