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Some startling, extraordinary event occurs, and a bewildered spectator (archetypally, a lone tramp with a bottle) decides that some consumable he/she is working on is causing hallucinations, and promptly throws it away. They might also take a vow of sobriety out loud (often with one hand raised), or write down a pledge to stop drinking or drugging.
If the person realizes their eyes and/or mind is not playing tricks on them, they may either recant or find a loophole in their decision.
As one of those "old-fashioned" comedy gags, it's rarely played straight nowadays. It may be a throwback to the time of Prohibition, when poorly-synthesized bathtub gin could cause brain damage and blindness.
Contrast I Need a Freaking Drink, where the situation will make someone on screen turn to drinking.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Pyramid of Light, Pegasus awakens from a horrific nightmare and swears, "No more white wine spritzers for me." Red wine spritzers are just fine, though, as we learn in his very next scene.
- This Magic: The Gathering card. Subverted: when the floating thing comes back, he decides laying off the booze was the wrong decision.
- Seeing something startling in a particular truck, Fall Swanhilde in Wet Moon sniffs at a carton of possibly-expired orange juice.
- An issue of Cerebus puts a twist on this. When a gardener spots what appears to be Lord Julius in a dress (donned to escape from matriarchal fascists,) he pulls out his flask, takes one last swig, then throws the rest away.
- In one storyline in The Mighty Thor, a drunk stumbles into an alley and runs into the irate goats pulling Thor's chariot, who've been stranded in the alley while Thor is...temporarily discommoded. He promptly declares he's going on the wagon. Later on, he goes back on it and winds up in the same alley, where he's confronted with the goats, the chariot, and a 6'6 frog in full Thor regalia. As he flees, he swears that this time he really really is never going to touch the stuff again.
- In Don Rosa's Of Ducks, Dimes, and Destinies, a man sees a time-traveling Magica de Spell magically alter her clothes, and in the next panel his arm can be seen in the background, pouring out the beer her was drinking.
- In Prisoner of Buddha, Spirou decides to shut Fantasio's rambling by using the Gamma-Ray Energy Device on him, promptly making Fantasio fly out of a hotel window outside before being pulled in. In the process of floating in midair, Fantasio has a short conversation on a man drinking whiskey on the floor below him, through the window. Cut to the next panel of the man pouring the whiskey to the sink, saying "No more 'Morning Whiskeys' for me."
- In Tintin Comics, this happens to Captain Haddock on various occasions. Of course he can never stick with it.
- In the third installment of the X-Files fanfic Talking Appliances, Mulder's cell phone starts talking to Skinner (yes indeed). The latter promptly makes a mental note to himself to cut down on the coffee. The story in question can be found on The Gossamer Project.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic "Screwball Over", after Berry Punch (who is commonly depicted in fanfiction as a bit of a lush) witnesses a small army of miniature versions of Screwball going by, she dumps out a flask of alcohol she was carrying and swears off drinking.
- The Aristocats: O'Malley's buddies go running to help the title cats and Roquefort is running after them to catch up. They run past a man at a sidewalk cafe who, at the sight of a mouse apparently chasing a group of anxious cats, takes the bottle of wine off his table and sadly upends it onto the sidewalk.
- Superman II: General Zod sinks into a lake, then levitates himself to the surface and walks across it. Seeing this, a fisherman nearby looks at a cup of something he's drinking and throws it away.
- Moonraker: James Bond drives an amphibious gondola-car up on the streets of Venice, Italy. A man sees this and looks disbelievingly at the wine he's drinking.
- Also found in The Spy Who Loved Me: When the car/submarine Lotus Esprit drives out of the ocean onto the beach.
- And For Your Eyes Only: Bond, on skis, slides across a restaurant table. It's the same guy all three times.
- In the same movie an old guy smoking looks over a canal and sees a coffin (containing an assassin Bond just killed) and immediately throws away his cigarette.
- The Pink Panther (original version): Inspector Clouseau and the police are chasing both Phantoms, and everyone is in a ridiculous costume: the Phantoms are dressed as gorillas, Clouseau is a knight, and two police officers are in a zebra costume. For about five minutes, they somehow keep driving through the same intersection, passing the same disbelieving spectator with a bottle of whiskey. Eventually the drunk gets a chair and sits down to watch the rest of the shenanigans.
