Why Do I Drink

I’m sipping a Long Island Iced tea, at 4:45 am while writing this blog post. A quote from the biker movie, “The Best Bar in America”, comes to mind, “The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promises of friendship and love.”

  • Confidence for the shy – I need all of the confidence I can get because when I grew up everybody grew faster than I did. So, at any given age up until my Junior year in high school, everybody stood taller that I. My inferiority complex gained stature instead.
  • Clarity for the uncertain – The cloud of inebriation makes a sharper world out of the blurry reality of all of life’s situations. Other’s become either friend or foe. Middle ground is abandoned when inebriated.
  • Solace to the wounded – For example, my golf game which is a complete calamity disguised by a rare stroke or two seems more than adequate when under the additional cloud of drink!
  • Elusive promise of friendship and love – I’m the most popular person on earth under the influence because my personality become that of an extrovert wolf who took off his introvert sheep skin.

All this seems to make a case for hopping onto a motorcycle and touring every bar from East to West. The original quote is from the book, “A Drinking Life”, by Pete Hamill. If you are trying to convince your audience that bars are worthy tourist attractions, you would no doubt use that quote.

The quote, however, is taken out of context and the very next sentence in Pete’s book changes the whole thrust of the quote, “From almost the beginning of awareness, drinking was a part of my life; there is no way that I could tell the story of the drinking without telling the story of the life. Much of that story was wonderful. In the snug darkness of saloons, I learned much about being human and about mastering a craft. I had, as they say, a million laughs. But those grand times also caused great moral, physical, or psychological damage to me and others. Some of that harm was probably permanent. There is little to be done now but take responsibility. No man’s past can be changed; it’s a fact, like red hair.”

So, why do I drink? Certainly, it’s not a “family tradition” as described by Hank Williams Junior. It’s just me trying to experience another part of life before I’m gone into the oblivion of what may be a non-existent after life. In fact, I didn’t drink more than an occasional glass of wine until I became 65 years of age and joined a 55 and older community in Florida. I’ve learned fast!

Part of my motivation is that many famous and successful people develop drinking habits. Many don’t survive. But many do. What is the difference? I don’t know, but the drinking may be part of the creative process that helps produce creative successful people. Maybe drinking is more of the process than any of us are willing to admit. So, maybe when I say, “Why do I drink?” I can and should say, “To write more creatively.”

In my experience there is something in the warm comfortable feeling I get drinking that loosens my creativity or the confidence I experience with the perception of creativity. Maybe it’s not even creativity that loosens. Actually, it might be self-honesty. How many of us are prisoners of thinking the way someone in authority told us to think? Churches are good authority sources that tell you how to behave and how to think. I am certain that you must think for yourself or you are lost. There is no compromise here. And if drinking is a catalyst to thinking for yourself, then do it until you no longer need to. 

My drinking while I believe is under control may not be. How would I know? How many alcoholics claim they can quit whenever they want? But they never want to! I’m sure that the wonderful woman I’ve lived with for fifty plus years would weigh in strongly on this one. I can read the concern in her face when she thinks I’ve had too much. But then I always wonder, how much is too much? That in itself may be a bad sign. Or maybe it really isn’t because I do function well from day to day, or at least I think I do!

The drink makes me feel good and helps me write something important for me and maybe you. You be the judge. Have I had too much? Have I had not enough?

These remarks are coming from a 73-year-old man who loves his life and wants to experience everything there is to experience before the end. Another good friend of mine died yesterday of liver cancer. None of us knows how much time we have left. We are all marching to a deadly cliff of no return. Detours should be seriously considered. You don’t take detours if you don’t think for yourself with an opened mind. You just follow the person in front of you until he disappears over the cliff just before you do.

You know, we make our choices and cannot go back, unless you believe in re-incarnation. I’m not sure of the existence of god or an afterlife, but I also think that after 73 years of development it would be such a waste for me to evaporate into nothingness. What a lousy model for life that would be. If reincarnation is real, then I will come back with some wisdom that I learned in a previous life. I know what you are thinking, “He has gained no wisdom in this life time.” But, how can you be the judge. Has some religious figure convinced you that what he believes is what you should believe? All I can say is, “Don’t be fooled and think again.”

Perhaps, the power of drink is in the releasing on one’s verbal filter so that one can say what he really believes without worrying about his or her standing in the popularity ratings of this life. Perhaps that is why I voted for Donald Trump. Heck, his filter does not work when he is sober!

