A typical night used to go something like this—work until 5:30 and then meet up
with my friends, we’d hit a club that had dollar drinks from 10 until midnight (that was definitely the club that did the most damage). After drinking a mixed drink called Red Death (this was the drink that definitely did the most damage) we’d hit the dance floor and mosh to a mix of really bad urban/pop music and slightly less awful alternative/metal music. Eventually one of two things would
happen—either the witching hour of midnight would hit when drinks would become full price or we’d get kicked out of the club for smashing our bodies one too many times against the other club goers. Once we left the club we were on our way to the second bar of the night where we drank quarter drafts and drank the rest of the night away. Finally, we’d end up at Eat n Park or some other fine
establishment that had a breakfast buffet at 2 o’clock in the morning. We’d flirt with the waitresses sure we were suave when, in reality, we were just drunk. If it was a weekend the night would differ in that there’d usually be a party. That’s right, all of that was a typical weeknight.
Somehow, after all that drinking we’d find the strength to show up at work the next day and work the entire day. None of us were digging ditches but I felt it showed great strength of character that we could live the life described above and still manage to drag ourselves to work the next day. After all, this kind of life killed people. Oh sure, there were plenty of days I’d pray for death but
still I managed to get done what needed to be completed. And. as I said, that was just a typical weeknight, on the weekends we really let our hair down!
In contrast—several weeks ago a friend’s band was playing a local club on a weekday. My wife and I arrived after she dropped our son off at her sister’s to watch. We didn’t eat dinner because we were in a hurry to get to the show. Once there we saw old college friends. We discussed gardens, diets, kids, vitamins, art and music. We talked about ailments and what parts of our bodies had recently
started failing us and what we were doing to try and keep up with the decay that was now a normal part of life. We each had two alcoholic drinks and then we all switched to either water or soda. Once the band had opened the show we left to grab some food and pick up my son, it wasn’t even 9:30. The goal was to stop at a restaurant, pick up Jack and be home before 11. This was after all a school night and I certainly didn’t want to be out late and then have to struggle to wake up in the morning.
So this is life now. I think since my son has been born my wife has been drunk once and I’ve been drunk two or three times (that’s counting conventions out of town where alcohol pours freely and everyone drinks as much as possible). It just takes too long to recover now. All those ailments I was discussing with
friends at the bar several weeks ago tend to ache with a vengeance after a night out. Diets are ruined, days are lost.
Where I used to drink more alcohol a night than some small countries
produce in a month and turn up, slighty red eyed with only a few hours sleep, at work the next day, it now takes a minimum of 24 hours recovery after just a night of small indulgence. We used to call people like me weekend warriors. I’m not even close to being a weekend warrior now.
I used to mix alcohol freely-never worrying about consequences. Now,my routine goes something like this—OK, I’m going to be in a situation where I’ll be drinking, I need to take Tylenol
before we go out and make sure that for every one drink of alcohol I have one drink of water. It’s a necessity that I eat beforehand, something with bread if at all possible so it can absorb the alcohol and just be ready for the hard, hard ride ahead if I miss any of those steps. Yep, I’m getting older.
I’ll be honest with you though, I don’t miss those alcohol filled nights one bit.They certainly informed the person I am now. They certainly helped write some epic tales. But, if I’m honest about it, they were also lonely, careless, irresponsible and stupid—in short,
they were youth. I guess if you have the luxury of looking back and laughing at some of the moronic choices you made when you were younger then you’ve succeeded in some small way. I keep telling myself that anyway, it makes it easier when I look at the scars my youth left behind!!
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