- Plan 9 from Outer Space, in a Creator Cameo from Ed Wood.
- The Giant Gila Monster: after some guy sees the giant lizard cross the road. Apparently, drinking and driving simultaneously isn't a good idea.
- Seen in Disney's Pinocchio, where when Pinocchio sees his friend starting to transform into a donkey, he pushes away the mug of beer he's drinking, and when it continues he looks at and then drops the cigar he had as well.
- Somewhat justified in that the drink and the cigars could very well have been what was turning them in the first place.
- Toyed with in Dogma. The characters, including Jay and Silent Bob, get teleported by an angel from the middle of the woods to a fancy restaurant. Jay looks at the joint he had been smoking and says, "Damn, I think this shit just kicked in!" and continues puffing away.
- Shown in Attack of the 60 Ft. Centerfold, when a wandering drunk gives up booze upon seeing the titular protagonist.
- Averted in Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. When the titular imp comes in on a guy smoking marijuana the guy takes a look at him and declares he has some good stuff.
- The Amazing Colossal Man, where the sight of titular giant causes one of the occupants of a car to toss away a bottle declaring "Not another drop as long as I live!" When Joel and the Bots riffed the movie, they lampshade the bottle toss before the drunk even says the line. Also happens with the Prospector in Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman.
- In Bringing Up Baby, the gardener starts drinking in response to the crazy goings-on, but pours out his bottle of whiskey when he sees the leopard.
- In Face Off: "No more drugs for that man."
- Subverted/averted in Back to The Future: the homeless guy sees the time machine crash and comments, "drunk drivers!"
- In The Princess and the Frog, one of the partygoers at the costume party did this. Since he's wearing an octopus costume, he does it with eight glasses at once.
- At the end of Ironweed, the main character Francis sees his wife in a train car. When he realizes that she is a hallucination, he angrily throws his bottle of whiskey (and, symbolically, his alcoholism) out of the car. An extremely rare case where this trope is Played for Drama.
- In "The Playhouse," after being confounded by a pair of identical twins and a series of mirrors, Buster Keaton's character smashes his flask on the floor and writes, "I resolve never to drink anymore." After he realizes he's been dealing with not one girl, but two, he hastily appends the words, "but just as much."
- In Transporter 2 a drunk bum is in an alley when he sees the heroes' car drive over him, straddling the buildings on either side of the alley. He then looks at his flask in complete shock.
- Completely inverted, several times, in Airplane!. Things happen that make McCroskey wish he was imbibing, causing him to repeatedly comment, "Looks like I picked a bad day to quit <insert drug and method of partaking here>." (In each case, he's shortly afterward seen taking what he mentioned previously.)
- Bored of the Rings, a Lord of the Rings parody novel. The rather odd-looking party is camped out at a crossroads.
Circling far overhead, unseen by the company, the leader of a band of black spy-crows peered through a pair of binoculars, cursed in the harsh tongue of his kind, and swore off grapes for the rest of his life.
- According to one of the Harry Potter supplemental books, events where small numbers of Muggles had seen some form of magic or magical creature were sometimes covered up by convincing them they'd had too much to drink.
- In The Hounds of the Morrigan, the Seargent decides he's got to stop taking Quick Nips of his confiscated hooch when he starts seeing flying furniture. Of course, this is merely his Weirdness Censor in play--he really is seeing flying furniture, because a couple of witches have just moved in to the neighborhood.
- During the childrens' book Harry's Mad, Madison the talking parrot tries to use a payphone to contact the human family looking after him. The only person who happens to see this is, of course, drunk, and promptly decides it's time he stopped.
- In The Goodies episode with Frakenfido, a man walking out of an optometrist takes off his new glasses after seeing the giant mutant pup...and promptly walks into a lamppost.
- Subverted when the Sliders visit a world where mandatory drug use keeps everyone in line. A bystander sees them leave through an interdimensional portal and murmurs, "Oh, this new formula... outstanding!"
- In an episode of Smallville, washed-up reporter/alcoholic Perry White is wandering through the titular town, and his visit happens to coincide with sunspot activity that's causing Clark Kent's powers to fluctuate uncontrollably. A tractor gets stuck in the mud, and Clark tries lifting it out of the mud, but his super strength is gone... and then it suddenly comes back, and he accidentally launches the tractor into the stratosphere. Some distance away, Perry is walking along, when a tractor falls out of the sky, smashing spectacularly into the road. He takes his flask and pours it out on the ground.
