Liquor, booze, beer, rum, wine
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When Victor and John introduced me to pot, acid, mescaline, peyote & etc. liquor was part of the mix. I'd never thought about drinking. It was something my father used to do. And it smelled bad. He drank Kessler's Whiskey chased with unsweetened Donald Duck grapefruit juice. I'll go to my grave flinching at a whiff of whiskey.
Screwdrivers were my first liquor drink. We mixed them up in large mayonnaise jars and went for a walk. We saw a cop and dropped them in the grass. He paid us no mind and we resumed. Otherwise the night is blank.
I'd drink with Victor and John and a few other friends. Not sure how often. I was mostly keen on psychedelics back then. I had a bad habit of getting drunk and wolfing down burgers and fries. And having to clean vomit off Victor's car. There was a long trail of food I hadn't been able to digest along the side of a building where I'd vomited out of the second story. (Possibly the night while I was a gay virgin a married guy waved his penis at me and told me how much I'd enjoy it.)
Mostly I didn't drink in Atlanta. I did when I was living with John. But he was an alcoholic. Those cheerless nights of watching bang and scream at the payphone when he was off in a drunken rage and wanted to call his parents in Florida. Much of this was malt liquor, Colt 45. And I'd have a few cocktails whenever I went to a bar. Something I only did in the company of friends. But after I'd gotten what I could out of tripping I was usually sober.
I know I drank on and off. I remember making out with a guy at an office party. Even though we were the only gay guys there this was in San Francisco so nobody cared. Fetching a few memory fragments I know I drank with friends there. Probably never more than once a month.
Until I started hanging out with Siobhan and her friend Phil. We'd drink together often. Sometimes wine. I'd drunk wine on and off for years. But I was dependent on another's expertness. I knew I liked dry red wines and didn't want to pay much. California is a wine growing state. Lots of good, cheap wine. And champagne. I fell in love with the stuff for a time.
Old English 800 malt liquor was a regular part of those evenings. I think that was Phil's doing. One night Phil and I got drunk and made out. If we hadn't been too drunk it might've gone further. That would've likely meant that a few nights later I wouldn't have found myself in bed with a woman. The story of my last 22 years would be pretty different. Last I heard of Phil he was a masochist with gay Nazi masters. We probably wouldn't have made a real simpatico couple.
After Siobhan and I left SF we stopped drinking. No more Thai sticks either. After we'd left Manhattan and poked around the Southeast we went back to San Francisco to stay with Gordon.
Gordon may have been drinking regularly. I'm not sure. But the three of us drank together pretty often. In our worst night of excess we amused ourselves by tormenting The Worst Roommate of All Time. (Feels a bit odd to have slices of my life available via hyperlink.)
Land of the Tarheels
Heading out to Jesse Helms' home state we certainly continued drinking. Maybe too much. Siobhan fell out of love with me without my knowing. We certainly got powerfully plastered. I remember singing along with the white gospel group, The Kingsmen (great tenor, I love falsettos).
With the loss of the woman I'd loved for five years I started drinking too much. Early on I was a bitter drunk. Probably even rude to Gordon. One of the blessings of a good friend is they shrug your ugliness off. But I don't really know how often or much I drank.
Then Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film came into my life. ("Brother have you witnessed the glory of John Carradine? Have you been washed in the pink, tacky blood of Herschell Gordon Lewis?) Anyway Gordon and I did the unthinkable: we bought a TV. And not a cheap one.
We started watching bad movies according to a plan that reflected our work schedules. We each alternate taking a three day weekend. Thank Nobody for self-employment.
My drinking was structured. Twice a week. No more. Never before 7:00 p.m. Only on movie nights. Many of these movies required alcoholic assistance. As much as I like Ed Wood Orgy of the Dead is mostly strippers doing their routine in a graveyard while you wait to get back to the good stuff ( Criswell pretending he's Satan).
But I worked myself up to a quart of rum a night. I don't much like rum. Scotch, neat if you please. But scotch gives me a headache. Gin leaves me dehydrated. Tequila doesn't mix well. And the coke mixer keeps my stomach from being upset.
