Since it's the season of entertainment options that either involve getting nostalgic about Charlie Brown television specials or surfing waves of merry mall rats, I'm sitting with the Lizard of Fun, plotting Y2K survival strategies over a few bottles of vanilla porter.
"OK, you get all the canned peaches, but I get the rest of that scotch," says the Lizard, shoving grocery items across the table.
"What about the mango chutney?" I ask, pointing to the jar that's been in the pantry since the Lizard's "Veddy British Princess Diana Mournfest."
"Yours. I get the rest of this case of beer, unless there isn't any left after tonight."
I'm beginning to sense a pattern. "So, you get the booze, and I don't. That's not especially equitable."
"Well, I've gotta plan ahead for all the postapocalypse parties I'll be invited to, once people figure out I've got a storehouse of hooch bigger than — well, bigger than theirs."
"I'll donate a jar of mango chutney to the cause," I bargain.
The Lizard shakes its head. "Naah. I've got just about everything I need for the ultimate in New Year's partying. Lessee ... scotch, gin, vodka. The essential tequila. The rest of your beer. Also a gross of beer condoms, because you just never know."
"Gross is right. I'm not sure I want to know."
The Lizard holds up a white plastic bag printed with a picture of a martini glass and blue lettering that reads "Drink-eez."
"What's that, a carryout container for barhoppers?" I ask.
The Lizard shakes its head, chuckling. "Freak Girl, you are so out of it. This is the latest in nightclub essentials, the accessory that will ensure that nobody poops on your party. But I couldn't expect you to know that, could I?"
I examine the bag more closely. "A tamper-evident drink pouch?" I read aloud. "Who thinks of these things?"
As it turns out, Martin Smith does. As the guy behind the bar at Royal Oak's Comedy Castle, he finds it distinctly unfunny to think about people ("Men," says the Lizard) who drug other people's ("Women," says the Lizard) drinks when they're not looking.
So Smith decided to do something to keep patrons' drinks safe, and after some trial and error invented Drink-eez. The idea is simple: You write your name on the plastic bag, stick your drink inside, seal it and leave. When you come back from wherever you've been (the restroom, the dance floor, the south of France), your drink will be waiting for you, unadulterated and safe.
"Gotta have 'em," says the Lizard, "even though the geek factor is about a notch lower than wearing a pocket protector. No, wait, maybe a notch higher. Pocket protectors are at least kind of retro."
Then again, as Smith puts it, "it's better than waking up somewhere and not knowing where you are."
"Although," says the Lizard, "that can sometimes be fun. Depending, of course, on who you're with."
"Remember last time we were in New York and you laughed about how the waiters left the bits of paper wrapper on the tops of the straws?" I point out. "This isn't all that different.
Clearly, we're just growing into a paranoid society. Even our partying has to be protected by some sort of paper or plastic device."
"Don't forget our pottying," says the Lizard. "Like those public toilets with the plastic wrap that automatically covers the seat for you. All you have to do is press a button, although I don't think there's a protective cover for the button itself. Yet."
I try to pop my half-finished beer bottle into the Drink-eez bag. I successfully manage to do it without spilling, but getting the one-time-only seal stuck together could be a challenge if I'd consumed a lot more beer. "Can you picture a bar covered with these things? At least you'd instantly know the names of the people sitting there, because they'd be written on the bags."
"But would you want to know them?" asks the Lizard. "Anyway, forget about running out of drinking water. Forget about the germs. I know what's really going to be the downfall of the human race."
"And what would that be, O hopelessly smug prophet of green?"
The Lizard grins, slipping a few Drink-eez pouches over its paws.
"Hah. One day, someone will invent full-body protectors, just like these but bigger. To stay safe when partying, all you do is slip it on, zip it closed, and it keeps you from catching diseases, getting drugged or having to be touched by lecherous strangers."
"So how will that affect the human race?"
"Easy," says the Lizard. "They'll be federally mandated. And then the first time people actually go out in such goofy looking things, they'll all just die of embarrassment."