My glass is empty save the ice cubes. If I were a true alcoholic, I would fill the glass again with whisky or vodka. But either I know enough not to or don’t know enough to! It’s time for a nap!

Kayak Greenfield Park

First Book: “Look What I Found Inside My Head”

Look What I Found

Look What I Found Inside My Head

A Series of Of Short Stories and Poems. Sample Segment Follows.

Amphitheater Lake Trail

I am sitting with my feet propped up on my desk. This is my favorite position for pondering the imponderables of life. It is 3:30 in the afternoon and the rigors of my daily rut have bored and tired me. There are many three-ring binders, filled with technical computer manuals, resting on the shelves behind me. On the table to my left is a lifeless computer terminal. The system it connects to is out of order; not operational. It was as if I was watching television and the cable company blew to smithereens! How frustrating.

The desk is cluttered with letters, scraps of notes, pens and a phone. The phone seems to ring a call from a time gone by, as my mind wanders, in search of something exciting to help shed my weariness.

Email Author

Life After Death

41985487 - back to school background with teachers objects over chalkboard

Amanda

Hi, my name is Amanda. The school bus just picked me up about ten minutes ago and now it is stopping at my boyfriend Bobby’s bus stop. A feeling of excitement is flooding my whole body in places I dare not mention as Bobby first comes into view and walks down the bus aisle to sit with me.The seats are full of other people my age going to school to learn about reading, writing, and arithmetic. The three Rs! Bobby sits close and the electricity between us cannot be denied. Based on some of the TV shows I’ve seen and some of the things my friends tell me, I can only imagine what wonders are in store for both of us if we remain together. I know we are all learning about more than the three Rs.

Not everything I learn is learned in school, as I already mentioned. For example, I woke up late at night to some really interesting vocalization coming from my parent’s bedroom. When I asked my mom about her hooting and hollering the previous night she turned red and just said, “You’ll find out someday. Just not too soon. OK.”

Of course, I responded, “OK.” I’m young and inexperienced but I know when to agree and when not to.

I’m a Freshman in high school and have chosen the college preparatory curriculum for my studies. I love school where I learn so many wonderful things about the world and my existence. Many of my friends hate school. I don’t understand their attitude. I love school.

In Algebra I’m learning about the rules of structure that define the shaping of the universe. Equations are so interesting, especially the quadratic formula,  and the area of a circle. I love math almost as much as I love Bobby! Now I’m blushing.

Bobby said, “manda.” That’s his name for me. “Are you ok? Are you too hot?”

I replied, “No, I’m OK. I just got a bit excited thinking about you and the area of a circle.”

Bobby said, “Boy, you really confuse me sometimes. I guess that mysteriousness is what attracts me to you.”

Anyhow, back to school. In physics, I’m learning about how math can be used to describe the physical world all around us. Can you believe that the planets are moving away from each other according to the Big Bang Theory? Someone told me that a Catholic Priest first noted that the universe expanded from a single point and a huge explosion? Hence, the big bang! That must be how God created the universe. Then I started to wonder, where God hung out before the Big Bang? Did he create more than one universe? Imagine, a big explosion and in billions of years we have a universe and I’m part of it. So is Bobby!

In biology, we are learning about our bodies and reproductive organs. Many things are not clear because we are not being told the whole story. My parents are old and very old-fashioned. So, when I asked my dad what my breasts are for, he told me to talk to my mom. Then I let him know that she told me to talk to him. It doesn’t matter. My friends and I figured it out by ourselves.

Then there are Social Studies where we learn all about different systems of government and many of the wars that have occurred in history. Our Social Studies teacher loves to quote someone who said, “Ignore history and risk repeating it.” I like that one. That’s why I love to study wars and think about the ways we could avoid them in the future. It seems however that a lot of people have studied all about history and wars. So, it’s puzzling that we still justify settling our differences by killing each other! Then I think even more and wonder why God who is all powerful allows such evil as war in this beautiful universe he created? Bobby and I have talked about that one and he believes that there is no God! How can that be and if it is true why do our parents and other people lie to us. He says, “That’s because they don’t know, but believe what someone else told them. It makes everybody feel more comfortable about life after death. That way they don’t have to worry about dying if they know there is something else to look forward to.”

