On some level, we all know alcohol damages our brains. Sure, when you're sinking a few beverages with friends, there's always that part of you saying, "Yes! I'm feeling good." But when you drink, your hippocampus is literally clinging to life, and that's the region of the brain responsible for the formation of new autobiographical memories.
Sure, usually alcohol leads to actions we'd rather forget anyway. But there are those few rare occasions when it can be fuel for intellectual discussion—sparking creative trains of thought, lightbulb moments, and startup ideas. And unless you manage to jot these booze-inspired eureka moments down, by morning they're probably gone forever (thanks to that hippocampus damage.)
Even if you are lucky enough to note them down, there's only a very small probability you've got yourself some prized content there. It's likely total nonsense. But even so, it's terribly entertaining to look back on the next morning. So we asked some people to show us their phone notes after a night out and tried to find the missing puzzle pieces of moments lost forever.
VICE: Hey, Jess, what does your phone note say?
Jess: It says, "A boy who reads great love stories and has a girlfriend and all thesebyhingsbhsllen and he doesn't realize until he is I'm bed listening up a song that he realizes him and girl have true love."
Cool. Where were you when you wrote that?
It was after a night out, and I just heard a really sad song after I left the club, which inspired me.
Why do you think it's so important to jot those notes down when you're not exactly sober?
When you're at the club, influential or important thoughts are normally nonexistent. So when you do think of something, your brain goes into some sort of ecstatic overdrive. Your first instinct is to write that thought down. The greatest thing about phone notes—in particular, those that are documented after 1 AM—is that you are at that point where your brain is at its most honest and vulnerable. Something comes to mind, and you lay it down, just as it has come to you. Despite whether it makes sense of is absolutely irrelevant, it is what you thought at that very moment.
Did you eventually pursue this idea and write your love story?
No, I didn't, unfortunately.
Can you tell us what your phone note says, Nathan?
Nathan: It says, "Start-up app idea—wake up to a selection of daily memes + alarm clock."
A meme alarm clock? Please, tell me more.
I feel like everyone loves a good meme. I must have thought, What's a better way to wake up in the morning? Instead of pressing the snooze button, there is another way to start your day. Maybe just spice it up a little with a smile on your face?
Why do you think it's important to write things down when you're a bit fucked?
Who knows what I'm going to remember when I wake up when I've been drinking, so you have to write that shit down.
So what does your phone note say, Tom?
Tom: It says, "Attach a microphone to a person for a 48-hour weekend bender and turn everything they say into a spoken word poem."
Can you translate for us?
Basically, I'd love to attach a microphone to someone and record all the weird stuff that gets said in the embers of the night, when things get weird and embarrassing, honest, heartfelt, and nonsensical. It would be really great to keep a memory of them and then relay it in some kind of performance piece.
Like a play?
Well, anything. A play, or it could be spoken word also. Anything that involves soliloquies, really. It could be unbearable as a spoken word piece, so a play could work better.
Why do you think it's so important to jot down these lightbulb moments when they come to you while you're under the influence?
I have tons of ideas as a writer that come and go. Especially when I'm drunk and chatting with friends. If I don't write them down I'll forget them, and they are usually the best ideas. They are natural pure ideas you are not forcing yourself to think of and so are usually the better, more expressive ones as your mind is more relaxed.
Hey, Tayla, what does your drunk phone note say?
Tayla: It says, "The cookest cooked book—blazed cooking recipes."
I feel like this one could have legs. When did you write it?
Well, my friend and I had our usual after-work booze and blaze and got the munchies. We never usually have anything in the house but we always manage to scrummage up a meal. She'd never cooked a poached egg before so I showed her. When I started to remove the egg she asked me, "How you know when the egg is poached?" I replied, "Oh, you know, when it's, like, bubbling hard out!" We decided that every night we'd add new recipes to the Cookest Cooked Book: Boozed and Blazed Cooking Recipes using recipes only used when you're really smacked.
It's pretty important to write down recipes.
Exactly, or you'll just forget them.
Let me guess, does that say, "This week I learned a very important lesson?"
Cass: That's right!
And what was the lesson you learned?
I can't actually remember. This was written during a time where I was always drinking a bottle of gin before 10 PM, and so it was probably in relation to reconsidering the gin, or whomever I managed to pick up along my dance floor travels.
Do you think it's important to document drunk thoughts?
I got my first iPhone when I was like, 22, I think? I used to drink really heavily and forget names of people I was supposed to know, really cool nightclubs and bars, songs, or lyrics of songs I needed to check out when I got home. I'd forget funny things I'd hear when I was in the smokers or just general everyday things.
So I would always write things in my phone like a little personal notebook so the next day it would be there. I once even wrote all the reasons why my ex-partner and I needed to break up so I could rehearse what I was going to say before I said it. Most of the time it was pretty funny what I had written. Now that I'm older and slightly more "mature" and don't drink as much it's still a great way to look back at some of the massive life changes I've had. And some of the most amazing memories that I can look back on and laugh or cry—they will always be there.
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