Drink, Play, F@#k
One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailandby Andrew Gottlieb
One man’s spiritual journey to rediscover how much he hates spiritual journeys.
What’s a guy supposed to do when eight years of marriage end in a nasty divorce? How does he rediscover his manly essence after years of being forced to attend poetry readings, string quartet recitals, and pasta making courses? There is only one way: drink, play, and f@#k.
In Drink, Play, F@#k, Bob Sullivan, jilted husband, sets off to explore the world, have a few laughs, and kill a few brain cells. From his home in New York City, he goes on a bender across Ireland, pumps the action in Las Vegas, and basks in physical pleasures in Thailand. After a lifetime of playing it safe, he lives out man’s great fantasies. For who among us hasn’t dreamed of a drunken knife-throwing contest outside a Dublin pub? What could be more exhilarating than losing every penny you have because an Australian rules football team did something at the last second you don’t even understand? And what sensate creature could ever doubt that the greatest pleasure known to man can be found in a tropical hut on a secret beach at the end of an unnamed jungle road?
Mr. Sullivan has a lot to teach us about life. Let’s just pray we have the wisdom to put aside our preconceptions and listen. Because what he finds, with the help of his guru Rick, who sometimes sleeps in the bathroom at the YMCA, isn’t at all what he expected.
“This gives amusing balance to Eat, Pray, Love—the title alone is worth the price of admission.” —Selected by John Mutter, of Shelf-Awareness, as one of his top ten favorite books in 2009.
“Two years after invading every bookshelf across the world, something positive has come out of Elizabeth Gilbert’s mind-numbingly self-absorbed memoir: Andrew Gottlieb’s fictional response, Drink, Play, F@#k . . . it turns out, when you drop the spiritual self discovery and replace it with getting drunk, gambling and getting laid, a yearlong vacation can be pretty amusing. Gottlieb [has a] knack for one-liners.” —Monica Weymouth, Metro
“A funny take on what men are looking for in life. It’s Bob Sullivan’s story: a fully jilted, newly divorced New York liberal who sets foot into the world, after years of lockdown domesticity. His journey takes him (and us) to Ireland to get smashed, to Vegas to throw dice and to Thailand to . . . well, enjoy the pleasures of the opposite sex. What Bob finds, however, is not what you might expect at the beginning of what seems like an obvious parody of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love.” —Lori Kozlowski, Los Angeles Times
“What good is a spiritual journey if it can’t be parodied? . . . Drink, Play, F@#k sounds like a laugh riot.” —Abiola Abrams, Examiner.com
I wish Giovanna would kiss me.
There are many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. Giovanna is an exchange student from Milan studying marketing in Dublin. I am an American businessman in my late thirties hiding out in Ireland trying to get so drunk that my wife’s recent betrayal will stop burning my insides like hot lava. Giovanna’s a beautiful young Italian goddess with a lion’s mane of jet-black hair, and I’m a thoroughly average-looking New Englander with the beginnings of love handles and some gray creeping into my temples. So Giovanna is almost twenty years younger than I am. She is engaged to a guy named Teodoro back in Italy. She is sweet, and innocent, and deeply religious. But the real reason why Giovanna kissing me would be a terrible idea is that she is so incredibly drunk right now that if she were to kiss me, she’d probably throw up all over my face.
Ireland is an amazing country.
In no other spot that I have come across on my travels has drinking to excess been accepted to such a degree as normal, everyday behavior. I used to think that Texans didn’t actually wear cowboy hats—that it was just a stereotype propagated by movies and TV. But one day I had a stopover in the Houston airport and I saw a bunch of people wearing cowboy hats for real in a totally non-ironic fashion. Well, Ireland is just like that—only instead of cowboy hats, it’s people getting shitfaced. And instead of just a handful of good ol’ boys rocking their ten-gallon lids, it’s every single person in the country slamming shot after shot and beer after beer from morning till night and then starting all over again.
As further proof that Ireland is committed to promoting a drinks-based culture, I’d like to point out that one of the most popular sections of Dublin, where all the tourists go and the fun happens, is called Temple Bar. They have the word “bar” in the name of their most famous neighborhood! That would be like Parisians calling the Latin Quarter the Escargot Quarter, or Los Angelenos changing the name from Beverly Hills to Cocaineville.
In defense of the Dubliners, the “bar” in Temple Bar doesn’t actually refer to a bar where you order drinks. But it’s not like they don’t know about their international reputation for throwing it down. If the Irish didn’t want to encourage the stereotype that they’re all booze hounds, they easily could have called the place Old Dublin, or South Bank, or Liffeytown or something. But these sauceheads love everything that even tangentially has anything to do with alcohol. So they have been calling the cultural center of their capital city Temple Bar for four hundred years.
There’s a reason that the Emerald Isle has never produced any world-class painters, sculptors, or architects—none of them could hold a brush, chisel, or pencil steady enough to get the job done. The poets could dash down their rhymes and romances in shaky letters on cocktail napkins in between pints. And the singers could wail and moan while teetering on the verge of alcoholic unconsciousness—but that’s where Ireland’s artistic contributions peter out. These people really drink, is my point. If you were to cut an Irish hemophiliac, you’d have beer on tap until the poor bastard bled out.
I should mention that as I’m staring at Giovanna’s gorgeous face, lustrous hair, and devastating green eyes, I’m probably even drunker than she is. Here is a quick recap of what I’ve had to drink in the three hours leading up to my current emotional quandary: six pints of Guinness, six shots of Inishowen, three large Bacardi Breezers, two glasses of red wine, half a glass of water. At this point it’s really a toss-up between Giovanna and me as to who is going to puke on whom first. But as I’m staring into those lovely, albeit significantly glazed-over green eyes, allow me to flash back to another occasion when I was staring into a woman’s eyes. This time they are my wife’s eyes—also green—but at the moment I’m remembering they are more red than green as she has been crying hysterically in the bathroom for about an hour.