OF A SOCIAL ALCOHOLIC
Even as a child, I remember hearing the phrase ďsocial alcoholicĒ
and thinking that it was a zillion times better than being
a ďreal alcoholic.Ē† I mean, a social alcoholic, at the
very least, is social, right?† A true-blue alcoholic is
someone who goes to work drunk, beats their children, operates
forklifts madly, kills lots of people industrially, and
then comes home and murders a bunch of people on the highway.
But a social alcoholic, well, they just act stupid in front
of their friends on a regular basis.
For six years, Iíve been a social alcoholic, and those were
the years after I turned 21.† Honestly, I probably wasnít
a social alcoholic until I turned 22, but the year I was
21 had a lot to do with my eventual social alcoholism.†
And for those six years, I accrued an endless list of friends.†
I still surprise people I meet with the amount of people
I know.† I canít go downtown without running into at least
four or five random personas which I have become acquainted
with at one point or another.
Itís easy to make friends when youíre drunk.† Just smile,
tell a joke, nod your head, agree with anything, and then
buy another drink.† They will walk off, thinking youíre
a funny person, and even feel glad that youíve talked to
them, because youíre the go-getter, the socialite, the person
who has connections to anyone and everyone.† They might
even want to fuck you someday.
And I drive home drunk on a regular basis.† Regular meaning
every single time Iíve driven home.† I donít think Iíve
been way drunk each time, but certainly those times when
Iíve teetered around the highway and been pulled over for
speeding.† I canít believe the trooper let me off with a
warning that last time, and I canít believe I didnít destroy
those mailboxes last year.
Iíd never kill anyone with my car.† Iím too professional,
too social for that.
But then there was that day last week I woke up.
I lost that perfect string of reality.† It had become a
muddled ball of twine, and I couldnít remember if Iíd been
on it or if Iíd left several years ago.† Having talked to
other friends, I now understand that forgetting large portions
of the evening and confusing memories with fantasies is
a natural part of being drunk.† But I hadnít begun to experience
the sensation until just two weeks ago, and it was a little
disturbing.† It also went a little deeper.
Not only did I wake up not understanding what was reality
and what was fiction, but I didnít know if I was awake or
not.† Sometimes I would go back to bed, trying to infuse
my brain with the invented reality of my dreams.† Sometimes
I wouldnít know the difference.† Worse yet, I didnít really
I began to wish for the dream world.† I wanted to be a part
of it.† I wanted to be drunk all the time so I could be
there, every second of the day.
On last Wednesday, I awoke, and the only thought through
my mind was ďmy face is melting.Ē† It wasnít hot outside,
my face felt fine, but my brain kept feeding my thoughts
with ďmy face is melting.† My face is melting.Ē† I almost
spoke it aloud, at work, but the repetition droning† of
ďmy face is meltingĒ stopped me.
I touched my face, and it didnít melt.† My face is still
on my skull.† It hasnít melted off yet.
There have been three times in my life when I threw up on
my own bed.† Iím not an animal, and I know that you should
throw up in a toilet.† When you pass out, however, and you
wake up to throw up, you have little choice as to where
you throw up.† Iíve certainly thrown up in a toilet often
enough to understand the principle, and sometimes Iíve thrown
up pure bile and prayed to a God I donít really believe
in and then He spares me and I live to eat tacos another
When I throw up on my bed, I throw up all over my bed.†
I donít miss one bit.† I throw up on the comforter, the
sheets, the pillows, and the headboard.† I ball everything
up, and set it outside for when I wake up.† Then I sleep
on my little couch and wake up not only with a hangover,
but also with a stiff neck.† Then I have a monstrous shit
which nearly fills the whole toilet with turds.
Just wash the sheets and remake the bed, and youíre back
That first time I threw up bile, I really did think I was
dying.† I didnít know what that thick yellow stuff coming
out of my mouth was.† It tasted horrible, and I suspected
it was some sort of precious bodily fluid.† I wasnít about
to swallow it back down, though.† I wouldíve rather died
than try to ingest bile.
The other vivid memory is of feeling every pore in my body
opening and sweating at the same time.† That was, strangely,
a good sensation.† After each painful bile heave or dry
heave, a cooling army of sweat beads would renew themselves
on my skin and made everything a little bit better.
