The Crafting of the Buzz

I really like drinking. I’ve never been very good at it, though. I’m actually getting worse at it the older I get. I was drinking at least a half a case of beer every night when I met my wife. In college, we’d drink 64 ounce Meisterbraus, a couple Long Island iced teas, and an extraordinary variety of shots – Tequila, Jack, Jager – then we’d get up and go out for breakfast. Y’know, college.

Now a 12-pack gives me blackouts. I don’t even mess with anything other than beer because even cheap beer can lay me out for two days. It’s not painful to me, I just get totally lethargic and, increasingly, depressed. I hate it. It’s getting where it’s just not worth it anymore.

I’ve started taking milk thistle capsules because it’s supposed to improve liver function, and I can’t conceive of any reason why I shouldn’t be getting better at drinking as I get older except that my liver must just be wearing out. The milk thistle really does seem to help the hangovers.

Anyway, I’d like to age with some dignity, so I can’t keep getting all sloppy-ass drunk. A sloppy 20-something drunk can be amusing, 30-something can even be charming. In your 40s you start resembling a Tennessee Williams character.  I just can’t afford to lose those two days anymore, even once a week or so.

But I really like drinking! So what I’d like to do is start drinking constantly. Not a LOT, but a lot more often. Like all day. That seems to be a lost art, the crafting of the buzz. You see it in classic movies and tv all the time. The slickest, most sophisticated people pour a scotch pretty much any time of day after noon. The three-martini lunches with the hard closers. Juleps on the veranda. But you rarely, if ever, see them drunk. Bond had to be on his toes!

They did have drunks in that era, but they also had a concept of personal responsibility. They didn’t call it a disease. They didn’t even have the overwhelming medical research we have now that does not support the disease model of alcholism. Being an alcoholic is simply bad behavior. It can be a crippling habit. I’ve done a whole lot of stupid shit drunk, but I’m not about to take the Sierra Nevada brewery to court over it.

Drinking is cool. Smoking is cool. I enjoy these things. When I got my first tattoo, only criminals and sailors had tattoos. Bikers and musicians too, but most of them were still fairly criminal at the time. It’s incredible to me that a tattoo is like a haircut now, but smokers are treated with a level of disrespect more rude and explicit than any minority I can think of.

Oh sure, there are still plenty of neanderthals that’ll say the ugliest things imaginable about gay people or black people or even women – among themselves. It just slays me to watch the ones that hold public office try and justify their behavior when the public is watching.

More often than not, these are the same people who lobby for poisoning the air and water. There are so many toxins in EVERYTHING, if it makes you feel better to say smoking killed me when I die, go right ahead. The job creators will nod gravely as they put their arm around your shoulder and steer you over to a more indirect view of the refinery.

Tomorrow afternoon, I think I might try a glass of the prickly pear mead that’s been aging in the closet since I brewed it almost exactly a year ago.

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