Booze book a spirited affair; [Final Edition]
Peter Green. Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alta.: Jan 7, 2007. pg. C.3
The Man Who Scared A Shark To Death and Other True Tales of Drunken Debauchery by Noel Boivin and Christopher Lombardo (Penguin Canada, 276 pages, $18)
People do lots of dumb things when they’re drunk.
However, provided events don’t turn criminal, stories of drinking gone awry often make for awfully funny anecdotes once the hangover’s gone.
If you’ve ever gone one sip too far — as I once realized years ago while trying to vomit out the triangular passenger window of a Ford Aerostar — you can take some comfort knowing your experience will soon become legend.
On the other hand, if you don’t find such shenanigans funny, you’ve probably never been that drunk.
Lifelong sobriety certainly isn’t a bad thing, but being a prude is, and it may prevent you from enjoying The Man Who Scared a Shark to Death and Other Tales of Drunken Debauchery.
Co-authored by Noel Boivin and Christopher Lombardo, the book gathers some of the world’s most outrageous drinking stories in an attractive compilation that provides a voyeuristic peek into what can really go wrong when last call doesn’t happen soon enough.
The people included here are all worst-case scenarios, so picking the best story in such bounty is hard to do. Extra kudos go to the British comedian who inspired the book’s title, though.
After a heavy night of indulgence, the man in question dived into a shark and stingray aquarium on a bet. Unfortunately, one of the sharks in the tank didn’t think it was so jolly, and turned belly- up almost immediately.
That’s a hard one to top.
Not surprisingly, college weekends and office parties gone wild also abound here, but Boivin and Lombardo keep the stories strictly PG-rated, which is for the best.
It’s much easier to enjoy others’ misfortune without delving too deep into the uglier ramifications of becoming a public spectacle, such as losing a job, getting kicked out of school or facing alcoholism.
That’s why The Man Who Scared A Shark To Death works as well as it does — it’s fast and funny with the facts, without the morality.
Ultimately, this book’s for lovers of the beer, wine, spirits or any other cocktail that makes you think you’re funnier if you’re louder.
For those who play it safer, that’s fine — some legends are better left to others.