Gregor’s Experiment: the results

Walking into the studio at 2:55pm yesterday, I was more nervous prior to a show than I have been in at least five years. For many it seemed like a great opportunity — to get drunk at work. But I was so stressed that I would come off sounding like an imbecile my gut was actually churning when I turned on the mic.

TEAM 1260 Brand Director Ross Macleod came up with the idea to find out how quickly Meg Morrison and I could get legally drunk, and possibly how much it would take to blow 0.164. We took our first shot of Jagermeister at 3:05, and we would have one at 3:35 and 4:05 and so on for the next three hours, while also consuming two highballs each hour. Also the Jager and Bacardi Limon that we drank was only 35% alcohol. A normal highball is 40%.

That first Jager didn’t go down very smooth. When a shot is your first drink, it never tastes good. Ten minutes later, and it might have been my nerves, but I felt a bit off. It was clear that I had had a shot and was sipping on a drink.

Our findings are not to be used as a guideline by any stretch, but the following are the breathalyzer readings from the show.

*** I should point out that most experts claim you become impaired at 0.04, but currently you aren’t legally impaired until 0.08. And most consider 1 ½ highballs to be equivalent to one beer.***

Time & drink total Meg Jason
3:45pm | 2 shots, 1 highball 0.026 0.012
4:15pm | 3 shots, 2 highballs 0.046 0.030
4:45pm | 4 shots, 3 highballs 0.087 0.055
5:15pm | 5 shots, 5 highballs 0.143 0.092
5:45pm | 6 shots, 6 highballs (only 5 for Meg) 0.158 0.113
5:55pm | 7 shots, 7 highballs (only 5 for Meg) 0.186 0.142

***Meg only had five highballs and six shots total. She felt at 5:15 she was done. She did one final shot at 5:35. What is interesting is that she went from 0.143 to 0.182 with only one shot. So I would guess it took some time for all the alcohol to get through her system.***

What is most interesting was how quickly the numbers jumped up. I would caution those who think it would take five shots and four highballs to blow over. Because the jump from 0.055 to 0.092 came with only one shot and one highball, to me it is clear that once the alcohol gets through your system, your blood alcohol level can increase quickly. After doing this experiment I will have a hard time believing anyone who tells me they only had one or two drinks, but blew over 0.08.

After the show, Blue Sky Limos took us to On the Rocks for nachos and wings. I had two drinks in the two hours that we were there, and I blew again at 8:30 and I was still well over at 0.112. I blew again before bed, at 10:30 and I was still over at 0.862. Clearly it takes a long time for the booze to get out of one’s system.

There are many variables that go into how much one person can consume before they become legally impaired, such as height, weight, how much you had to eat that day, how quickly your body can metabolize alcohol, so please don’t use the above numbers as a guideline. Remember if the 1 ½ highball to beer ratio is accurate then six shots and four beers and I would have blown 0.113.

When Meg blew 0.046 she seemed hammered.

“There is no way I could have driven at that point, and that was only an hour in for me. It actually was a bit scary how quickly I felt it.”

I’ve never been drinking in a non-drinking atmosphere. Being on-air and with a stone-sober Robin Brownlee co-hosting with me, I realized just how quickly booze affects me. When you are out in a social setting or having beers with some buddies, I don’t think we realize how quickly it hits us.

The final 30 minutes of the show were a bit of a struggle for me. I really didn’t want to sound drunk. I could hear myself and I was certain I sounded inebriated. I know that was the point, but it was very stressful wondering if I would say or do something regrettable. Thankfully I got through it unscathed and I was relieved by the feedback from listeners.

I decided to donate $164 to MAAD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and I’m glad to say a few listeners did the same.

Drinking and driving is a sensitive topic, and I wanted to ensure that we brought awareness while maintaining some level of professionalism while drinking on air. I’m not sure we were completely professional, but it was an eye-opening experience for Meg and me.

I think back to when I was younger and how often I might have been over the 0.04 threshold after playing men’s hockey or going to an Oiler game. Luckily I don’t risk it anymore, and hopefully this might make all of us think twice before driving after having a few drinks.

  • Chris.

    @ Arch:

    I have a neice who tells me that she, and all of her friends don’t drink but smoke pot instead because: a) pot is easier to get. b) easier to conceal from her parents. c) Waaay cheaper.

    She tells me she can stay wasted on a three day camping trip for less than $30.

    I don’t want to be dragged into a big mariguana debate… but when I was in high school beer was cheaper and certainly more readily available than pot.

    Every year I go on an annual camping trip with some classmates/friends from my first high school restaurant job. Some of us are just drinkers. Some Of the group smoke pot. As the years pass the drinkers in our group arrive in newer, bigger RV’s, trucks, etc. The pot smokers tended to arrive in the same old vehicles they had in high school and pitch tents. The drinkers bought homes and started families. The pot smokers tended to rent basement suites… Some of them never married, some are living common law. After twenty years I see the pot smokers less and less… (always welcome; these old freinds have simply stopped attending these annual camping trips or other related group events like weddings, funerals, etc.)

    I know my experience is not univerasal. I know there are some solid citizens who work hard, pay their mortgage, and occasionally use drugs… (In and around their trips to visit their contact from the world of organized crime that is).

    I think it’s dangerous that it is now in style to simultaneously preach the evils of drinking while promoting the virtues of marijuana… Both practices can have very negative consequences… though in my personal experience, one more than the other.

  • When I first heard about Kabby’s DUI I thought that his alcohol reading sounded high but I was thinking maybe 5-6 drinks he may have had.

    After the Gregor and Meg experiment I am thinking that he may have drank double or more than that amount. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for him being on the road behind the wheel after that much alcohol. Disappointing..

    • ubermiguel

      Agreed.

      Add the fact that Khabi acted relatively normal after he got pulled over, it’s plausible he has a real drinking problem. I say that not to engage in mud-slinging-gossip-mongering but out of genuine concern.

  • Chris.

    Gregor and Meg did a fine job of highlighting this issue. The Team 1260 is involved in events on an ongoing basis that promote public awareness and charity. The yearly fund raising for The Stollery, golf tournaments for a host of charitable organizations.The list goes on and on. As a member of our community The Team 1260 to me has always shown leadership, willingness, and alturism. Gregor and Meg took on a very serious issue which affects alot of lives. Alcohol is not the problem. Its people’s perception regarding its usage that is the problem. Drinking to excess and getting drunk is not an issue for me. I allow that people wish to enjoy themselves with a few pops once in a while. My issue is with those who abuse alcohol. My opinion is that the legal age should remain as is. Age is not the issue. People make dumb descisions wether they are 18 or 37. As in NK’s case. If I were king of the world I would lower the impaired level to .04. Fund operation Red Nose year round with a tax on all liqour sales. Use funds from said tax to help victims of alcohol abuse. Increase public awareness through ad campaigns. Work hand in hand with the bar owners to find out what can be done on thier end to decrease the problems on thier end. I don’t drink. My wife dosen’t drink. Yet we respect the right that someelse has to have a few pops. I believe that what Gregor and Meg did was a very good thing. It takes courage to take an on an issue like alcohol.