I replied, “Well, what you are saying is that there is no God and there is no life after death to look forward to even if you are good and follow God’s rules.”

Bobby replied, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Then I tell him that I can’t imagine that each of us, after learning the ways of the universe and how to function in it, just ends after death. What terrible plan that would be. It would mean that after high school and college and years of working and years of experience our knowledge would simply be thrown away with our lifeless bodies. I mentioned this to some of my family and one of my uncles told me that he believes in reincarnation. With reincarnation, our essence comes back as another person inhabiting a new body and that person retains much of the wisdom that it learned in previous lives.

When Bobby heard this, he thought re-incarnation might have some merit because he knows some people who seem wise beyond their years. He used the example of Stephen Hawking who seems to know everything about the universe. I think that Bobby is one of those re-incarnated people. He is so smart beyond his years. When I tell him that he just laughs and says he loves me.

The bus has reached the school now after picking up more students on its route. The doors open and we all get off the bus. Bobby’s a junior so we go our separate ways to our respective homerooms.

I have a window seat in homeroom that looks out over the parking lot and I saw Sammy Jackson walk in late carrying a golf bag full of shiny clubs. I asked myself, “Why the heck would he be carrying a golf bag into school?” I could see the sun reflecting off of some of the metal clubs in the bag as Sammy walked through the rays of sunlight showing through the tree branches this early in the morning. My dad plays golf. He calls it the game he loves to hate. According to him, he feels like Don Quixote fighting windmills when he plays golf. He said,  he plays golf to defend the honor of my mom, his Dulcinea! My mom said, “Don’t blame your golf induced stress on me. If you really must fight for my honor, why don’t you clean the house? Not that’s an impossible dream!”

Anyhow, the bell rang indicating it was time to head to our first class, which for me was first-year Latin. I knew Bobby would be in the classroom next to me in his Trigonometry class, so I looked for him. When my eyes met his he winked, and I just about passed out from some kind of hormonal activity that I didn’t understand. This time he blushed. Then we went our separate ways.

Bobby

Hi, my name is Bobby and here comes the high school bus around the corner. I’d walk to school if Amanda was not on the bus. Amanda is my girlfriend. She is beautiful with a figure that won’t quit including brand new breasts.

She isn’t just beautiful though. Amanda is so smart. You know, she can do mathematical proofs like Einstein. There she is in the very middle of the bus smiling in a sultry way at me. Amanda is fifteen years old and I am seventeen. When we kiss for a long I often lose control of my manly parts, if you know what I mean.

I sat down with her as she smiled up at me with the face of warm morning sunshine. There is something poetic about her when I mix her with my emotions.

As I looked at her I happened to see, through the bus window, Sammy Jackson putting his golf clubs into the trunk of his car. I pointed to him and asked Amanda, “What is Sammy doing? Is he going to school or playing golf this morning?”

Amanda replied, “I think he goes to church first and then to school every day. He has to drive because when he rides our bus he has caused fights and all kinds of trouble. The poor kid is very troubled according to my dad.

Sammy Jackson

in the middle of a wooded area in the middle of a forty-acre plot of land bordered by Stepson Road, Apple Way, and Stoner Drive. The forty-acres used to be a farm for sweet potatoes. Now it just looked like forty hours of tired old dirt, weeds, and non-working farming equipment.

The outside of the house needed paint and much more because it looked dewlapped.

Samantha Jackson looked over at her son as he manipulated the Xbox controls with lightning speed.  The kitchen and den entertainment center occupied the same large room in their house. Whatever meals had been prepared, they did not seem appetizing! All over this part of the house dishes piled high with food

Amanda’s Latin Class

As I walked into Latin class, Mr. Delray, said, “Salve dulcis est!” “Just fine”, I replied with a smile. He smiled, and I had no idea what he said to me. I thought however that my reply was safe under the circumstances. I took my seat and the rest of the class filled up. Mr. Delray delivered a lecture about Caesar and his legions of soldiers. I tried very hard to understand how a dead language and Caesar’s army would help me in my life in any way. I couldn’t come up with any ideas but did not voice my confusion because I believed that question would have certainly hurt my Delray’s feelings.

When he finished his lecture, Mr. Delray drank a big gulp from his coffee mug and asked us to open our Latin books to page 27 and begin to translate the first sentence. Witnesses told us they saw Mr. Delray pore from a bottle of liquor from his desk drawer into his coffee mug on many occasions. I’m not sure of the truth of that because I never saw him do that, but he did act a bit inebriated at times.

