On Moderation


For four or five years, I didn’t drink at all. It was a necessary change. It was what I needed to get my life in order.

I’ve since started dabbling again, taking drink in moderation, for the most part - by Wisconsin standards, anyway.

{My boy, my boy, welcome back! So good to see you again. Sit down. Have one on the house. What’s that? You can’t stay? Of course not, of course not… but perhaps just one more?}

Whatever. I know how it looks and I really don’t care. My wife supports me and no one else’s opinion carries much firewater, if you know what I mean. And if I’m not a different person now, I have at least learned some things, cast out some of the dumber demons that had ruled me in my youth. I think I’ve earned the opportunity to reacquaint myself with certain creature comforts.

I didn’t realize it until I climbed carefully down off the wagon, but what I really missed were the bars. Not any particular bar. And not because I missed socializing with the people there. I’m not the most social person. That was part of the problem in the first place, no doubt - using alcohol as a social lubricant, applying it too liberally.

And yet, in a way, I did miss the people. I missed the bartenders. I missed the lady that’s been jerking suds at the same neighborhood hole in the wall for thirty years, who knows more about the business than the owners, who calls you “hon”, who knows when to chat you up and when to leave you alone.

I missed the young girls. Even the ones that were shitty bartenders (which was most of them, honestly). I missed the fake-ass flirting. I missed tipping. Transactional relationships can be nice sometimes. We don’t get everything wrong in America.

I missed the shit that makes you feel human. Like if the wife and I are going to pay too much for dinner, I want to pay too much for a craft beer to drink while I wait.

I missed being able to have a drink in the comfort of my own home, you know, after a hard day’s work, as it were, or while watching the ‘big game’, or what have you. I missed having the option of dumping a little bourbon in my coffee on a Saturday morning.

I missed having a road beer on the way to my favorite rural meat market on a Sunday morning with the sun shining and the deer standing placid in the field, me thinking, ‘yeah, that’s right, it’s the weekend for you too, buddy. I hope I don’t see you darting like a freak out of the pre-dawn shadows Monday on my way to work.’

I missed having something to do.

‘Cause when you drink, you always have something to do.

But it’s not like that, after all. I’m only dabbling. Drinking on special occasions. One here and there. Only when there’s cause for celebration.

And the way I see it, I mean, what with the state of global affairs, Trump and what have you, any day that finds you upright and sucking air is cause for celebration.

So stay good out there, little joyless ones. And don’t judge. Prost.

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