There has been a lot of talk lately about the study showing just how much Americans booze it up. The strongest reaction by far has been to the top 10% of drinkers who put away a whopping 74 drinks a week. There has been shock and disbelief over that figure.

But I’m not surprised by those people. Mind you, I wouldn’t be able to survive what they do–my body isn’t that strong and my liver is already unhappy. But I can understand what drives them and where they’re coming from.

What is shocking to me is that 60% of the population either doesn’t drink at all or only drinks less than one drink a week. Really? What is their secret? Or maybe, what is their problem? How do they get through their day without feeling that hurting or at least, that restless itch which makes you want to have a drink so you can drown it out? Is it that they’ve found other ways to pacify themselves, like too much food or too much TV? Are they that emotionally strong? Or are they already numb?

The sober people are a fucking mystery to me. I’m going to need a shot of brandy to wrap my mind around that one.

So the Stephanie Miller Show was discussing Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death recently, and one of the guests was explaining the dangers of heroin.  How with heroin, you never quite know what you’re injecting into yourself, or how good/pure/lethal it might be.  And then she made the comparison to alcohol–when you see Bud in the store, you always know what you get, and there’s no such thing as bad Bud.

As a beer lover, I feel I have to correct that statement…it would be more accurate to say that Bud is always bad.  In fact, Bud is always terrible.  However, I agree that it’s terrible in a way which is consistent, and which won’t kill me.  It will also never shock me by tasting like a delicious craft brew when I open one up.  And while Bud isn’t dangerous, you might waste your life drinking bad beer…a fate not much better than death, in my opinion.

 

When I leave the office after a long week of overtime hours, after hundreds of questions from customers frustrated with their health care plans, I need a drink.  I need a drink that feels like I feel.  A beer that is dark and bitter.  The taste isn’t easy.  Something that is flirted with by irritating hipsters and shunned by normal people.  Something that shouldn’t be marketed to stay at home moms.  There might be a little chocolate or blackberry flavor mixed in there, but that won’t make the drink any friendlier or less intense.

Yeah, that’s exactly the sort of drink I need right now.  Man, it’s been a hard week.

My body often reminds me that I am a weak specimen.  If we still lived in a purely Darwinist world, not protected by the buffer of civilization, I would be long gone by now.  I am a creature of comfortable physical habit.  And anytime I diverge from the routine, I get a migraine.

I get a migraine when it’s too cold.  I also get a migraine when it’s too hot.  Or too wet or too dry.  I can understand the hangover headaches I get from too much alcohol–I feel like I’ve earned those–but I also get headaches when I’ve had too much caffeine or not enough caffeine.  Headaches from waking up too early or staying up too late, too much work and too much stress.  The only way for me not to get a migraine would be just to stay in bed all day.  But even then, I might fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, which always gives me a migraine.

Sometimes I think I should lead a more adventurous life.  But then I picture myself crawling across the ice in Alaska or hanging from a camel in the Sahara, clutching my head and throwing up.  Vomiting in an exotic locale is still vomiting, and there wouldn’t be a convenient toilet nearby.

At times I think my body is fighting me.  It is as if it knows that I’ve always lived inside my head, and have only a tenuous connection to the physical form I reside in.  My body can tell I feel uncomfortable in it, and it punishes me for that discomfort.  And I definitely deserve the punishment.