A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

This has been a rough week for sad news. The violence in Gaza. The Malaysian Airlines plane. Vicious youths. More vicious youths. Elaine Stritch died.

I need a drink. Let’s talk about something dumb, like drinking.

If you drill down past all the horrible reports this week, you’ll find a number of articles surrounding the topic of imbibing, each one dumber than the last. Let’s begin.

A study out of Australia seems to prove that drinking alcohol mixed with a high-caffeine energy drink increases the urge to continue drinking. Participants were given a giant shot of vodka, and some were also given an energy drink to mix with the liquor. Those who drank the latter cocktail wanted more . . . more. Also, they liked the taste of it better. And also, duh. The researchers came to a whole bunch of complex and impressive scientific conclusions about the effects of the sugar in the beverage and the carbohydrates and how they change how the body metabolizes alcohol, and then they went out to a bar to celebrate only to find that literally thousands of people have been unofficially conducting identical research and coming to the very same conclusions all on their own. If you drink a bunch of vodka plain, it’s not nearly as tasty as when you add something sweet to mask the flavor. Also, if you add a superdose of uppers to your drank, you are much more likely to want to go lie down and watch Real Housewives reruns than you are to, say, drink five more drinks and go dance on a banquette because you are on fire tonight, girl.

Moving on. Another study conducted in Toronto found that people who drink tend to have a higher social status. Men who drank heavily were more popular and respected by their peers, and women who drank any amount were similarly admired. You guys. It’s called high school. And college. And the office. We are a drinking culture. Most people like to have a drink, and so they like to hang out with people who can hang. Of course, nobody wants anyone to go all season 7 Don Draper, and therein lies the danger of worrying too much about whether people are going to like you if you do or don’t drink. No one should binge drink in order to be loved and respected. Do it because it’s fun. No! I’m joking. Don’t do it. Unless you’re being forced to go to karaoke with people you don’t know very well, or you’re at a really great wedding.

For gosh sakes, I should have been a scientist. I think what these studies really prove is that the researchers involved work too hard and don’t get out enough to commingle with their fellow humans. I mean, Diane Fossie never would have truly understood the gorillas if she hadn’t spent that time in their midst (in the mist!). If she’d published a bunch of academic texts about their behavior without observing them in person, all the gorillas would have been like: “Seriously lady? a monkey could have written this.”

Gorilla book reviews are notoriously nasty.

On a more tangentially related note, a medical student in Florida broke the record for the single most expensive drink ever ordered at a Starbucks. The monstrosity was 192 ounces and contained 60 shots of espresso and a bunch of revolting sounding syrups. The total came to $61.22, although the student had a discount and paid for the entire massive jug of liquid heart-stopper/diabetes with a loyalty reward and donated the would-be total to a charity. Terrific. Frankly, I don’t see where the challenge lies if people can just keep bringing in larger and larger receptacles and ordering gallons of coffee drinks. I think the contest should be who can come up with the most expensive drink working within the limitations of the Venti cup. Or even better, everyone should stop it. Just stop it.

Phew. After all this drinking talk, I feel more a bit more relaxed. And energized. And thirsty. But most of all, I really have to pee. Here’s hoping next week gives us a break.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!

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