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Tonight marks the first official debate between the Republican candidates for president, and, given the competitors, you are probably going to want to be a little tipsy!

If that describes you, just follow these rules. You’ll be well on your way to enjoying Thursday night’s Republican showdown:

Drink Every Time…

  • a candidate says something and your mouth is suddenly overtaken by an acrid, metallic taste
  • a candidate says something and you are suddenly haunted by the stench of death
  • a candidate says something and, even as the words are leaving his mouth, you can sense that he is framing an apology for those words to speak afterwards
  • a candidate accidentally says something honest
  • a candidate says something atrocious and all of the other candidates just sort of idle around without reacting or protesting, as though the candidate had just announced he was born in Maryland, or that he lives in a house with a kitchen and a fireplace
  • a candidate says something and suddenly you understand what it would feel like to eat a double-A battery
  • a candidate actually answers the question
  • a candidate says something so plainly objectionable that you momentarily wonder if he is being paid by a shadowy gambling cabal to throw the election
  • a candidate says something that lays bare the emptiness of both the political process and your participation in it
  • a candidate says something and you can easily imagine him standing amid a flock of vultures in the desert, laughing maniacally as the birds pick clean the rotting corpse of a pack animal
  • a candidate says something that makes you experience an intense nostalgia for the innocence of childhood
  • a candidate accidentally reveals a genuine character trait
  • a candidate says something so baldly workshopped and focus-grouped that you can imagine him standing in front of his bathroom mirror, repeating the phrase over and over again, until he gets the cadence and timing just perfect
  • a candidate says something and you can suddenly feel in your bones that it is going to rain tomorrow
  • a candidate says something and you have to momentarily turn off the television and take a deep breath before continuing on
  • a candidate recites a hollow anecdote meant to elicit sympathy from a specific subsection of voters who should by all accounts despise him
  • a candidate says something and displays a look of unbridled satisfaction that you'd imagine would be reserved for an accomplishment larger than publicly repeating a previously rehearsed talking point
  • a candidate says something but you don’t even hear or process any of his words because you are so consumed by anger and self-loathing
  • a candidate says something that hints at the authentic human being he must have been before devoting his life to the artifice of modern politics
  • a candidate says something and you wonder why, given the infinite options that God has granted you on what might otherwise be a perfectly pleasant Thursday evening, you are watching this debate