To Boldly Gulp: Drinking with the TNG Seven

I’m not good at this blog thing.  Even once a month seems to be too much to ask from me.  It’s been a while.  Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year greetings are in order.  I could have submitted some holiday themed entries, but would anybody want to read an extensive breakdown of how Home Alone would differ if Fuller was the one left behind? What if I told you the McCallisters just stocked the fridges with Pepsi, and a reminder that he has his pick of the beds? (Spoiler alert: He wets them all!!!)

Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah. I dressed up as Spock on Halloween.

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Even on Halloween this costume is considered lame.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved portraying the coolest man to never exist, but just look at me!  I hadn’t seen my chin since I was 16.  I always had some form of facial hair since, so I barely even recognized myself in the mirror.  Needless to say, I grew out a full beard right away to over-compensate for my bald face insecurity.

Then there’s the hairdo.  I had not worn straight bangs like that since I was 14, when I finally decided to choose my own haircut.  It makes me wonder if all Vulcans (and Romulans, for that matter) still let their mother pick their hairstyle.  This is a bit puzzling to me since several Trekkie ladies seem to be very attracted by Spock.  Doing that in spite of rocking a DIY head of hair just goes to show you how awesome the man is.

I’m surprised I’d never cosplayed as a Star Trek character in my entire life up until that point.  The series has been strung fairly consistently throughout my entire life.  While I no doubt love the original series, my earliest memories of the franchise came from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

When you’ve seen episodes as often as I have, you grow to regret how you don’t get a bigger glimpse of the off-duty lifestyles of the crew members.  I’d love to see just what exactly goes on in a match of Parisses Squares, how many people complained when the captain would jump the queue for the Holodeck, or witness nagging family members go on about how they don’t bother separating the saucer section of the Enterprise before battle any more. What’s the old saying?  If you can’t stand the heat, the shuttle bay’s that-away?

There is a mess of crew members on the Enterprise that I could include, but I’m going to stick to the core seven characters of the series.  Besides, Wesley Crusher was too young to drink, Chief O’Brien is Irish and thus never 100 percent sober in the first place (Sorry, Mr. Roddenberry, but not all stereotypes will fade so easily), and Tasha Yar would take off so early that the Jello shots would still be settling.

As I do the roll call, I’m leaving rank out of this.  Once alcoholism rears it’s ugly head, the top dog is the last man standing.  Or whomever leaves the party with their reputation the least tarnished.

Geordi La Forge

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Might as well get this one out of the way as he could be the most gruelling to deal with.  La Forge share so many similar shortcomings with me that I’m not sure if I’d get on with him like a house on fire or be left praying for the Borg assimilation to strike just to make things interesting.  It could get very depressing very quickly if we dwell on certain subjects as we drink.  I’d fear that he’s a drown your sorrows type of drinker.

Where to start?  We are both shorter-than-average men, so that may come up in conversation.  I try to convince him how I don’t let it define who I am, but he’s not having any of it.  He uses it as an excuse for the fact that despite his important role on the Enterprise, he isn’t pulling in the big bucks.  I tell him that I heard in the 24th century that humans had eliminated the need for accumulating wealth.  I sense this bothers him as he swiftly pounds back his Romulan ale.

I soon learn that he’s developed an intense fascination with the Ferengi. It pains him to see this race of vertically-challenged entrepreneurs demonized for chasing the almighty dollar (or gold-pressed latinum). We’ve both invested a good deal of time into getting a solid university education in engineering. And I thought the economy was bad to enter the workforce today! He’s chief of engineering on a galaxy class space vessel, and he’s about as well to do financially as the guy who slides open the “automatic” doors.

He, as I am guilty of thinking on occasion, connects his lack of money and height as reasons why he has trouble meeting women.  But then I learn he does have a girlfriend.  He starts to get into the specifics of his relationship, leaving out such vital information that she’s really just a holographic projection and when he finally met her true form she gave him the cold shoulder only to be, yet again, friend-zoned, thus returning back to ignorant bliss with the replica in a sort of Oldboy level of weirdness.

On the other hand, I could see Geordi as a man looking to make up for lost time.  He didn’t jump from lieutenant junior grade to chief engineer in the span of one season by anchoring a flip cup team.  He had his head buried in books, and seldom had time for hanging with the boys or chasing skirt (or whatever female cadets wore/wear in his day).  He’s isolated himself a little, and now wants to La Forge himself a hip new identity.

We already see some evidence of this on the show.  Geordi tries too hard to be liked by the young with his constant shouting of “Yo, Wes!” to the young acting ensign, all the while flashing some gang sign that’s hundreds of years from being recognizable.  I could just have a blast watching a man relive the college experience he deprived from himself, having the pressures of his job being lifted off him for a night full of beer pong or, a La Forge favourite, doing shots whenever someone yells “warp core breach” (it turns out he really treasures his sobriety).

