On Drinking (not a sermon)

I had a half-finished post about an unexpected evening of drunkenness, noteworthy because of its rarity. I’m a lousy drinker. Alcohol has an almost poisonous effect on me. Then I read a post from a guy who just celebrated his third year of sobriety. I meditated on the dichotomy between these two conditions.

I met a friend for an after-work drink at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on Park Avenue. I drank two tumblers of Maker’s Mark on the rocks. When I left I was numb from the waist down and couldn’t feel my feet touch the sidewalk. It was just two lousy drinks but liquor has never been my friend. Girls I dated always drank me under the table. When you’ve got a hot date, all you want to hear is an alcohol-fueled “take me” whispered in your ear. More often than not, what I heard was an incredulous, “Are you drunk already?!” So embarrassing!

I left the restaurant and had to take a bus back to New Jersey. I somehow made it to Port Authority and spent the next 1:15 in armageddon. My guts were twisted in a tight knot. I have a sheath for my umbrella so that if it’s wet, the contents of my travel bag stay dry. I held it in my hand the entire ride home to catch my sick (which, thankfully, never happened). I plugged in my ear buds, closed my eyes and listened to Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending over and over to try and calm down. When I got home I collapsed on the futon in our home office. Awful.

I laid there in a fetal position praying for death’s merciful kiss and wondered how in the world anyone could possibly become addicted to alcohol. As it is, I’m ruined for Maker’s Mark. I’ll probably throw-up if I ever smell it again. I can only surmise that there’s a chemical reaction that occurs when you drink and that that reaction isn’t the same for everyone. I’m thankful that I have been afflicted with the lesser of two evils.

There’s a pretty good chance that my digestive system was torn asunder by this:


Do you know what that is? It’s BACON, bitches! For real. I ordered it off the appetizer menu while sitting at the bar. A gigantic, half inch thick, $5 slice of bacon. Sweet Mother of Baby Jesus it was scrumptious! But I wouldn’t recommend washing it down with a glass (x2) of Maker’s Mark. See that knife? Anytime a waiter puts a knife like that in front of you, you can rest assured that something great is about to happen.

*     *     *

I wasn’t so inebriated that I couldn’t stop and appreciate a decent Empire State Building/ 34th Street sunset. I was dazzled but I think it might have been the drink.


29 thoughts on “On Drinking (not a sermon)

  1. How perfect;y ghastly! No matter how bad it gets, it really is the lesser of two evils.
    That bacon looks like a HUGE SKINNY HOT DOG in the photo…..I cannot imagine the mix of the demon drink and that piece of pork…..UGH…..1 Hope you survived without too much fallout.

    • That bacon was no hot dog, my sweet. It was a sizzling strip of AWESOMENESS. Yes, please, I’ll have another! But without the bourbon. Maybe just a little milk next time.

  2. You obviously don’t have the genetic tolerance for alcohol that Nordic humans acquired because they didn’t realise they could make water safe to drink by boiling it. Only lowly men use alcohol to seduce women anyway – the dedicated amorists make eye contact and speak soft words. Those girls who drunk you under the table needed plenty of softening up.

    • Oh, listen to you. So superior. Like you’ve never tried to seduce an ape babe with some fermented bananas. Long before we develop a subtle look in the eye, an easy smile and soft words, we have to rely on demon alcohol. It’s all we have in our arsenal until about our mid-20s.

  3. i hear you, brother! a long time ago i went on the wagon. stayed on it for almost 2 years and then decided that i knew the brown stuff had to be consumed in moderation and i had to always stop as soon as i thought about a second. now, many years later, i know my limits and that’s the road i follow.

    now that bacon…honey, that could make me forget my own damn name! 😉 xoxoxoxox

    • I probably saved a ton of money over the decades by being, basically, allergic to alcohol. But I think I might have missed out on some fun times as well. There’s no doubt about it: booze is fun!

  4. That’s BACON?? Where the hell did you get that??

    You describe the feeling of massive inebriation really well. So well, in fact, that I got a little queasy. The last time I got rip-roaring, stinking drunk to the point of praying for death, was more than 20 years ago…after a diabolical night that included tequila sunrises, red wine, and 6 Irish coffees (I’m half Irish and I inherited my dad’s legendary drinking stamina). I’m not sure how the hell I made it home that night, but the next day, and the day after, I was in the fetal position and praying to whatever gods might exist to just MAKE IT STOP. I vowed after that, that I would never get that drunk again. And I haven’t.

    • You better believe it’s bacon, baby. A big piece of some poor pig’s stomach. Yum. Before I gobbled it up I stroked it and called it my precious. Your slab is waiting for you on Park Avenue and 32nd St. Or 33rd. Something like that.

      I almost wished I had spilled my cookies all over the Avenue. I would have felt better sooner. As far as your diabolical (I love that word) night, you, of course, only have yourself to blame. Look at that menu of liquids you consumed! My lord! You left out paint thinner. Weren’t you near a hardware store?

  5. On my “hot dates” (there were very few) the only thing I’d hear was “Do you really have to drink so much” it was much easier to drink on my own really.

    • It’s a shame we can’t occupy that happy middle ground that the majority of society seems to encamp on.

