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.

  • I listen pretty regularly when it’s hockey season (notable Oil-season). But during the off-season, I generally just listen to my music when on the drive. But I had to tune in yesterday. It was a great show.. not out of humor or anything, but a really great learning experience.

    I was actually pretty interested to know a couple of things:

    a) could Khabi possibly have gotten that drunk without quite realizing it as it (i.e. it crept up)… uhh.. no.

    b) could he possibly have functioned at that level of drunkenness.. and again, an obvious no.

    While it didn’t take long to get to the over the limit levels, I can’t say that I would ever fathom doing 14 drinks (half shots , half highballs) in a 2 hour span and consider driving. And even at that, you still weren’t at Khabi’s level.

    It’s absolutely disgusting that he drove that drunk.

    Thanks for performing this experiment. ~I can’t imagine how horrible it would have been you to get bombed with a hot chick during a work shift… ~

    Oh and I agree with David.. I couldn’t really hear the “drunk” in your speech much.. well done. There were a few times where you cut words short and such and you can hear that you were putting effort in.. but you could fool some people into thinking you were sober.

  • I thought you all did a great job. In fact, even though it was obvious you were working hard not to sound like a total lush, I was amazed how coherent you sounded at 5:45. Well done all of you.

    Curious. Did you guys try to blow one more time first thing this morning?

  • Gregor you sounded WASTED towards the end. Rambling on and on…

    “Whether you’re playing your men’s league game, at a AJHL game, Oilers game, Oil Kings game, Rush game…” blah blah blah

    Nice one for getting a free limo ride too. Only problem with the show was, there’s nothing worse than listening to a dude that’s wasted when you’re completely sober. At least I could change the station, Brownlee was stuck with you. hahaha

    Now if only you can do an experiment on how lap dances affect concentration, you’ll have it made.

  • Cheesenaka

    Great work Gregor. Good article. My simple rule of thumb is to never drive even if I am having 1 drink. Of course i’m 5’4″ and 130 pounds and alcohol hits me very quickly.