- On an episode of Jackass, Wee Man is dressed up as an Oompa Loompa while riding around on a skateboard. He skates past a stoner smoking a blunt. The smoker's reaction is a blank stare while exhaling.
- In a Dilbert story arc, Dilbert becomes so insignificant to the company that he becomes literally invisible. Dogbert proposes having Ratbert sit on his head to attract people's attention. Instead, other people can only see a floating talking rat. Wally then looks at his mug and blames the unusual sight on the Colombian coffee he's drinking.
- According to Scott Adams, after that strip was published he received a letter from an actual Colombian who didn't like the reference.
- In one Krazy Kat strip, Krazy has her guitar and a jug of catnip. When she starts singing "Roll Along, silvery Moon," the moon starts to roll through the sky. The last frame shows Krazy dropping the catnip off the cliff.
- A Garfield strip had him stomp a spider after pouring himself a cup of coffee. As he takes his first sip, a tiny ambulance drive up, two spiders exit it with a streatcher, load the injured spider up, and drive off. Garfield pours his coffee back in the pot as a result.
- One Mandrake the Magician storyline has a man who's able to run at Super Speed dash past a homeless drunk who's about to take a swig from a whiskey bottle. Seeing this, the drunk promptly throws away the bottle while swearing off alcohol.
- Happens in World of Warcraft during the quest "Swabbin' Soap". After retrieving the soap in question(in this case, walrus blubber), a Gnome mage conjures a bunch of animate brooms to swab the deck. Cue a nearby pirate saying "That's it... no more grog for me!" and throwing his bottle of grog overboard.
- Happens in Neverwinter Nights 2:
Khelgar: Just to make sure my eyes aren't lying to me - a huge suit of armor did smash through here, attack the githyanki - and us - then we drove it back to the portal?
Neeshka: No... no, that's about right.
Khelgar: Good. Because if my drinking is catching up with me, I'm stopping right now.
- Invoked in one of the thought fragments of The World Ends With You:
I thought I saw someone with wings the other day... No more caffeine.
- One of the standard enemy reactions to catching a glimpse of Garret in Thief 3 is "I need to take it easy with the wine..."
- In Spellcasting 201, as part of the initiation trials of the Hu Delta Phart fraternity, you have to break into the basement of the Tappa Kegga Bru fraternity and steal their mascot... an elephant. After seeing the elephant get magically shrunk down until it can fit down the manhole cover, and the manhole cover float off the ground, the guard throws away his beer (Why he doesn't realize that this means magic is involved, when he's in a school for magic, is never mentioned. Maybe he's just too drunk to think about that). Then he rethinks things, and picks the mug up again.
- In episode 10 of Retarded Animal Babies, the cast get sucked into the Internet and wind up at the beginning of their own cartoon. Donkey, who at the time had been smoking a blunt (well, there was one in his mouth anyway), tosses it aside when he sees himself standing before him.
- In this No Need for Bushido webcomic the guy in purple had just "killed" Yorikiro and left him for dead. He pours out his drink when Yorikiro comes in later uninjured and gets Ken.
- Subverted in this Starslip Crisis strip.
- Used in F@nboy$ to Chess after seeing three people and a couch teleport into his living room.
- Used as a Brick Joke in Schlock Mercenary. Earlier, a character had announced a desire to find some Brain Bleach. A bit later he came across Kevin and Schlock chasing a sentient toaster through the hall. He wonders if maybe he got a little too enthusiastic with the Brain Bleach.
- In Penny and Aggie, Aggie's father Nick, upon seeing his daughter enter the house while chatting amicably with her longtime rival Penny (the two of them having just buried the hatchet), looks quizzically at his cup of coffee.
- Used in this PvP guest strip.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace has previously asked the local squirrels for directions to Damien's hideout (Grace being a half-squirrel hybrid, it's halfway plausible). Nanase has to catch up to the group in her miniature winged fairy form and flies up to a tree branch and asks a squirrel for directions. The squirrel looks at her, looks at his acorn, and then chucks it over his shoulder.
- In Sinfest, Squigley goes to eat a mushroom, and finds a whole sequence of unreality passing by.
