This first appeared in The Inner Swine Volume 14, Issue 1.
In general, liquor been very very good to me. In a storied career stretching back several decades I’ve had a lot to drink, and certainly had my share of hangovers. I still have a suit of clothes I woke up wearing in Philadelphia one night, with absolutely no memory of how I acquired it. It hangs in the closet waiting for the day that we either invent cheap at-home DNA testing or time-travel, and the truth will be revealed. Until then I assume I drank too much and traded clothes with a much richer man of my approximate size and weight.
Still, I’m an old, frail man now, and I think I’ve tested my depth when it comes to killing myself with The Drink. Or at least I thought so. I mean, I ought to know my limits, right? I ought to be able to walk up the watery line of Lake Puke and toe it gingerly, and do a jaunty little dance of defiance. And usually, I can.
Recently, however, I’ve had several inexplicable brushes with the ancient stigma of being over-served, and the only thing more depressing than being a middle-aged zine publisher is being a middle-aged zine publisher who’s about to hurl his cookies all over the place like a high school kid after his first pint of blackberry brandy.
The first time, to be honest, I had consumed enough booze to pickle myself, I admit it. The evening got away from me in an excess enthusiasm for someone’s whiskey collection, and despite the way everything ended I don’t have any real regrets. The most recent episode, however, involved barely enough booze to register, and yet I ended the night swimming home in a taxi, turning various shades of green.
This is disturbing.
The cycle of life, as far as I imagined it, was this: You’re born. Then nothing happens. Sometime around your thirteenth birthday, you have your first drink, and then you fuck up multiple times, spending brain cells to gain experience. A period of happiness ensues, wherein you can pretty much drink without fear of consequence. This goes on until your liver explodes and you die, probably around age fifty. Suddenly returning to the earlier stage puts a distinct crimp in my plans for the future. Not to mention supplying me with ample embarrassment for those occasions when I attempt to be witty and erudite with my adult friends.
The only course of action is to continue to experiment until I figure out the problem in my technique. I’ll continue to report my progress as events warrant.