Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life Imitates Trek (Again)

Once again life imitates art, or more specifically, Star Trek. Last week a French-American scientist invented a spray that makes you feel intoxicated without drinking alcohol, just like Star Trek: The Next Generation's Synthehol.

What's Synthehol, I hear you asking? Sit back for a Trek history lesson while I tell you. After a hard day's work of keeping the Federation safe from the Klingon menace, you could always count on finding Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Scotty knocking back highballs in the Enterprise's rec room (never Spock, of course. Lord no. He was always in his quarters, busy inserting a fresh stick up his ass). The crew of the Enterprise only drank real alcohol; you know, the hard stuff. Cool, delicious, brain-rottting, and dare I say it-- human liquor. None of these fancy alien brews for Kirk and his men. Well, that's not quite true; Scotty wasn't above sampling a Saurian brandy or Romulan ale, but then he'd drink the anti-freeze from the warp engines in a pinch, so he hardly counts.

Flash forward 70 years or so to Captain Picard and his touchy-feely crew. Vaal forbid real alcohol touch the lips of any of those overgrown boyscouts. No, they exclusively drank Synthehol. Invented by the Ferengi, Synthehol gave the drinker a pleasant buzz, but without all the unpleasant side effects like hangovers, projectile vomiting, liver-implosion, addiction and losing the house to that brittle ice queen you married against your mother's wishes. And its intoxicating effects could easily be shaken off, allowing you to fake-booze it up right before you went on duty.

It would seem that scientist David Edwards (who apparently is secretly Senator Al Franken in disguise) has invented Synthehol a couple of centuries early. It goes by the incredibly catchy name of WA|HH Quantum Sensations, and comes in spray form, much like Binaca. One spritz and you instantly feel pie-eyed. The only problem: the intoxicating effect only lasts a few seconds. It would reportedly take around 1,000 sprays in the mouth to equal the normal effects of one conventional alcoholic beverage, and sounds like something no one should do unless they enjoy bleeding uncontrollably from the tear ducts.

One bottle of the spray costs $26. I honestly don't see this becoming a huge seller. Sure, the concept of instant intoxication sounds great; if your mother-in-law walks in the door, you could get sloppy "I love you, man" drunk in a flash. But who wants to be kippered for only five seconds? When I want to get sauced I want it to last all night, in order to still the shrieking voices in my head for a few precious hours.

Regardless of its usefulness though, Synthehol can now join the ranks of real life Trek inventions, along with cell phones, hyposprays and iPads. I'm still waiting for the transporter though, so I can travel to China in ten seconds without having to sit on a plane next to a screaming baby for 27 hours.

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