Last night I called some friends who live out of town on
my cellularmaphone because I have an inordinate number of
minutes on my new billing plan.† But, the minutes are only
inordinate after 8 p.m.† I didnít start calling people until
about midnight, just to make sure the minutes would be considered
nighttime minutes, and while I was calling people, I realized
it was also the weekend, so it didnít matter what time I
Although yesterday wasnít St. Patrickís Day, we celebrated
as if it were, because celebrating it on Sunday isnít much
fun.† I do find myself downtown drinking on Sundays often
enough, but being hungover on Monday at work is an exceptionally
bad way to start the week.
So I started my phone calls with what will now be a yearly
tradition on St. Patrickís Day Eve, which is to call my
friend Jesse really late and really drunk.† Last year, he
was still living in Lincoln and when I called him at two
in the morning, he was arguing with his girlfriend about
how she didnít like that I call their apartment a lot.†
After that phone call, Jesse told me that his girlfriend
really hated me, and that he couldnít talk to me anymore.†
Thankfully, he broke up with her and he lives in Napa Valley
So I called Jesse again last night to tell him to have a
happy St. Patrickís Day, and he didnít answer because he
was drinking at a bar.† I left an unintelligible message
on his voicemail, and he returned the favor at three in
the morning.† His message was about how he was driving home
and how it was two hours earlier there, and how once you
get those extra two hours, you never want to give them back,
and then he talked about how since they make booze in Napa,
it only makes sense to drink a lot of the booze thatís there,
but sometimes he drinks Miller High Life instead of wine
because itís cheaper and the cost of living is high.† There
was something else about how the West Coast is the better
of the two coasts, but how he also liked the East Coast
and he was looking forward to going to Dwight and Maggieís
wedding in Maine and something about swinging through Boston
one of those days.
So, the point is that you can have a symbiotic mutual social
alcoholic friendship and you donít even have to directly
talk to each other.† It can happen through voicemail, and
that seems to be okay.
In between the time I left a message for Jesse and the message
he left for me, I called up Conor in Omaha on accident because
I was trying to call Colby in Chicago.† ďConorĒ is right
next to ďColbyĒ on my list of speed dial names on my cellularmaphone,
and since I was drunk, I either didnít notice or didnít
care.† But when Conor answered and I apologized because
it was so late, I didnít just say goodbye and retry calling
Colby.† Instead, I was social for about three minutes and
we talked about some stuff that I donít remember. †Oh, I
do remember he said he was in Austin and I asked him if
heíd run into The Flying Luttenbachers while he was there
and he said he hadnít.
And then I really did call Colby, but Tiffany answered and
she was the only one home.† She was practicing cello or
violin and was wanting to get back to it since she had the
house to herself, but she talked to me for about ten minutes
and I expressed my excitement that Head of Femur, her new
band, would be coming to town soon.† She gave me the information
that Colby had gone to a birthday party for Courtney, Jonathanís
sister, and so I called their house and talked to Molly
before she found Colby and I talked to him.
Colby didnít really want to talk to me because he was at
a party and Iím sure he was trying to dig on some chicks,
or possibly I was harshing his scene.† He wanted to know
if I wanted to talk to Rob, but I didnít feel like it.†
I was becoming tired and I had whiskey dick so I didnít
even bother surfing the Internet for pornographic materials.
I woke up to answer a call from Colin, and he wants to go
drinking tonight at an Irish pub, but there really arenít
any true Irish pubs in town.† He suggested the Tam Oí Shanter,
which has an Irish name, but theyíve turned it into a strange
place.† The foodís not good anymore and they put a shuffleboard
table right in the middle of their main dining area.† They
also knocked out a wall and added two pool tables, a dart
machine, and one of those damn Golden Tee golf games.† When
I think of an Irish pub, I envision a bar, and only a bar,
and you have to have a gray, scraggly beard to get served.†
There is no pool table.
And on Monday Iím sure some people will want to have the
cheap beer at Crane River.† Throughout the rest of the week,
someone will want to drink somewhere else.† Friday nights,
if you can believe it, are my least favorite night to drink.†
Itís like how the weekend is when you take off from work,
but I also take off from drinking, if only for one evening.
But Fridays are also the night that the Classics Department
has FAC and Iíve often found myself spending the whole day
downtown, drunk, eating, drunk again, then even going to
some after-hours party.
It never, ever ends.
(picture not of Jack Jackson)