the legend of edward 40-hands


Gene posted about the runaway popularity of our Edward 40-Hands photo album, thus there is no better time for an explanation of the phenomenon that is Edward 40-Hands.

The rules of the game are simple. Take two forties, open them, and then have a friend duct tape one forty to each hand. Then, drink the forties. Once the forties are empty, you can untape your hands. Hands cold? Better start drinking faster. Need to pee? Better start drinking faster. Drinking too fast? You sure you couldn't be drinking faster? The first to finish his or her forties is the winner.

I learned about Edward 40-Hands from my little sister, Molly, who learned it at UC Santa Barbara. All I ever needed to know about excessive, self-destructive drinking, I learned in Santa Barbara. Anytime you see me with alcohol directly stuck to my body, via tape, glue, rope, paste, or some kind of industrial epoxy, you can safely conclude that, whatever activity I'm engaged in, it originated within the Goleta city limits.

The game takes its name from the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp classic film Edward Scissorhands. There are a lot of similarities between the film and the game. Just as Edward has scissors instead of hands, for the duration of the game, participants have large bottles of malt liquor instead of hands. Both the film and game value style and atmosphere over plot and character development. Like the film, early incarnations of the game inevitably featured a scary, hyper-aggressive Anthony Michael Hall. The film and game both have important lessons about overcoming your limitations. Edward had unfinished hands, but he could trim a hedge into the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. After consuming eighty ounces of malt liquor in about an hour, you'll feel like you could do the same, but instead you'll sit around gushing about how Depeche Mode's Ultra is such a great, great album, and how come more people haven't heard of it?

In our game of 40-Hands, we deviated slightly from the official rules. Normally, I think you have to keep both hands taped until both forties are empty. It's like the challenge where you try to drink a gallon of milk in an hour: if you use the bathroom or vomit, you get disqualified (Or, if you're a batboy for the Florida Marlins, you get suspended for six games). We allowed players to free one hand if that hand's bottle was empty, which in retrospect may have been wussy. Tami only taped twelve-ounce beers to her hands, because she wanted to participate and also not die. I think it's legitimate to go the twelve-ounce route if you're small and not trying to prove anything, though I know somewhere in Isla Vista, Molly is shaking her head in disgust.

I was the winner, but it could have been any of us. Well, not Hammack, because we had too big of a head start. These were all nationally-ranked, champion drinkers, with the perforated livers to show for it. And Edward 40-Hands isn't about winning or losing. It's about going past your limits and bringing innovation to the game. Like smoking with forties taped to your hands. Or reading the New Yorker. And let's not forget bleeding profusely. As you can see, Dustin was almost as excited as I was about that last one.

So there you have it. Edward 40-Hands: A drain on Cementhorizon's bandwidth and all of our brain cells. It's still the most successful drinking game based on a Tim Burton film, though "Pee-Wee's Big Bottle of Jack Daniel's" and "Batman Returns Fifteen Dollars' Worth Of Empties" also have their charms. Remember, Edward 40-Hands is a game for legal adults. Please don't play Edward 40-Hands and drive, especially if the bottles are still taped to your hands.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on March 2, 2006 11:45 PM.

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