Here an obvious thought I’d have:  I’d like to know how alcohol consumption affected his vision.  Does his visor make corrections to compensate for any shakiness he might experience?  Maybe he won’t see the ladies with beer goggles like the rest of us, so he could theoretically get his pick of the women wherever we go. But there are still six other crew members I’d like to get to know, so with that…

Worf

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Uh oh!!  Could my encounters start off 0 for 2?  I’m doubting how fun it would be to hang with this guy for a night on the town. He seems like he could be a bit of a wet blanket.  Not a merry man, to use his own words.  Is he always as uptight and grumpy as episodes portray him? I can’t learn without trying.

What I don’t want to see is Worf living the cliché of the single father.  It would pain me to no end seeing his child support payments being sent straight to Quark‘s bar time and time again.  I don’t this this fits Worf’s character at all.  As bad-ass as Klingons seem, Worf would require to be dragged to the bar kicking and screaming.

The man doesn’t want anybody to pass negative judgement on Klingon for his behaviour on or off duty.  He already had to bear the shame for actions his father may or may not have taken, so I don’t think summoning enough liquid courage to take on “Summer Of 69” in a karaoke bar would help his image any.

One undeniable quality Worf has is his loyalty.  He tried many times to avoid such potential embarrassment by offering to do other things for the sake of unity.  Aside from offering his services as a go-to designated transporter operator, Worf would let the children on the Enterprise make cast moulds of his forehead for arts & crafts, and hook up Orion slave girls with the most lonely of his crew mates.  Now that’s a team player!

I imagine there could be reason for him to be tempted if he did join some of the crew on a trip to Bar Dassian.  He follows to provide a bit of security, but even a fine officer like Worf can grow tired of giving ocular pat-downs to a club full of cougars.  Suppose he does break down and finally decide to order some of the devil’s nectar.  What would he fancy?  You know, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Worf was a girl drink drunk.

It’s hard to exactly define what mixed drinks qualify as girly drinks. It mainly depends on who’s drinking them, and frankly, Worf’s a pretty intimidating fellow, so he can make his own choices. He didn’t see anything like this in the after-parties of Klingon right of passage ceremonies. The drinks he’s used to were named after noble Klingon warriors. Now they’re naming beverages off childhood urban legends, adolescent horror subject matter, and adult arrest-able offences? Colour Worf fascinated!!! After witnessing all these inventive and colorful mixed drinks, he makes mental notes to devise one called Sto’Vo’Kranberry.

There are several reasons he is drawn to the flash of those types of drinks. Maybe he’d do it as a way of rebelling from his Russian upbringing, wanting desperately to shed the vodka stereotypes. Maybe it’s the drabness of Klingon decor, from the colourless uniforms to the battleships lit by a single 40 watt bulb.  I really don’t mind what it is, but if it can provide him with the type of joy he gets from the mint frosting on a cellular peptide cake, I hope he’ll find his hangover is a fair price to pay.

William T. Riker

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I’d never have any qualms about heading out to pound a few back with good ol’ Willy Frakes (thanks to a friend of mine for that wonderful Frankensteining of names).  Adventure is bound to be had wherever he leads the lads!

Whenever someone has to go get his attention in Ten Forward, we often catch him flirting with a beautiful, young coworker, or we catch him in the middle of a saucy anecdote before some buzz-kill comes by to tell him he had a ship to command (the nerve!).  Head out for a night with him and watch those hot tales materialize before you like a cup of Earl Grey tea from the replicator.

If the dude can hang with Klingons, he can hang with anyone.   If he reminds you of that creepy older guy that crashes college house parties, relax!  He’s no narc.  He’s the kind of guy who’d help get under-agers a two-four of beer.  Law enforcement naturally look the other way since they’d hate for Riker to think of them as uncool.  Heck, they’d lend him a gun and invite him for target practice at the range.

I’m not sure what type of drunk he is, but I hope he’s a confrontational one.  I want to see him go all “Future Imperfect” on everyone’s ass.

“That’s a girl’s drink, Mr. Data!”

“Interesting observation.  Though my anatomy and personality were constructed with male characteristics, Dr. Soong could have just as easily created me to be female.”

“And do you have to flair your nostrils every time you take a sip?  I hate that!!”

“Dr. Soong programmed me with character traits that are similar to those of his own, much like a child would pick up things from their parents.  This is only one of 126 distinct mannerisms that the two of us share.”

“You know, I wish Dr. Soong was with us right now.”

“I often share the same wish.”

“I’d tell him he should have taken up a more productive hobby like fly fishing.”

