"Two or three or six": That's the number of drinks Pat Sajak said Wednesday that he and his "Wheel of Fortune" co-host Vanna White used to have during a two-and-a-half hour break they had on days when they were shooting. In interview with ESPN 2's "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable," Sajak said he and White would "then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet."
This was all over the Internet yesterday, indicating that people are shocked (or at least mildly surprised and interested) that the two hosts of perhaps the most innocuous, vanilla game show on TV would attempt their jobs while sauced.
It also sparked a conversation about how many people really drink at work.
In some ways, drinking in the office feels fairly retro, thanks in part to the high productivity that companies demand today and also, of course, to "Mad Men," where a decanter is never more than 20 feet away.
But alcohol is definitely present at work in 2012. Many companies host on-site happy hours for employees. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported in March 2011 that at Yelp Inc's San Francisco headquarters, a refrigerator full of beer is available to employees at all times. And now lots of the drinking people do "on the job" probably takes place outside the office.
Drinking at work no longer has to involve being at the office in professional attire with a beer or tequila shot in hand, possibly in front of your boss. The fact that we can all now work anytime from anywhere greatly increases the chances of responding to work emails after you get home from a bar or a dinner party, or working from home with a glass of wine on your desk without having to let anyone knowing you're drinking. That means a lot of people possibly working under the influence, and the privacy of it could make it easier to drink more. The Yelp Inc employees have to record each beer they take from the fridge on an iPad. There's no such accountability when you're at home and having one of those days when you "need" a drink. And since alcohol affects women more quickly than it does men, this behavior could be riskier career-wise for female desk drinkers.
In 2009, the editors of Slate's Double X section decided to test how much women can really drink on the job and still be productive. They started drinking in the morning, Mad Men style, in the middle of a meeting, and kept at it throughout the day.
The result was hilarious, revealing both the wide range of alcohol tolerance on a single editorial staff and what different people are capable of under the influence (see the part where Emily Bazelon does a politics podcast with a glass of whiskey in front of her).
Something to keep in mind when you're working on that report late in the evening with a class of Shiraz close at hand?
WATCH: Pat Sajak On ESPN 2's "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable"
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers. Learn more