I used to get pissed. Pissed off. Piss drunk. Pissed off a ski-lift tower once. But over the years, I have come to realize that the company you keep determines, what I like to call, your Buddy Alcohol Content – an important metric for companionship. A while back, Edith shared something with me that stuck. We were laying on our beach blanket at The Pinery, surrounded by obnoxious families with no regard for personal space. Edith turned her head to face me and said,
“Remember that one penis I touched?”
“Remember that one time at band camp?” I replied. She went on to describe her horrible experience with that penis and then said the important thing that I have not forgotten.
“Dick, our best times together happen when we are sober.” At the time, Edith had recently relocated to another city and was surrounded by very intense people who were obsessively concerned about their image and their bodies and their hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range products. There are two ironies here. One: Have you met us!?
No need to ask, you heard about us
Watch your mouth when you’re around us
[The Carters, Heard About Us]
Two: The irony of their rigid diets was that these individuals turned around every day after work and pounded back bottles of beer and passed around the coke. But god-forbid a piece of chicken with a chemically encouraged growth spurt and a low exercise regime should touch their lips. Now, that would be toxic. That would be slippin’ under.
What people really need are hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range relationships. My partner Tales grew up sober and to this day does not drink to excess. He has received a lot of flack for this decision, but if you know him, you know he don’t give a fuuuck. I admire his resolve. It is refreshing to get to know someone without the distraction of alcohol. It can be challenging to be witty, charming, intellectual, humorous and sexy with a blood-alcohol level below 0.08%. It can also be challenging to meet new people without a few drinks to make them more interesting.
When we first met, Tales managed to be all of these things (and more) without the aid of any liquid courage. Now that he’s met me, and chosen to keep me, he does needs a stiff drink once and awhile. And my closest friends (yes, even Jane) are enjoyable and intriguing even when they are sober.
The action of drinking can bring people together. I am not opposed to a night on the town with a few friends in tow and a few drinks in hand, but the bond between everyone shouldn’t be a cork, a pitcher or a skewered olive. The bond should be a quality relationship. I have been raw, I have been marinated and I have been completely saturated. Ultimately, what I have come to appreciate is a relationship that is pure and not merely held together by that gross sticky layer of spilled god-knows-what on the dance-floor.
Drunk anecdotes can be humorous, but not if they become the full story. Peeing in a construction zone that one wild night with Nikita may have been a riot, but Nikita is so much more than a bombshell squatting in the dirt. I recommend that everyone choose their friends wisely – not primarily for their nightlife revelry, but for their engaging sobriety. If you need a drink to enjoy someone’s company you should really begin to question the company you keep. If you are running around feeling uncomfortable, feeling like you’re gonna piss yourself you need to realize that when you gotta go, you gotta go.