During my first sixty days in California, the handyman was my most frequent apartment guest. There were random, minor fixes to ensure my space was livable, comfortable. Most tasks were completed; Some in a few minutes, some with the help of a sidekick, some after multiple visits to the hardware store. Jasper the Handyman was, and is still, the most frequent guest at my place, which should say something about my social status. However, he left a lot of loose ends that have yet to be tied and Saturday was supposed to be a day when the rest of these minor inconveniences were repaired once and for all.

The new Mr. Fit-It is diligent and responsible and employs an army of worthy tradesmen. A helpful duo fixed my disgusting kitchen sink back-up. And another friendly fellow remedied the faulty antique range. There were still other repairs to cross off the list; He was to stop by Saturday morning before 11am, which was fine unless he was finished by 5, allowing me to appear at my office Christmas party.

I got a text at 11 that the handyman was running a few minutes late because of car problems. No worries. Time ticked on. Frustration bubbled over. I gazed through the window at another beautiful California day. I remained in this limited space waiting for the handyman. At 12noon I aborted the plan and asked to reschedule. I grew impatient and would not be held hostage inside my own apartment. Perhaps the rest of these fixes will be done once and for all while I am away for the holidays. Fingers crossed.

The company Christmas party was within walking distance of home, at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to sample. It is perhaps the last restaurant in Long Beach that I hadn’t yet experienced. I wonder if there is some sort of badge earned for dining out in every Long Beach restaurant. It was a small gathering of employees and plus-ones. It was a limited menu of delicious Italian cuisine. It was a fantastic variety of tiny decadent desserts. I ate a salad and lived to tell about it. I washed down the lasagna with bourbon mule(s). I walked home with a bottle of Don Julio under my arm, my victory from the White Elephant exchange.

Bulleit Mules were a better idea Saturday night than Sunday morning. I woke up in time to take a nap on the couch and see some of the sluggish Bears game and make a halfhearted house-cleaning effort… lazy Sunday Funday, indeed. I did eventually scrape myself together for a return hike along the trails near Trump National. And because it was Sunday, there was pizza with limited street parking available. Headfirst, that’s how I park!


There are surely many things that’ll get your ass kicked in a basement in Hanover, New Hampshire, but nothing will put it at risk so swiftly as throwing a ping-pong ball. Go ahead and piss on the wall or pitch yourself face-first into the plywood bar in the corner. But down here, in the seething subterranean pleasure centers that power Dartmouth College’s best minds into oblivion, they won’t tolerate that kind of beer pong. So you’d better hit the ball with a paddle.

Beer pong is America. The drinking game seems like it’s been on top forever, but compared to others in its world, it’s relatively young. It mirrors democracy’s everyman appeal, it rewards innovation, and it encourages self-aggrandizement — just like these United States. Plus, it does all that while floating on a Mississippi River’s worth of light beer. This generation will conclude that beer pong is a consistent thread in the always-deteriorating social fabric of “Young Folks Today”.

We just can’t quite agree how to shoot that ball, or what to call it.

The Internet is littered with beer pong “histories”, “commandments”, and “guides” that breathlessly proclaim themselves as “definitive” and “official”. Yet none satisfyingly trace beer pong’s complete silhouette. To know the contours of the modern game, I tried to do just that. I spoke to alumni from the four corners of the US, combed the archives of the country’s oldest student newspaper, and interviewed several pong prophets who claim to see the game’s future. What follows is a snapshot (a good one, I think, but given the game’s constant evolution, not a definitive one) of the state of US beer pong today.

The etymology of this game (these games) is a hotly contested point. Some call it “beer pong” or “pong”, and others insist it’s “Beirut”. For clarity, this article will use the first term (or “the paddle game”) to mean a game played by paddling a ping-pong ball into some number of beer cups; and the latter (or “the throw game”) to signify a game played by throwing the ball into those cups. In cases where direct quotations contradict this naming convention, I’ll provide additional clarification. This isn’t an endorsement of “right/wrong” names — it’s just how we’re going to keep everything straight. You’ll thank me later.

Beer Pong vs Beirut History & Etymology at THRILLIST


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