Instead, let's talk about liquor.
It's a fact that I can't drink the way I used to. Age has turned the dial of my tolerance down from "heroic Irish drunkard" to "happy fat guy", and with ever more to do and a near-absolute unwillingness to drink more than a beer or two if I have to get in the car anytime in the following eight hours, my intake simply isn't very impressive. Not that it's a bad thing; drinking costs me money, makes me gain weight, and exacerbates my sleep apnea, and it's not like I have anything to prove to anyone anymore: I'm not 22 years old anymore, and neither are my friends (well, not most of them anyway), and cranking back two dozen Points of an evening now makes for a story more pathetic than awesome. I can still put a silver bullet between my eyes when I need to: at ninafarina's sister's wedding, I was nervous and fidgety (it happens, when I'm surrounded by people I don't know and am trying to impress: see also job interviews, readings, parole hearings), and lacking access to my normal social calmative of Sweet Lord Buddha, I downed about ten gin-rocks in two hours time and still managed not to punch any of her relatives, leave her child in the path of an oncoming steamroller, or vomit in any of the hotel's six dozen swimming pools. But despite all this, despite my tendency to get hammered at my own dinner parties, despite a house more full of liquor than most bars, I'm just not a big drinker.
That's not to say I don't have my strong opinions about the stuff. I still think most mass-produced American beers are the equivalent of frosty wheat-flavored soda water; I still think Bombay Sapphire on the rocks and vodka lemonade are two of the best ways to pass a hot summer day; I still believe that top-shelf whiskey and bourbon provide as good an answer as any to the question "what's the meaning of life?"; I still intend to try my hand at homebrewing one of these days, and to continue the very fine practice of curling up on the couch with my girl, a beer, and a good movie; and I still can think of a lot worse places to get married than St. James' Gate.
Maybe it's that I'm more hangover-prone than most people; even if I don't drink that much, I tend to be wiped out for a good half a day afterwards. I don't think it has anything to do with my dad's severe alcoholism; there can't be a genetic factor at play, since I'm adopted, and I've more than learned not to follow in his wobbly footsteps in terms of overdoing it. Or maybe it's just ol' Papa Zeit, who annually ups my belief that very few things are more interesting than sleeping.
Don't get me wrong: I still buy a lot of beer, questing ever as I am for just the right bullets of sweat coming off the chilly bottle of something special. Hell, I have a piece next week in one of the local rags about the many brewery tours you can take here in the upper midwest, and best believe I loaded up on samples at the end of each leg of my research. Certainly I don't judge for a second anyone who drinks more than I do. And I'd be happy to hoist a glass of your pick of poison with each and every one of you, my dear friends, I surely would. But at day's end, when faced with fitful sleep, an empty wallet, and six hours of headaches come morning, I am forced to make this terrible confession:
My name is Leonard Allen Pierce, Jr. I am a writer. And I'm not an alcoholic.