Imported beers are great. Dark and bitter. We had a nearby 'party store' run by a nice guy with an abundance of beers. Then the exchange rate got nasty and that came to an end.
I started supplementing my rum nights with a malt liquor night. I forget the brand. Doesn't' matter. It all tastes like sewer rat piss.
All the heavy drinking had me doing some heavy eating the next day in an effort to recover. We didn't have ecommerce to cope with back then so at work I could just sit and read. And on occasion enlighten a misguided soul who really believed that the customer is always right. ("I could get these elsewhere for less but I'll buy them anyway." Me: "Can't let you do that. You buy them elsewhere." "Let me buy them." Me" "No. Get the fuck out of my store. Now!") I was a real shit sometimes. Gordon and I are very lucky to have had Yance working for us for the last 17 years but never more than back then.
A half-gallon of rum and a dozen 16 oz. cans of malt liquor added to take-out meals for a family of five for breakfast led to obesity. Rotten health in general.
One day at Duke University Medical Center (hospital) a nice lady doctor told me that I could change or get ready to start sticking a needle in my tummy every day. I grew up watching my disgusting grandma Inez doing that to herself. I stopped drinking.
And stayed completely sober until I spent a week in Raleigh with Charles exactly one year ago.
Charles and I drank together just a little at first. When I wooed him over to the house with Gordon we drank a little more. There were a couple of times I was worried he might be drinking too much. But I watched the bottle and as much as he talked about his love of a 'liquor drink' he was doing fine.
I'm not good at pacing my drinks. Once you're high you don't notice how quickly the glass is being emptired and refilled. Shamefully one night I got drunk and was nasty to him. It was an instance of buried frustrations coming out while drunk and expressing themselves in the worst possible way.
I'm lousy at intuiting portions and tended to make my drinks too strong. Charles got me a shot glass. It has been a boon. I start out strong and taper down as I go along. I use lots of liquid anyway, a 16 oz. mug so that the alcohol will mostly be flushed out well before I awake.
After moving to Davidson Ave. we drank more often. Mostly it was very pleasant. Sit on the front porch, sip and talk. We'd buy cheap box wine. He likes sweet wine, actually he likes anything sweet. Loves candy, cake and Cheerwine. I like dry wine. Particularly with the cheap stuff. When he makes a cocktail he uses a really sweet mixer. He's allergic to the sulphites in ordinary wine. And I think the sugar in the mixer is almost as bad for his tortured innards.
This was when I started posting on LJ again. And started reading others' journals. And got to know many of you. A little mental lubrication was a real help for writing journal entries. The cold sober ones always seem to have cracks and crevices between the sentences. It was always a wary tight walk performance. A little too much and the entry would descend into gibberish.
As some of you have read here there was a stretch when I didn't think Charles and I would make it. I started drinking too much then. I didn't drink nearly as heavily as before. But much more often. Five days in a row. That took it toll at work. My store's income depends on my being alert and with enough motive force to get as much done as I can.
Worse. Much worse. I got where I looked forward to drink. I could feel the anticipation in my synapses. Scary. The child of a drunkard I'd never want to head down that path. I can't call him an alcoholic. When his doctor told him to stop he quit.
Thinking of the man that biology forces me to call my father was all I needed. There are worse people - Charles Manson and Oprah - but in my mind he's the person I never want to be.
I sharply cut the length of time I allowed myself to drink. Rarely for more than two hours. And shifted to drinking earlier so that I went to bed sober. That made for markedly better day's after.
Gordon recently stopped drinking. A physical had revealed that his liver enzymes were 'high.' I'm thinking I should go tetotall myself. I feel like I've gotten what I can out of liquor. Much as one day LSD lost its special frisson. And my body will be better for it.
My drinking is a form of bad biological stress (good stress being exercise that causes adaptive response). And it'll have to go if I want my healthy habits back. Due to whatever quirk or flaw I tend to be wholly healthy or unhealthy.
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