Marking Time

With Cigarettes and Beer

How do you mark time? I’m not referring to time in the sense of major life achievements such as births, deaths, and graduations. I’m asking how you mark time during a day, an evening, or possibly a weekend? Is time marked by books read or shows binge watched? Is time marked by errands ticked off on a Saturday to do list? I’ve marked the passing of time by all of the above and by other means too. Marking time by cigarettes snubbed out in an ashtray (this is when you could still smoke in bars) and a row of empty beer bottles was common practice for me at one time.

“Cigarettes and Beer”

I still drink my share of beer and smoke a cigar on occasion, but I don’t while away my time at bars like I used to. I look back to those afternoons and evenings at the local bar and can’t help but think about how that time was spent. Was it time well spent or was it time wasted? At first glance I could easily say it was wasted time and that I could have invested my time in something more productive. But a second, closer look reveals that I would not have memories of listening to my favorite songs on the jukebox, playing games of darts, and intense conversations with friends (that often included copious notes written on napkins) if I did not spend time at that local bar. It’s easy to get hung up on how we could have better spent our time when maybe we should try to truly enjoy what our time bought.

We may look back at how we spent our time and wonder if watching TV shows, reading books, ticking off to do lists, or knocking back beers was worth it. Time spent isn’t necessarily time gone. Before we think that time was misspent let’s take a moment to see what it bought, because good memories are investments that will always pay out sound dividends.

-K-

One More Round

Last Call for January

January is about to make its last call. How about one more round before they close up the first month of 2020? I hope that you got off to a solid start this year. I mentioned setting realistic goals earlier this month. I’m moving toward mine, how about you?

Pair of Abitas (Optio-edit)
“Pair of Abitas”

I discussed the importance of place and having a point to your drinking this month. I stopped off at one of my favorite diners tonight, and I picked up a six pack of Abita at the corner package store. A good meal and a few Louisiana beers always go well with a Walker Percy novel. I hope you have a “clean, well-lighted place” of your own to frequent this year. If you decide to have one more round or two this month I hope you do it with point and purpose in mind. Place, point, and purpose can all help you achieve your goals.

Well, it’s last call for me (I just popped the top of my last Abita). If you are out there with a glass or bottle of your own, cheers. Keep moving toward your goals and don’t be too critical of yourself if you stumble from time to time.

-K-

Hip Flasks and Other Accessories

A Drinking Man’s EDC

The one hundredth anniversary of the start of Prohibition is in a couple days (January 17th, 1920). Some consider it the starting pistol for our nation sprinting head first and hell bent into the Roaring 20s. In honor of speak easies, bootleg whiskey, hip flasks, and flappers I thought I would share my Drinking Man’s EDC (that’s ‘Every Day Carry” for those of you not in the tactical know).

Drinking Man's EDC #4 (D5300-editj22.82)
“A Drinking Man’s EDC”

As I’ve said before, if you are going to do any serious drinking then you should be serious about drinking. My EDC isn’t anything extraordinary, but it currently addresses my drinking lifestyle. What’s in your Drinking Man’s EDC?

-K-

Authors on Alcohol

Five Views of Drinking and Alcohol

• “Civilization begins with distillation.” -William Faulkner-
• “Good people drink good beer.” -Hunter S. Thompson-

Beer and Poetry (Optio-edit)
“Beer and Poetry”

• “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” -Dorothy Parker-
• “There is no bad whisky.  There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” -Raymond Chandler-
• “The light music of whisky falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.” -James Joyce-

-K-

 

 

Another Year, Another Round

Reviewing a Year of Beer

New Year’s Eve is often a time of reflections and resolutions. I am a proponent of self-reflection and self-improvement, but too critical a view of one’s self and unrealistic goals are unhealthy. It’s important to take a long view of the year passes without being too critical of yourself and to set realistic goals for the New Year. I like to spend a moment on New Year’s Eve reviewing my year of beer. Digging through the stratum of bottle caps provides me with a picture of what the previous year was like (it’s a mini archeological dig into my own life).

