What’s one of the best ways to learn about the culture, history, and people of a country you’re visiting? Hang out in a local bar, tavern, or pub and get drunk with the locals, of course. Well, if not the most educational way of learning about a country, it’s at least one of the most fun and interesting ways. Zane Lamprey, host of the television series Three Sheets, has proven this time and time again as he journeys to several different countries in often informative and always humorous (one could say intoxicating) episodes you can see weeknights on the FLN channel. In the book Three Sheets: Drinking Made Easy!, readers can have the vicarious pleasure of journeying in their minds to these same countries. Grab your favorite alcoholic libation and a copy of Zane’s book, kick back in your easy chairs with your feet propped up and see for yourselves. The book is almost as good as the series - that is to say, excellent - but without all of those flickering moving pictures.
The countries Zane travels to in the book are Ireland, France, Scotland, Belgium, Poland, Mexico, Argentina, Jamaica, Taipei, New Zealand, Japan, Tanzania, and South Africa, and he includes the island of St. Martin and the city of Los Vegas in the good ol’ USA for good measure. As always, he takes a mainstay of his show - his stuffed toy monkey, Pleepleus - with him, and there are many references to some of his friends, like Steve McKenna, who frequently appear on the show. McKenna has become relatively famous in his own right, even appearing on T-shirts as an adjective. If a person becomes “McKenna’d,” he (or she) is so drunk that he does things he wouldn’t normally do and likely won’t remember. As Zane writes:
You’re buzzed if you get the courage to talk to someone that you wouldn’t
talk to when you’re sober. You’re drunk if you try to kiss someone that you
wouldn’t talk to when you’re sober. And you’re “Steve McKenna’d” if you
lick the face of someone you wouldn’t talk to sober.
There are some factoids and other aspects about the book that either weren’t in the series or which I missed, possibly due to - could it be? - drinking while watching, like the fact that a pint of Guinness has fewer calories than an equal amount of Budweiser, skim milk or orange juice, and has just a few more calories than a pint of Bud Light. Imagine that from a beer that’s been described as being a “meal in itself,” because it seems so filling and is chock full of vitamins. It’s even given to people in Ireland after they’ve given blood, or had a baby(!).
Just like the TV series, the book also features descriptions of fun drinking games, hangover remedies, and ways the locals do things a bit differently sometimes than you or I might. In Taiwan, for instance, you never have to worry about your glass being empty, because their “social etiquette dictates that it’s not yourduty to make sure your glass is full, it’s everyone else’s - just as it’s your duty to make sure everyone else has a full beer.” Whether or not the person actually wants more isn’t important: “Individual desire is irrelevant.”
Another example: in Taipei, you can get a shot called “poison” that is “a mixture of cobra’s venom and kaoliang [alcohol made from fermented sorghum] and looked like dirty lemonade.” This drink’s benefit: it is supposed to be good for your skin. That is, if it doesn’t kill you first…
Probably the biggest reason I watch Three Sheets and thought the book must also be pretty good is Zane Lamprey’s witty comments and asides. I also like it when he mugs for the camera, holding up a pint of beer or a glass of some other alcohol and saying something like he did in Whistler, Canada (not covered in this book - oh, well, maybe it’ll be in the sequel), about the beer called Dude: “That’s good Dude, dude!” Also, when Lamprey does silly things like riding around the island of Gibralter on a unicycle, or learns how to get the cork out of a champagne bottle by using a saber. His easygoing, humorous personality makes the show Must-See TV, and much of his personality translates quite well onto the printed page, making the book Three Sheets almost as good as watching the television show.
Three Sheets, be it in the form of the TV series or the book, is practically as fun as drinking itself (in moderation, of course) can be. If you’re a fan of the television series or like reading about excellent drink recipes, hangover cures, and cool drinking games, then you’ll love this book. I hope that there will be a new season for the show, and that we’ll get to watch Zane travel to even more countries and partake in their local drinking customs - but until then, we have the intoxicating splendor that is this book to help guide us through our voyages, drink by delicious drink.