- The Nostalgia Critic spends his review of IT playing the 'Stephen King Drinking Game' and getting steadily more wasted. However, when Stan's head appears in the fridge and starts talking, all he can do is stare in disbelief and throw away his bottle of Knob Creek.
- The Simpsons had one scene in which the cat sees something astonishing, rubs its eyes, and bats away a small bag labeled "catnip."
- The Simpsons also has Maggie reacting to a startling sight by tossing her bottle away.
- Also there was a time when a drunk in a gutter threw away his bottle in disbelief only for it to be caught by a businessman. He promptly throws away his briefcase and lies in the gutter drinking the remaining contents.
- Then there was the time when Barney drank a beverage spiked with hallucigenic drugs, and began seeing a monster. He promptly got out a drink of alcohol, so that a more familiar Pink Elephant appeared and stepped on the monster, killing it. Barney's crazy all right, but he knows it well enough to choose to stick with the version produced by his current addiction (alcohol).
- Another episode takes this trope to the extreme with Cletus, his pregnant wife, their children and their unborn child throwing away their bottles of alcohol in quick succession after seeing a bizarre train.
- Looney Tunes example: in Water, Water, Every Hare Bugs Bunny pours reducing oil on a monster, causing it to shrink. The monster enters a mousehole, kicks out the mouse, and puts out a sign that reads "I quit!" The mouse then takes out a bottle and says, "I quit too!"
- Subverted in the Chuck Jones short "Punch Trunk": a four-inch-tall elephant had been making its way around town, causing much freaking out. When said elephant encountered a drunk shambling out of a bar, the drunk did a Double Take, then simply glared at his watch and muttered to the elephant "You're late!", before walking away with the remark "He always used to be pink..."
- On Mission Hill, due to an incredibly complicated series of events, a snake passes by Jim making what sounds like baby noises (they are... again, complicated). In a subversion, he looks at the brownie he's eating (which he found "on the subway") and is very pleased with it.
- On "Plan 9 From Mission Hill (or I Married A Gay Man from Outer Space)," Gwen and Andy are staring in shock at Wally's B-movie while eating popcorn. Gwen comments that someone must have put drugs in the popcorn. Andy looks at it, and continues eating.
- In Gargoyles, when Oberon enters New York, a with a Gargoyle bloodhound on a leash, to hunt down the missing Puck, a passing jogger spots him emerging from the glowing portal. A split second later, Oberon and his hound are disguised as a white-haired man in a trenchcoat, out walking his dog. The jogger stares at him for a moment, then pours out the contents of his water-flask. (Said jogger was a bit of a running gag in the series -- he's one of its many examples of Yuppie Couple -- and would often pass by the gargoyles after sunrise, to comment on 'those strange statues.')
- In the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, when the boy and the Snowman fly from England to the North Pole, they pass a cruise ship whose passengers are in the middle of a Christmas party. A reveller with a paper crown on his head sees them through the window, gasps, and then gapes in confusion at the bottle of spirits in his hand.
- There is a cartoon about a man that wants to quit alcohol and calls his friend to help him, all because he saw a Pink Panther.
- A What Could Have Been example: In the original My Little Pony movie, one of the ponies would search for help, crossing over into Hasbro's other cartoons in the process, including Transformers Generation 1 and G.I. Joe. When she arrived at the latter, she would encounter Shipwreck, who would swear off drinking as a result. Hasbro nixed it.
- In The Flintstones Barney hurt his foot and had to scream into a nearby mail box to conceal it. Soon after, a mailman opens the mail box and gets a loud scream right in his face, and then he remarks "I gotta stop eating at those cheap restaurants."
- Played for laughs in one Tom and Jerry cartoon. Jerry's sitting at a window, eating a hunk of cheese, when he glances outside and sees Tom apparently flying under his own power. He pulls a Double Take, looks with wide eyes toward the audience, then looks at the cheese and promptly flings it away.
- Some of the spectacular visual effects from Inception were created in Real Life, rather than relying in CGI. Before filming started one day, a bum walked onto the blocked-off street being used as a set, and asked one of the producers if there was really a freight train in the middle of the street. When the producer answered in the affirmative, the bum decided that maybe he was drinking too much.
- ↑ the crazy-looking pink background pony from "Return of Harmony, Part 2"