I am the self-proclaimed expert on all things Black Wednesday.
I haven’t missed a single Black Wednesday in over 30 years. I drank with the pioneering revelers in the 1980s, back when we felt we were among the few to realize that it’s a great day for drinking (four days to shake the hangover). I even made it to the longneck lounge after colliding with a fire hydrant that jumped in front of my car in the early 2000s. I opened my own speakeasy in 2020 when the fascists had shut everything down.
I’ll make my way there again tonight with a handful of friends, a handful of sons, a handful of nephews, a handful of quarters for the jukebox, and a handful of Black Wednesday lore.
- It’s not “Blackout Wednesday.” It’s “Black Wednesday,” its etymology deriving from the other side of the Thanksgiving sandwich: Black Friday.
- “Black” refers to profits (“red” means losses). Black Friday is profitable for retailers. Black Wednesday is profitable for bar owners.
- “Drinksgiving” is simply lame. “Drink” doesn’t rhyme with “thanks,” any more than “moron” rhymes with “dolt,” both of which describe anyone who uses that stupid term.
- “Black Lives Matter” deserves neither credit nor blame for the name. Totally unrelated.
- It might be the biggest bar night of the year. No one seems to know for sure. St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest contender for that coveted title. No other holidays come close for bar nights, though others, like New Years Eve, probably exceed it for drinking in general.
- Black Wednesday is the only national high school reunion day of the year.
- I’ve only gone to one Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game and had to get sick on the way there due to Black Wednesday excess (in part . . . turns out, I also suffered from chronic gastritis). My chauffeur that day (mom) wasn’t impressed.
- Before Michigan implemented its bar smoking ban, my wife made me strip off my clothes on the front porch at the end of the evening. The clothes sometimes weren’t allowed in the house for washing until Sunday.
- It’s totally acceptable to bellow/sing “Six rounds bought and I bought five” (from Roger Miller’s “Dang Me”) every time you buy another round.
- If you don’t buy a round or pump generous donations into the jukebox, it will elicit an anti-Semitic slur from the people with you.