Sunday, January 3, 2010
THINKING ABOUT DRINKING: I AM AN ALCOHOLIC...
THINKING ABOUT DRINKING: I AM AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE DRINKER.
When you live in Las Vegas, every night is New Year's Eve and it's Happy Hour round the clock. Often, the drinks are free. That's how I know I'm NOT a drunkard. I am nonetheless a roaring alcoholic beverage drinker. You however? I'm not sure that you may not have a drinking problem. Was that too many negatives? Sorry, mate.
Sit down and let's try to sort it all out. Oh, and have a drink.
Why am I drinking? Well, I'll tell you. I'm drinking because I'm not Superman. You see, tonight, a very nice lady in the elevator just had to tell me -even though she was sure that I hear it all the time, that I look just like Superman. Well, not Superman, but the actor who played Superman. And no, not the one on the WB either, because that would have been way too flattering. No, the guy who did the movies, the nice man who ended up in the wheelchair after that terrible horse riding accident.
Here's the thing: you should be careful when you tell someone-especially a complete stranger-that they resemble a well known public figure. It's just weird.
I've been mistaken for famous people a time or two. Once, after hours of hard partying, a paparazzi- type guy mistook me for CHARLIE SHEEN. The funny thing was he was close. Real close. You see, Charlie was standing three feet from me at the time. He was in shades and a cap and couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was sort of funny, too.
The day I arrived in Branson, Missouri a young magic fan ran up to the Chevy Tahoe I was driving and asked, "May I have your autograph, Kirby?" You see, the Kirby VanBurch show is heavily promoted on billboards throughout the Ozarks but, a non-retouched, living and breathing Kirby was next to me in the passanger seat. Not feeling very flattered, I went ahead and signed the teenage boy's book anyway, adding at the bottom: "Call Me," next to a smiley face and Kirby's cell number. But that's just me, I'm a giver, ya know?
The Superman thing came on the heels of a comment made on Sirius Satellite to a national audience. Cosmo Radio has a great afternoon program, "Cocktails with Patrick" and the host is the best broadcaster on the air. He takes calls, fields questions and leads a lively discussion covering all kinds of sexy topics. Patrick is the best, but, the other day, early in his broadcast, he described yours truly as "a young Bruce Jenner look-alike." Really? Ouch.
Excuse me? Another Jack & Soda. Hey, order something. It's on me. Well, it's on the house.
Okay, where was I? Drinking, right. I have a theory. A few of them, actually. I've been thinking about drinking and for one, I'm all for it. I am an alcoholic supporter. Now it may not be politically correct to be so positive about getting hammered, but I'm down with it. I am 100% against drinking and driving but the drinking part is fine by me. Without booze, half of the world wouldn't have been born and I'm pretty sure some wouldn't have ever gotten laid.
I have friends-and others-who don't drink, who treat their bodies as temples or whatever. I admire and respect my cool Mormon friends who by their clean living set such a great example. Now there's another kind of non-drinker, those who go around holier than others, never missing a chance to criticize those of us who drink. These people are just dicks and being around them makes me not only want to drink, it makes me want to get shit faced. So, I guess there's good in everyone, you just have to look for it.
I am no secular saint but rather a gentle sinner. And, I'm cool with that.
In most places, bars have to close before a certain hour and alcohol sales must stop. There's a 'Last Call' and plenty of weary bartenders trying to think of new ways to say, "Drink up." That just makes me sad, ya know?
Do you remember that Looking Glass song, 'Brandy?' You know: "There's a port, on a western bay/And it serves, a hundred ships a day." Now THAT'S a great drinking song. Brandy, fetch another round of whiskey and wine. Man I LOVE that chick Brandy. So, try to imagine loads of Brandy's and tons of bars like the one in the song, spread all across town. Sandy, Candy, Mandy, Randy and more, all serving-up your favorite liquor. And when you've lived here as long as I have, they kinda get to know you, your drink. So I walk into wherever, whenever, and a "Jack Daniel's with as little soda and possible" just appears. (When I don't feel like drinking, I'll switch to cranberry and Absolut).
I think that you may be a drunkard but I know that I am not.
Part of the excitement of drinking is the danger of it. Like the ladies who lunch who, when the dessert cart is brought around, all say that they really shouldn't but then, after a little giggling, dive neck-deep into something frosted and fattening.
You'll never know if you'd stop drinking before you blacked out because, where you live, bars close at night and, in the morning, you'd look (and feel) weird going in for a stiffy at inappropriate hours. Not here. Not ever. People in Las Vegas work all shifts. I'll bet that your sloshed neighbors say, as they mix their martini's, "It's 5 o'Clock somewhere," right? Well, here in Las Vegas, it's whatever o'clock everywhere.
The fact that I need a reason to get blown-out is a reminder that I'm not a dipsomaniac. (Note: that's the better word. Alcoholic is best used as an adjective).
THE NIGHT I GOT BLOWN-OUT AND ENGAGED (TO MY BOYFRIEND)
I have a great looking friend named Jonathan. Blue eyes and big bright smile. Very fit. He ran track in school. I have no problem comparing him to someone famous because Jonathan looks just like James Marsden, and if you don't think James Marsden is cool, well, you'd better leave the table and maybe go talk to the bartender. Jonathan and I had an attorney/client relationship to start and then, a year or so later, became good friends. He was the most popular bartender at a very fashionable gay bar here in Las Vegas. Now Jonathan happens to be as straight as they come but that didn't stop loads of gay guys from hitting on him. He hated that. He took his job seriously and didn't need the distraction. The great tips helped him support his child.
One night, I came into the bar to say "hi" to Jonathan and to catch a singer I'd been hearing about. There was a group of guys around the bar and as I approached, they all gave me a weird look and then scattered. I felt hated, which is weird because I love those guys and besides, I had the freshly fluffed hair and was wearing the skinny jeans and that new cologne with the naked guy on the box.
"Jonathan, what the fuck?"
"William, here's the thing. Too many guys were hitting on me. One pinched my ass the other night. The tips are great but when some of these guys get drunk, they get stupid."
"Did you tell them you have a girlfriend?"
"That made it worse, so I told them I had a boyfriend: you."
"Me? Why me?"
"I figured you'd never come here but when I saw you walk in, I pointed you out."
Jonathan handed me a Jack Daniel with absolutely NO soda. I drank it all. Fast. He made me another.
The thing is, I'm really not into being stared at- and hated on- by a dozen jealous guys. I mean, where is the love, you know?
"I'm gonna go outside, check my messages, sniff around in my car for a few minutes, kill some time, but I do want to see this singer's set."
"Will, don't worry. I'll make it right."
I come back ten minutes later and- I swear this is true- the guys mobbed me as I made my way to the booth by the stage. There was some hugging and compliments and two guys each had a drink for me. They all slid into the booth. Now I knew I was pretty much wasted but something was up. I saw Jonathan frantically waving me over to the bar. "Excuse me boys, I'll be right back- watch my seat."
Jonathan poured two Jagermeisters and explained. "So here's the thing. I told them to be nice to you because..., well, because you and I just got engaged."
We did the shots. And then some. Man! It got so drunk out that night! Turns out that those guys were just being protective of Jonathan and that's sweet, really.
The story went around and got plenty of laughs, first from our girlfriends and then later, from the guys at the bar. Me? I don't remember much of anything except waking up during the taxi ride home.
I say don't drink and drive. But drink. Please drink.
In fact, let's have another.
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