Here's Your 2013 State of the Union Drinking Game (Political Ritual Edition)

Anyone can play!Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, fellow Americans, and even you, Mr. President:

On this fortuitous evening, we come together in a highly ritualized, deeply esoteric sacred performance within the inner sanctum of our nation’s high temple. The president’s words will be parsed by an inverse pyramid of humanity, from a mass of dimwitted Politico commenters bobbing like frantic ill-informed ducks upon the surface to the industrial sludge filters at the bottleneck bottom, monstrous catfish like Chris Matthews and Wolf Blitzer, slurping up and then expelling the reactions to the president’s prepared text, which have already become worn out punchlines on Twitter.

At home, the citizens best attuned to these Capitol rites will be taking part in their own rites of transubstantiation, meaning that Barack Obama’s words travel through the ether, speak again through your computer or television speakers, and then immediately transform into a parched feeling that can only be sated by rhythmic alcoholic consumption. For 13 years now, our culture has called this miracle the “State of the Union Drinking Game.”

And this time, the game is to drink whenever a patriotic/religious custom is performed by the participants, or a patriotic/religious symbol is shown to the millions. That’s right, you get to drink every time the cable-news producer cuts to a flag.


The rules are an important part of this national exercise, so let’s keep them simple: A little drink (LD) is a sip or hit, probably of something mild such as wine, beer or that “house blend” medical marijuana. A big drink (BD) is either a substantial gulp or puff, or an actual standard-sized shot of spirits. (It is also wise to keep a few bottles of sparkling water on the coffee table, along with plentiful clean drinking glasses for purposes of hydration and cleansing the palate.)

Did you lose your teevee or quit paying for cable because of student loans and the American Dream? Watch here, or watch right on this very page:

  • Furious man with bulging eyes yells “THE PRESIDENT … OF THE … UNITED STATES!” as a secret doorway opens behind him: LD
  • Do you see a mysterious octagonal decoration above this doorway? LD
  • The president’s 13th handshake: LD
  • (Is the person who receives the 13th handshake a legal minority in the United States? If yes, take a BD.)
  • The first kiss: LD
  • (Was the kiss initiated by the president? Take a second LD.)
  • While the camera lingers on these close-up moments of the president, his security detail, and the despicable leeches all around him, note if Obama looks older than the last time you thought about this. Or does he look younger? In either case, it is caused by either a literal curse or blessing of this office. So: LD
  • As the president visits briefly with the senior members of his cabinet, note which one of them he anoints to be his chosen successor and our next president. The specific action is both subtle and ever-changing, but without fail you will hear him say—in the course of the usual “great job” and “good to see you” patter—the word “Gorgon.” The DVR may be necessary in this case. When you’ve found it, reward yourself like this: BD
  • Everyone please have a glass of water; this is going to go on for a while.
  • The president will now greet a group of men with symbolic golden stripes on the cuffs of their coats. When you can clearly see eleven of these stripes simultaneously: BD
  • Ask your viewing companions if they know the definition of “Lenny Skutniks.” When they don’t, make them all take a BD, while you explain that Lenny Skutnik was a heroic government clerk who dove into the water to save a lady from a plane crash back in 1982. Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of federal government bureaucrats, mentioned Skutnik’s bravery during the 1982 State of the Union address, and a tradition was born.
  • Have one BD when the first “Lenny Skutnik” is introduced, and another when the last “Lenny Skutnik” has again been seated. Otherwise you will die, because there are so many heroes brought out for the modern-day State of the Union address. It is basically like The Avengers up there, now. Also the roles of Hero and Victim have almost completely merged, so the heroism is likely to be simply surviving some awful thing—which, granted, is bad enough! Have a LD and think about that for a moment.
  • We were just kidding about drinking every time you see the American Flag. You’d be dead before Obama ever got to the part about putting GPS chips in our nation’s children. So when, as is the case during a SoTU address, the American flag is the backdrop for an hour of live televised ritual, we will instead only raise our glass (LD) when Joe Biden raises his glass. And remember, he’s drinking water up there… or Everclear, nobody knows for sure.
  • During the establishing shot of a group of military officers, it will look just for a second like a brass eagle pin on another officer is landing on the head of a bald officer in the next row down: LD
  • Each time Obama says a URL, take one LD in respect for this powerful word-magic.
  • When the wideshot camera pans up and right from the rostrum, note the three distinct beams of energy emitting from the House chamber’s ceiling to the president, vice president and speaker of the House. These are “pink lasers,” and during this speech certain information is transmitted directly to the subconscious of these powerful leaders. BD
  • Now it’s mostly a lot of reading of this text, which is less about Obama’s policies than the certain amount of syllables and grunting noises that will only take their true form when the audio is played backwards, later. Check out Twitter or whatever, maybe put your hand on the next person’s thigh. Who knows, right?!
  • After the “laundry list” and “victory lap” (esoteric terms meaning “what the president says he accomplished and what he would like to accomplish in the future”), the camera over the right side of the chamber (Stage Left) will zoom out to reveal a perfect Islamic crescent moon made from a pattern of desks around the rostrum. Do not blink or you’ll miss when the light hits the sweat on John Boehner’s cheeks in exactly the right way and makes a beautiful red star to finish the transformation from Christian Nation to Islamic Fundamentalism, both of which are fronts for the Demonist Elite. BD
  • Make sure to quickly turn off and unplug the television or computer immediately after Obama says the closing incantation, “The State of Our Union Is Strong” and “God bless the United States of America.” Those who fail to immediately turn off the TV will be struck with a “dumb ray” that will render the viewer helpless, angry and not at all enjoying the booze he or she just consumed.