01 October, 2007

A Procrastination Essay About Alcohol

Argh. So, a few weeks ago, I mentioned to never look to a 4 year old for sympathy. This remains true, but I am too idiotic to take my own awesome advice. This happens a little too often for me to be comfortable with, but that is for another night. But, the point is, my little sister thinks that, since July, I have been on an airplane. As in, perpetual flight. And when I try to tell her differently, she doesn’t really care to hear about it – she just wants to know when I’m getting off the airplane and about the “big water” (aka ‘the ocean’). Kids can be cute, I guess. At certain times. They have their moments, like we all do. But they can also depressed the hell out of you.

I don’t know many Denver readers I have out there (at least one – Lindsey), but there is this fantastically hilarious writer for westword.com (a Denver online newspaper) who is maybe the best columnist I’ve ever read in my life. Look for “What’s so Funny?” at http://www.westword.com/ and you will not be disappointed. ANYWAY, I humbly quote him as saying in an article (about a hangover medicine) that “alcoholism is an interpretive dance”. Meaning that, you have to be flexible at all times. Sometimes you feel this... sometimes you feel that, ya know...? Gotta roll with the punches, so to speak. Well, this has become my mantra. Moving to a new place is strange, because you don’t know anyone, and you are desperate for friends, and this desperation exceeds any anti-social hang-ups you may have. Thus, you never turn down hang out invitations. Thus, this sometimes means spending slightly more on alcoholic drinks that you are comfortable admitting.

The wonderful thing about alcohol that I have never really appreciated is that there is so much of it. Let’s say you took the typical path of a rebellious teenager, and skipped homecoming dances to drink screwdrivers in an upperclassman’s father’s hunting cabin --- hypothetically speaking. Let’s say this inspired you to maybe “browse” the liquor cabinet at casa de madre y padre. Most likely, you went for the clear liquor - it looked a little less intimidating at the time. Vodka and Snapps --- gin if you were desperate. Maybe you did dirty tricks such as filling the bottles with water, or (more creatively) to pour the alcohol into a thermos, and then “accidentally” break the bottle (“sorry, mom!! I broke a brandy bottle…!’) while you were looking for something in the alcohol cabinet, like…a highball glass. Because all the other glasses were dirty….Yeah, yeah…that’s it! Dirty dishes. I had no other choice but to open the liquor cabinet….so I could get a glass for some water. Because I was thirsty. For some water….

Whatever. So, then the fateful night comes where you drink too much OJ and vodka/snapps/gin if you are desperate, and for the next….11 or so years, you can’t touch the stuff (NOT the vodka/snapps/gin, but curiously it’s the orange juice that sets off the gag reflex). Perhaps it’s now that you develop a palette for beer, which will make accessibility issues much easier. But, if you are the average beginner/underager, this simply cannot happen yet. You start mixing with sodas. Wise decision, kimosabe. Now Friday nights begin with you setting sail with the Captain and a liter of coke. Fuck that orange juice shit.

When you finally decide that beer is maybe the way to go you either A.) have entered college and are completely broke and rely solely on 40’s / $5 keg cups B.) study/travel to Europe and decide you are too good to be drinking Old Tom’s for the rest of your life (but that doesn’t mean it won’t be there for you when you need it).
Good for you. You have entered a rather interesting stage of life, and it’s during this “beer period” you will eventually realize that, after a long day at work/school/soccer game/jog around the park/sitting on your ass and doing nothing, you would rather have a nice fucking cold beer than water or any other liquid substance. Don’t be ashamed by this. Beer is unique among alcohol, because once you realize and appreciate the variety available, you can drink new beers for the rest of your entire life. Example: I spent the better part of my 21st year of life in Holland. And granted it wasn’t the alcohol of Holland that interested me per say, I did drink my fair share of beer. However, it was just this last week I tried an Amstel Light, and I was completely amazed! So delicious. How is it possible that I lived within an hour of the Amstel brewery for nearly a year, but never tasted it?? Well, because I was a complete wino at this time.

Wine. Basically, you will never start drinking it unless you have a culture (read: European) experience. Also, if you are a stoner, you will eventually realize that wine and the mary jane *kinda* give you the same sort of buzz (brain detached from body), which makes it appealing. Once you discover the joys of wine, you must be prepared to defend it. People will say, “I can’t drink wine” or “it tastes disgusting”, but you need to remember that these people will toss back Cuervo shots until they are tossing them right back up. The very instant they say one word to defame the good name of Wine, you are allowed to say to them, “Jesus drank wine. Are you saying you hate Jesus? Jesus didn’t drink tequila. I think you hate Jesus, that’s why you are saying bad things about wine.” If they are Jewish…well, think of sometimes else to say. But the point is, if you need to psychologically mind fuck people into drinking wine, do it. They will thank you later. Plus, you have to defend Jesus’ drink of choice.

In conclusion, I have wasted over an hour writing this, and I still have 50 or so papers to grade. They didn’t grade themselves while I was procrastinating, how strange…
But I would like to restate my position, and that is that alcohol is wonderful because of the endless discoveries it offers. You can always learn to appreciate new liquors/beers/wine, even if you have been aware of them, but never tried them. More importantly, they all have memories attached to them. Much like Rob Gordon in High Fidelity chronologically organizes his records because it brings him comfort, I’m telling you that if you try to chronologically “organize” your progression of alcoholic tastes, you will find a similar comfort (I would imagine – I’ve never chronologically organized my record collection). And if not, I'm sure you could at least you could make a great drinking game out of it.


Rebekah said...

Okay. I'm pretty sure this is the best blog you've ever written.

Also, you do not *need* an European experience to lead you to the wine. At some point in your life, you may find yourself in a liquor store, wondering what will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Enter Franzia. That shit will last forever, and will give you one hell of a buzz after just two measly little glasses.

Plus, Franzia can teach you about people. You will learn, for example, that people who say that white zin is the "BEST" wine in the world haven't really experienced wine. Also, they probably wear Lee Press-On nails. There's no way possible that they've actually taken a chance on something like a pinot noir, a cabernet, or (dare I say it) something as adventuresome as a syrah.

Moral of the story: sometimes being poor actually brings you closer to wine than to beer. Weird.

Viva la Franzia!!!

INGL3202 said...

true story. especially the connection between white zin and Lee press-on's...

Ang said...

Brilliant, brilliant I say. I think everyone's alcohol progression mirrors this essay. You continue to rock my socks off... (that is if I actually decided to wear them). ;)

Julia said...

jess, that essay was so freakin phenomenal i am tempted to copy it and forward it to all my alcohol loving friends.
and! i must tell you how i was missing you/thinking of you as we celebrated st. francis day bc we enjoyed SANGRIA with our lovely brunch. ah, sangria. the perfect brunch beverage, indeed.
plus i miss you because i hate how if i have 2 drinks instead of half of one, like everyone else here has, i feel like such an alcoholic. geesh.
oh, and i love jesus. and his wine drinking habit. love, love, love it.

Anonymous said...

a beautiful, inspired piece of writing. i'm just catching up on the last year of your life here so i'm a little behind, but i'm in complete agreement. and the wine always tastes better when you're enjoying it on an italian bridge (even if it came in a juice box). case