The Thing About Alcohol

There have been countless memes, quotes, and other amusing stuff written, spoken, knitted, and sang about my oldest friend, alcohol. Probably because alcohol is sorta like having a huge warehouse full of everything you could ever want and need. It can supply a soul with just about anything they need on any given day. It’s like having a Sugar Daddy (or Momma) that just pays for everything, and allows you to have boat loads of fun.

It’s an amazing thing.

Until, of course, it’s not. But that’s not why I am here today. I’m here to talk about the things it can help you with.

Need to laugh? Alcohol.

Need to dance? Alcohol. Sing? Alcohol.

Need some inspiration? Alcohol can help with that.

Fight? Fuck? Cry? Alcohol has got you covered.

Begin a relationship? End one? Get Married? Get divorced? All within alcohol’s purview.

Climb up a condemned amusement park water slide at 3:00 am? No time for explanations, just trust me when I tell you that alcohol has that too, under control.

While most of this has been talked, written, and sang about ad nauseam, I’d like to mention one thing that alcohol gave me, (in addition to most of that other stuff) that I’ll forever be thankful for.

It gave me some relationships and bonds of friendship that I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced.

See, the thing about alcohol is that it can help you cultivate relationships that “sober” you, might never venture into. Your walls come down, and you open up to people and places that “sober” you may be downright fearful of. Granted, the majority of these experiences will leave you with a headache and a lot of regret. But, not all of them.

Not for me, at least.

About twenty years ago, me and my posse ended up in dive on the outskirts of our county. I don’t remember how, or why, but I do know that alcohol handled all of the logistics of our excursion. This was most definitely not our crowd, and to be fair we were damn sure not their cup of tea either. But for a couple of hours, we were all each other’s pals.

I walked (staggered) up to the bar at some point, and ordered a beer and a little sandy haired man on the stool next to me put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Is your name Gretchen?”

And I panicked. Because, again, not my crowd.

I said “Yes sir” and he smiled and laughed and said “Don’t you sir me, gal.” And then I knew. And I just grinned and hugged his neck. I knew his voice, and he knew mine. This was the first time we’d ever actually seen each other, though we’d talked on the phone countless times.

I worked with his wife. We both dispatched at the sheriff’s department.

And thus began a very long friendship. I drank countless beers with him. Sat on their porch and talked, sat at bars and drank and talked. Road around in the woods and drank, threw darts and drank. Went boating. And drinking.

Once come up on some woods full of fire flies. Thousands of them. So many we turned off the lights and it was as if we hadn’t.

I just told someone that story a couple weeks ago. It made me feel good.

I last saw him a couple years ago in Lowe’s. We caught up, and agreed to have a beer at their new house sometime.

The thing about alcohol, is that sometimes it does good things for you. Helps you meet folks that are worth meeting.

He died yesterday.

I should have went for that beer.




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