You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the bartender flips on the light and shouts last call?
In any case, here's the scenario. It's 3 a.m. and you're lying in the street, or the gutter, or wherever you landed when Johnny Bartender gave you the boot, wondering "Dude, where's the party? my car? the nearest hamburger?"
Kids, I feel your pain. And while I'm not here to advocate staying up past your bedtime - because you wouldn't listen to me if I did - I do feel somewhat responsible for getting all you dancing queens out there cleaned up, fed, reunited with your party or tucked safely away in your beds at the end of the night.
To that end, I offer the following parcels of advice or consolation:
For that defiant, nocturnal population who refuses to shed its party hats when the rest of Knoxville calls it a night, I'm sorry.
I mean, I know you didn't schedule your first class at 3:35 on accident. And I know they told you that UT was the number one party school and that you know all 15 words to that "Closing Time" song by heart. But hey, it's Knoxville, and the bottom line is you've got all of about two options.
You can always hit up the Boiler Room (a subregion of Fiction) and drown out the hum of your own circadian rhythms with a deafening techno beat. Or you can call up 75 of your closest friends and initiate your very own fiesta in your own home. Of course, this is not without risk. Morning may find you regretfully scratching names off your buddy roster, as the average sleeping person will not appreciate your ill-timed, albeit well-intentioned, party invitation.
What can you do? A good party is hard to find.
On the other hand, if it's your car you can't locate, it's probably for the best.
If you've been drinking, don't drive. If you were smart and designated a driver, this is the moment they've been waiting for when they get to scrape you off the sidewalk and haul you home. If there is no D.D., or you don't have any friends, call a cab.
Because if you do drive drunk and somehow avoid hurting yourself or someone else, I can think of at least one feisty little entertainment editor who will personally hunt you down and hurt you herself. Therefore, drinking and driving is a lose-lose situation.
If your biggest problem is an imploding stomach, I can help. Even in the wee-est hours of the night, I guarantee there is a waffle out there with your name on it. You just have to know where to look.
Taco Bell talks a good game, but goes to bed early. Wendy's idea of a Late Nite - 2 a.m. - obviously doesn't correspond with yours.
If you're on the strip, look no further than your neighborhood D.P. Dough for an eatery that's just as game as you are, at least until 4 a.m. Besides its infamous calzones, it also has pool tables and games.
Daysleepers can also seek refuge in Krystals, where you can obtain a mother load of fresh, hot, small, square burgers for less than what you paid to get into Banana Joe's.
Like the sun, the moon and taxes, a Waffle House breakfast is one of life's great absolutes. No matter where you are or what time of the night it is, there is something almost religious about the mustard and brown glow of a Waffle House sign falling upon the head of a weary post-partier.
IHOP, Steak 'n Shake, Denny's and Vic & Bills round out the list of local restaurants that are open 24-7.
Have fun and be safe this weekend. Oh, and the sun said to tell you hello.