I couldn’t get the translation, so I raised my hand and Mr. Delray walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He bent over to speak in my ear and I did smell liquor on his breath just like my Grandpa when he drank some of his Irish Whiskey.

At that very moment, several loud popping sounds filled the room. Mr. Delray made a loud gushing sound or cry and collapsed on top of me knocking me out of my chair and landing right on top of me. I couldn’t get out from under him and felt a warm liquid seeping into my clothes all over me. Some got on my hands and I could see the color blood red. At the same time, my classmates screamed in terror. “Pop, Pop, Pop”, came the reply to their screams.

People ran in every direction while I struggled to get out from under Mr. Delray. Finally, I did, and I realized that I was covered in Mr. Delray’s blood which poured from a large hole in his chest and back! Many of my classmates lay bloody and still on the floor or moaning in pain. In the hallway, Samuel Jackson held a rifle that he aimed and shot at everyone he could. Most of my schoolmates called Samuel Jackson, “Sam Crackson”, because his parents were drug addicts and they regularly beat Sam. Bobby said that Sam told him that someday no one would beat him or make fun of him and live.

I didn’t know what to do but I could only think of Bobby in the next classroom over. I had to be with him. I had to help him. Nothing else mattered. So, when, “Sam Crackson”, wasn’t looking and seemed to be on his way into another room, I ran into the hallway and took a hard left toward the door that led into Bobby’s room. As I kept my eye on Sam, I ran full on into Bobby and we both fell down. Now both of us had Mr. Delray’s blood all over us.

Bobby’s eye’s first looked at me and he smiled. “Glad you are ok”, he said. Then Bobby’s eyes opened wide and he started to speak.

Suddenly, he jumped up and ran toward Sam who had turned to face us. Bobby yelled, “Sam! Don’t do this. You know I’m your friend. Don’t do this. Please!”

Sam replied, “Bobby, only the people I love the most and the ones they love the most are coming with me.  We are all going to a better place.”

Then Sam raised his rifle and pointed it at Bobby. The sun coming through the hallway window reflected into my eyes.

I yelled, “Bobby, get down.” I jumped up and lunged at Bobby. I had to knock him down so that he didn’t get shot by Sam’s rifle. Then as I flew through the air at Bobby, a loud “Bang” rang out. As I grabbed Bobby by the shoulders and looked up at him, Bobby’s head exploded into bits of red, white, hair, and bone. I put my head on his chest and we went down together.  Without hearing the “bang” meant for me, I suddenly found out all about life after death.

The Land Beyond

Somewhere there exists a civilization unlike our own. It’s not here and it’s not there. It’s not close and it’s not far. But, it certainly is somewhere! They don’t know about us. We don’t know about them.

“Well then,” you ask, “How do you know? If we don’t know, how do you know?”

I reply, “Because I once existed there and now I don’t. I am here instead. But, I remember. I am a mistake because I remember.”

 One of the big differences between them and us is very interesting. If one of them struck another causing the other pain, then he or she receives the same amount of pain immediately in return.

So, for example, if I strike you over the top of your head with a big stick, I will immediately feel that same pain in return.

You can see that would limit man’s inhumanity to man!

So, in that civilization, where I used to be, and you now know about, people live in peace. What a wonderful civilization it is!

Robert Albert

Ode To IRMA

Oh, You cyclical mass of troubled wind and vapor.
 Thousands flee your powerful onslaught!
 I sit here warm and snug at my sister’s home,
 In cool but quiet Waterbury, Connecticut.
 I, lucky to have traveled before your birth,
 Have a home and loved ones in your path.
 I am not alone for thousands share my plight.
 Choked are the North bound escapes.
 You are so hungry for destruction.
 Antigua and Barbuda devastated,
 With the loss of most of their buildings.
 At least one child has died at your hands.
 Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis, St Martin,
 St Bart’s, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico,
 Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks, and Caicos,
 Have not fared much better!
 Next, IRMA, you will target the,
 Bahamas, Cuba, and finally Florida.
 Florida where my home is.
 Florida where my family now flees!
 I have only one question!
 Dear Irma, who created you?
 Who turned you loose?
 Who seeks to destroy?
 Who is responsible?

#athiest, #devestation, #evacuation, #florida, #god, #hurricane, #irma, #life, #storm