“Sir, if I was capable of emotions, I believe the words you are using would cause anger or sadness.  Perhaps continued reminders of any perceived shortcomings would even cause me to cry.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll try to bring up better times. Do you remember when we first met how I called you Pinnochio?”

“I remember it fondly, sir.”

“It was in reference to your wooden personality. Just to clarify.”

“I have changed a lot since then.”

“For the worse.”

Be prepared for such aggressive behavior by being armed with a quick tongue of your own.  He knows better than to get into fist fights since his job is so important, so talking trash is all he has.  Tell him that the trombone is the least cool jazz instrument or imply that you know Minuet intimately.

It’s hard to predict how the evening might end up.  I just hope he doesn’t do something he might really regret like shave his beard off again.

Jean-Luc Picard

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Picard often plays it straight and has been known to prefer quiet evenings at home with a good book, but he just needs the right amount of nudging to bring back the Picard of his youth. The brash young rebel that took a knife to the heart in a bar brawl. We’d need to get Vash involved. Otherwise he’ll be spending yet another weekend trying to drink Boothby under the picnic table. We can do better than that, Jean-Luc.

Vash would bring out the dormant sense of adventure buried deep beneath that futuristic hockey jersey of his. It’s always best when she shows up unannounced just to see Picard struggle in the conflict between his brain and his balls.  She strikes me as the kind of woman who would have all sorts of connections to the hottest night clubs in town.  With this freedom of choice and charm to spare, she easily walks past the rope as the bouncer lets her into the hottest nightspot in the galaxy.  Picard would be a different story.  Some bouncers are born pricks, and this one’s treating the captain as if he was merely acting ensign.  Looks like this club will be a tough entrance.

I remind him about the time he went all John McClane on the terrorists aboard the Enterprise when it was docked for a routine baryon sweep.  If he went through that kind of trouble just to find his saddle, getting past the bouncer should be child’s play.  This, in combination with his attraction to Vash, gives him a stroke of genius.

“Do you know who I am?”

Oh brother! He’s one of those men.  Time to play the celebrity card.  He can’t be denied entrance.  His ego’s as big as a Dyson sphere.  Why did I blow off a spa retreat with Guinan for this?

“Dixon Hill!” he exclaims, followed by a swift kick towards the bouncer’s genitals.  He misses wide right in Scott Norwood fashion, then falls flat on his ass.  Did he get pre-drunk and not let me in on it?  It turns out that the bouncer did recognize Picard and was just messing with him.  Picard seemingly takes it in stride as he is granted passage, but orders me to find out where he lives once we are out of earshot.

Once inside, I’m not really certain what would come next.  It’s often said that actors try to put a bit of themselves into a character. If there’s even the slightest hint of Patrick Stewart in Jean-Luc Picard, we’re in for some good times.

Deanna Troi

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No deep thinking required for this one.  She may have been my earliest TV crush if I exclude nanny’s legs from Muppet Babies, so I can revert back into a dream like state when creating this scenario.

The scene starts at Ten Forward. An off-duty, man-hungry counselor awaits at the bar in a scene not dissimilar from the opening scene in “Hollow Pursuits”. She eyes me down as I enter the room, so I calmly pull up a stool next to her. She whispers into my ear “I sense arousal.” as she gently rubs my leg with her foot. Who am I kidding? Fantasy over! In reality (though still fiction), I’d think Troi would keep it a little more classy than that.

That’s not to say that we can’t have any fun. Forgetting her doctor-patient confidentiality in her inebriated state, she may get a little loose-tongued and let us in on some of her counseling.  Last time we went out, I learned all about Picard’s reoccurring dreams where he goes into different business ventures with Q. Wineries, delicatessens, hardware stores.  He can’t even step foot in a bakery anymore without seeing Q’s face in a danish!  Even when she isn’t dealing with patients, she does sense emotion and deception in others, so there’s still plenty she could tell with a clean conscience.  I find most of her stories fascinating, but would appreciate if she would stop telling me to “keep it under my cap” and tap the side of her nose after each one.

Watch out for her mother.  She’s been known to frequent the club scene ever since Deanna’s father passed.  If not for this outlet, Lwaxana Troi would be at home driving her servant Homn up the wall, constantly asking him to do his Charlie Chaplin impression or finding new ways of using his own thoughts against him.  Make sure to keep clear of her on a night out to avoid an epic mother-daughter cat fight.  Actually, us non-Betazeds may not be able to appreciate their level of battle.  As reluctant as Troi is to talk with her mother telepathically, she doesn’t want to make a scene with her mother.  All us outsiders would get is an awkward-looking exchange of furrowed brows and piercing stares.

Data

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I’ll go on the assumption that alcohol will not affect an android the same way it would affect humans, emotion chip activated or not.

