Rule #151: Respect Alcohol
When I returned from a great trip to New Orleans last year I was amazed that everyone in that city isn’t a raging alcoholic and morbidly obese. As I sat at the Bourbon Street Oyster House Bar I realized that at 9 pm on a Sunday night I was the only sober person in the place. New Orleans has always been one of my favorite cities and except for a repeat of the Eagles they are my choice for winning the Superbowl this year.
The trip made me think about my experiences with alcohol and what I have learned about its pluses or minus.
In full disclosure I have never been a big drinker, although have been drunk a couple times in my life. My roommate in college, Phil, will quickly tell you of my 21st birthday party where a few bottles of old English 800 ( I DO NOT RECOMMEND) had me promising him, the world and God that I would never, ever drink again if the room would stop spinning.
Unfortunately for the makers of OE800 developing both Barrett’s esophagus and Type 1 LADA diabetes has forced me to limit my drinking to the occasional drink. So I look at alcohol from the perspective of man forced to limit his consumption in order to achieve my end goal of immortality.
I think drinking can be a wonderful thing, and very occasionally drinking to excess can be fun as well.
As the saying goes no great story in life starts with a salad.
Drinking helps relax the nerves, and let down some of the inhibitions that limit us because of our fears. Drinking can be down right awesome if you know how to do it right. Do it wrong and you ruin your life and the lives of people around you, and take you from life of the party to party pooper in two tequila shots. Its dangerous dance, and like other dangerous things like firearms and motorcycles needs to be respected. Alcohol can and will kill you if you don’t use it in an intelligent way. Sadly alcohol does not improve your higher level reasoning skills so most of this has to be prep work and not spur of the moment reactions.
Step 1 is to no spontaneous drinking
If you go out for dinner or meet up with friends this is an “unplanned” event and requires you to either abstain from alcohol completely or stay with in a HARD limit of 1 or 2 drinks depending on your size. These spontaneous events should be treated consistently, no exceptions- you didn’t prepare you don’t drink.
Step 2 is to know your end game
How am I getting home? I know that there is going to be a chance that I should not drive and I need to prepare ahead of time so that driving isn’t even an option. Three clear choices work- uber, reliable sober friend driving or plan to stay over at drinking site. These are not just options – they are the ONLY options. No other solutions ever work and don’t plan to use some other way. No driving and planning to use Uber if you drink, take the keys out of the equation and prepare as if you just sold your car that afternoon. Before you take the first sip this should be all decided.
Step 3 this is a marathon and not a sprint
The idea of binge drinking always seem stupid to me, a rookie mistake that screams to the world that you are an idiot. No one wants to be the first drunk person at a party, if you want to be the “entertainment” just put on floppy shoes and a rubber nose and go all in for the look. The sophisticated drinker keeps at a pace just a little slower than the room in general, sort of like hanging back in the marathon letting the inexperience ones burn themselves out first. This gives you the opportunity to make fun of the clowns when they show up and allows you to remain safe even when having too much to drink
Step 4 know the difference between buzzed and stupid
When your body is feeling the first effects of the drink its time to put on the brakes. The art, even on events that you plan to drink, is to avoid the hangovers and the praying to the porcelain gods. You want all the good effects of drink without the negatives.
You will fail at this at least a couple times. When you do learn from it. Simple lessons like ” tequila is not my drink” and ” when I am slurring words its not a good sign” should be the hard lessons learned about this line. For Bobbi it was always when she started to curse like a sailor, for me it is when I become overly talkative and my right eye droops. Everyone has tells…learn yours and stop when they start to appear.
Finding that nice paced buzz line will be a mark of maturity, it will be that James Bond sophistication and not that Foster Brooks stumble ( google it kids).
Step 5 be with friends
Drinking is suppose to be enjoyed, and if its beyond that one or two night, it should be done with people that you like and trust. Think of it as a group that you would be cool with in boxers and tee shirt- people that enhance your life.
Never drink with the angry drunks, you all know who they are ( because we all have one or two people in our lives that do this). They are the people that after the 3rd Bud lite hate their wife, their boss and life in general. They use drinking as an excuse for complaining, and seem to be looking for an argument or fight. Drink with friends not assholes.
As the Eagles enter this years playoffs I wanted to remind my kids with the proper respect of alcohol they can process even more fun. Its all in the prep work.