Stratum #1 (D5300-editj22.78)
“A Year of Beer”

There were days of cheap beer when the check lacked overtime. There were many days of quality craft beers when OT was flush, or maybe I just wanted to reward myself for a Wednesday well done. Some of the caps are from gifts and others are from beers brought back from microbrewery trips. Some of the caps are reminders of special events that called for good beer, like watching Episode One of The Mandalorian with my bruva, -J-. The caps reflect the seasons. There are the golden ales of spring and summer and the stouts of fall and winter. Prufrock may have measured his life in teaspoons, my days are measured with beer caps (and assorted empty whiskey bottles but that’s a different post),

So here’s to the 2019’s year of beer and to another round for 2020. I hope you weren’t too critical of yourself in 2019 and that you have reasonable goals for 2020. There was no better way for me to start 2020 than with “The Champagne of Beers.” Yes, I could have bought a more expensive beer to crack open at midnight (I’ve been banking the OT) but there is no beer that better reflects where I come from, who I am, and what I want for 2020 more than “The High Life.”

-K-

When You Don’t Know If ‘You Were Perfectly Fine’

Drinking a little too much alcohol at one time has been known to induce amnesia in those who imbibe.  Those of us who have been known to drink a bit too much on occasion can attest to this. Those of you who haven’t made this mistake please trust those of us who have.  If you don’t want to trust us then I suggest “You Were Perfectly Fine” by Dorothy Parker. This short story presents the danger of a little too much drink (without the soapbox condescension).

Parker’s story is primarily of a dialogue between Peter, a “pale young man” and a “clear-eyed girl” the morning after a night of drinking and with friends. She helps him piece together the events of the previous evening. She assures him that his drunken behavior was not that bad and that, in fact, he was “perfectly fine” throughout most of the evening. The key event of the story worth noting is when she tells the man that he revealed romantic feelings for her, and that she has similar feelings for him. The man’s reaction to this turn (as shown in the last sentence) can be viewed as a warning to monitor both the amount of alcohol you drink and what you say when drinking.

dorothy parker and hamm's“Dorothy Parker and Hamm’s”

If you take the dialogue between the woman and Peter at face value it is a humorous tale of a little too much alcohol being the root cause of some foolish actions and brash statements. But there are a few points that are worth a closer analysis. These points don’t necessarily change the outcome of the story, but they do provide a different view concerning the motivation of the female character. Peter relies on this female companion to remind him of the events and his actions of the previous night. An argument can be made that the female is making light of Peter’s actions because she has feelings for him and doesn’t want Peter to feel bad. Another interpretation could argue that she is deftly manipulating Peter. The story begins at about four in the afternoon when Peter finally gets out of bed with quite a hangover. The female character doesn’t seem to be suffering any ill effects of the previous evening. She obviously has not had as much to drink as Peter, and she is better prepared to discuss the previous night than Peter. Another point worth considering concerns the title of the story. Throughout the course of their conversation she tells Peter, “You were perfectly fine,” on two occasions along with two more variations of this statement. Minimizing Peter’s actions can be viewed as something other than making apologies for a romantic interest. These statements can be seen as a means to convince Peter that his actions were acceptable, and by extension so is his supposed admission of feelings for the female character. The final point for analysis is Peter’s romantic declaration.   According to the female Peter’s actions throughout the night had a collection of witnesses, yet their conversation was private. If Peter has a history of blacking out while drinking, which seems to be the case, the female could easily manipulate Peter into thinking he said something he did not. The fact that she suggests they keep their romantic exchange a secret may not be proof of manipulation but does give one a reason to question her motivation.

If alcohol has ever put you in a situation where you felt like a third person character in your first person life then “You Were perfectly Fine” is worth a read as a cautionary tale. If alcohol hasn’t struck you with a bit of amnesia this is an interesting a study of character motivation. Parker’s ability to create characters that conceal more than they reveal is just one of many reasons why her work should be on your shelf.

-K-

“You Were Perfectly Fine” from The Portable Dorothy Parker (1944)

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