Ode to Alcohol

January 20, 2003

As many of us head into our 30s the sense of being an "adult" settles into our consciousness. We wonder about the fleeting years and the things that we've accomplished (or not) since college. To a degree we wonder if we should quit our carefree ways and become "adults" of the Leave it to Beaver, our parents, and/or no fun variety. Around this time, many people seriously consider bidding farewell to their over-drinking ("I'm getting red and dizzy") ways. ACK! Calm down! Let's not be too hasty!

Sure, alcohol often plays a role in the more stupid, outrageous and at times dangerous things that we do (e.g., driving and "hooking up"). Indeed, alcohol makes us do and allow things that in our sober state we know are questionable. But not all "under the influence" activities are "stupid" or "crazy." For the most part, alcohol (in periodic excess) is a good and joyful thing because it allows us to do silly, playful things that in ordinary (i.e., sober) life we can't or don't do because of "rules."

Take dancing. While engaging in "dancing" a few of my girl friends and I sometimes think: 1) Kind of weird to be so touchy-feely with this guy since his girlfriend's right over there. 2) I barely know these boys, should they be rubbing up against me so much? And 3) How did my tummy get exposed and how did he maneuver his hand onto it so naturally? But we let it go. We have alcohol in our system so everything's a part of the fun. Sans alcohol though, and watch out! It's slaps to the face and lawsuit time.

Others of us are masters of alcohol-induced flirtation and (mild--is there such a thing?) inappropriateness. Before the drinking even begins, a good friend likes to proclaim, "I'm drunk! I'm drunk! I don't know what I'm doing!" to prep us for things to come. After a few drinks, we flirt ("Hey, you can sleep in my bed if you want"), hug and kiss friends/strangers, and declare affection ("I love you guys!") as if the world was ending. Less the booze and we revert back to "polite" distance and smiles--Even pretending at times that we don't like and/or barely know each other.

I love best when alcohol compels guys to strip off their shirts and dance around half naked. The sober people are asking for complete darkness before venturing onto the dance floor--But not my intoxicated boys. Usually, it's just the guys dancing in a 5x5 area, regardless of the room size. Occasionally, there's the feeble attempt to include us gals with gratuitous suggestions that we take off our shirts too. Sometimes, girls are good for stuffing dollar bills down somebody's pants. Mostly, the guys are quite happy chest bumping and bopping around all by themselves. As soon as they're sober though, forget it! Even sitting closer than an arm's length from each other is too much.

Yes, we're getting older. And yes after a few drinks we do things that "ain't right." But let's not be too quick to make alcohol a mere "sipping" thing. The silly fun that its overindulgence brings is bound to help us age "gracefully." At the least, it may send us on a story-filled adventure oft-called "rehab".

Here's to Jack, Jim, Sky, and Cuervo! Alcohol…It's a good thing.

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