One obvious reason to have a night out drinking with Data is that you’ve got your designated driver taken care of.  Even if he had a few too many in him, the guy has it in him to cheat a breathalyser.  I’ve never really thought about androids as having breath anyway.  As much as I love Star Trek, I’ve never checked to see if androids would have lungs or anything.  He might not have breath to be able to develop bad breath, but he’d have to brush his teeth like anyone else if only to keep up appearances. Could he get a cavity?  I’m thinking too much about his body.  I’ll just assume his insides match those of a T-800, and call it a day.  There are some things I really don’t need to know.

Some bars have special nights throughout the week that might attract Data’s wish to co-opt human culture.  I don’t mean Wet T-shirt Wednesdays or 80’s night (where he technically wouldn’t need a costume).  I’m thinking Trivia Night.  With Data as a teammate, and with a trivia team named The Fully Functionals, we’d easily wipe the floor with the competition.  He’s a walking Wikipedia, with the ability to easily update his database without those annoying hacks.  He can store factoids ranging from the fifth president of France to the name of Taylor Swift’s prom date without bumping out the useful things like remembering to reactivate Lore once a year on his birthday.

If bringing such an advanced android along with you doesn’t end up impressing your friends, take along a backup plan. Everyone loves Robbie, father or son! Even Data would get a kick out of meeting a primitive ancestor. That would be like us meeting… I was going to say Fred Flintstone, but meeting fictional characters is an absurd notion.

At the rate technology evolves in science fiction, maybe it’s not out of the question to see Data or other androids become so close to human.  That being said, what if alcohol did affect Data like it would other lifeforms?  Would using contractions be his way of slurring his speech?  Would bars post up “Do Not Serve” signs with his photo attached following a series of disembowlings in defense of the honor of his beloved cat, Spot?

Beverly Crusher

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At last, we come to the doctor.  No, not The Doctor.  And not substitute doctor either, who in my mind will always be remembered looking like this and never like that.

She, without a doubt, is my first experience as a child as witnessing a MILF.  I don’t even know if the term was popular at the time.  Since I was not even nine by the time the final TNG episode aired, I’d yet to even know what the ILF part meant. but not knowing what words mean hasn’t phased me in the past. In fact, back then I would probably just nod sheepishly in agreement if someone called my own mother a MILF (In my defense, she is a Mother I‘ll Love Forever).

The first part of the evening she’d have trouble trying to not micro-manage every aspect of her son Wesley’s life.  She’d begin by checking in on him to make sure he’s doing his homework, then to make sure he knows which laughable outfit he’ll wear to work the next day, and yet again to see that he’s not mortgaging his future to hang around some drifter.  “Enough of the smothering!!”, I yell at her.  I despise Wesley as much as the next Trekkie, but give the man a fighting chance.  I apologize, gain my composure, and try to change the subject.  “Could you recommend any good Vulcan comedies?”

You’ve all heard of blackout drunks, right?  Well I can see Crusher as the opposite, a blackout sober.  When she drinks, she forgets completely about her misfortunes (Wesley) and doesn’t dwell on them.  I mean completely forgets about them. This is why she secretly loves putting down her tricorder for a night out.  Don’t ask me how she’d ever look forward to this since there’s no way she could be aware of that mindset when she’s sober.  This is science fiction.  The harder it is to understand, the better.

We’d get a glimpse of the Beverley Howard that Jack Crusher fell in love with before they burdened themselves with, as time and countless Trekkies can attest to, a mistake.  The Beverley that would go to wine tasting parties without spitting it out.  The Beverley that would take in random lectures with Jack at Starfleet Academy to deliberately misconstrue each phrase out of the professor’s mouth as sexual innuendo.  The Beverley that dreamed of having a daughter follow her path in medicine instead of a son who followed anyone who wouldn’t rush to an escape pod upon meeting him.

I honestly tried to get through Crusher’s section by taking minimal swipes at Wesley, but I couldn’t do it.  Am I that weak a man, or is Wesley all that insufferable?  Most of you don’t know me well, so assume the latter.  It’s like the outbreak of a pimple.  Try as you might to ignore it or let it heal naturally, but the damage is already done.  Wesley’s mere presence aboard the Enterprise was why approaching ships use their cloaking device and why alcohol was permitted on board in the first place.

The irony of all this is that I don’t consider myself to be a big drinker. However, if I could put myself in these impossible social situations, then I’d probably start drinking on weekdays too. But if I try this again, maybe I’d feel more comfortable meeting fictional characters in other contexts. Antiquing with The A-Team (Trek overlap!!!)? Board game night with the Breaking Bad guys? A road trip with the Golden Girls?  I need a life.

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