There's nothing wrong with being a drunk. Being a sloppy drunk, however, is inexcusable. Therefore, before entering the world of public inebriation, one must learn to comport oneself so that one's composure is maintained at all times, no matter how many Ramada Inns' worth of sheets to the wind one may be. To help you accomplish this, The Stranger has compiled a short list of tricks which, when followed TO THE LETTER, should allow even the least graceful drunk the right to claim a branch on Emily Post's family tree.

A. If you spill a drink, act as if this potential moment of embarrassment is nothing more than a mere annoyance. Do not, by any means, make a production of the situation! Make no reference to the accident other than a simple "pooh,• then whisk the mess away without allowing conversation to be altered or derailed in any way. Signal your waiter for a refill and continue with your evening as if nothing happened.

B. If you begin to see double, lean in to your companion and stroke one eyebrow in such a manner as to portray confidentiality, a modification of what the French call a tête-à-tête. Then relate an intimate anecdote or berate someone's unfortunate choice of attire (quick thinking is a must!). If done properly, this move should conceal the fact that you are actually covering one eye so as to focus more stably through the other.

C. Women and drag queens should wear the highest heels possible. That way if you fall you can always blame it on the shoes.

D. Do not be afraid to disappear. If, on the way to the restroom you experience a moment of clarity--like realizing you are too drunk to be in public--call a cab and head for the door, without looking back or saying goodbye to your party. You'll leave behind an air of mystery rather than the stench of an evening gone sour. If you don't have enough money for a cab, go back to the table and tell your friends you're off to the bar, and ask if they would like anything while you're up. Depending on how many friends want drinks, you could gather enough funds to make it all the way to Ballard.

Kathleen Wilson's favorite drink is the Rump (light rum, pineapple juice, and 2 cherries. Rocks.).