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So, by now, most of the free world has seen the headline:

Alcohol ‘enema’ sends student to ER; fraternity chapter suspended

Locally, it led the news and has remained (by far) the most-viewed story on knoxnews.com for almost a day now and shows no signs of slowing. In fact, as I write this, it has more viewers reading it than the next six stories combined on the news sites of the *entire* Scripps family of newspapers. Take out the second result - the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s post of our same story - and it has more than the next 10 put together.

The frat house where the alleged incident took placeIf you are one of the few that hasn’t heard by now, the quick version is this: A 20-year-old University of Tennessee student at a frat party was put in critical care at the emergency room after he allegedly, um…. “consumed” alcohol via an enema. His blood-alcohol level at the hospital was 0.40, or five times the legal limit in Tennessee. Of course, that isn’t as surprising as the method used to deliver the alcohol into his system, or the apparent prevalence of the practice.

In fact, the report stated that the fellow fraternity members referred to it as “butt-chugging” in a nonchalant way like, “oh yeah, THAT.”

(This... I don't even want to think about)

As giggle-inducing and joke-fodder as that might be, a quick search shows that, yes, indeed, it isn’t anything new.

There’s this nugget from Gawker, complete with a video, a quick history on the alleged origins of the fad thanks to hangover.com, and many, many, MANY less classy descriptions and sites. Take my word for it and consider that a favor.

The whole point is to try to get alcohol into the blood stream quicker than merely ingesting it. So of *course* that is the next logical step, right?

BTW, here is a video from The Doctors (a mid-afternoon television show) about the dangers of butt chugging.

My friends and I did a lot of stupid, dangerous and even regrettable things growing up, but never at any point did “hey, I know, grab me a funnel and a hose….” spring to mind.

For the ladies in the crowd, another practice includes soaking a certain feminine product in vodka before using it, which is also the kind of thing that would not appear as a game show answer on “name ways to get intoxicated.”

In addition to a quicker buzz, the other main reason that these practices have apparently  taken hold is the thought that you won’t have the smell of alcohol on your breath, should parents or authority figures come calling.

Lest that thought continue to spread the practice (no pun intended), basic biology is in order. Alcohol works by entering your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, it will circulate your body. As part of that it will, in fact make its way to your mouth, meaning that not only will you have to explain to the people you were hoping to avoid finding out about it THAT you are drunk, chances are you will also have to tell them HOW you got drunk.

Not to mention the fact that since the alcohol has bypassed your stomach you can’t throw it back up should you become sick.

(All of which is summed up nicely by Stephen Colbert here: Vodka Tampons)Stephen Colbert

In which case your friends have to take you to the hospital, in which case the fraternity gets in danger of being closed by the university, in which case you wind up in the paper, in which case your parents knowing becomes the least of your worries.

Update: Thanks to the wealth of knowledge that is AuntB, some definitive proof that at least one of these two is a myth, the “putting a vodka-soaked tampon in a vagina” portion, has cemented already dubious accounts of “someone who knows someone who knows someone said that someone at their college…”  as myth. And, to be honest, I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere actually wanting to do either of these things, thus the “allegedly” and “apparently” references sprinkled throughout. In fact, part of the family’s response claiming that parts of the police report were “significantly erroneous" may very well be to say that the concept of butt-chugging is a myth as well, if for no other reason than the recurring question of how someone actually keeps the alcohol inside them in any real amount once they’ve done that, but I digress.  The point is, one myth had been struck down before I posted it, so the "apparently" for the vaginal vodka tampons needn’t have even come up; that section was D.O.A. from the beginning. Apologies for perpetuating that myth. And, just as I say that, people are commenting/emailing that they "know a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy" that puts vodka in his eyes via eyedroppers. Which I’m assuming would feel about as good as vodka in a vagina and is probably bogus for the same reasons. In any case, as long as the words "college kids" and "alcohol" being written together puts a scare in parents, I’m sure the rumor mill will continue. After all, I know a guy that knew this woman that knew a guy that…

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