By Dawn's Early Light: What Old Age Does to the All-Nighter

Richard (my hetero-lifemate and bestest friend, no offense Amanda) was in town this weekend with his wife which led to three things: most of the beer in the greater Lincoln Parish area was consumed, friends that I haven't seen in several months (in some cases years) showed up to visit with them (and us, theoretically), and we (Ella, Richard, me and the guests) slept very little.

My college days are far behind me (when you've only lived 25 years, the two and a half years that stand between you and graduation are a long time), and while I'm still a "wild and crazy guy" (I am the Drunken Rogue after all) my all-nighters are few and far between. I'll hit the highlights for you between an all-nighter at 21 and an all-nighter at 25.

5. The "All-Nighter" doesn't end with vomit and unconsciousness. -- At 21 you're guzzling the adult beverages at a pace that simply cannot be maintained. This generally results in most of the people at the party ending their evening (or early morning as it were) with their heads in the toilet. At 25 the beer is not only used for it's intoxicating effects but also 'cause it tastes so darn good. Sure you get drunk, but it's at four thirty or five A.M. just as things are winding down. No vomit is a good thing.

4. The thing pushing you through those last few hours is significantly less sexy. -- At 21 when the yawns start to sink in at 3am you keep partying because the redhead is giving you the eye, and you're sure with a couple more hours of drinks and flirtation, it could be your lucky night...morning...whatever. At 25 you think seriously about going to bed at 3, but then decide against it, because you are only two hours away from McDonald's Breakfast. Hmmmm, sausage McBiscuit!

3. The "Walk of Shame" takes on a whole new meaning. -- No longer are you ashamed because of your bed partner (I did marry her after all) but now the end of an all-nighter is accompanied by the shocking realization that it is embarrassing to stand around with your friends the next morning knowing you smell like a pirate.

2. That "fall anywhere" attitude is replaced with a...more conservative approach. -- Sure the 21 year old is happy to party 'till sunrise because he knows that when sleep finally does catch him, he'll enjoy it just as much on the floor of the bathroom, or curled up into that lawn chair as in his own bed. The 25 year old is still willing to make comfort sacrifices for the sake of the party, but also knows that his back will be screaming at him for sleeping on the pull-out sofa for at least a week.

1. The clean-up crew for the all-nighter is significantly larger. -- At 21 clean up crew consists of the people who live in the house, who don't have to be at work the next day, and couldn't think of some excuse. This is generally a very small number (often as small as .00001% of the party's attendees). At 25 the party is generally not over until the party goers have at least loaded all the empty bottles and plastic plates and cups into the trash can. You might even be lucky enough to get some help loading the dishwasher. 21 year old's come running for a keg, but run screaming from a vacuum.

And there's one thing that definitely hasn't changed from those 21 year old all-nighters:

At 5 am there is nothing more fun than going someplace where you're not supposed to be, at 21 it was driving around stealing road signs (no STOP signs, I promise) at 25 it's the local (and very rural) airport to climb the beacon tower. The good news is in the those four years it has become apparent that you should always have a designated driver. Woohoo for safety!

Sure, it was long, a little painful and ridiculously exhausting, but it was also about the most fun thing I've done in years. Christmas is right around the corner folks, and the Drunken Rogue is feeling pretty freakin' jolly.