      • Indeed but in the end I was just interested in the drinking anyway – that I think was the main difference with me, there are people who are “normal” drinkers, they do daft things like leaving a half empty glass as they “feel a bit squiffy”, there are heavy drinkers but the ones who can take or leave it and don’t obsess about it all the time and who don’t totally ever lose total control. Really I wanted to be one of them – then there is my kind, from the moment my eyes opened I was fixing where the next drink was coming from, when I was drinking I was figuring the next drink, etc.etc. Normal drinking, a concept that whilst I accept clearly exists cannot it appears sit easily in my head!

    • The friend I went with had TWO servings of pig belly! I’m not kidding. Best $10 bucks you can spend. And he walked out of the restaurant just fine. Tra-la-la. So lucky.

  6. I know this story exactly. I have the same alcohol tolerance and feelings about it. I like it though because I only do that maybe twice a year. Two martinis and I’m numb, just right and still have money. I go home and curl up and have a great night’s sleep. I also wonder how people can become addicted to alcohol. We patronized Wolfgang’s Steak House in the Lipstick Building last month and I’m from north central Ohio. Are we related?

    • Martinis are like drinking gasoline. I like Ketel One and cranberry. It’s a bit of a girly drink but it’s refreshing. We might be related. What are your feelings about bacon?

  7. I shall treasure the phrase ” I have a sheath for my umbrella.”
    Who knew?
    As for the bacon – we have slicers here in the UK:)
    Wish me luck: I’m going to fiddle with my blog roll. Please don’t change again.

    • Who knew you could use an umbrella sheath an air sickness bag? I’m a regular MacGyver.

      You have my assurance that I won’t alter this blog in any way for at least another five years. It’ll take that long to build it back up to what it was when I assassinated The Unbearable Banishment.

  8. As my old man once said to me, ” you don’t learn to drink you learn how not to,” and the old man was right… of course addiction is a curious thing and i’ve often wondered if there’s a genetic pre-disposition, if it’s mental illness or if it’s a lack of self control, i’m sure there are studies and arguments for all three but as someone who has walked a fine line most of his life i’d say its a combination of all three, i could always drink with the best of them in my younger days but have since learned that the older you get the longer the bounce back and i just don’t have time to be that hung over, i’ve always liked booze but never loved it, i’ve always been much fonder of drugs and given the choice i’d almost always choose the latter, many of my past favorite substances just happened to go well with booze much the same way that peanut butter goes with chocolate but on this topic i could go on all day so i’ll stfu now… and for some reason that bacon looks like spam.

    • Your comments read better than some full-blown posts I’ve written.

      I am 100% convinced that genetics plays a big role in whether or not you’re an alcoholic. Or smart. Or mentally ill or prone to gain weight or go bald. A whole slew of things, both positive and negative. It’s tough to face off against your gene pool.

      I’ve said it in the space before; I was always more of a narcotics guy. I told everyone that I thought alcohol was inelegant and common when the truth was I distanced myself because I was ashamed I couldn’t hold my booze. Oh, the thing we use to gauge our manhood when we’re young.

      That bacon sure didn’t TASTE like spam. I only hope it’s not ruined for me along with the Maker’s Mark. Had I gotten sick, that probably would have been the case.

  9. I prefer the powders and pills too but they’re getting harder to obtain, although a well-known liberal English newspaper published a very interesting article a few weeks ago about an anonymised internet system that might be worth trying out.

    (Hello Mr Policeman!)

    But I daily give thanks that I have a medium to high tolerance of alcohol. I don’t know why, because my family–even my extended family–hardly drink at all. I like every stage of getting drunk, from the slight relaxation to the loud exuberance, and the lovely vivid way it turns up your senses after a long session. I love it, I’m afraid, and the one single reason I wish I could drink less is the financial one.

    • You should consider moving here. They’re on the threshold of legalizing marijuana. It’s only a matter of time and after that, the floodgates will open. You’ll be able to get a tab of ecstasy at your local apothecary.

      I’ve mentioned before that I was always more of a narcotics guy. I used to tell folks that I found drinking to be common and lacking elegance. The truth was I distanced myself because I was ashamed I couldn’t hold my booze.

  10. Bacon?! Did someone say bacon?!

    ((You know you are truly sober when all that tantalizing talk of bourbon doesn’t even register, but when shown a slice of bacon, even if it looks like a SPAM hot dog, you start salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.)

    Bacon, chocolate and peanut butter … now there’s the good stuff.

    Seriously, I wish I was a stop at two drinks and be satisfied type of person– as I loved that “slight-buzz”– but I was (am?) like the person who in no way can eat just one potato chip. C’est la vie. Thank god for bacon.

    • Bacon: the affordable addiction. I’m telling you, that meal had no relation whatsoever to SPAM or a hot dog. Close your eyes and imagine what a slab of bacon that size tastes like. Yeah, it was that good.

      I’ve always had to stop at two drinks or risk a visit to the hospital. Getting your stomach pumped is no way to impress the ladies.

  11. Some guide you’re gonna make when the Chef & the Little Singing Fella arrive for the grand tour! (Hic!)

    I tried to comment a couple of days ago but the keyboards were of a different configuration on the island I had temporarily ‘run away’ to, (I couldn’t find the ‘@’ to sign in!) and it was damn hot, and I was drinking. And I was drinking! I’m back now, almost to reality. Almost.

    Sláinte mo chara! :¬)

    • Actually, I was kind of hoping you guys could show me how it’s done. Go through a night of hell raising and not sacrifice my dignity in the process.

      Welcome home. Hope you ease yourself back into the scrum. Sorry to hear of your keyboard problems. Were you on Mars?

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