Drunk History

Several weeks ago, I promised—or threatened, depending on your point of view—to post an entry entitled “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer (or, How I Survived the Holidays).” I made this promise in part because I’m a fan of George Thorogood, but also because some members of my extended family are somewhat less fond of me than are others, and having at least a small amount of alcohol at hand when visiting those who adore me makes dealing with the passive aggression and simmering hatred of those who don’t just a bit more bearable.

That statement may sound to some like a plea for sympathy—or a cry for help, depending (again) on your point of view. But I assure you: I’m not seeking solace and I don’t have a problem. To be honest, there are just three people on earth who make me so uncomfortable that I need to steel my nerves with drink, and only a couple of others whose company I can’t stand unless I’m practically falling down drunk. The rest of the time, I drink because I want to, of course. Or because of peer pressure. My friends can be quite persuasive, after all. And I have been known to lack a spine now and then.

In case we’re acquainted and you’re wondering if you’re among those who drive me to drink, here’s how to tell: If you’ve ever seen me completely sober and it wasn’t in a school, car, church or synagogue, you’re probably okay. On the other hand, if you’ve ever seen me completely loaded and it WAS in a school, car, church, or synagogue, you may want to work on your attitude or your interpersonal skills. Ditto if you’ve NEVER seen me completely sober—regardless of the location.

Unless we’re both usually drinking, of course. It’s difficult to say what it means—if anything—that we don’t spend a lot of our time together sober. I would hope it’s because we like each other and drinking is part of how we up the blast factor. But even if it’s because you make ME uncomfortable, or because I make YOU uncomfortable, or because we make EACH OTHER uncomfortable, if we’re drinking together, we’re probably having a good time. Or at least a better time than we would otherwise. Either way, it works for us. And as the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Meanwhile, if you don’t CARE if you’re among those who drive me to drink, that’s cool. It’s also bad karma, but that only matters if you don’t have it to spare. Me, I like to bank as much karma as I can and I prefer to use it sparingly. Which is why, when it comes to people who are routinely and unjustifiably rude or unkind to me, I’d rather have a good time despite them than let it bother me. Because the ruder people are and the nicer I can be in return, the more likely I am to become a bestselling author, and the greater their chances of accidently driving into an icy river and dying of hypothermia. Especially when I’ve given them every chance to tell me what I’ve done to annoy or displease them, and tried everything I can to make amends or win their affection, it doesn’t make sense to keep beating my head against the wall or to continue kissing their backsides.


That being said, I confess I didn’t drink as much or as often as I had expected to do this past holiday season. The upside to that is a hard to spot but the downside is that it left me without a post honoring George Thorogood or his cover of the boozy blues number.

I’d like to say that it’s because the people who drive me to drink are gone from my life but that’s not true. (That’ll probably cost me a few karma points, but my account is still comfortably in the black.) Nor is it true that those people have learned to pretend to like me.

No. The truth is I don’t know why I spent so much more time sober this Christmas than I have in years past. The only plausible explanation I’ve come up with relates to a run in I had with a bottle of gin right before Thanksgiving. I won’t bore you with the details (for a change) but I will sum it up like this: it was better going down than it was coming back up. Although that was far from the first time I’ve found myself looking down the barrel of a trashcan, it is the first time in probably ten years that I’ve done so in the absence of food poisoning or the stomach flu.

So I’m probably feeling a little gun shy when it comes to the drink these days. Sort of like the person who is afraid to get behind the wheel of an automobile after a terrifying car accident, I may have become a bit risk-averse.

But I’ve never been one to let fear rule my life, so if that is in fact the problem, you can bet I will strive to overcome it.

After all, to paraphrase Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, well-behaved women seldom make drunk history.

NOTE: The title of this post pays homage to one of my favorite programs, the hilariously educational Drunk History with Derek Waters. Check it out on Comedy Central, and wherever fine videos are sold!